A human adventure, an invitation to discover new horizons and to explore a new place where craftsmanship and innovation meet at their zenith, the Metiers d'Art 'La Symbolique des Laques' series relates the encounter between the men of one of the oldest Japanese lacquer firms - Zohiko, located in Kyoto since its founding in 1661 - and those of Vacheron Constantin. While chance and luck play a role in every meeting, a true relationship can be built only on the basis of deep affinities and shared values. These are immediately evident between these two companies, which have the same respect for traditions.
The 'Kame Kaeru Koi' watches, dedicated to the aquatic realm, present animals selected from the vast symbolic legacy of Far Eastern artistic traditions. Incarnations of longevity, luck and strength, the turtle, frog and carp disclose their attributes in stylised waters on the enamelled dials. No fewer than four months were required to make each one. Each animal lends a powerfully symbolic face to the passing of time orchestrated by the skeletonised version of the ultra-thin Calibre 1003 calibre.
Made in 18-carat gold, which is harder to work, this legendary movement is treated with ruthenium to match the dials and humbly allow the superlative excellence of the art of maki-e to shine through. Bearing the Geneva hallmark, a guarantee of quality manufacture in the purest Geneva watchmaking tradition, Calibre 1003 remains one of the standards of reference in Fine Watchmaking history. It is the world's thinnest hand-wound mechanical movement, at only 1.64 mm thick. It was designed, developed and manufactured entirely within Vacheron Constantin's workshops. The sapphire crystals on both sides of the watches reveal exceptional finishes, including chamfering, drawing and engraving, all done by hand.
Originally representing perseverance, the carp is also famous for its courage and determination. Many Chinese and Japanese legends praise its ability to swim upstream to negotiate rivers and waterfalls, despite currents that often are very strong. Even though carp usually live in calm waters in Japan, they are often represented as moving, bursting powerfully from the water. A symbol of success and good fortune, the carp is behind the May 5 Japanese holiday known as tanngo no sekku or 'kodomo no hi,' the Children's Day festival. It's association with waterfalls symbolises strength and willpower. On the watch dial, the carp moves gracefully through the tumultuous water. The coloured lacquers, applied to the maki-e powder using the iro-katame technique and then polished, contrast with the black background. On the back, the waterfalls flow gracefully. They were created with the maki bokashi technique, which uses gold powder dispersed on the lacquer to blur the pattern.
Limited series of 20 sets per year. each containing three watches. 18kt white gold case with a black alligator leather strap. Fixed 18kt white gold bezel. Japanese maki-e lacquer dial with white gold hands. Vacheron Constantin 1003 SQ hand wind movement with a 30-hour power reserve. Scratch resistant sapphire crystal. Transparent case back. Case size: 40 mm. Case thickness: 8.2 mm. Round case shape. Pin buckle. Water resistant at 30 meters / 100 feet. Style: Atypical High Horology. Watch label: Swiss Made. Vacheron Constantin Metiers D'Art Carp Waterfall Unisex Watch 33222/000G-9550.