The Métiers d’Art Chagall & l’Opéra de Paris collection celebrates the partnership between Paris National Opera and Vacheron Constantin. This collection is comprised of an exceptional series of fifteen unique watches as a tribute to the greatest composers of all time, the very same who were Marc Chagall’s inspiration for the monumental mural on the Opera Garnier’s ceiling. The unique Métiers d’Art “Chagall & l’Opéra de Paris” series is a masterful illustration of one of the remarkable crafts in Art History, faithfully perpetuated by the Manufacture.
The first watch, presented at the gala evening held in the Palais Garnier on November 20th 2010 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Association pour le Rayonnement de l’Opéra National de Paris (AROP), the Friends of the Paris Opera & Ballet, features a faithful reproduction of the entire Chagall ceiling, using the time-honoured Geneva technique of Grand Feu enamelled miniature painting. The yellow gold case frames a 31.50 mm-diameter dial bearing a work that is actually spread over 200 square metres – an amazing feat in itself that is now preserved within the Vacheron Constantin Heritage collection.
The second watch was unveiled at the fifth edition of the Journées des Métiers d’Art (Artistic Craft Days) organised in France by the French National Institute of Arts and Crafts (INMA) on April 1, 2 and 3, 2011. It showcases Chagall’s mural devoted to Tchaïkovski’s “Swan Lake” by reproducing every last detail of the great master’s painting.
These unique miniature masterpieces embody the art of Grand Feu enamel painting, based on the centuries-old Geneva technique that has remained the exclusive preserve of a handful of artisans. With yellow as the predominant colour, it seems to have a triumphant life of its own, which is brought out by the simplicity of the 40-mm-diameter case of finely polished gold. Entirely handmade – with patience, attention to detail and concentration – the enamelled miniature reflects the original spirit of Tchaïkovski’s work.
The Russian ballet’s masterpiece, “Swan Lake” was the first ballet to have music written by a symphonic composer. The master dreamed up this fairy tale in the 1870s. Originally created to entertain his nephews and nieces, it became the first true musical drama to be danced. Tchaïkovski infused it with all the majesty and melodic gift of his music—a music that seems to resonate in the light of Chagall’s painting and is faithfully echoed in the enamelled-miniature dial of the Métiers d’Art watch.
Its existence is the worthy legacy of the manual skill of the cabinotiers so dear to Vacheron Constantin, a spirit that is also embodied in the watch’s officer-style back which, when opened, reveals an engraved tribute to Marc Chagall that was created by the Manufacture.
The heart of the timepiece beats to the regular cadence of the Calibre 2460 self-winding movement entirely developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin. Such a stunning work of art naturally deserved a perfect mechanism: in addition to extreme reliability, it also bears the famous Hallmark of Geneva testifying to the perfect execution of the exceptional finishing crafted in keeping with the finest Geneva Haute Horlogerie traditions.
The 13 other models will be crafted over the next three years, each dedicated to one of the composers appearing in Chagall’s monumental work. Adam, Moussorgski, Mozart, Wagner, Berlioz, Rameau, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Verdi, Beethoven, Gluck and Bizet will each in turn spring to life under the enameller’s expert touch.
Métiers d’Art Chagall & l’Opéra de Paris – Hommage to P. I. Tchaïkovski
Unique piece highlighting the composer Piotr Illitch Tchaïkovski and his ballet Swan Lake, as depicted in the work by Marc Chagall. Reference: 86090/000J-9712
Calibre 2460 SC
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
Stamped with the Hallmark of Geneva
Energy: Mechanical self-winding
Movement thickness: 3.60 mm
Movement diameter: 26.20 mm
Jewelling: 27 jewels
Frequency: 4Hz (28,800 vibrations/hour)
Indications: Hours, minutes, central seconds
Power reserve: approx. 40 hours
18 K yellow gold
Diameter: 40 mm
Water resistance: Tested at a pressure of 3 bar (approx. 30 metres)
Grand Feu enamelled miniature according to the Geneva technique
Reproduction of Marc Chagall’s painting on the ceiling of the Opéra Garnier in Paris
Semi-matt black Mississipiensis alligator leather, large square scales, hand-sewn saddle-finish
Buckle: Pin buckle in 18K pink gold, Polished half Maltese cross