Watches & Wonders 2020: Vacheron Constantin Flexes Its Watchmaking Muscle With Ten New Watches
A new skeletonized Ultra-Thin Overseas, Fiftysix Complete Calendar, and Ladies’ Tourbillons are among the highlights from the world’s oldest watchmaker.
They say practice makes perfect, and that certainly rings true for Vacheron Constantin’s new watches in 2020. Vacheron Constantin has been in continuous operation since 1755, but they’re not sitting back on their laurels over two centuries later. The brand is forging ahead, and each year introduces horological wonders in both mechanics and design.
Two New Watches in the Fiftysix Collection
The Fiftysix collection was launched in 2018, with its design inspired by a watch launched in, you guessed it, 1956. With its box-type crystal and sturdy lugs, the watch perfectly melds form with function. This year, two versions in pink gold with sepia-brown dials and calfskin straps are being introduced.
The Fiftysix Self-Winding features a dial with three distinct finishes: opaline, sunburst, and snailed. The finishes provide a subtle feeling of depth to the dial, with its railroad minute track and small date aperture at 3 o’clock. The three-handed watch is at once sporty and refined, a message that’s perfectly echoed by its calfskin strap. A crystal caseback reveals the exquisite finishing that is a hallmark of Vacheron Constantin’s unwavering dedication to the highest quality standards.
The Fiftysix Complete Calendar, including a moonphase, has a “vintage aura” according to the brand. And indeed it does, from the three finishes on the dial to the moon phase indicator at 6 o’clock. Specially designed Arabic numerals add to its vintage feel. The day and month are shown through apertures, and the date is indicated by a fourth hand pointing to a chapter ring using the same Arabic numerals. While this watch features two sought-after complications, the dial’s design feels unfettered. A sapphire crystal caseback reveals the beauty of the self-winding movement.
Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin and Ultra-Thin Skeleton
Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas collection is its sportiest, at once rugged and refined. The look is characterized by its distinctive bezel – one that collectors can identify in a single glance. This year, the ultra-thin perpetual calendar in pink gold has been skeletonized, revealing all of the details of this highly complicated, 276-component movement.
A non-skeletonized version will also be available this year. Neither self-winding watch, including its moonphase, will need to be reset until March of 2100, a full 80 years from now. This year’s Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thins will come with three interchangeable straps, including a gold bracelet, blue rubber, and blue alligator.
Two Traditionnelle Tourbillons for the Ladies
In a nod to the ever-increasing interest in complicated watches for ladies, Vacheron Constantin’s new Traditionnelle tourbillon adorned with diamonds is distinctly feminine. It also marks the brand’s first self-winding tourbillon for women.
The watch comes in two sparkling versions, the Traditionnelle Tourbillon and Traditionnelle Tourbillon Jewellery, both of which are a sight to behold.
The diamond-set pink gold Traditionnelle Tourbillon features diamonds on the case and bezel, as well as on a delicate circle outlining the tourbillon’s aperture. Its dial is crafted from rich mother-of-pearl, and the watch comes with two straps – one in grey satin and the other grey alligator.
The Traditionnelle Tourbillon Jewellery iteration of this horological masterpiece features a jaw-dropping 559 diamonds in both brilliant and baguette cuts, individually set into the white gold case, bezel, and dial. A blue satin strap with a white gold diamond-set folding clasp completes the look of this truly stunning watch.
Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph
The tourbillon, set at 12 o’clock instead of the conventional 6 o’clock, makes the new Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph stand out at first glance. However, it is the chronograph function that takes the timepiece to a whole other level.
The watch is classically elegant in style while encapsulating the sensibility of a chronograph. This is a timepiece that collectors will rave about on social media and be itching to touch in real life. The watch emanates from the Vacheron Constantin Grandes Complications workshops, and it’s easy to see why. The tourbillon has a new carriage configuration, which “is set in motion by an intermediate wheel of the running seconds display,” allowing for a very large opening – all the better for seeing the tourbillon in all its beauty.
The chronograph function has just one pusher, set in the crown. Start, stop, and reset are all operated through this single button that controls the column-wheel mechanism. The 45-minute counter subdial is spare in design and subtly elegant. At 6 o’clock, the watch has a power reserve indicator, which is an important reference point for a chronograph, as it consumes more energy than a two or three-hand timepiece.
Les Cabinotiers - Music in Time
This year, music is the central theme of the brand’s high watchmaking timepieces. Vacheron Constantin has a registered trademark for La Musique du Temps, and this year three different timepieces are being revealed.
The Les Cabinotiers Astronomical Striking Grand Complication is a unique piece, featuring a full 19 complications, including a minute repeater, equation of time, moonphase, perpetual calendar and zodiac indicator incorporating the solar equinoxes and solstices. Complications are also displayed on the back of the watch with sidereal time in all of its decorated glory.
Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Split-seconds Chronograph “Tempo” is another unique double-sided watch, with even more complications, 24 in total. And like all the new La Musique du Temps models, the Tempo carries a unique sound print created by Abbey Road Studios. A perpetual calendar and chronograph grace the front of the watch, while the back of the watch “is dedicated to astronomical functions.” It can also be reversed by a special strap attachment system.
Vacheron Constantin’s magnificent hand-enameling artistry is on full display with the new Les Cabinotiers Singing Birds. The left side of the watches each depicts a different bird in exquisite detail. A blue jay, a blue tit, a hummingbird, and a robin are enameled with a rich palette of colors using the champleve enamel technique. On the right side of the watch, the time is indicated in a sector with a guilloche pattern and applied minutes. The hour indicator progresses along the minutes to indicate the time.
It’s another banner year for Vacheron Constantin, a brand that has continually pursued the highest watchmaking combined with never-ending innovations since its beginning.
(Images provided by Vacheron Constantin)