The upcoming Chinese Year of the Goat happens to fall on my birthday, 8 February 2016. As in previous year, Vacheron Constantin will be commemorating the new Chinese Zodiac with the Métiers d’Art ‘Year of the Monkey’ limited edition watch available in two options. Only 12 pieces in pink gold and 12 pieces in platinum will be made available. The dials feature a hand engraved monkey motif on an enamel background.
To ensure the watch has a large enough unobstructed view of the dial area, Vacheron Constantin uses the digital method instead of hands to tell time. It is powered by the Caliber 2460 G4, which incorporates a hands-free time display mechanism. Set on four discs, information is visually viewed through four apertures showing the hours, minutes, days and dates. These indications, the first two of the dragging variety and the last two of the jumping type, create a unique design and allow the whole center of the dial to be used for spectacular artistic displays.
The foliage motif appearing on the dial is based on classic Chinese iconography etched directly in the metal. The pattern remains semi-embedded and stands out from its base. This creates a three-dimensional effect that makes the vegetation appear to be floating over the dial.
Using Grand Feu enamelling, a technique invented in Geneva, successive layers of enamel are applied to the dial. Coupled with the need to control the temperature of the firing process to ensure the correct reaction takes place, further enhances the visual intensity of the blue or bronze-toned dial. A final layer of enamel is then applied before a final firing operation that seals the dial surface and lends a shiny glazed effect.
The monkey, made of platinum or gold, is then hand engraved and delicately applied to the dial center.
When viewed through the sapphire crystal, the art definitely takes center stage without any obstruction.
The Caliber 2460 G4 is an automatic movement with 27 jewels. Made out of 237 parts, it operates at the 4 Hz or 28,800 v.p.h and has a power reserve of approximately 40 hours. The movement has a Hallmark of Geneva certification and can be seen via the display caseback protected by sapphire crystal.
The watch is 40 mm in diameter with a thickness of 12.7 mm. Water rating is 3 bars. It comes standard with alligator straps and deployant buckle. The pink gold version with reference 86073/000R-8971 has a dark brown strap and priced at EUR80,000 while the platinum version with reference 86073/000P-8972 has a dark blue strap and priced at EUR100,000.
Personally I like the platinum version. Not too bright on the wrist yet sublime. Since it is my birthday……I wish.
Meor Amri is a passionate watch collector from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Having bitten by the horology bug in 2010, he has written extensively about the watch scene and has assembled a large collection of watches (excessively!!!) on his own free time. His blogs on the same subject are: Eastern Watch & Western WatchRead his articles here