Presented at the New York City Ballet on May 8th 2014, the three new one-of-a-kind additions to its Métiers d’Art Hommage à l’Art de la Danse collection are based on the highlights of a ballerina’s daily life: learning, training and performance. These creations from the workshops of the Manufacture revisit the ancestral art of Grand Feu grisaille enamelling to highlight the art of classical ballet by reinterpreting the works of Edgar Degas.

In becoming a patron of the Opéra National de Paris in 2007, Vacheron Constantin chose to provide a uniquely inspirational stage for the artisanal traditions of the Fine Watchmaking artistic crafts known in French as Métiers d’Art. This partnership uniting time, art and culture celebrates the values on which the brand has been built since its founding in 1755: supporting creativity, openness to the world, sharing a passion, passing on knowledge and the quest for excellence.
 

Métiers d’Art Hommage à l’Art de la Danse, capturing the movement and the choreography of time
These three new Métiers d’Art Hommage à l’Art de la Danse watches crystallise the magic and the subtly alchemy between complementary arts: that of the ballerina, that of the enameller, and that of the watchmaker.
Within a white gold frame, Degas’ beloved ballerinas glide gracefully beneath the ever-dancing hands. The master enamel artist drew inspiration from three more paintings by the master and represent three new highlights in the life of a ballerina: dance school with Dancers Practicing at the Barre, dated 1877 and on show in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA); the backstage of a dress rehearsal with Dancers near a Set, dated 1888 and belonging to a private collection; and the pinnacle of a ballerina’s life with Two Dancers Entering the Stage, painted circa 1877-1878 and exhibited at the Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, USA).

Entirely in the manner of Degas, the Vacheron Constantin master enamel artist reinterprets the exact moment, the gestures, the pose and the perspective, playing on chiaroscuro light and shade effects to anchor the scene firmly in reality.

 

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The finesse of Grand Feu grisaille enamel painting reveals the slightest details of the protagonists. © Vacheron Constantin


Whereas grisaille enamelling is generally applied to black enamel, the House artisan decided to work with a translucent brown enamel base serving to accentuate the depth effect while lending a soft nuance to the painting. After applying this base, the enameller adds touches of Limoges white enamel that is then drawn out using needles, extremely fine brushes and even cactus thorns so as to create graded shades and play on the various pigments.

Framed by the understated elegance of a finely polished 40 mm-diameter case, the Grand Feu grisaille enamelling of the Métiers d’Art Hommage à l’Art de la Danse is entirely hand-crafted. The music to which the dancers move is the regular beat of the self-winding Calibre 2460, entirely developed and crafted in the Manufacture Vacheron Constantin.

The watches bear the prestigious Poinçon de Genève (Hallmark of Geneva). They are worn on a black Mississippiensis alligator leather strap, hand-stitched and saddle-finished.
Available in Vacheron Constantin boutiques, they are suplied with a magnifying glass and a dedicated brochure illustrating the various skills and techniques involved in this creation.

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