A poetic depiction of a ship borne by the waves, Les Cabinotiers – La Caravelle 1950 by Vacheron Constantin is a one of-a-kind creation featuring a cloisonné enamel dial crafted by the Atelier Anita Porchet. This masterpiece of miniaturisation is framed by a 39 mm 4N pink gold case, equipped with the Manufacture 4400 movement. The model is inspired by a 1950 watch belonging to the Vacheron Constantin heritage.
With this timepiece, Vacheron Constantin pays tribute to the great historical explorers. It was indeed aboard caravels, the first medieval ocean-going vessels, that Bartolomeu Dias arrived at the Cape of Good Hope in 1487 and that Christopher Columbus discovered America five years later. The enamelled dial of this unique wristwatch evokes the epic voyages of these intrepid sailors. In crafting it, the artisans of the Atelier Anita Porchet took inspiration from a rare and precious watch belonging to the Vacheron Constantin heritage and dating from 1950 (reference. 4308).
Just as on the original model, the technique employed is that of cloisonné enamel, a skill that originated in ancient Egypt and spread far and wide thanks to Byzantine goldsmithing. It consists in defining the contours of the pattern to be created by means of thin metal strips or gold wires fixed on the surface to be enamelled. The alveoli thus formed are filled with the enamel powder which is then vitrified by successive firings. Te richer the colour palette in terms of different colours, the more enamel applications and firings are required – with the ever-present risk that a new trial by fire might damage the work already done. Finally, the enamelled plate is smoothed or polished to reveal the gold “partitions” and the final design.
On this model, the rich hues of the dial are further enhanced by the brilliance of the gold baton-type hands sweeping over the applied gold Roman numerals and round hour markers. As a final nod to this age of maritime feats, a gold paillon (spangle) appearing on the enamelled surface depicts Polaris, the pole star or North Star formerly used by sailors together with their sextants for the all-important calculation of positions at sea.
The model is equipped with the manual-winding Manufacture 4400 calibre powering the hours and minutes hands, operating at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. Extremely thin at just 2.80 mm, it is housed in a 39 mm case in 4N pink gold.
Model: Les Cabinotiers Cloisonné enamel « La Caravelle » 1950
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin mechanical manual-winding
28.60 mm (121/2’’) diameter, 2.80 mm thick
Movement power reserve: approximately 65 hours
4 Hz (28,800 vibrations/hour)
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece
18K 4N pink gold
39 mm diameter, 10.40 mm thick
Gold 18K, cloisonné enamel representing a Caravel
4 Roman numerals and 8 dots in 18k gold
Bordeaux Mississippiensis alligator leather with alligator leather inner shell, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales
18K 4N pink gold buckle
Polished half Maltese cross-shaped
« Pièce unique » and « Les Cabinotiers » engraved on the back of the timepiece