PARIS — Vacheron Constantin took advantage of the European Artistic Crafts Days to unveil a masculine watch collection inspired by sartorial elegance and inaugurate a Paris exhibition dedicated to arts and crafts.
The Métiers d’Art Élégance Sartoriale line consists of five men’s timepieces with dials that combine guilloché engraving with translucent colored enamel to create patterns inspired by traditional men’s wear fabrics: Prince of Wales check, herringbone, windowpane, pinstripe and tartan.
Colors range from discreet blue, gray and lavender to raspberry red and golden beige. The hours and minutes are displayed on a cream subdial that features patterns drawn from silk pocket squares and ties. Customers can choose to buy the watch with shirt buttons in matching motifs.
“What we are seeing today is a real revival of masculine elegance and what is interesting to note is that many young people are interested in that,” said Christian Selmoni, artistic director at Vacheron Constantin.
He noted the watchmaker usually deploys its métier d’art skills — guilloché, etching, enamel and gem-setting — on ladies’ watches.
“It was a delicate process arriving at a collection that is resolutely masculine while incorporating artistic crafts and colors that are perhaps more commonly linked to a feminine universe,” Selmoni added. “You have to find a balance between elegance, refinement and sophistication, and the flamboyance that comes from the use of guilloché and enamel.”
The five watches will be produced in a limited edition of 12 each, priced at 57,600 euros, or $63,000 at current exchange.
Vacheron Constantin has joined forces with Italian wool mill Vitale Barberis Canonico to present the timepieces, with another event scheduled at its New Bond Street boutique during London Craft Week in early May.
Julien Marchenoir, strategy and heritage director at Vacheron Constantin, noted the two companies had a combined history spanning more than 600 years. The watchmaker was founded in 1755, while Vitale Barberis Canonico has existed since 1663 and is now run by the 13th generation of the founding family.
“Each client of a watch from the collection will be able to receive the fabric to make a custom-made suit with a tailor of his choice,” he said. “In that way, we wish to initiate more and more people to that kind of approach of bespoke tailoring and sartorial elegance.”
Selmoni said he saw a growing convergence between timepieces and fashion.
“I think we’re going to see more and more of this, and not only on the women’s side. Beyond that, I believe we are living through a very interesting period where gender diversity is more and more real. The boundaries between men’s and women’s watches are blurring,” he remarked.
Vacheron Constantin is training a spotlight on other crafts by supporting the exhibition “L’Empreinte du Geste,” running at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs here until Sunday. It features 18 artisans who will be on-site to show their work and share their know-how with visitors.
They include jewelry designer Florie Dupont; textile designer Judith Bourdin; graphic artists Célia Casal and Florian Aviet, and artist Mathias Kiss, who recently collaborated with jeweler Boucheron and has work on show at the Palais de Tokyo contemporary art museum.
Vacheron Constantin is hosting a pop-up store at the Arts Décoratifs and supporting projects for various artisans on crowdfunding platform Kiss Kiss Bank Bank.