It was a night at the museum to go down in history. This week, special guests were delighted with a private tour of the Louvre in Paris. The occasion was the reveal of four Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art watches stemming from a partnership with the Louvre and inspired by great civilizations of Antiquity—Egypt, Persian, Greek, and Roman. Years in the making, the limited-edition timepieces (five per theme) featured a miniature interpretation of a historic artwork representative of one of the four eras on the dials. Created in the form of gold appliqués is the Great Sphynx of Tanis from the Ancient Egyptian Empire (2035—1680BC); the Lion of Darius from the Persian Empire of the Achaemenids (559—330BC); the Victory of Samothrace from Hellenistic Greece of the Antigonid dynasty (277—168BC); and the Bust of Augustus from the Roman Empire of the Julio-Claudians (27 BC—68AD).
Following an haute cuisine buffet lunch at the private men’s Automobile Club—open to all Vacheron Constantin invitees for the occasion, guests retired to their rooms at the Crillon hotel where, notably, Lebanese architect Aline Asmar d’Amman collaborated with Karl Lagerfeld to renovate its most exquisite suites. After changing into gowns and black tie, guests reconvened at the Louvre—again exceptionally void of people save for a quartet playing mystical music composed for the evening. After walking through the grand courtyard, past flag bearers, guests entered the I. M. Pei.-designed pyramid and descended for a dinner prepared by three-starred Michelin chef Frederic Anton.
Aligned with the theme, each of the four dishes was inspired by one of the aforementioned great civilizations. Green asparagus, poutargue, candied lemon, virgin olive oil with elder flower, and caviar was a nod to Egypt. Seabass, fennel salad, mariniere sauce, and truffle savings was inspired by Greece; Bresse rousted poultry, Roman style artichokes, curry powder and greasy juice pointed to the Roman empire; while honey, light mousse, crunchy sugar, grenade sherbet, and raspberry coulis was inspired by Persia. Adding heightened drama to the soirée, each dish was preceded by a musical highlight also touching on one of the four civilizations. After dinner was served, a curtain dropped, and a full orchestra revealed itself to the enchanted crowd. The Swiss maison offered a gala evening very much aligned with its ethos of niche and authenticity; undeniably, this night was one of not many.
A closer look at the inspiration and processes behind the four new timepieces:
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