The Met’s New Collaboration Brings Masterpieces to Your Wrist

Vacheron Constantin is teaming up with the museum to bring celebrated works to watch faces.

Vacheron Constantin's grisaille enamel technique

The luxury watchmaker Vacheron Constantin is extending its creative partnership with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with the continuation of the “Masterpiece on your Wrist” program. Design-savvy art lovers have the opportunity to bring a piece of the New York City museum’s august art collection with them everywhere they go: the Swiss watchmaker’s clients can commission a bespoke singular edition of Les Cabinotiers watch, the dial of which may feature an intricate enamel reproduction of a piece of art chosen from the museum’s masterworks.

“We are delighted to partner with Vacheron Constantin and are grateful for their support of The Met’s mission, which aligns with the esteemed watchmaker’s own longstanding efforts to celebrate creativity and preserve artistic traditions,” said Max Hollein, the Met’s director and CEO.

“We look forward to collaborating on a number of unique projects that build on our mutual commitment to education and the arts,” he added. The multi-year partnership will soon entail an artist-in-residency program as well as other planned educational initiatives, with details yet to be announced.

An example of Vacheron Constantin’s rare enameling process. Courtesy Vacheron Constantin

The project harnesses the rare and highly expert craft of miniature enamel painting, practiced only by a handful of artisans around the globe. The unique hand-painted craft technique involves colors applied thinly layer by layer onto a base of baked enamel and secured with successive firings brings an inspiring among of detail, brilliance, and depth to the reproductions.

The prestigious institutions’ experts have worked together to identify key works from the collection that can be realized with this technique. They include the Wheat Field with Cypresses by Vincent van Gogh, an iconic and exuberant work from 1889 that the artist once said was one of his “best” summer landscapes.

A rendering of a painting of waterlilies in a pond on a watch face.

A rendering of Claude Monet’s Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies. Courtesy Vacheron Constantin

Also available is one of Claude Monet’s most famous paintings, Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies, depicting his beloved water lily garden and the iconic wooden footbridge that crosses its pond. The moody and powerful painting Northeaster, by the late-19th-century American painter Winslow Homer, captures the power of the sea and nature.

The grisaille technique is being employed to capture the luminosity and dimensionality of sculpture from the Met. For this technique, one can select Diana by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the former weathervane for the tower of Madison Square Garden and one of New York’s historic landmarks that depicts the Roman goddess of the moon and the hunt; its precision and elegance reflect the timeless aesthetics of Vacheron Constantin’s designs. Using grisaille, an artisan builds up translucent layers of white onto a dark enamel base to achieve a luminous chiaroscuro effect.

a watch with a miniature version of the stormy sea scene painted on its face.

Winslow Homer, Northeaster. Courtesy Vacheron Constantin

In addition to the wearable art, both institutions will provide certificates of authenticity for the timepieces. Clients are invited to take a private tour of the Met with its curators to get an intimate look at the collection’s offerings, and are also able to travel to Geneva to meet the artisans and watchmakers behind the project.

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