Brian M. Afuang

Complications And Rare Crafts

Vacheron Constantin showcases spectrum of watch-making expertise

ITS highest level of watch-making techniques and tradition mixed with equally lofty standards for aesthetics and artisanal crafts is what’s highlighted by Vacheron Constantin at the 2019 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, Switzerland.

And the way the storied maison is doing this is by putting on show its timepieces focused on innovation, technical excellence, craftsmanship, and signature finishing and complications. In other words, Vacheron Constantin brought out the latest versions of, and additions to, its Les Cabinotiers, Patrimony, Traditionnelle, Overseas and Fiftysix collections.

The latest Mecaniques Sauvages pieces finished by the watchmaker’s bespoke Les Cabinotiers division are represented by additions to the line’s Mysterious Animals models. Each of the watches is lavished with a hand-engraved tableau on its dial, the centerpiece of which is an animal. No two pieces are the same. The time and date readouts on the Mysterious Animals pieces are displayed on four apertures located on the “corners” of the watches’ dial.

Joining the Mysterious Animals models in the latest Les Cabinotiers range is the Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar, which arrives in both blue and brown dial renditions. The new pieces, evolved from the Mecaniques Sauvages Calibre 2755 Eagle, trade the tourbillon of the 2755 for a moonphase display. The movement exclusive to the Les Cabinotiers — the cal. 1731 QP — powers the Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar.  

The new renditions of the Patrimony are marked by “majestic blue” dials matched to gold cases. While offered in a two-hand and a three-hand with date window versions, the attraction is the model with a retrograde readouts for the date (sweeping on the watch’s dial from 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock) and the day (each day is spelled out in a half-arc at the bottom of the dial).

The latest Traditionnelle — the Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar — has a movement which the watch’s user can switch between low- and high-frequency spin rate. And as if that does not sound tricky enough, the transition does not result in any loss in timekeeping. Little wonder Vacheron Constantin has applied a patent (yet to be granted) for this technology. Plus, this Traditionnelle also has a perpetual calendar with an instantaneous jumping indicator mechanism.

Markedly refreshed too is the Overseas, which for the first time gets fitted with a tourbillon. Set off by a blue dial, in turn framed by the line’s signature steel case, the tourbillon is the centerpiece of Vacheron Constantin’s cal. 2160, an ultra-thin movement equipped with a peripheral rotor and an 80-hour power reserve.

Furthering the collection’s haute horlogerie credentials is the Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar. Housed in a gold case (like the Overseas Tourbillon it comes with three interchangeable bracelets and straps) and with silver or blue dials, this model adds a moonphase display to its perpetual calendar functions. Powering it is the manufacture’s self-winding cal. 1120 QP. Impressively, the Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar’s case is only 8.1 millimeters thick.

New to the Fiftysix, a collection launched only in 2018, is a version garbed in a “petrol blue” dial — a color exclusive to the Fiftysix Complete Calendar and Fiftysix Self-winding.

As its name suggests, the Fiftysix Complete Calendar flaunts registers for the date, day and month, along with a moonphase display accurate for 122 years, on its dial. Powering it is the self-winding in-house cal. 2460 QCL/1, which has a 40-hour power reserve. 

For its part, the three-hand Fiftysix Self-winding is equipped with the cal. 1326, which is also Vacheron Constantin’s own, and which is rated with a 48-hour power reserve. 

So, yes, Vacheron Constantin has the full spectrum of watch-making expertise covered.