As part of this year’s digital Watches & Wonders, Vacheron Constantin brings two new models to the Traditionelle family. For the first time, the ladies are bestowed with a tourbillon wristwatch housing the landmark Calibre 2160. For men, it’s an exceptional new model right from Vacheron Constantin’s Grandes Complications workshops — a monopusher chronograph with a tourbillon complication.
The Traditionelle Tourbillon for Ladies
Some might find it hard to believe, but Vacheron Constantin only released its first self-winding tourbillon movement two years ago with the Traditionelle Tourbillon, which housed the then-new in-house Calibre 2160.
That 2018 watch became an instant classic. While on the outset it is the simplest tourbillon wristwatch created at Vacheron Constantin, it represented all the things we love about the storied maison: its ability to elevate simple aesthetics to the highest degree and execute every last component of the watch to the finest detail.
The Calibre 2160 has since been used in other collections like the Overseas and the FiftySix, but this year, the movement finds its place in a ladies watch for the first time.
At 2.5 Hz frequency, the Calibre 2160 is a slow-beat automatic tourbillon with a power reserve of 80 hours, it has the added function of a small seconds display by means of a blackened screw highlighted on the tourbillon. On the front, the bar of the openworked tourbillon carriage is shaped like the Maltese cross, a detail that took almost 11 hours to complete because it is entirely hand-bevelled. Through the transparent sapphire caseback, you can see the peripheral rotor, which helps to keep the thickness of the movement down to a mere 6.56mm even though the watch has a total of 188 parts. The peripheral rotor also gives you an unobstructed view of the movement. You can view the meticulous detail to finishing in all its glory: from the sandblasted rotor to the Côtes de Genève stripes down to the last polished screw.
The new ladies Traditionelle Tourbillon comes in a 39mm diamond-set pink gold case or a diamond-paved white gold case. The watch truly is the best of both worlds, it has the horological complexity that ladies today crave for and yet, still has all the pomp and flair that is the hallmark of a ladies timepiece — the diamond touch. The full diamond version is bedecked in 599 round-cut and baguette-cut diamonds, a total of 6.5 carats for that ultimate wow factor. The pink gold model is comparatively more discreet; it comes with 208 round-cut diamonds set on the bezel, caseband and lugs and features a dial made of mother-of-pearl.
But the new timepiece still retains all the Traditionelle aesthetics that we know and love. The slim case is accentuated with stepped flanks and a fluted caseback. The dial features a rail-track minute-circle with dauphine-shaped hands and pink gold baton-type hour markers. For straps, there is a grey satin strap with a matching diamond-set folding clasp. A second grey strap in alligator leather is included as part of the set as well.
The Traditionelle Tourbillon Chronograph
It’s yet another first for the brand; the Traditionelle Tourbillon Chronograph combines the finesse of the tourbillon with the precision of a monopusher chronograph, a symbol of all that’s great and wonderful about haute horlogerie. I don’t need to tell you that Vacheron Constantin are peerless masters of high complications — have you seen the Les Cabinotiers pieces yet? — but not only are they complete masters of mechanical complexity, they are able to do this while respecting the manufacture’s design codes and inherent elegance.
The Traditionelle Tourbillon Chronograph comes with all the traditional codes of the collection: at 42.5mm in diameter, it features an “etagé” case and lugs, a fluted caseback, a railway-type minute track, pink gold dauphine-type hours and minute hands.
The highlight of the watch, the tourbillon, takes pride of place at 12 o’clock. Not only that, but Vacheron Constantin’s watchmakers also devised a way to open up the tourbillon even more so we could feast our eyes on the spectacular complication. Instead of being driven by the pinion of the fourth wheel, the tourbillon carriage is driven by an intermediate wheel of the running seconds display. This novel configuration means that there is a wider opening on the upper plate, offering a better view of the tourbillon.
On the silvered dial, the power reserve indication is at 6 o’clock, while the 45-minute chronograph is positioned at 3 o’clock. The counter has what Vacheron Constantin calls a dragging display, which functions to reduce the loss of amplitude while the chronograph function is activated. When the chronograph stops, the dragging display helps to provide a more accurate time indication.
The Traditionelle Tourbillon Chronograph is a monopusher, meaning that the chronograph function (start, stop and reset) is integrated into the winding crown. The watch has a dynamic activation system, also known as “all-or-nothing,” which prevents the chronograph mechanism from engaging when not enough pressure is placed on the pusher.
Powering the timepiece is the hand-wound Calibre 3200, which was first presented on the occasion of the brand’s 260th anniversary in the Harmony Tourbillon Chronograph. The movement is made up of 292 parts, and runs at 2.5 Hz frequency with a power reserve of 65 hours. The tourbillon carriage is hand-finished and bears the Maltese cross signature. Through the sapphire caseback, all the finishings you would expect from a Vacheron Constantin timepiece are present: the chamfering, the circular-graining, the Côtes de Genève. No details are spared; there is a tiny Maltese cross topper on the column wheel that defines all Vacheron Constantin chronographs.
Traditionelle Tourbillon Ref. 6035T/000R-B634
Traditionelle Tourbillon Jewellery Ref. 6025T/000G-B635
Self-winding Calibre 2160/1, hours, minutes, small seconds on tourbillon carriage, tourbillon, power reserve of 80 hours
39mm, 18K pink gold or white gold (jewellery version) with 208 round-cut diamonds on sides, lugs and bezel, water resistant to 30 metres
Mother-of-pearl (pink gold version) or diamond-paved (jewellery version)
On 18K pink gold version, grey satin and additional grey Mississipiensis alligator leather strap; on 18K white gold version, blue satin and additional blue Mississppiensis alligator leather strap, both with matching folding clasp set with round-cut diamonds
Traditionelle Tourbillon Chronograph ref. 5100S/000R-B623
Manual-winding Calibre 3200, hours, minutes, small seconds on tourbillon carriage, tourbillon, monopusher chronograph, power reserve of 65 hours
42.5mm, 18K pink gold, water resistant to 30 metres
Dark brown Mississppiensis alligator with matching folding clasp and polished half Maltese cross-shape