A trilogy of exquisite art watches comes into full bloom.
By Laurie Kahle, August 23, 2013
The production of these vivid and luminous Grand Feu cloisonné enamel dials begins with the engraver, who cuts tiny lines into the metal base to create radiating symmetrical patterns. The enameller outlines the desired shapes of the flower with thin gold wires that are filled with colored enamel. The dials then go into an oven for firing at temperatures of about 800 degrees Celsius. She repeats the process multiple times for each hue, adding layers of enamel to intensify the colors and luminosity. Finally, a layer of transparent enamel is applied and polished to preserve the work of art for the ages.
The Queen Watch depicts the South African strelitzia plant, more commonly known as the Bird of Paradise, a symbol of luck and loyalty. The species was named for the Queen of England, who descended from the Mecklemburg-Strelitz ducal family. The intense orange blooms stand out against the deep green stems with varying patterns of engraving. The While Lily, symbolizing purity and virtue, is similarly placed on a dark background, to accentuate the luminosity and detail of the blooms, which shimmer with a wavy golden guilloché pattern that shows through the translucent enamel. Alternating guilloché patterns and subtle color variations also enhance the dimension and detail of the fiery red blooms of the China Limodoron orchid against a creamy ground on the dial of the Métiers d’Art Florilège – China Limodoron watch
Underneath the artful dials beats Vacheron Constantin’s manual-winding calibre 4400, which is finely finished by hand with bevelled and decorated components. Such painstaking finishing is required to attain the coveted Hallmark of Geneva, which dictates multiple, rigorous standards of production to offer an assurance of quality and provenance. The requirements for the hallmark, which was instituted in 1886 as a mark of distinction for elite Geneva watchmakers, was updated in 2011 to apply to the entire watch rather than just the movement. While it symbolizes the height of Geneva watchmaking, the hallmark may go unnoticed given the radiant beauty of the dials, each framed by a ring of sparkling diamonds.