A response to women’s growing desire for complex mechanical timepieces.
Geneva, 30 March 2022 – The attention that Vacheron Constantin has devoted to women’s timepieces for more than two centuries is freshly interpreted through the models presented at Watches and Wonders 2022. A response to women’s growing desire for complex mechanical timepieces, the Traditionnelle perpetual calendar ultra-thin watch displays its technical nature in an eminently feminine manner; while the Patrimony self-winding watch flaunts a minimalist silhouette exuding a timeless elegance symbolizing a distinctive kind of watchmaking classicism.
Vacheron Constantin And Women: A Story Woven Through Time
Women took a very early interest in watchmaking, often to adorn their garments with objects that were sometimes unusual yet generally designed as real jewellery. This was however not to the detriment of their practical aspects, as confirmed by the numerous striking or calendar watches made with women in mind. Women also played a role as early adopters of wristwatches.
Vacheron Constantin has left its mark on each era, from the first ladies’ pocket watches made at the turn of the 18th century through to elegant contemporary creations. Whether functional or ceremonial objects, jewellery or sports watches, Vacheron Constantin’s women’s creations have consistently reflected the evolution of artistic sensibilities as well as of fashion trends. They bear witness to perpetually renewed aesthetic and technical creativity aimed at women, within which attention to detail shapes an anatomy of watchmaking beauty that is unique to the Maison.
Vacheron Constantin’s archives make it possible to trace the origins of ladies’ watches commissioned very early in the history of the Manufacture, including a sculpted yellow gold watch with quarter repeater and off-centre small seconds dating from 1838. The ensuring decades witnessed a succession of creations – sometimes housing horological complications and often precious with their hunter-type cases – leading up the appearance of the first wristwatches, a feminine accessory of which the first example in the Vacheron Constantin collection dates from 1889.
With the advent of the 20th century, the Maison’s feminine creations admirably embodied the spirit of the times, initially inspired by Art Nouveau, then Art Deco, with a clear penchant for jewellery watches. Cooperating with Vacheron Constantin’s French agent Verger lasted until 1938 and also brought its share of new models dedicated to women – some of which featured cameos inspired by Asian art or Ancient Greece. From the 1940s onwards, women began wearing watches almost exclusively on the wrist. The geometrical lines of the Art Deco period gradually gave way to more voluptuous shapes. Designed as jewels that tell the time, ‘secret’ watches with covers concealing the display of time were particularly popular at the time, and Vacheron Constantin displayed impressive stylistic inventiveness through its designs vividly reflecting the modern era.
In the wake of the 1970s, Vacheron Constantin dared to experiment with new, uninhibited shapes for ladies’ watches, before adopting the sportier lines of the Overseas range dedicated to the contemporary woman. In addition, the Traditionnelle and Patrimony collections were designed to convey the technical sophistication and aesthetic refinement of time measurement for women. This approach was further accentuated by the recent launch of the Égérie watches: inspired by Haute Couture, they embody watchmaking expertise and a sensitivity to feminine codes that has been constantly reaffirmed over the centuries. Drawing on this heritage, Maison is now adding new models to its two Patrimony and Traditionnelle collections.
Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin
The brand is unveiling a new feminine timepiece in its Traditionnelle collection, a line imbued with the grand Geneva watchmaking heritage and whose design was intended to adapt to all types of watches, whether simple or equipped with sophisticated complications. The Traditionnelle perpetual calendar ultra-thin watch corresponds to women’s desire for mechanical complication timepieces.
This timepiece equipped with in-house Calibre 1120 QP elegantly plays on the distinctive aspects of the Gregorian calendar. It displays the days, dates, months and years on a four-year cycle, including a leap-year indication, without any need for correction before 2100. This calendar display is complemented by a moon-phase indication at 6 o’clock. Another distinctive feature of this movement is its thinness: measuring only 4.05 mm thick, it is housed in a 8.43 mm-thick case with a 36.5 mm diameter, ensuring perfect visual harmony.
Calibre 1120 QP reflects the Maison’s expertise in ultra-thin movements that has enabled it to set several records in terms of slimness since the 1950s. With its 276 components perfectly visible through the sapphire caseback, it also reflects noble watchmaking traditions through its extremely meticulous finishing: a circular-grained plate on the dial side, mainplate and bridges adorned with a Côtes de Genève motif on the back, hand-bevelling, circular satin-finished holes and a going train with polished teeth. The oscillating weight featuring a 22K gold segment is also adorned with a Côtes de Genève motif and openworked in the shape of the Maison’s Maltese cross emblem.
This watch whose aesthetic refinement echoes its technical sophistication pays tribute to the identity codes of Vacheron Constantin, whereby the quest for excellence is expressed through the smallest, even invisible details. Available in 18K white gold and 18K 5N pink gold versions, it is inspired by Vacheron Constantin models from the first half of the last century. It features the strong sense of understatement characterising the collection, embellished with a few special features such as the stepped lugs and case, fluted caseback, as well as Dauphine-type hands flying over a railway minutes track punctuated by baton-type hour-markers. In keeping with the methodical spirit of the time, which held that function should dictate form, this perpetual calendar has been specially designed to make it easy to read the calendar indications thanks to a slimmed-down bezel offering a larger dial opening.
The dial is adorned with blue-grey tinted mother-of-pearl for the white gold model and white mother-of-pearl for the pink gold model. The moon-phase disc bears the same colours as the dial, while the depiction of the moon and the stars adopts the same shade of gold as the case, complete with an opaline finish. In a final touch of elegance, the bezel and top of the lugs are delicately set with 76 round-cut diamonds, while the crown is adorned with a round-cut diamond.
The Patrimony self-winding watch symbolises minimalist art expressed through horological refinement. Inspired by a historical 1957 Vacheron Constantin with a classic round, ultra-thin style and timeless elegance, the Patrimony collection has been distinguished since its launch in 2004 by a restrained and refined watchmaking aesthetic. In keeping with the line’s signature spirit of purity, the proportions of the new Patrimony models have been revisited. The curve of the 36.5 mm-diameter case in 18K white gold or 18K 5N pink gold has been redesigned, while the crown has been subtly rounded.
The slightly convex dial swept over by leaf-shaped hands following its curves features subtle shades of deep blue for the white gold version and blush pink for the pink gold version. These colours appear in a gradient-effect composition that is lighter in the centre and progressively darker towards the edge of the dial, thereby bringing light and depth to the display of the hours, minutes and seconds. The care lavished on each detail is reflected in the date disc at 6 o’clock, which has the same colour as the dial, and in the subtle play of gemsetting on the models. Each of the two versions features either a bezel set with 72 round-cut diamonds lighting up the circular-grained minutes track, or a minutes track itself composed of 48 round-cut diamonds positioned between the applied gold hour-markers. The gemsetting of the minutes track, a complex operation performed on an underlying domed surface, reflects an approach to watchmaking in which every detail is essential to the anatomy of Vacheron Constantin watches.
These four new references are powered by in-house 2450 Q6/3 movement driving displays of the hours and minutes along with central seconds and an aperture-type date. Beating at a rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour – an excellent compromise between precision and reliability – it is endowed with a 40-hour power reserve. This 196-component self-winding movement is barely 3.6 mm thick. Its finishing, like that of the case, complies with Hallmark of Geneva criteria such as a circular-grained mainplate, hand-bevelled bridges adorned with a Côtes de Genève motif, levelled springs, a going train with polished sinks and burnished pinions. The transparent caseback also reveals an 22K gold openworked oscillating weight inspired by the Maltese cross.
These new Patrimony watches feature interchangeable straps in night blue or rosy beige alligator leather with an iridescent satin finish. They can be removed and replaced at the touch of a push-button, without any need for tools.
The Anatomy Of Beauty®
These new Traditionnelle and Patrimony models perfectly illustrate the Maison’s 2022 “The Anatomy of Beauty®” theme, celebrating the attentiveness to detail. This extraordinarily painstaking care is expressed through the designers’ aesthetic choices and preferences as well as in the meticulous finishing work performed by the artisans. All the components of a Vacheron Constantin watch benefit from this scrupulous attention, even those that remain invisible once the movement has been assembled. A keen eye will note the fine guilloché work on a dial or the gem-set minutes track; it will make out the contours of the Maison’s Maltese cross emblem on the links of a bracelet; it will notice the small flame-blued screw serving as a seconds indicator on a tourbillon carriage and the mirror polish of a minute-repeater hammer; it will appreciate the artisans’ delicate touch when chamfering a plate or rounding off a bridge; and finally, it will admire the miniature enamel painting depicting a ship tossed around by a stormy sea streaked with lightning. At Vacheron Constantin, concern for detail delicately shapes an anatomy of beauty in which nothing is left to chance.