Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Squelette
Welcome to the elite club of haute-horlogerie and of the oldest watch manufactory in the history of watch-making; Vacheron Constantin. This is a manufactory that, despite having always produced remarkable and extremely high-quality calibers, has managed to boost the quality and creativity of its complications even further in the last few years, so much so that its creations have reached an even higher level, especially those that are ruled by mathematical and astronomical laws. Those complications have actually grown exponentially and have reached the zenith of the top thanks to the Le Cabinotiers collection, this year.
When you talk about Vacheron Constantin, there are two names that purists will immediately point to; the Patrimony and the Traditionnelle. The last two years have seen the release of the new Overseas collection (and of its endless variations). The Overseas is a sporty collection that brings new customers closer to the brand and consolidates those current customers, who are looking for a sporty Vacheron Constantin to match their classic Vacheron Constantin (possibly an ultra-slim and time-only timepiece) in my opinion.
It is in collections like the Traditionnelle, however, that one can witness both the real skills of a manufactory that is able to craft real masterpieces with a high level of complications and the real value of its history too. The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Squelette is the synthesis of two qualities; the state of the art of complications like the perpetual calendar coupled with the skilled hand of craftsmen, who are able to come up with the marvelous skeletonized dial and also movement bridges, including the winding rotor. Moreover, this timepiece also shows the ability to create fine engravings; something that will be discussed later on and which takes inspiration from the world of modern architecture.
Let's start off by saying that the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Squelette is the only Perpetual Calendar (I mean without the addition of other complications) within the Traditionnelle collection. In order to fully understand the basic geometry of the work done on the skeleton of a Traditionnelle, you would need to analyze the classic geometry of Vacheron Constantin's perpetual calendars. This type of geometry is well visible on a Patrimony, which is equipped with the same base caliber: the 1120 QP. The layout of the counters is perfectly symmetrical; the day of the week is located at 3 o’clock, the indicator of the day of the week lies at 9 o’clock, the indicator of the 48 months is located at 12 o’clock (the cycle of the leap years changes every four years), while the moon phases can be found at 6 o'clock.
The calendar is fully set-up until the year 2100, when the cycle of the leap years will end and users will have to revert to the very first true manual correction (in an uninterrupted cycle). The calendar is actioned through an automatic caliber that runs at a frequency of 2,75Hz and is just 4,05mm thick, despite not being equipped with any solutions that could reduce its size (such as the micro rotor for example).
This is a masterpiece of mechanical miniaturization made up of 276 parts; the same amount of components of the 1120QP is also present with the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Squelette, and the components can be fully appreciated with the naked eye. This photo lets you admire the crafting of the skeleton, whose shape allows the lucky owners of this timepiece, to fully enjoy the show of the moving mechanics and to also understand the different type of performance and perceived pleasure that exists between the two calibers.
This Vacheron Constantin watch comes with a pen that can be used to set in motion the correctors positioned on the case and, most importantly, with a magnifying glass that allows the user to fully enjoy all the features of the skeletonized 1120 QP SQ caliber. This is a watch that needs to be fully lived through a magnifying glass as often as possible when it is taken outside of its case. The visual difference between the two calibers placed side by side is the best evidence of the joint work carried out by those who developed the caliber and those who decorated it; a decorative motif inspired by the trellis pattern of the Eiffel Tower.
The final result is the perfect and entirely skeletonized mechanical functioning, if you exclude the levers of all the wheels, the bridges and the plate have been skeletonized and engraved (bar the gears, obviously). Everything that you can see, including the finished watch with its embossed movement, meets the standards of the prestigious Geneva Hallmark (that have been recently updated), and if you are not familiar with the certificate, I suggest you to visit the website of the manufacturer or the website of the Fondation Internationale de la Haute Horlogerie. The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Squelette is available in rose gold or platinum, both featuring a 39mm wide case and retail at 155,000 Euro and 170,000 Euro respectively.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®