Friday, July 10, 2009

Vacheron Constantin completes The Collection Meiters d' Art "Les Masques"

The final four of the twelve masks chosen from Barbier-Mueller collection have been set in pure splendour on the dials of watches. The collection is complete and the result is inspiring. You can view the entire set of twelve timepieces if you are in the New York area. All twelve watches are on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York at an exhibition sponsored by Vacheron Constantin entitled "A legacy of Collectiong: African and Oceanic Art from the Barbier-Mueller Museum, Geneva" in tribute to Jean Paul Barbier- Mueller.
The Barbier-Mueller museum parted with its priceless artifacts for some time so that Vacheron Contantin could persue the magic of transforming the dial of a watch into atrwork.

The first mask in the collection originates from:

Oceania - Indonesia, a mask from the Island of Lombak, the Sasak People. The mask is carved from hard wood with traces of white pigment. The wrinkles on the forehead and beside the nose tell of an old man, and the wide staring eyes tell of terrified bewilderment. The mask was used in Balinese Wayang Topeng theatre, where the actors did not speak but held the mask by a leather thong between their teeth. It was up to the narrators and singers to describe tells of thrilling heroic adventures.

This watch bares a perfect reproduction of the Zangs-Bag facial Mask from the Tibet Region. The actual mask journeyed from the 16th-17th century where it was used in Tantric Buddhism. The mask is comprised partially of gilt copper and other pigments. The mask is shrouded in mystic mystery,an outline encapsulating what cannot be seen. A single painted eye surrounded by a mandoria marks the very center of the forehead above a carving of a human nose. The masks were worn by selected monks ,who were part of the dGe-lugs-pa yellow hat sect, while they performed dances linked to the cult of Kalacakra - Wheel of Time.

A sinister looking pendant mask was carefully chosen for the third timepiece. The mask originated in the State of Guerrero from the Mezcala Culture (300-100 BC). It is crafted entirely from Basalt - a fine grained volcanic rock. It is an artifact steeped in powerful ritual of the time - the burying of their dead. It was customary to bury the dead under the mud floors of their dwellings accompanied by small stone sculptures such as this mask.

The final mask came from Wester Gabon Africa. It is a Ngontang mask belonging to the Fang People. They crafted the mask from soft wood covered with white kaolin (a clay mineral) and specks of crystallization. The mask exudes a sense of sadness. It was covered with the white kaolin to symbolize the spirit of the dead. The mask was used in Byeri ritual dances to worship the ancestors. The dance was performed to protect the village from witchcraft and evil influences.

The watch is powered by an automatic Calibre 2460G4 movement baring the Geneva Seal. This unique movement does not require hands for time display, but rather a set of wheels and gears: four discs indicate the hours, minutes, day and date in windows set on the parameter of the dial leaving the center vacant for the mask. To ensure the masks were not masked by the movement, a team of expert designers cleverly concealed the movement by using transparency and treated glass creating an impression of a floating mask. Each sapphire crystal has a different tint which was achieved via a unique metal process to set off the color of the mask. In doing so the masks seems to jut out of the watch, and one only need to extend ones hand and touch the deep secrets within; however, this ,of course, is only an illusion.

Each set of four watches were meticulously crafted and released over three consecutive years: 2007-2009. The boxed set of four watches are presented in limited series of only 25 sets.
(Click here to read about 2008 "Les Masques" Collection)

Vacheron Constantin has yet again Incorporates history in four exquisitely finished watches. Vacheron Constantin Les Masques Collection 2008. A company that is two and a half centuries old has a strong link to the past and an even stronger presence in the future. Vacheron Constantin has fused the past with the presents ,and taking into account Vacheron Constantin superior quality, these watches will last deep into future. Juan-Carlos Torres CEO of Vacheron Constantin said, " We have an obligation to encourage centuries-old arts, evolving them into timeless masterpieces for future generations." and with these remarkable watches I think he has.