Juan-Carlos Torres and Monique Barbier-Mueller

Juan-Carlos Torres and Monique Barbier-Mueller

Vacheron Constantin organized an exceptional evening event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York as part of the inauguration of “African and Oceanic Art from the Barbier-Mueller Museum, Geneva: a Legacy of Collecting”, an exhibition dedicated to the masterpieces from the Barbier-Mueller family collection and supported by Vacheron Constantin.

On this auspicious occasion (a first in the history of the New York museum),leading watchmakers – Vacheron Constantin – hosted 250 guests for a dinner in the splendid Temple of Dendur set beneath the museum’s huge glass roof looking out onto Central Park.

The evening saw a world-first presentation of the 4 latest “Métiers d’Art Les Masques” creations, timepieces celebrating horological expertise and the tradition of Métiers d’art (artistic crafts) faithfully cultivated for over 250 years by the world’s oldest watch Manufacture.

A partner of the Barbier-Mueller museum since 2007, Vacheron Constantin held an exceptional soirée at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, coinciding with the official inauguration of “African and Oceanic Art from the Barbier-Mueller Museum, Geneva: a Legacy of Collecting” – an exhibition dedicated to masterpieces from the family collection and supported by the Geneva-based brand.

This unique event was graced by the presence of Monique Barbier-Mueller and Juan-Carlos Torres, CEO of Vacheron Constantin, along with Marc Guten, International Director of Vacheron Constantin, Hugues de Pins, President of Vacheron Constantin North America, and Laurence Mattet, Director of the Barbier-Mueller Museum in Geneva.

250 guests – comprising customers, collectors, art connoisseurs and friends of Vacheron Constantin – were hosted in New York’s largest museum and one of the most important in the world in terms of both its size and the quality of its collections.

During this evening, guests enjoyed a preview of the Barbier-Mueller Museum exhibition (on show in the MET through September 27th 2009). After that, inside the spectacular Temple of Dendur Room beneath the huge glass roof looking out onto Central Park, they were able to admire an exhibition of exceptional historical watches from the Vacheron Constantin heritage, as well as the two first boxed sets of “Métiers d’Art Les Masques” timepieces on show alongside the original masks of the Barbier-Mueller Museum. This display was further enhanced by a demonstration of artistic watchmaking crafts, and in particular those of Master Engraver and Master Watchmaker.

Performers from the Julliard School

Performers from the Julliard School

The highlight of the dinner was a dance performance by artists from the famous Juilliard School (featuring a sound and light choreography evoking the four continents from which the “Métiers d’Art Les Masques” creations). This was followed by the world-first presentation of the third and last set of four “Métiers d’Art Les Masques” timepieces – a collection celebrating the horological expertise and the tradition of artistic watchmaking crafts cherished by the watch brand.

This eventful evening set the crowning touch to the “Métiers d’Art Les Masques” collection, paying tribute to the Barbier-Mueller family, as well as to human intelligence and dexterity, while once again testifying to Vacheron Constantin’s deep-felt attachment to art and culture, travel and discovery.

About the Vacheron Constantin “Métiers d’Art Les Masques” collection

Unveiled for the very first time at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in 2007, the Vacheron Constantin “Métiers d’Art Les Masques” collection depicts the artistic crafts cultivated by the Geneva-based watch manufacture, and in particular that of Master Engraver.

Each model features an authentic mask reproduced and miniaturized on a watch dial. The original masks that inspired this collection all stem from the private collection of the Barbier-Mueller Museum in Geneva, the world’s largest private collection of primitive art. Three series – one per year, in a limited edition of 25 each – have thus been presented in boxed sets of four creations representing four different masks from 4 distinct regions of the world: Asia, the Americas, Oceania and Africa.

Vacheron Constantin at the MET

Vacheron Constantin at the MET

Each timepiece in this collection is equipped with the self-winding Vacheron Constantin Calibre 2460G and bears the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva. This movement enables hand-free read-off of the time. Driven by a complex set of wheels and gears, four discs appear through dedicated hour, minute, day and date apertures, thereby freeing up the dial centre for the artisans to give free rein to their creativity as expressed through the masks.

A world-first viewing of the third and last boxed set of four timepieces was presented at the Metropolitan Musem of Art. The four masks reproduced and miniaturized in these watches are inspired by originals from Indonesia, the Tibet region, Mexico and the Gabon.

Vacheron Constantin was founded in Geneva, Switzerland in 1755 and is the oldest watch manufacturer in the world with an uninterrupted history spanning more than 250 years.  Like their predecessors who laid the foundations for the spirit of technical and precious Haute Horlogerie, the men and women of Vacheron Constantin continue designing, developing and producing in Geneva a range of exceptional timepieces remain unwaveringly faithful to the three brand fundamentals:  fully mastered technique, harmonious and inspired aesthetics, and exquisite finishing.

Vacheron Constantin Executives & Barbier-Mueller Family

Vacheron Constantin Executives & Barbier-Mueller Family

Vacheron Constantin and the Barbier-Mueller Museum

Geneva’s old town is home to one of the world’s oldest and richest private collections of Primitive Art: that of the Barbier-Mueller Museum, initiated in the 1920s by Josef Mueller and perpetuated ever since by his daughter Monique and her husband Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller. In 1977, three months after the death of Josef Mueller, the couple opened the first museum bearing their name in Geneva. In 1997, the Museu Barbier-Mueller Precolombi was established in Barcelona.

It was in 2007, marking the 100th anniversary of the family collection, that Vacheron Constantin became an official partner of the Barbier-Mueller Museum in Geneva. That milestone year was also the 30th anniversary of the original museum and the 10th anniversary of its counterpart in Barcelona.

Since then, through successive events at the National Palace Museum in Taipei in Taiwan, the Jacquemart-André Museum in Paris, and now in New York in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the two Geneva-based ‘institutions’ have cultivated an ongoing partnership and close affinities testifying to their shared dedication to cultural diversity and to a consistently pioneering spirit.

Geneva, June 10th 2009.