Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer
Geneva, September 27th 2021 – A project first undertaken in 2013, the Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer pocket watch is a bespoke creation brilliantly combining the watchmaking and artisanal skills of Vacheron Constantin. It is equipped with a new in-house movement, Calibre 3761 with Grande Sonnerie and tourbillon, specially developed by the team of watchmakers who designed the Reference 57260 watch.
The craftsmanship adorning this timepiece is equally extraordinary. The case is hand-engraved on its bezel, back and sides using various artisanal techniques, as well as topped by a bow adorned with two hand-sculpted lion heads. The officer-type caseback is stunningly enhanced by a miniature enamel reproduction of Vermeer’s famous painting Girl with a Pearl Earring, created by enameller Anita Porchet.
Les Cabinotiers is a department in its own right within the Manufacture Vacheron Constantin, dedicated to creating single-piece editions. Following in the footsteps of the Geneva master-watchmakers known as cabinotiers in the Age of Enlightenment, the team took up the challenge of giving substance to the dream of a passionate collector who wanted a pocket watch that was technically and aesthetically exceptional, reflecting the noblest traditions of 18th century Haute Horlogerie.
The Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer pocket watch is powered by a new 806-part manual winding calibre, regulated by a tourbillon and comprising Grande and Petite Sonnerie Westminster chimes, coupled with a minute repeater.
Grande Sonnerie watches have a centuries-old tradition within the Maison. Among the oldest timepieces preserved to date, the first travel clock housing such a complication dates back to 1820. When it comes to pocket watches, the oldest model with Grande and Petite Sonnerie in the Vacheron Constantin private collection is dated 1827.
The client expressed the wish that the cover of the officer-type caseback should feature a miniature enamel painting by enameller Anita Porchet. The work chosen was Girl with a Pearl Earring, painted circa 1665 by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. Above and beyond the challenge of reproducing the work of a great master, the size of the 98 mm-diameter surface implied additional difficulties. This size of watch, corresponding more to that of historical carriage watches than to a pocket model, requires a degree of dexterity all the more accurate in that the slightest irregularity is glaringly obvious.