The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac is a series of captivating timepieces based on the 12-year cycle.

China, a land with which Vacheron Constantin first began establishing a trust-based relationship from 1845 onwards, is famous for a number of discoveries including the invention of paper. It also initiated the art of paper-cutting or Jianzhi, a technique that appears on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list, and is echoed in Scherenschnitt, the popular art of paper-cutting born in the Pays d’Enhaut region of Switzerland. Sculpted in paper according to the principles of Jianzhi, the animals of the Chinese zodiac provide a remarkable demonstration of the art of using full and empty spaces.

Engravers and enamellers have worked in alternating pairs on the Year of the Goat, models crafted in pink gold or platinum and issued in two 12-piece limited series exclusively available through Vacheron Constantin Boutiques.

 

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Métiers d’Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac 2015, year of the goat, platinum, ref. 86073/000P-9890. © Vacheron Constantin


The leaf motif appearing on the dial and stemming from classic Chinese iconography, is etched directly in the metal. The pattern remains semi-embedded and stands out from its gold base by a stage-setting of variously accentuated reliefs creating a depth effect. The details of the goat's fleece measure a mere fraction of a millimetre.

Then comes the stage of Grand Feu enamelling. By applying the enamel in successive layers, the enamel specialist further enhances the visual intensity of the blue or bronze-toned dial. A final layer of enamel is then applied before a final firing operation that vitrifies the dial and lends a shiny glazed effect that gives added definition to the floral motif. The goat is applied to the centre of the dial, exuding a sense of calm and serenity through the sapphire crystal.

 

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Métiers d’Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac 2015, year of the goat, 18K 5N pink gold , ref. 86073/000R-9889. © Vacheron Constantin

 

With Calibre 2460 G4, Vacheron Constantin perpetuates the art of watchmaking by providing a hands-free display of time. Four windows reveal the hour, the minutes, the day and the date. The first two indications are of the dragging kind and the last two of the jumping type. Beating at 28,800 vibrations per hour, the mechanical self-winding movement is equipped with a 22-carat gold oscillating weight adorned with a dynamic geometrical motif inspired by the shape of the Maltese Cross, the historical House emblem.

 

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The transparent sapphire crystal caseback let see the 22-carat gold oscillating weight of calibre 2460 G4. © Vacheron Constantin


Certified by the Hallmark of Geneva, the timepieces are only available through the Vacheron Constantin Boutiques. Delivered with a corrector pen, a magnifying glass and a dedicated brochure to better showcase the craftsmanship and the technicality behind these creations.