Vacheron Constantin introduces Cercle 250
« Make haste slowly, and do not lose faith,
Return to and improve your work two hundred and fifty times,
Polish it incessantly, then polish it yet more,
Add on occasion, but frequently erase...»
A tribute to Nicolas Boileau
Canto I, « De L'Art poétique » (1674)
THERE ARE SURPRISES GALORE TO BE SHARED
AT THE ARTISTIC CRAFTS ROUND TABLE…
VACHERON CONSTANTIN is delighted to inform you of the creation of Cercle 250, an association of corporate patrons with over 250 years of continuous activity to their name. Cercle 250 intends to be a forum for exceptional encounters, preserving celebrating the excellence of centuries-old expertise by encouraging innovative cultural projects. Open to creativity and deeply aware of the need to safeguard our material and immaterial heritage, Cercle 250 is a place where truly original experience can be shared.
SHARING OUR PASSION
From the splendour of the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, humanity has fashioned a world in which craftsmanship, with its profound awareness of and respect for gesture and material, gives rise to art and beauty ... Did the industrial age signal the end of these trades? Fortunately not... Certain skills – important ones– have stood the test of time, such as those practised at our Watchmaking Manufacture for example. Throughout its history, the foundations of VACHERON CONSTANTIN have been built on five core values: the pursuit of excellence, support for creativity, openness to the world, the transmission of knowledge and the sharing of passion. Five, like the fingers of a hand deftly accomplishing work of exceptional precision and quality. Five values handed down over 250 years. Since that day in 1755 when Jean-Marc Vacheron first hired an apprentice to whom he transmitted his watchmaking skills, establishing an element of mastery, launching the beginnings of an institutional memory. Our company is justly proud of its longevity and deeply committed to the legacy of its founders. We remain truer than ever to these values.
" Do better if possible, and that is always possible"
François Constantin, 1819
Such a journey back in time conjures up rare emotions. This was true in yesteryear and remains so today. It is precisely such perpetual renewal that ignites the sparks of creation. And it is as part of this shared quest for perfection that we must win acclaim, promote ideas, question our thinking, show respect for tradition, listen to our intuition and encourage daring, all the while like the movement of a pendulum swinging between tradition and modernity.
This creative energy, guarantor of the past and promising for the future, has now found a new home in the Cercle 250. Along with the corporate patrons who join us, we seek to place our resources and our experience garnered over ten generations at the service of Cercle 250. As Maisons of Tradition and Craftsmanship, we will strive to support expertise – often unknown– as we place the transmission of Artistic Crafts in the spotlight and showcase our exceptional techniques.
Our young CERCLE 250 will draw on these unique initiatives in communicating its enthusiasm. As to this day, we have never experienced true passion without also sharing.
CEO of Vacheron Constantin
TAKING OUR HERITAGE IN HAND
The ambitions of Cercle 250, driven by a passion for the Artistic Crafts, sharing and coming together, revolve around the transmission of expertise and the promotion of skills.
The mission of Cercle 250 is to encourage and promote, through its projects, the values of excellence and commitment to manual skill, based on a humanistic vision of work that its members represent. The encouragement of the transmission of skills, communication activities and economic development initiatives that underpin its approach are designed to respond to the challenges currently facing the world of Artistic Crafts.
TRANSMITTING. A meeting point and forum for sharing the experience of those in the rare Artistic Crafts, some of which may descend from obsolete crafts, and innovative cultural projects, Cercle 250 encourages all initiatives focusing on training and knowledge transfer, including support for learning, the launch of mentoring groups or the establishment of a training program that excels in the teaching of traditional artistic crafts.
SUPPORTING. More than ever, outstanding craft workers need flagship artistic projects based on creative and meaningful ideas in order to promote the commercialisation of their sector. Members of the Cercle 250 undertake to bring a great deal of energy to this economic management, of course involving the media in the process.
PROMOTING. Cercle 250 will take a series of measures to communicate and promote the Arts and Crafts.
The scientific and cultural committee will be in charge of initiating and supporting "Cercle 250" projects, from the initial idea to the finishing touches, while encouraging their implementation.
From exhibitions to evening events, these encounters will offer a forum for enlightening meetings between Cercle 250 member companies, their partners and target audiences, against a backdrop of sharing and generosity. As Founder and President of Cercle 250, VACHERON CONSTANTIN will have the honour of recruiting MEMBER contributors to form the Committee of the Cercle 250.
Beyond their own immediate domains, the corporate patron members of Cercle 250 have been breathing life into rare expertise, helping it shine forth and ensuring its preservation for over a quarter of a millennium, from their very origins in the production of high quality manufactured goods.
Responding to the distinguished criteria set by Cercle 250 world-wide, some 150 luxury companies in the Arts of tableware, lifestyle, gastronomy and finery, are identified and recruited to join the association. These companies that create exceptional products will be invited to the Artistic Crafts Round Table: around which a producer of beautiful French silk may well be seated next to the world's oldest paper mill in Italy, a 17th-century Japanese cutlery company or a British perfumer, creator of exclusive fragrances since the 18th-century.
The dynamic of the Cercle will be driven by the activity and geographic complementarity of the various companies, not only in Europe but throughout the world. The Cercle will also take account of the presence and diversity of the various forms of expertise and the affinities between their cultural, aesthetic and heritage values. Heirs to centuries-old knowledge, these leading companies will jointly initiate and sponsor a minimum of one ANNUAL PROJECT, which will have a special significance for Cercle 250’s activity. Their human and financial resources will make a full contribution to the prestige of the project. Through the Cercle 250, they will affirm a spirit of openness and will create a forum for special exchanges, arousing the curiosity of customers, experts, amateur enthusiasts, opinion leaders, partners, artists and audiences from all walks of life.
The number of core criteria for admission to the Cercle 250 is a symbolic five. Each future member must be able to look back on 250 years of continuous history, be able to draw on a high degree of manufacturing skill, demonstrate control of their value chain, possess a common heritage of core values and prove a level of international influence.
COLLECTING THE BEST IDEAS
Central to the activities of Cercle 250, the ANNUAL PROJECT will celebrate the excellence of one or more Artistic Masters through the renaissance of a "material or immaterial cultural heritage".
The skills used by a master craftsman that can be transmitted to an apprentice in a spirit of trust and generosity, may be grouped under the elegant term “immaterial heritage". It is a mirror image of material heritage and its scope for recreating or restoring a work – a rare object or monument – in its most material form. Thus, by virtue of its aesthetic and intellectual approach to creating something sublime out of a given material, the Cercle 250 Project is capable of taking us to a new level. How does it manage this?
By blending expertise from different worlds, it writes a new script, opening up unexplored paths and bringing know-how to fruition.
By bringing together craftsmen and designers, it produces work which forms part of a collective heritage.
By its use of exceptional techniques and innovations, it makes these works invaluable;
Or, through the joint commitment of master and apprentice to a long-term project, it ensures the preservation of a living treasure for generations to come.
The potential is limitless, the refore, for restoring the Artistic Crafts to their true value.
The projects, approved by the Cercle 250, will be featured in shared exhibitions, private and public events, symposia and workshop visits. Cercle 250 will expand its remit in response to its target audiences, inviting them behind the scenes to explore the creative process of the Maisons involved, offering them, so to speak, real moments, suspended in time, in the company of fascinating works and skills.
VACHERON CONSTANTIN has undertaken to sponsor the first 2012 PROJECT. Other initiatives will then follow, with the support of the collective membership of Cercle 250. Like a ritual, this commitment to the process of designing and manufacturing will achieve the dual aim of lending credibility to our actions and promoting awareness of our organisation itself.
BRINGING MEMORY TO THE FUTURE
The story of an encounter with absolute rarity...
Since its inception in 2003, the Bodmer Foundation has occupied the vital terrain of conservation and restoration of ancient manuscripts, in order to ensure the transmission of this world heritage. Charles Méla, director of the Bodmer Foundation and Florence Darbre, restorer, share their enthusiasm regarding Vacheron Constantin’s sponsorship of the Foundation.
Charles Méla : "Through the Cercle 250 project, Vacheron Constantin has made a long-term commitment to the Foundation and opened up rich perspectives, first with regard to the preservation of our library and also for those exhibitions in which we have taken the bold step of suspending our manuscripts in space. Although the stress on the documents demands particular dexterity from our set design, conservation and restoration teams, the resultant public pleasure and curiosity only encourage us further to share our treasures of beauty and knowledge.
Through the Cercle 250 project, initiated in 2012, we have been able to find funding to create a restoration workshop in the Bodmer Foundation. Our restorer Florence Darbre therefore has been tasked with transmitting her experience, gleaned over an exceptional career, to a newly graduated young restorer for a period of at least three years."
Florence Darbre : "The practice of restoring scripts requires a minimum of five to seven years' training, similar to medical studies, but compared to the restoration of painting, it is a relatively young discipline. Restoration work entails preserving the integrity of a document, with a view to lengthening its life. You consolidate in order to be able to manipulate, creating around the object in order to contain, protect and support… working as little as possible on the material itself. This involves gestures of infinite delicacy. Books as objects are complex by virtue of their binding and the various materials, from papyrus to leather and from flax or hemp to parchment and paper, not to mention the various kinds of inks. Take for example the Gospel of Judas. This papyrus, over 1,700 years old, required four years of attention in order to restore a pile of fragments, assembling the sections, analysing the grain of the fibres, holding them together with tiny fine strands of paper, all the while bearing in mind the reversibility of these add-ons in order to preserve the text and be able to read it! Such immersion is genuinely exciting and the Bodmer Foundation, supported by the Cercle 250 Project, offers us the chance to work on an incredible diversity of manuscripts, incunabula, autographs and sheet music, and all in an extraordinary location! This is an essential forum for the preservation of human memory."
INVITING THE REVIVAL OF BEAUTY
Vacheron Constantin is delighted to launch the Cercle 250, serving future members, contributors, prize winners and aficionados throughout the world. Members of the Cercle 250 and its scientific and cultural committee will have the pleasure of initiating the next call for projects in 2013, paying immediate tribute to the men and women who possess such talent and know-how in their hands. As members of the Cercle 250, we are committed to publicising this new initiative...