The Swiss watchmaker Vacheron Constantin will unveil three one-of-a-kind watches at this evening’s New York City Spring Gala, held at Lincoln Center. The company will also serve as leading corporate sponsor of the gala, part of a three-year partnership initiated in 2013.
The three pieces, which each cost $140,800, are part of the brand’s Hommage à l’Art de la Danse series within the Metiers d’Art collection. Each watch face depicts its own Edgar Degas painting; this collection includes “Dancers Practicing at the Barre” (1877); “Dancers Near a Set” (1888), and “Two Dancers Entering the Stage” (1877). Each depiction is crafted by an individual master enamelist, and may take up to two-and-a-half months to complete.
To create each piece, the enameler uses the grisaille painting technique, a term for painting done entirely in monochromatic or near-monochromatic shades. The technique is typically applied to black enamel, but the house artisan instead selected a translucent brown enamel to increase the level of depth to each etching. After applying the base, the artist adds touches of Limoges white enamel, a rare powder mixed with oils. Each layer must then be fired at a specific heat for a certain amount of time.