By  on June 1, 2009

Watch collectors, take note. Vacheron Constantin is finally unveiling the third — and last — set of its Métiers d’Art Les Masques collection with a kickoff black-tie bash Tuesday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The first set of the series, inspired by primitive art pieces from the renowned Barbier-Mueller Museum in Geneva, made its debut in 2007; a second collection bowed in 2008.

Each watch in the limited edition sets of four features a miniature reproduction of an antique mask — indentations, scratches and all — originating from Asia, Africa, the Americas and Oceania. The latest lineup, priced at $412,000 retail, represents work from Indonesia, China, Mexico and Gabon. “This is the achievement of a very nice story that began three years ago,” said Hugues de Pins, president of Vacheron Constantin North America. “Tuesday will be the first time all three sets will be seen together.

“We wanted to pay tribute to the engraving form of art,” added de Pins of the painstaking process used to render, for example, a wooden mask in 18-karat gold.

As a tie-in on Tuesday, dancers and musicians from Juilliard will be performing a production inspired by the various regions. The event also kicks off a four-month-long exhibit at the Met, sponsored by Vacheron Constantin, of highlights from the Barbier-Mueller Museum. “A Legacy of Collecting: African and Oceanic Art,” which runs from June 2 to September 27, will include a number of the original “Métiers d’Art” masks, in addition to sculptures and other artifacts. “Our ambition goes far beyond making watches,” said de Pins. “[We want] to build bridges between cultures.”

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