As the 2017 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) approaches — opening in Geneva on January 16 —Vacheron Constantin offers a sneak peek at two new timepieces the brand will debut at the fair: the Patrimony Moon Phase and Retrograde Date and Traditionnelle Minute Repeater Tourbillon.
The Patrimony Moon Phase and Retrograde Date features a dial which combines a moon-phase display, with an additional scale for the age of the moon, and a retrograde date indicator, which points to a graduated 1-to-31 scale around the dial’s upper arc. All adjustments to the watch’s various functions, including the timekeeping, can be made using only the single winding crown. Available in either a white gold or rose gold case, measuring 42.5 mm in diameter and just 9.7 mm thick, the watch maintains the minimalist look that defines the 1950s-inspired Patrimony collection while still providing on its dial an ample stage for the various displays.
In an aperture in the lower half of the silvered opaline dial, the moon appears against a star-studded night sky, surrounded by a graduated scale that reveals the age of the moon, i.e., the number of days elapsed since the last new moon. This indication is extremely accurate, Vacheron says, because it’s in sync with the moon’s actual lunar cycle around the Earth: exactly 29 days, 12 hours, and 45 minutes. The mechanism should require only a one-day correction once every 122 years. In the dial’s upper sector, a central hand with an openworked arrow tip, whose color was achieved with a black oxide process, moves in one-day increments around the date scale, returning instantly back to the “1” numeral at the end of each month. The dial is subtly raised around the rim and has tapered, applied hour indices in white or rose gold, depending on the case; the hands are also in case-matching gold. A circular “pearl” minute track rings the dial.
The all-new manufacture movement in the watch is Vacheron’s self-winding Caliber 2460 R31L, which is composed of 275 parts, including 40 jewels, and stores a 40-hour power reserve. Visible through a clear sapphire caseback, it has a decorated rotor made of 22k gold and adorned with the brand’s Maltese cross motif (a shape that is also used for the gold buckles). Like all Vacheron Constantin watches and movements, this one has earned the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva. The strap is black Mississippi alligator leather, hand-stitched and saddle-finished, with large square scales. Both the rose gold and white gold versions will be priced at $39,900.
The Traditionnelle Tourbillon Minute Repeater, available in a 5N rose-gold or 950 platinum case, and only at Vacheron Constantin boutiques, contains another all-new in-house movement, Caliber 2755 TMR, which impressively unites two bastions of haute horlogerie: a tourbillon and a minute repeater. The 44-mm-diameter case has a single pusher on the left-hand side, which the wearer can press to activate the watch’s gongs for chiming the hour, quarter-hour, and minute. The attention-grabbing dial — in slate gray or silvered tone on the platinum models, in silver-toned on the rose-gold — boasts a hand-engraved guilloché motif, a traditional 18th-century craft applied only to Vacheron’s boutique-exclusive watches. The gold hour and minute hands are slightly offset from the dial’s center in order to provide more space for the large aperture at 6 o’clock that showcases the tourbillon carriage, which is fashioned in the shape of the Maltese cross. The relatively slow frequency of the movement’s balance — 18,000 vph or 2.5 Hz — allows for a better view of the tourbillon’s balletic motions.
The watch’s manual-winding movement, which has been stamped with the Geneva Hallmark, is visible through a sapphire caseback and features an unusual visual bonus: an indicator for the watch’s 58-hour power reserve, a display usually found on the dial. The hand-type display has a rose-gold pointer with a black oxide finish. The movement consists of no less than 471 parts and offers an array of high-horology finishing, including côtes de Genève on the bridges. The hand-polished bar of the tourbillon carriage alone required nearly 11 hours of painstaking work by the watchmakers. The blue or black hand-stitched alligator strap has a half-Maltese-cross-shaped folding clasp in platinum or rose gold. prices will be $490,000 for the rose-gold watch, and $546,600 for platinum.