Tempting Tonneaus: Vacheron Constantin Redesigns the Malte Collection (Video)

New Malte 2012

Vacheron Constantin introduced its first form watch in 1912. To celebrate the centennial of the curvy case, Vacheron Constantin launched four new Malte models at SIHH, each wearing an appealing, updated shape. The top model houses the new hand-wound Calibre 2795 shaped tourbillon movement. Find pricing and wallpaper images for each of the new models inside. UPDATE – USA prices and launch dates added.

To make a break from the round shape of its pocket watches, and in keeping with the avant-garde spirit of the times, Vacheron Constantin launched the first tonneau or barrel-shaped cases in 1912. From the earliest days, the shape became associated with high style, and with the finest horological complications. In modern times, the Malte collection made its debut in 2000. At SIHH 2012, Vacheron Constantin introduced four newly redesigned Malte models, three of which are powered by movements that have earned the new Geneva Hallmark.

Malte Tourbillon

Tourbillons and tonneaus are a natural pairing – tourbillons just look great in tonneau cases, and the new Malte Tourbillon is an especially appealing example. The proportions are just right. The clean and simple lines of the case and dial contrast with the complexity that is the tourbillon. The Malte Tourbillon is the largest piece in the new collection – its 18k 5N pink gold case measures 38 x 48.2 mm and is 12.73 mm thick.

Inside, the new hand-wound Calibre 2795 is shaped to fit the case. The tourbillon cage is inspired by the brand’s signature Maltese cross, showcasing hand-beveled interior angles.

The tourbillon bar also highlights hand-finishing. Rounding and polishing the bar requires more than 11 hours of highly-skilled manual work. The process involves filing each end of the arm to create a conical or semi-cylindrical shape, while respecting the limits of the center and the heels. To finalize this operation, the craftsmen rub the bar down with stones, buffs, wooden pegs and finishing pastes to achieve a perfectly polished surface.

Of course the Malte Tourbillon is entirely designed and produced in-house, and it meets the new criteria for the Hallmark of Geneva.

The Malte Tourbillon is priced at $183,900 with the retail launch scheduled for November. Each of the images below may be enlarged with a click.

Malte Tourbillon
Malte Tourbillon
Calibre 2795

Malte Small Seconds

The Malte small seconds shares the same aesthetic as the Malte Tourbillon in a slightly smaller and more understated package. The 18k 5N pink gold case measures 36.7 x 47.6 mm and is 9.1 mm thick. The hour-markers and the 12 and 6 o’clock Roman numerals are also in pink gold.

Vacheron Constantin’s manual-winding caliber 4400 AS Geneva Hallmark movement powers the three-hand display. The new Malte small seconds model is fitted with a strap in brown alligator, complete with a Malte cross-shaped pink gold buckle.

The suggested retail price is $24,600 with the retail launch scheduled for November.

Malte Small Seconds
Malte Small Seconds
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