Let’s get straight into it. Vacheron Constantin is about to make you hold your breath with the very first all-titanium Overseas timepiece, that’s to be added to the regular collection. This is the Overseas Tourbillon Skeleton.
Important to note that prior to this, there was the Overseas prototype worn by adventurer Cory Richards, on this third attempt at Everest, which had a 41mm titanium case with a tantalum bezel. This gave rise later to 2021 the titanium and steel Overseas Dual Time “Everest” and Overseas Chronograph “Everest”, limited to 150 pieces each. The Overseas Tourbillon Skeleton, at long last, is all titanium; case, bezel and bracelet.
Says Style and Heritage Director, Christian Selmoni, “This novelty showcases Vacheron Constantin’s development of technical and complicated models within the overseas collection. In addition, it is of course, a superb opportunity for our maison to express our expertise and knowhow in the art of skeletonizing. A specialty that the maison has offered since the 20s.”
He carries on, “The brand-new Overseas Tourbillon Skeleton will be available in two versions and we will start with the first one which is crafted in grade 5 titanium — both for the case and the bracelet, and not forgetting the clasp.” The second version will be made available in pink gold.
The watch will be powered by a variation of Vacheron Constantin’s own calibre 2160, which can be found in earlier tourbillon pieces launched with in the Traditionnelle and Overseas collections. But Selmoni shares about the 2160 SQ version as a brand new movement as the maison had to work extensively on it to skeletonize it without imposing on its innate beauty and chronometric integrity.
Selmoni says, “Our engineers and designers, they made their very best effots to give birth to a spectacular movement, maintaining the original architecture and aesthetics, while open working it. The original version of the movement, the 2160, was launched in 20178 in the Traditionnelle collection and one year later in the oveaseas, so this is the first introduction of the skeleton version this year. It distinguishes itself, notably, by its peripheral rotor – a technical prowess which allows winding of the movement without hiding any of the calibre’s components and the incredible hand-finishing on all the surfaces.
“As you can see, the movement has been coated in a slate gray color, accentuating its contemporary aesthetics. And last but not least, the calibre 2160 SQ presents new attributes such as the mainspring barrel shaped as a rose wind. The rose wind being a key design element of the Overseas collection, especially when you think about the automatic models that have this this pattern on the rotor.”
The movement is 6.65mm thick and beats at 2.5Hz, resulting in the one-minute tourbillon. It consists of 186 components from which around 20% of the original material has had to be removed in order to create this piece of architectural art, finished to the nines.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon Skeleton, Ref: 6000V/110R-B934 (18K 5N pink gold) & 6000V/110T-B935 (Grade 5 Titanium)
Movement: Self-winding skeletonised caliber 2160 SQ; 80-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds on tourbillon carriage (coloured screw); one-minute Tourbillon
Case: 42.5mm diameter, 10.39mm thick; 18K 5N pink gold or Grade 5 Titanium; soft iron casing ring ensuring anti-magnetic protection; water resistant to 50m
Dial: Sapphire disc; 18K 5N pink gold / 18K white gold hour-markers and hours & minutes hands highlighted with Super-LumiNova®
Bracelet: 18K 5N pink gold bracelet or grade 5 titanium (half Maltese cross-shaped polished and satin-brushed links), secured by a 18K 5N pink gold or Grade 5 titanium triple-blade folding clasp with push-pieces and comfort-adjustment system in accordance to case material; additional black calfskin leather and rubber strap provided with titanium version, blue calfskin leather with white stitches and blue rubber strap provided with 18K 5N pink gold version with matching interchangeable folding-clasp
Availability: Ref. 6000V/110T-B935 (titanium version) only available through the Vacheron Constantin Boutiques
Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton
Following up on the last year’s crowd favorite Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton in white gold with blue accents on the dial is this year’s rendition in pink gold, with the same blue accents on the sapphire dial.
Given the sheer volume of interest we’ve witnessed for the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton, no one’s going to get any guesses for why the masion would want to execute further expressions of this watch. Although, let’s not kid around, the one that we’re all hoping that Vacheron Constantin will produce, is the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton with that blue accented dial in grade 5 titanium. Given that the maison has now permitted titanium for the newly announced Overseas Tourbillon Skeleton, it may be just a matter of time before we are presented with the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton in grade 5 titanium.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton, Ref.:4300V/120R-B642
Movement: Self-winding skeletonised caliber 1120 QPSQ/1; openworked oscillating weight inspired by the shape of a Maltese; 40-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours and minutes; perpetual calendar (date, day of the week, month, leap year); moon phases
Case: 41.5mm diameter, 8.1mm thick; 18K 5N pink gold; soft iron casing ring ensuring anti-magnetic protection; water resistant to 50m
Dial: Sapphire disc;18K 5N pink gold hour-markers and hours & minutes hands highlighted with Super-LumiNova®
Bracelet: 18K 5N pink gold bracelet (half Maltese cross-shaped polished and satin-brushed links), secured by a 18K 5N pink gold triple-blade folding clasp with push-pieces and comfort-adjustment system; additional blue calf leather strap with white stitches and blue rubber strap; Each additional strap comes with a 18K 5N pink gold buckle
Availability: Model exclusively available from Vacheron Constantin boutiques
Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
Moving over to the Traditionnelle collection now, we have an all-new Perpetual Calendar Chronograph in platinum with a salmon-colored opaline dial. “As you may know, the Traditionnelle collection embodies the elegant and refined style of the maison while being faithful to its traditional watchmaking arts. The new watches pay tribute to the long history of the manufacturer and incorporate all the collection design aspects. We can mention some of them such as “Étage” case and lugs, fluted caseback, railroad-like minute track, dauphine-shaped hands for hours and minutes. These are some of the features that pay tribute to the essence of Genevois fine watchmaking.
The Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is 43mm in platinum with a thinness of 12.94mm. Says Product Marketing & Innovation Director, Sandrine Donguy, “This elegant timepiece combines two sciences dear to the maison: astronomy with the perpetual calendar and time measurement with the chronograph function. It features a watchmaking classic, the daring salmon dial, which is a tribute to our past, with a modern interpretation featuring an exceptional color, which fits the platinum case perfectly.”
“This combination of platinum, and sometimes other white metals for the case, and Solomon dials has its roots, I would say in the in the 40s. We did some superb chronographs using this combination of colors,” says Selmoni, “and more recently, I’m thinking about the Les Historiques Chronograph reference 47111, which had also this combination of platinum and salmon dial, and more recent still, we did our first Perpetual Calendar Chronograph in 1992, using as well, this combination of platinum and salmon. It’s great to see this fabulous color combination come back in 2022.”
Donguy then adds the cherry on the cake saying, “We have a small detail to pay attention to at 12 o’clock. You can see the Maltese cross, which is a riveted applique, it is perfectly color matched with the salmon dial. And in fact, this Maltese cross is faceted. There are two finishes, one side is polished and the other side is sandblasted.”
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, Ref. 5000T/000P-B975
Movement: Manual-winding caliber 1142 QP; 48-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds at 9 o’clock; perpetual calendar (day of the week, date, month, leap year indication); moon phase; column-wheel chronograph (30-minute counter at 3 o’clock)
Case: 43mm diameter, 12.94mm thick; 950 platinum; water resistant to 50m
Dial: Salmon-colored opaline; 950 Platinum moon disc; 18K white gold applied hour-markers and hour and minute hands; blued steel chronograph and date hands; black painted tachymeter scale
Strap: Dark blue Mississippiensis alligator leather with alligator inner shell, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales, fitted with a 950-platinum folding clasp; polished half Maltese Cross-shaped
Accessory: Delivered with a corrector pen
Availability: Available exclusively from Vacheron Constantin boutiques
Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin
Continuing on with the Traditionnelle, we come now focus on the maison’s female clientele. “After the success of the Traditionnelle Tourbillon for ladies, we are now thrilled to unveil our very first Perpetual Calendar wristwatch dedicated to ladies and this is the traditional Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin,” shares Selmoni. “Our maison is committed to the feminine universe through, notable complications, since the bedinning of the 19th century. And so today we are continuing this never-ending story with the presentation of our very first Perpetual Calendar wristwatch dedicated to our feminine clientele. This new timepiece is part of the Traditionnelle collection and will be offered in two versions, in different gold and dial executions.”
The watches start off with a natural mother of pearl dials, in a pale blue tone for the white gold version and in natural white for the rose gold model. Beating within these is the calibre 1120 QP. Says Selmoni, “This is a legendary movement at Vacheron Constantin, which accounts for 267 components all meticulously finished by hand. The calibre 1120 distiguishes itself by its extreme thinness, it’s only 4.05mm thick for a self-winding calibre. And the last thing we could mention about the movement: have a look at the moohphase indicator, it matches perfectly with the rest of the dial.”
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin, Ref.: 4305T/000R-B947 (18K 5N pink gold) & 4305T/000G-B948 (18K white gold)
Movement: Self-winding calibre 1120 QP; 40-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes; perpetual calendar (day of the week, date, 48-month display with leap year indication); moon phases
Case: 36.5mm diameter, 8.43mm thick; 18K white gold or 18K 5N pink gold; bezel and lugs set with 76 round-cut diamonds; crown set with 1 round-cut diamond; water resistant to 30m
Dial: Blue grey/White mother-of-pearl; 18K white gold/18K 5N pink gold hour-markers and hands
Strap: Blue grey (4305T/000G-B948) / Rosy beige (4305T/000R-B947) Mississippiensis alligator leather with calfskin leather inner shell, stitched tip, square scales fitted with 18K white gold/18K 5N pink gold pin buckle set with 17 round-cut diamonds; with integrated self-interchangeable system
Total diamond-setting: 94 round-cut diamonds, for a total weight of approx..; 1.20 carats (guaranteed minimum carats)
Still on the brand’s feminine offers at Watches & Wonders 2022, we now find ourselves in the Patrimony collection with four time-only executions with options for a deep blue or blush pink gradient effect dial with options again, for a 72 round-cut diamond set bezel or dial with 48 round-cut diamonds serving as the minute-track.
The four variations are all powered by the self-winding calibre 2450 Q6/3 with 40 hours of power reserve.
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Self-Winding, Ref.: 4115U/000G-B908 (white gold + diamond-set bezel); 4115U/000R-B907 (pink gold + diamond-set bezel); 4110U/000G-B906 (white gold + diamond-set dial); 4110U/000R-B905 (pink gold + diamond-set dial)
Movement: Self-winding calibre 2450 Q6/3; 40-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, running seconds and date
Case: 36.5mm diameter, 8.45mm thick; 18K white gold/18K 5N pink gold; bezel set with 72 round-cut diamonds for references 4115U/000G-B908 and 4115U/000R-B907 only; water resistant to 30m
Dial: Deep blue / blush pink, gradient effect; 18K white gold/18K 5N pink gold applied hour-markers and hour/minutes hands; convex external zone with circular “pearl” minute-track composed by 48 polished 18K gold pearls or minute-track composed by 48 round-cut diamonds only for references 4110U/000G-B906 and 4110U/000R-B905
Strap: Night blue/Rosy beige Mississippi alligator leather with satin-effect, calf inner shell, stitched tip, square scales; with self-interchangeable system integrated; 18K white gold/18K 5N pink gold pin buckle; polished half Maltese cross-shaped
Lastly, and for good measure, are two expectational creations with the theme of Les Royaumes Aquatiques® (aquatic kingdoms), undertaken by the Les Cabinotiers department. We’ll start with the “Les Royaumes Aquatiques®” Les Cabinotiers Grisaille – Turtle. A time-only timepiece with an intricate depiction of a turtle underwater, drawn in “Grand Feu” miniature enameling and grisaille enameling on the surface of a solid 18K gold dial.
Enameling masters at Vacheron Constantin have had to apply the chiaroscuro immersion technique of painting to create this sense of depth using nothing but shadows and highlights to tell a complete visual story.
The master artisan first worked on the dial using miniature enamel painting, a technique that forged the reputation of “Geneva enamels” in the 17th century and which requires perfect mastery of pigments and firing. The colors — composed of metal oxide powders mixed with a binding agent — are fired multiple times in a kiln heated to more than 800 °C in order to ensure their adhesion to the surface.
For this first step, the artisan started off by painting out shadows that form the image’s base — those that can be seen and even those that will seemingly disappear in the on the final visual. Then on a translucent enamel background, three basic layers of dark pigments mingling black and blue are superimposed, before tracing the outlines of the turtle, sea grass and coral in shades of purple tones. Four firings in the kiln are then required to achieve a perfect rendering while still maintaining a relative impression of obscurity. After working on the dial using the lapping technique, the artisan then opted for a change of method in order to liven up the miniature painting: grisaille enamel. Representing a skill that appeared in the 16th century, grisaille enamel consists of applying a layer of dark enamel overlaid with touches of a rare white enamel called Limoges white. Each layer is then fired in a kiln for specific times defined to the nearest second. Over the course of another ten or so firings, the details of the turtle and its natural habitat took shape before finally, after 120 hours of enameling, the creature seems to have come alive on the dial.
Vacheron Constantin “Les Royaumes Aquatiques®” Les Cabinotiers Grisaille – Turtle, Ref.: 2400C/000G-071C
Movement: Self-winding calibre 2460 SC; 40-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, central running secondsseconds
Case: 40mm diameter, 9.42mm thick; 18K white gold
Dial: 18K gold covered with “Grand Feu” miniature enamelling and grisaille enamelling representing a “Turtle”; 18K white gold hands
Strap: Dark blue Mississippiensis alligator leather, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales; 18K white gold buckle; polished half Maltese cross-shaped
Single-piece edition: “Les Cabinotiers”, “Pièce unique”, “AC” hallmark engraved on caseback
The second timepiece from the Les Royaumes Aquatiques® theme is the “Les Royaumes Aquatiques®” Les Cabinotiers Minute repeater tourbillon – Flying Dutchman. As the name of the timepiece suggests, it boasts a minute repeater and tourbillon set again the visual of the “Flying Dutchman” ship sailing across raging waters. “Grand Feu” miniature enamelling and grisaille enamelling were used here as well to create the desired visual.
The dial of this masterpiece starts off with the artisan painting on a layer of opaque white enamel – coated onto to a gold background – with colors made from on powdered metallic oxides to which an oil-based binder is added. The colors are applied with an extremely fine brush like gouache on a canvas, fixed at each stage by a firing in the kiln that requires perfect control of temperatures and times. On this model representing The Flying Dutchman, the scene of the raging sea beneath a leaden sky streaked with lightning had to be “placed” with a heightened sense of precision, in such a way as to leave the space devoted to the ship in the shade. A dozen passages in the oven were necessary to achieve this marine painting. The stage ends with the application of a layer of fondant (transparent enamel flux), followed by lapping, a polishing process involving very finely grained stones to achieve a smoothly lustrous surface. The process concludes with a “glazing” firing operation that also gives the enamel a domed appearance. At this point, a miniature enamel-painted part is considered complete.
Vacheron Constantin “Les Royaumes Aquatiques®” Les Cabinotiers Minute repeater tourbillon – Flying Dutchman, Ref. 6540C/000G- 034C
Movement: Manual-winding Caliber 2755 TMR; approximately 58 hours of power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes and small second at 6 o’clock on tourbillon carriage; minute repeater, tourbillon and power-reserve indication on the caseback
Case: 45mm diameter, 13.52mm thick; 18K white gold case
Dial: 18K gold covered with “Grand Feu” miniature enameling and grisaille enameling representing a “Flying Dutchman”; 18K white gold hands
Strap: Dark blue Mississippiensis alligator leather, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales; 18K white gold folding clasp; polished half Maltese cross-shaped
Single-piece edition: “Les Cabinotiers”, “Pièce unique”, “AC” hallmark engraved on caseback
More information: vacheron-constantin.com