OPENING THE GATES TO THE SKY
Eagerly awaited at SIHH, the Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers collection is a five-part series featuring the first hot-air balloon flights in the late 18th century on each of its dials
The first question that comes to mind is “What is aerostier?“ “Aerostier” is the French word for an aerostat pilot. Yes, but what is an aerostat? An aerostat is “a lighter than air aircraft that gains its lift through the use of a buoyant gas.” In fact, this is what is generally known as a hot-air balloon, a huge bag of air with a gondola or basket beneath it, and whose history Vacheron Constantin has celebrated in five watches: the Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers.
The watch quintet pays homage to a human adventure in the late 18th century involving the first flights of these airships, and especially the launches taking place in France between 1783 and 1785. Each dial, without hands, is presented like a miniature painting using two artistic techniques: ramolayage – a form of sculpture and engraving used to create and decorate a silhouette in two dimensions – and plique-à-jour enamelling – a technique providing a transparent and colourful result resembling a stained-glass window.
The hours, minutes, day of the week and the date can be seen at 11.30, 1.30, 7.30 and 4.30, respectively, and are displayed with the help of a quartet of discs (two constant and two jumping discs). The watches’ features are powered by the automatic calibre 2460 G4/1, housed in a 40mm-wide white-gold case and providing 40 hours of autonomy.
Five pieces of each model from the Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers collection are available.
Price: 144,000 EUR vacheron-constantin.com
By Sharmila Bertin