Paper trail: Vacheron Constantin Metiers d’art The legend of the Chinese Zodiac

Vacheron Constantin looks to the artform of papercutting to inspire its new Metiers d’art timepieces celebrating the year of the ox

Watches & Jewellery 19 Jan 2021

Vacheron Constantin’s Metier d’art timepieces are a breathtaking showcase of artisanal skill, and to celebrate the year of the ox, the watchmaker has looked to the world of papercutting to inform its latest intricately decorated timepieces. In China, the artform is thought to date back to the second century AD, with its techniques reflected in Switzerland’s own similar tradition called scherenschnitte.

Here, instead of using paper, motifs found in classic Chinese iconography have been etched directly into the metal base. A subtle stage-setting of reliefs lends a beautiful depth to the design, creating the illusion of foliage floating over the dial. It is finished with the delicate process of Grand Feu enamelling, where successive layers of enamel are carefully applied and fired under high temperatures to achieve an alluring depth of colour.

Taking pride of place on the dial is the ox, presented in two different versions: platinum against a blue dial or in pink gold on a bronze-hued backdrop. Its eye-catching central placement is achievable thanks to the innovative calibre 2460 G4, which makes it possible to display the time through four separate apertures around the outer edge of the dial. These display the hours, minutes, days and date, while the movement, which has been just as finely finished, is viewable via the sapphire-crystal case back.