A partner of the Louvre Museum since 2019, Vacheron Constantin will auction an exquisite Les Cabinotiers watch at the Bid for the Louvre online auction organised by the Louvre Museum and Christie’s. Part of a larger joint effort with leading luxury maisons and contemporary artists to support the solidarity projects of Le Louvre, 100 per cent of the proceeds from the sale of the timepiece will be donated to the museum.
This a unique opportunity for a watch and art connoisseur to enjoy an unforgettable experience poised at the intersection of art and watchmaking craftsmanship. Vacheron Constantin’s Les Cabinotiers creation is the only horological lot among the unique and exclusive pieces put up for auction.
Vacheron Constantin CEO, Louis Ferla, explains why the manufacture’s participation is a natural choice: “Our ongoing commitment to art and the transmission of savoir-faire – which has been expressed alongside the Louvre since the announcement of our partnership a year ago – takes on even greater significance within a global context that is troubled and challenging in more ways than one. Putting up for auction a Les Cabinotiers timepiece based on a masterpiece, a one-of-a-kind model personalised in accordance with the acquirer’s wishes, symbolises the identity of our maison and its mission to promote the sharing of culture and emotions.”
The highest bidder of the exceptional timepiece will be able to participate fully in the personalisation process of the creation, as well as receive valuable input from experts and master craftsmen at Vacheron Constantin and Le Louvre. The entire creative journey is said to take anywhere between nine months and two years. In addition to the dial, which will feature a masterful reproduction of any artwork from the Louvre Museum chosen by the acquirer, the winner will also select the case material (platinum, pink or white gold), the engraving on the officer-type caseback, and the strap from the wide range of colours and materials available. Powering this bespoke timepiece will be the manufacture 2460 SC self-winding calibre, crafted according to the demanding standards of Vacheron Constantin and haute horlogerie in terms reliability and finishing.
The adventure for the successful bidder will begin in Paris. Here, he/she will be treated to a private visit to the Louvre led by its best expert, to select the masterpiece from among the vast collections of paintings, tapestries and sculptures that will be reproduced in enamel on the dial. A Vacheron Constantin master enameller will then use the miniature enamel or grisaille enamel technique to reproduce the chosen piece.
The skill involved in miniature enamel – in a version known as the “Geneva technique” dating back to the 18th century – is mainly executed by the most experienced artisans who are masters in both pigments and firing. One of the main challenges of the technique is composing a colour palette that matches the original shades of the work, while remaining aware that multiple firings in the kiln at over 800 deg C are likely to alter its colour and brilliance.
A craft from the 16th century, grisaille enamel consists of superimposing touches of a rare white enamel – called Limoges white – on a layer of dark enamel coating the gold dial base. Each layer of enamel is then fired in a kiln, a delicate process that needs to adhere strictly to a pre-defined firing time to the nearest second.
Next, in a private visit to the Vacheron Constantin manufacture in Geneva, the acquirer will meet the creative talents of the design studio, master watchmakers, as well as enamellers and engravers working on the watch. It is also here that he/she will be able to select from the varied personalisation options for engraving and straps. The transparent caseback will reveal a 22k openworked gold oscillating weight in the shape of a Maltese cross – the symbol of Vacheron Constantin – which will also feature hand finishing, bevelling, circular-graining and polishing.
At the close of this exclusive experience, the purchaser will receive his/her watch with the following certificates – a Certificate of Guarantee from Vacheron Constantin, a Certificate of Authenticity issued by Le Louvre for the reproduction of the masterpiece, and a Poinçon de Genève certificate.
The auction is on now until December 15, with the estimate for the unique and bespoke timepiece set between €100,000 and €300,000 (S$161,900 and S$485,800). For more details, visit vacheron-constantin.com or christies.com.
(All images: Vacheron Constantin)