Vacheron Constantin unveil a hand-guilloché gold dial adorned with two Qilin, symbols of wisdom, prosperity and peace, created using the pounced ornament technique ...
Its appearance is an auspicious omen, its depiction a pledge of peace and prosperity. Heralding good news as well as conveying both wisdom and bliss, the Qilin deploys its fantastic powers at the heart of the Traditionnelle Tourbillon. Under the favourable auspices of this fabled creature reproduced on two appliques engraved using the ramolayé pounced ornament technique, Vacheron Constantin brings to life a masterpiece of sophistication skilfully combining Haute Horlogerie and artistic crafts.
The Traditionnelle collection is distinguished by an avant-garde technical repertoire served by eminently classical codes inherited from 18th century Geneva Haute Horlogerie. At the confluence of aesthetic creativity and high mechanical complication, the Traditionnelle Tourbillon reveals a new facet of its personality through the prism of artistic crafts. Stemming from a blend of patience and meticulous workmanship, the expertise of Vacheron Constantin's engraving craftsmen is powerfully expressed here. The result is a masterful staging of the path of time, under the benevolent gaze of two Qilin, noble fantasy creatures from Asian mythology.
This Traditionnelle Tourbillon timepiece is issued in an 18-piece numbered limited edition, exclusively available in Vacheron Constantin boutiques.
Fine line and pounced ornament engraving carve the face of time
Emerging from the hand-guilloché gold dial and finished with a black galvanic treatment, two gold appliques represent the fabled Qilin figure with extraordinary finesse. These genuine miniature sculptures are created by dint of extremely precise work using the ramolayé pounced ornament technique. The latter consists of pushing back the material by cutting into, scraping or softening it in order to give volume to a two-dimensional drawing. To achieve this, artisans use their own individual methods and self-made tools – small stones, brushes, paper or files – serving as an exact extension of their hand.
This irreversible work is a delicate, skilful blend of softness and strength, revealing an infinite world of details on a gold surface no more than 0.4 mm thick. Rhythmically punctuated by raised and hollowed areas, flat and curved surfaces, matt and polished finishes, the coat and scaly skin of the Qilins is revealed in a strikingly realistic manner, accentuated by a subtle play on light and shade.
The fine line engraving technique adorning the stepped sides of the case (emphasised by a fluted caseback), the slim bezel and the curved lugs, sets the scene for a lucky-charm cloud motif. This pattern contributes to enriching the aesthetic appeal of this elegant watch, embracing the wrist with a black alligator leather strap.
The Qilin, a highly symbolic creature
The Qilin belongs to the pantheon of figures populating Asian mythology, and it only appears during periods of peace and prosperity. In the Chinese tradition, this fantastic creature reigns over furry animals, just as the Phoenix reigns over feathered animals, the Dragon over animals with scales and the Turtle over those with a shell. Often depicted as a duo – Qi meaning the male and Lin, the female – its appearance betokens a happy omen. The mythical creature is a combination of different animals, and every part of it is a symbol of auspices and beauty in the ancient society. For example, a body of the deer stands for power, the skin of fish stands for affluence, a tail of the ox stands for devotion, etc. Qilin’s benevolence and gentleness are among its greatest virtues. So much so that it does not move across any living creature, including plants, for fear of damaging it, generally preferring to travel on water or clouds.
For this reason, the two Qilin engraved on the dial of the Traditionnelle Tourbillon appear on a bed of lucky clouds, a traditional motif adorning ancient Asian artefacts. As a final detail, the two Qilin respectively stand one of their hooves on one traditional Chinese item. The Qi (male) on the globe, a symbol of authority and prosperity; and Lin (female) on an ingot, a harbinger of good fortune.
Calibre 2260, an exceptional tourbillon
To bring this timepiece to life, Vacheron Constantin has chosen its in-house mechanical manual-winding Calibre 2260. Designed to compensate for the adverse effects of the Earth's gravity on the movement, the tourbillon is considered to be one of the most sophisticated mechanisms in the realm of Haute Horlogerie.
On the dial of this model, it is majestically revealed at 6 o'clock in its openworked mobile carriage shaped like a Maltese cross, topped by an entirely hand-chamfered bar. This ingenious construction conceals two sets of series-coupled barrels measuring a total 2.20 metres in length and endowing the movement with an exceptional two-week power reserve. For the sake of balance and harmony, the latter is indicated along the same axis as the tourbillon, on a 280° sector. The show continues through the case-back enabling one to admire the meticulous finishing of the movement adorned with a “Côtes de Genève” motif.