Flying has always fascinated mankind, and in the late 18th century that dream finally became a reality when the first manned hot air balloon flight was performed in 1783 in Paris, France. Today, the Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers collection by Vacheron Constantin honors the courageous pilots of these balloons – also called aérostiers – reproducing in miniature the historical depictions of five flights undertaken in France between 1783 and 1785.
Of course, there are five units of each design available, each of them hand-engraved and featuring micro-sculpted gold hot-air balloons, with a translucent plique-à-jour enamel background and the impressive in-house Manufacture Calibre 2460 G4/1 keeping everything on track.
Each of these gorgeous hot-air balloons required three weeks of fine craftsmanship in order to reproduce the entire range of subtle features and ornamental details of the original works. The level of finishing is incredible, all the way through to the smallest details of the human figures, animals and the meticulous decoration of the balloons.
Vacheron Constantin wrapped it all in a stunning 18kt white gold case, measuring 40 mm and able to withstand 30 meters deep water. The in-house caliber comes 27 jewels, 28,800 vph and a power reserve of 40 hours, not that impressive yet not too modest to be ignored.
Finishing off these exquisite timepieces is a blue, green, brown, dark blue, or burgundy Mississippiensis alligator leather strap, with alligator leather inner shell, that’s hand-stitched, saddle-finished and features large square scales, and an 18kt white gold folding clasp. Pricing starts off at $135,000, just in case you might want one.
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