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The Millennium Watch Book
Vacheron Constantin  - Patrimony Traditionnelle Calibre 2253

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle Calibre 2253

Extreme Excellence*

As the longest continually operated luxury Swiss watch brand, Vacheron Constantin has a rich heritage of watchmaking excellence to regularly draw upon and add visionary twists that push the brand beyond mere timely relevance.

I t’s hard to imagine today that just over a decade ago in 2010, when Vacheron Constantin unveiled its Patrimony Traditionnelle Calibre 2253 tourbillon watch with 14 days of power reserve to the world, it was a revolutionary model. Yes it was indeed, for a whole host of reasons.

Part of the brand’s Collection Excellence Platine, the platinum watch had been several years in the making. Its concept had been developed five years earlier in 2005 when the company released its Calibre 2250 tourbillon perpetual calendar Saint-Gervais watch for its 250th anniversary. The latter model offered an exceptional running time of 250 hours (approximately 10 days) thanks to four mainspring barrels and while it was a tremendous success, Vacheron Constantin determined to go further.

The brand’s extraordinary master watchmakers took up the challenge of going above and beyond when it comes to complications and power reserve. Drawing on their vast experience, the company’s teams of engineers, watchmakers and technicians worked tirelessly to create the 2253 calibre, endowed with an unprecedented 336 hours (or 14 days) of running time. Drawing its power from two pairs of coupled barrels, the mechanical manual-winding movement boasts 457 components and offers a host of complications in addition to the extended power reserve.

Patrimony Traditionnelle Calibre 2253

Patrimony Traditionnelle Caliber 2253, Collection Excellence Platine © Vacheron Constantin

Designed and built entirely in-house and taking thousands of hours to complete, the 2253 movement features the tourbillon carriage in the shape of the brand’s Maltese Cross emblem. It is a one-minute tourbillon located at 6 o’clock that hosts the small seconds indication on it. The Patrimony Traditionnelle Calibre 2253 is equipped not just with hours, minutes and seconds indications, but also with a tourbillon, perpetual calendar (whose days, date and month indications are symmetrically balanced around the tourbillon escapement) as well as advanced astronomical functions that include the equation of time along with sunset and sunrise times. The power reserve is showcased on the caseback.

Easily one of the most intriguing complications, the equation of time displays the difference in minutes between real solar time and mean (average) solar time, which varies by a little over 30 minutes depending on the time of year. The entire system (as well as the indication of sunrise and sunset times in a given location) is built on a specially developed intricate cam. The equation of time is one of the most complicated indications to build and is a feat in its own right.

In typical Vacheron Constantin style, the entire movement inside the 43mm platinum watch features meticulous hand-finished decorations that earn the watch the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva certification. The refined finishing of all 457 components takes hundreds of hours in and of itself. Then a watchmaker spends hundreds of additional hours assembling the movement and the watch, which was therefore issued a 10-piece limited edition.

*This year GMT Magazine and WorldTempus have embarked on the ambitious project of summarising the last 20 years of the Tourbillon in  The Millennium Watch Book - Tourbillons, a big, beautifully laid out coffee table book. This article is an extract. The Millennium Watch Book - Tourbillons is available on www.the-watch-book.com, in French and English.

 

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An exploration of the history of Vacheron Constantin is a voyage of discovery, revealing the excellence of age-old watchmaking. Each timepiece is the result of the creative inspiration of the watchmaker or craftsman, dedicating their knowhow to the birth of outstanding watches. The Manufacture also works within a social and environmental code of ethics, and has had Responsible Jewellery Council certification since 2012.

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