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Vacheron Constantin - Vacheron Constantin: the art of equilibrium

Vacheron Constantin Vacheron Constantin: the art of equilibrium

Sport-luxe, complications, women’s watches: the latest releases show the scope of Vacheron Constantin’s expertise

The watchmaker’s art, heritage, craftsmanship, a “timeless elegance that symbolises horological classicism, where attention to detail becomes a signature,” to quote the brand’s lyrical prose: Vacheron Constantin delights collectors in a role it plays to perfection, though not always with the impact of the remarkable Twin Beat, presented in 2019.

2022 is very much in this vein: nothing fundamentally new but a host of details together with combinations of existing complications that carry on a narrative in the making since 1755.

Overseas: more technical, more demonstrative

Vacheron Constantin’s third largest with 34 references, the Overseas collection is parsimonious with skeletons (only one model, a perpetual calendar) and tourbillons (again, only one model). The manufacture now combines the two in the first Overseas tourbillon skeleton.

Vacheron Constantin: the art of equilibrium

Overseas Tourbillon Skeleton © Vacheron Constantin

We could spend hours debating the utility of a tourbillon in a sports watch, but what would be the point? In that case, we may as well question the need for mechanical watches at all, when any cheapo quartz model will do the job with greater precision. The Overseas tourbillon skeleton exists also – and above all – as a demonstration of the beauty of the watchmaker’s art. At which Vacheron Constantin excels.

There have been no half-measures. In addition to an execution in traditional pink gold, this is the first Vacheron Constantin entirely in titanium with an integrated bracelet. The base movement is that of the Overseas tourbillon, Calibre 2160 (now 2160 SQ), which it occasionally shares with a Traditionnelle and a Fiftysix.

Vacheron Constantin: the art of equilibrium

Overseas Tourbillon Skeleton © Vacheron Constantin

This automatic movement delivers an admirable 80 hours of power reserve and beats at a gentle 18,000 vibrations/hour; an aesthetic choice that collectors will appreciate (and which also makes possible such a generous autonomy). This low frequency is the traditional choice for a tourbillon – perhaps less so for a sports watch, but a rate of 28,000 vibrations/hour would have meant a smaller power reserve, which wouldn’t be suited to a tourbillon. Vacheron Constantin made its choice and came down on the side of tradition.

The titanium version is the most interesting and the most contemporary. Unusually for Vacheron Constantin, the plate, four bridges and barrel are an attractive anthracite grey colour, achieved by NAC galvanic treatment. Drawn flanks, chamfering and polishing are characteristic of the manufacture’s exquisite command of traditional finishing. This Calibre 2160SQ, like the 2160, is hallmarked Poinçon de Genève. Note that the titanium version is exclusive to Vacheron Constantin boutiques.

Perpetual calendar chronograph: spot the differences

This isn’t an Excellence Platine, although there is a striking resemblance. The Traditionnelle perpetual calendar chronograph is a pure example of classical watchmaking from Vacheron Constantin, aesthetically and mechanically. For the latter, the movement takes the form of Calibre 1142 QP, which already powers two similar references in the current collection: one in platinum and another in pink gold. This new version is also in platinum, but with a salmon dial.

Vacheron Constantin: the art of equilibrium

Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Chronograph © Vacheron Constantin

The new features aren’t immediately obvious, which is precisely what makes this such a delight. The “Base 1000” inscription on the tachymeter scale wasn’t there before. The minute track is finer, more airy. The tachymeter alternates white segments with, every five units, a black segment. A more significant change is the rounder font of the Arabic numerals. The hour markers have been moved inside the minute track. Whereas previously the date display alternated numerals and dots, it now alternates numerals and lines. Collectors will appreciate the value of each of these details. The overall aesthetic is lighter, more legible, and perhaps more perpetual calendar than chrono.

Ladies’ watches: a new perpetual calendar and a new dial

For women, the Traditionnelle collection extends its current offering of complications – a tourbillon and a moon-phase – with the addition of a perpetual calendar. This launch marks a change of register for Calibre 1120 QP – previously seen only in the Overseas collection. This atypical movement comes with a small, 40-hour power reserve as well as, more to the point, an unusual frequency of 2.75 Hz or 19,800 vibrations/hour.

Vacheron Constantin: the art of equilibrium

Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin © Vacheron Constantin

As part of the Traditionnelle collection for women, it fits into a much smaller diameter (36.5 mm) though deeper case (8.43 mm compared with 8.1 mm in the 41.5 mm Overseas).

Vacheron Constantin: the art of equilibrium

Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin © Vacheron Constantin

Both versions, in pink gold with a white mother-of-pearl dial or white gold with a blue mother-of-pearl dial, each with diamonds on the bezel, display the same restrained elegance that we have come to expect from the Traditionnelle collection, though with certain distinctive features such as the stepped case and lugs, the fluted caseback and the Dauphine hands that sweep a railroad minutes track, punctuated by baton hour markers. This is also the first watch in the collection with an interchangeable strap that is fitted without the need for tools.

Vacheron Constantin: the art of equilibrium

Patrimony Self-winding © Vacheron Constantin

The manufacture is also introducing subtle modifications to its Patrimony self-winding collection, most notably two new dials, in deep blue and blush pink. For the first time in the collection, the colours are treated as a gradient, becoming progressively darker towards the edge of the dial. Presented in white gold or pink gold, with or without diamonds on the bezel, these four new Patrimony self-winding watches join the existing range of ten references.

Vacheron Constantin: the art of equilibrium

Patrimony Self-winding © Vacheron Constantin

 

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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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