Les Aerostiers, Vacheron Constantin

Two of Vacheron Constantin’s rare metiers d’art are put centre-stage in this collection of five watches boasting an unusual theme. In the 1780s, paper manufacturers Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier invented the hot air balloon, building beautifully ornate structures with the assistance of wallpaper manufacturer Revellion. Their balloons featured golden flourishes, signs of the zodiac and suns.

The first living creatures to leave the earth’s surface were a rooster, a duck and a sheep called Montauciel (‘Climb to the sky’) and once it was ascertained that the atmosphere above earth wasn’t poisonous, it was the turn of the humans. The subsequent attempts at balloon flight featured equally ornate creations by the earliest aviators and these are depicted in miniature on the dials of five exceptional watches, using plique-a-jour which recreates the effect of stained glass, and  delicate three-dimensional engraving techniques.

The watches feature time, day and date indicators via apertures on the dial – the balloon takes magnificent centre stage, underscoring Vacheron’s commitment to protecting these very rare artisan skills.