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Vacheron’s Asian Arts

Laurie Kahle

Since 2004, Vacheron Constantin’s Metiers d’Art collection has paid homage to Geneva’s traditional decorative arts—engraving, enameling, and gem setting. But this year, Vacheron turns its gaze to the East, partnering with Zôhik, one of Japan’s oldest lacquer companies, to produce maki-e lacquer dials for the new La Symbolique des Laques collection. The centuries-old technique of maki-e (which translates to “sprinkled picture”) involves sprinkling gold or silver dust over lacquer while it is still wet to create an image. Each year for the next three years, Vacheron will introduce a set of three watches with production limited to 20. The debut trio ($240,000) draws on the theme of longevity. Each design pairs one of the classic Asian symbols of long life—pine tree, bamboo, or plum tree—with the image of a bird—crane, sparrow, and nightingale, respectively. A delicately skeletonized ultrathin Vacheron Caliber 1003 crafted from 14-karat white gold serves as the dial’s centerpiece sandwiched between sapphire crystals that show off the watchmaker’s art next to that of the lacquer artisans. (877.862.7555, www.vacheron-constantin.com)

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Photo by René Gaens
Copyright by IWC