Since 2007, Vacheron Constantin has been a patron of the prestigious Paris National Opera. In 2010, it released the first in a planned series of 15 unique watches in its Métiers d’Art collection, inspired by the breathtaking mural painting on the ceiling of Paris’s Palais Garnier Opera House by French artist Marc Chagall. The brand unveiled the third timepiece in the series, the Métiers d’Art Chagall a l’Opera de Paris “Hommage to W.A. Mozart” recently at a New York luncheon co-hosted by the brand.
The dials of the Métiers d’Art Chagall & l’Opera de Paris collection feature miniature paintings in the centuries-old grand feu enamel technique, practiced by only a handful of artisans today, chiefly in Geneva. The first of the watches, presented at a gala held in the Palais Garnier in November 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 on its 31.5-mm-diameter dial a faithful reproduction of the entire Chagall ceiling (a work that actually spans more than 200 square meters). This watch, called Métier d’Art Chagall & L’Opera de Paris “Tribute to Famous Composers,” was not offered for sale and is currently in the Vacheron Constantin Heritage Collection. Subsequent watches in the series, Vacheron says, will each focus on one section of Chagall’s sprawling mural and will pay tribute to one of the 14 great composers whose work is represented there: Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Wagner, Berlioz, Rameau, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Verdi, Beethoven, Adam, Mussorgsky, Gluck and Bizet.
The first of these “individual” pieces, the Metiers d’Art Chagall & L’Opera de Paris “Hommage to P.I. Tchaïkovski” was released in April 2011 at the fifth edition of the Journées des Métiers d’Art (Artistic Craft Days), organized in France by the French National Institute of Arts and Crafts (INMA). The dial showcases in incredible detail the predominantly bright-yellow section of the Chagall mural that represents the Russian composer’s ballet masterpiece, “Swan Lake.”
The second legendary composer featured, in the third watch overall in the series, is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The “Hommage to W.A. Mozart” timepiece was unveiled in New York City, at Cultural Services of the French Embassy, during an elegant luncheon in honor of the Paris Opera’s longtime director, Brigitte Lefèvre. Vacheron Constantin CEO Juan-Carlos Torres and Vacheron Constantin North America president Hugues de Pins were in attendance, along with Olivia Flatto, chairman of American Friends of the Paris Opera and Ballet, and Antonin Baudry, cultural counselor of the French Embassy. The Mozart watch — whose grand feu enamelled dial recreates another section of the Chagall mural, with its blue background and dancing yellow-and-red figure representing Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” — was on display in a vitrine next to the Tribute to Famous Composers piece, which was shown for the first time in the United States. Other rarely seen Métiers d’Art watches were also on display.
Like the other watches in the series of unique pieces, this one has a 40-mm yellow-gold case and contains Vacheron’s manufacture Caliber 2460 SC, which has been stamped with the Geneva Hallmark. The movement is automatic, with 27 jewels and an approximately 40-hour power reserve. The watch is on a semi-matte black strap of Mississippi alligator leather, with a polished gold pin buckle in the shape of Vacheron Constantin’s Maltese Cross logo.
Click here for a video of the Paris Opera & Ballet luncheon in which the watch made its American debut, including quotes from de Pins and Torres.
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