A human adventure, an invitation to discover another dimension where know-how and innovation meet: the “Métiers d’Art La Symbolique des Laques” collection tells the tale of a meeting between the artists from one of the oldest Japanese lacquer houses, Zôhiko, located in Kyoto since it was founded in 1661, and the world’s oldest watch manufacturer having maintained uninterrupted production since 1755.
The third and last set in the collection pays tribute to the natural beauty of the seasons, called “Setsugekka”. While Japanese ways of life have changed over the centuries, they draw on various realms of the tradition of contemplation. “Hanami Tsukimi Yukimi” watches promote this Japanese art of making an institution of the pleasure of enjoying the ephemeral gracefulness of nature: three changes of season – spring, autumn and winter – representing three symbols at the heart of Japanese rituals and heritage. It took no less than seven months to create the two dials produced for each model. Each emblem – snowflakes, cherry flowers and full moon – provide a harmonious escort for hours that are driven by an ultra-flat 1003 caliber, whose openworked silhouette also enhances its contemplative appeal.
Manufactured in 18-carat gold – a particularly delicate material to work with – this legendary movement is treated with ruthenium in order to match the dials and humbly give pride of place to the consummate excellence of the art of “maki-e”. Caliber 1003, bearing the Hallmark of Geneva, the ultimate token of excellence in the purest Geneva watchmaking tradition, remains a benchmark movement in the history of Fine Watchmaking. It measures a mere 1.64 mm thick, making it the world’s thinnest hand-wound movement, and was entirely designed, developed and manufactured in the Vacheron Constantin workshops. The sapphire crystals on either side of the watch make it possible to admire the exceptional finishes, including chamfering, straight-graining and engraving, all done by hand. Echoing Japanese culture, the sobriety of the round case framing this exceptional movement and the two “maki-e” dials, reflects the Zen spirit of the collection. "Maki-e" in Japanese means "filled up the picture." This style of enamel painting features the most complex techniques of decorative lacquering. The art begins while paint (usually black in color) has not yet congealed, which is then sprinkled with gold or silver powder to create unique designs. The final lacquered coating is made from the sap of what is known as the Chines Lacquer tree, Rhus Verniciflua, which is found is in the highlands of central Asia and parts of Tibet.
A seasonal phenomenon that is typical of Japan, the flowering of the cherry trees is the epitome of renewal. From March to the beginning of May, the cherry trees are dressed in their pink hues and shower the country in a hail of petals, like as many symbols of purity, integrity and longevity. Due to the great length of the country, the explosion into blossom does not happen in all regions at the same time. Since the beginning of time, the practice of “Hanami”, or admiration of flowers, has marked and shaped the imagination of the Japanese people.
Limited series of 20 sets per year. each containing three watches. 18kt rose gold case with a black alligator leather strap. Fixed 18kt rose gold bezel. Japanese maki-e lacquer dial with rose 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 DArt La Symbolique Des Laques Hanami Spring Unisex Watch 33222/000R-9701.