The « Travels & Adornments » exibition sets the stage for around 40 historical models chosen from the 1,200 composing the private collection of the Manufacture.
On the first floor of the Maison Vacheron Constantin on the Quai de l’Ile in Geneva, the display windows are organised around four different universes: the East, Greece, Europe, and the openworked architecture of the late 19th century. Pocket watches and wristwatches immerse us unto a rediscovery of the beauty and finesse of the world’s many adornments through enamelling, engraving, guillochage, gemsetting and glyptic.
The visit begins in India and a delicate champlevé enamel pocket watch dating from 1831, inspired by the flamboyant style of an enamelled floral tapestry. A little further on, one discovers the splendours of Ottoman decors with an 1824 pocket watch featuring a case richly adorned with an exuberantly chased floral motif. Still in Asia, blossoming cherry tree spreads its branches across a very light green jade case studded with a few diamonds.
We then change continent and the generous source of inspiration to be found in ancient Greece. In 1921, the artisans of Vacheron Constantin notably reproduced a central champlevé enamel motif depicting Hermès on his chariot, rimmed with a Hellenistic-style frieze. On another creation, platinum lacework criss-crosses the translucent enamel protecting a hand-guilloché décor.
Art Deco was a momentous period with its two-tone colouring, its geometrical shapes, its baguette-cut precious stones or its semi-precious onyx, lapis lazuli and coral.
The exhibition ends with a series of skeleton watches representing a reference to industrial architecture.
Right from the time of its founding in 1755, the Manufacture has constantly enhanced its creations by providing scope for the expression of artistic crafts, orchestrated by artisans with golden fingers and skilled gestures governed by a blend of patience and dexterity. This exhibition not only reveals unique skills, but also demonstrates that ornamental techniques are at the crossroads of various cultures and come together at the heart of horological works of art.
Travels & Adornments exhibition, until the end of October 2014
Maison Vacheron Constantin, 7 Quai de l’Ile, 1204 Geneva
By appointment only, tel : 022.930.20.05