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Vacheron Constantin Four Seasons banner

Artworks on the Wrist: 8 Art Inspired Watches

Vacheron Constantin Four Seasons banner

February is National Arts Month in the Philippines so we are celebrating some of the masterpieces that have come from the world of haute horlogerie.

Patek Philippe 5538G Old Views from Geneva

Patek Philippe 5538G Old Views from Geneva

Patek Philippe prides themselves in having a long and rich history in the art of enamelling, which dates all the way back to the 17th century. 

The 28mm Patek Philippe 5538G is a collection of five watches that have a dial with a miniature painting on enamel depicting famous landmarks like the St. Pierre Cathedral and the Grand-Quia, home to the historic Patek Philippe building in Geneva, Switzerland.

Patek Philippe 5538G Old Views from Geneva close up

The style is reminiscent of azulejo, blue and white glazed ceramic tilework, paired with a trompe l’oeil technique which gives the illusion that the tiles are three dimensional. To achieve this enamelling, oil was mixed with enamel to easily apply it onto the 28mm dial with a very fine brush.

 

Patek Philippe 5738/50G Japanese Prints

Patek Philippe 5738/50G Japanese Prints

The 5738/50G Golden Ellipse watch presents a 27.5mm x 2.53mm dial in Grand Feu Cloisonné enamel. Meaning “great fire”, the Grand Feu technique is done by spraying a small mist of alcohol onto the disc which is then coated with a sprinkle of fine enamel powder. Afterwards, the disc is placed inside an oven set at a high temperature. A giant flame gushes from the alcohol burning off, hence the name “Grand Feu”. The process is repeated until the desired pigment thickness is achieved. 

Patek Philippe 5738/50G Japanese Prints close up

The Japanese print on the 5738/50G dial was inspired by works of artist Ohara Koson (1877-1945), who was known to incorporate flowers and birds in his prints. The enameller worked with a transparent, opaque and translucent palette with about 29 to 39 colors so as to achieve a delicate shade and a subtle color gradation of the plumage, branches, foliage and flowers.

 

Vacheron Constantin Les Les Cabinotiers Four Seasons WinterFour Seasons SpringVacheron Constantin Les Les Cabinotiers Four Seasons WinterFour Seasons SummerVacheron Constantin Les Les Cabinotiers Four Seasons WinterFour Seasons WinterVacheron Constantin Les Les Cabinotiers Four Seasons WinterFour Seasons Autumn

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Tourbillon – Four Seasons

Vacheron Constantin’s latest collection displays four different scenes of a carp swimming in seasonal colors (spring, summer, fall, and winter) within a 44mm case. To create such a stunning timepiece, the dial was first engraved using a bas-relief technique, where figures are given more depth than the flat background, to highlight the richness of scene. 

After  engraving, the disc is then subjected to champlevé enamelling. This is done by filling in the cells made from the engraving with enamel, using a palette of over 12 colors, then fired.

Enamelling process of Vacheron Constantin's Four Seasons

The timepiece is accompanied by a minute repeater tourbillon, whose unique sound imprint was created by the famous Abbey Road studios, known for associating with legendary artists such as The Beatles and Adele.

 

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Caravelle 1950

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers La Caravelle 1950

One of the recent additions to the Les Cabinotiers collection, the 39mm timepiece was directly inspired by a 1950s watch that belonged to the Vacheron Constantin Heritage collection. The dial’s design was crafted by Atelier Anita Porchet, and they used Cloisonné enamelling to bring forth the vibrant hues of the ship and sea. It shows a caravel in the midst of a journey, allowing the waves to bring the ship to its destination. A gold paillon on the enamelled surface is a nod to the timepiece’s nautical inspiration. The spangle depicts Polaris, the north star which sailors use for important calculations of positions at sea. The design of the ship is inspired by the first caravels explorers Bartholomew Diaz and Christopher Colombus used in 1487 and 1492, respectively.

 

Hublot Big Bang One Click Calavera Catrina Siar Mexico

Hublot Big Bang One Click Calavera Catrina Siar Mexico

The 39mm Big Bang One Click Calavera Catrina celebrates El Dia De Los Muertos, a UNESCO recognized celebration and Aztec tradition that has been celebrated for over three centuries. The Day of the Dead is celebrated all over Mexico and by people of Mexican heritage. The common calaveras symbol people use during the holiday originally came from a zine etching made in 1910 by Mexican lithographer Jose Guadalupe Posada, and the print was called La Calavera Catrina

The Hublot watches feature a black lacquered dial, engraved with colored lacquer in shades of fuschia, green, purple, and blue–making the pieces look like pop art. The bezels are covered in 42 rainbow colored sapphires, and the straps have multi colored skulls printed on them.

 

Hublot Big Bang Broderie Sugar Skull Fluo

Hublot Big Bang Broderie Sugar Skull Fluo

Hublot also released another collection to celebrate El Día De Los Muertos: the Big Bang Broderie Sugar Skull. This time, they put a twist by fusing the art of embroidery with their timepieces by using Bischoff embroidery from the international Swiss brand St. Gallen. The fluorescent embroidery on silk organza is a delicate floral arabesque motif that reveals the sugar skull design. This technique continues all the way to the straps, coming in colors of cobalt blue, sunflower, hot pink and malachite green. The watches have sapphires in the corresponding hues, set decoratively on the bezel, and set as hour markers on the dials.

 

Jaeger-LeCoultre Métiers Rares Tribute to Ferdinand Hodler frontJaeger-LeCoultre Métiers Rares Tribute to Ferdinand Hodler reverse side

Jaeger-LeCoultre Métiers Rares Tribute to Ferdinand Hodler

In 2018, Jaeger-LeCoultre commemorated the 100th death anniversary of Swiss artist Ferdinand Hodler. The reverse side of the Reverso Tribute Enamel served as a canvas for enamel miniature paintings of mountain and lake landscapes, which were characteristic of the artist’s works.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Métiers Rares Tribute to Ferdinand Hodler front and back
Lake Thun, Symmetric Reflection (1909) depicts the Alps mountains and its reflection on the lake catching daylight.

The front of the watch displays a guilloche dial covered by a translucent enamel to match the tone of the painting on the reverse side.

 

Jaeger-LeCoultre Tribute Enamel Georges Seurat front Jaeger-LeCoultre Tribute Enamel Georges Seurat reverse

Jaeger-LeCoultre Tribute Enamel – Georges Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

Jaeger-LeCoultre also made a tribute to French post-Impressionist artist Georges Seurat who was well-known for coming up with pointillism. On the front of the tribute enamel watch is a finely hand guilloche dial that has been covered in translucent Grand Feu enamel, while the reverse side shows an enameled miniature painting of Georges Seurat’s most famous work.
 

Jaeger-LeCoultre Tribute Enamel Georges Seurat
Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte portrays Parisians enjoying their day on the banks of the River Seine.

To reproduce the 3-meter wide artwork on a tiney 3cm x 2cm surface, the enameraller had to create his own pointillism technique using special tools. It is worth mentioning that pointillism enamel is extremely challenging as several protective enamel layers would have to be placed one after the other. This then alters the intensity of the color of the piece. Because of this, the enameller used darker shades so that the final product would have the exact colors Seurat used in his artwork. 

Of course, these are just a few of many watches that have been heavily inspired by artworks, artists, and other fields in the arts. We hope we see more timepieces that pay homage to art in the years to come.

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