Art is littered with great examples of collaborations: Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, Pablo Picasso and Gjon Mili. It's not just the melding of artistic backgrounds; the conjoining of technical expertise often leads to new frontiers. This understanding is without a doubt appreciated within the watchmaking industry, which has seen more than its fair share of design and engineering breakthroughs throughout the centuries.
Vacheron Constantin, in particular, is well-acquainted with the concept of creative collaboration. Last year, the maison announced a three-year artistic and cultural partnership with the Louvre, and announced that they would "present creations inspired by artworks chosen among the museum’s collections". In 2007, the manufacture also released a métiers d'art collection as part of their collaboration with the Barbier-Mueller Museum in Geneva. In recognition of this, Vacheron Constantin is putting a portion of its collaborative history on display with "Diptyques" A History of Collaborations.
The exhibition showcases 17 timepieces from Vacheron Constantin's Heritage Private Collection and pays tribute to some of the maison's more significant achievements that were born out of collaboration. One notable example is the Ref. 11289 – a yellow gold worldtime pocket watch from 1949, formerly owned by H. Prince H. Daoud of Egypt. The world timer complication, unlike the more common GMT, allows the user's watch to display the time in 24 time zones simultaneously. This innovation was made possible by Louis Cottier, who unveiled his complication in 1931. The following year, Vacheron Constantin commissioned him to build the ref. 3372, with two more examples (Ref. 3650 and Ref. 3638) to follow in 1936.
Another vaunted timepiece making an appearance at Vacheron Constantin's exhibition is the Ref. 11289. This particular example dates back to 1930 and presents itself as a white and yellow gold wristwatch with shutters and two sapphire cabochon crowns. The square case of the timepiece was made by Verger Frères – a Parisian jeweller who supplied the Swiss manufacture with various cases and jewels for over 60 years. Ferdinand Verger, the founder of the eponymous company, famously also constructed a fabergé egg for the Tsar in 1880, which opens up to reveal a Vacheron Constantin watch within.
It's not so much a trip back in time as it is a chance to witness some of Vacheron Constantin's most beloved examples of haute horlogerie; "Diptyques" A History of Collaborations offers up a rare amount of insight as to how a shared passion for intricacy can lead to beauty and wonderment. The month-long exhibition will be divided between Vacheron Constantin's Ion Orchard boutique (1 – 17 March) and its Marina Bay Sands outlet (18 – 31 March).
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