The enameled dial of an exquisite custom watch created by Vacheron Constantin showcases a captivating scene of soldiers and horses engaged in intense combat. This remarkable timepiece, unveiled in May, is a meticulous reproduction of “The Fight for the Standard,” a 1603 drawing by the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens. The original artwork, known as the “Battle of Anghiari,” is safely housed within the Department of Graphic Arts at the Louvre, where it can be viewed by appointment.

This unique watch is part of Vacheron Constantin’s new program titled “A Masterpiece on the Wrist,” which was developed in collaboration with the Louvre. Christian Selmoni, the director of style and heritage for the watch brand, expressed excitement about the initiative. He stated in an email, “We invite clients to select from a curated catalog of works defined with the museum, and we will reproduce the chosen artwork on a one-of-a-kind watch dial.”

To assist customers in making their selections, they are treated to an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the Louvre’s galleries. Afterwards, they have the opportunity to meet with an artisan from Vacheron Constantin’s bespoke workshop, Les Cabinotiers, who will create the custom dial. This dial is then seamlessly integrated into the rest of the timepiece, which has been specially crafted for this program.

To capture the depth and movement of Rubens’ drawing, an enamel master at the atelier combined the techniques of miniature painting and blanc de Limoges, a fine white powder enamel used to enhance grisaille paintings. This meticulous process resulted in a dial with a rich palette of nuanced shades, achieved through several grand feu firings at temperatures reaching 900 degrees Celsius (or 1,652 degrees Fahrenheit).

The watch itself boasts a 40-millimeter rose gold case and features an elegant alligator strap. It is powered by an in-house automatic movement known as the caliber 2460SC. One notable detail is its rose gold oscillating weight, which is exquisitely engraved with a view of the Louvre’s eastern facade.

The inaugural timepiece from this program was acquired by an anonymous owner for 280,000 euros (equivalent to $309,571) during a Christie’s online auction in 2020. The owner chose the Rubens drawing due to its intriguing backstory. The Louvre describes it as an interpretation of a fresco that Leonardo da Vinci created for the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence, Italy, but that has since disappeared. The owner saw this as an opportunity to blend their passion for art with the realm of watchmaking and hopes to contribute to the ongoing research for uncovering the lost Leonardo fresco.

Vacheron Constantin’s alliance with the Louvre, which was initially announced in 2019, has already yielded a collection of four remarkable watches called Tribute to Great Civilizations. These watches draw inspiration from the museum’s astonishing treasures and showcase the intricate artistry of m?tiers d’art.

While Vacheron Constantin has access to reproduce many of the Louvre’s artworks, it has notably excluded the iconic “Mona Lisa” from the selection. However, there remains an extensive list of other artworks available for reproduction, many of which are rarely displayed to the public. This exclusivity adds to the allure and rarity of these remarkable timepieces.

In summary, Vacheron Constantin’s collaboration with the Louvre has resulted in the creation of a truly extraordinary custom watch. With its captivating enameled dial, meticulous craftsmanship, and association with renowned artworks, this timepiece represents a harmonious fusion of art and horology.


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