Vacheron Constantin and the Tonneau 100 Years of Creativity Part 4

The final article on the saga of the tonneau

While the tonneau watches of the 60s were wild yet few, Vacheron came back to the tonneau timidly in the early 90s but went to overdrive starting 2003 with the launch of the Malte models which closely followed the design elements of the era, bold and daring up until 2008 and classical and timeless with the arrival of the crisis and a return to more “traditional” designs.

When thinking of Vacheron Constantin we tend to think more of the Patrimony or Metiers d’Art models, even the Historiques but in fact two tonneau lines are the longest lived collections at Vacheron Constantin the Overseas launched in 1996 and Malte in 2000!

This list is non exhaustive but I have tried as much as possible to include special and limited edition pieces.

1992-1993 Ref 31110 / Ref 10110 (ladies)

A beautiful curvacious case made in white and yellow gold housing caliber 1132 for the mens model and cal 1055 manual wind for the ladies version

Interestingly the cue for creating these models was the Toledo model! The  goal was to take the case and  go from carré cambré to tonneau!

scan courtesy of Oliver  

1994 Ref 31150 / 10150 (ladies)

Launched in 1994 in yellow gold housing cal 1132. Kirk Douglas wore this model which he offered for a charity auction in 1999.


1995 Ref 47240

Launched in 1995 in honor of the brand’s 240th anniversary. Made in  yellow gold, white gold and platinum housing an automatic caliber 1127. The flared lugs were inspired by a vintage piece from the Vacheron Constantin museum.
Before the watch was actually launched Vacheron Constantin ‘s director of sales showed sketches to retailers from the principal markets and the response was so positive that the watch was presold even before being created!

This model was made in 155 platinum pieces, 360 white gold pieces and 870 yellow gold pieces



1996 Overseas  Chronometer

The beginning of a major adventure and a model which has come to represent sports chic  at Vacheron Contantin and a worthy successor to the beautiful 222 of the 70s. In fact the team working on the Overseas project was so enthusiastic about it that the project  was completed in a record one year period.

  scan courtesy of Tick-Talk


The Overseas was launched the same year Vacheron Constantin was purchased by  Richemont and  a unique a piece for left handers was specially made for Joan Rupert the Richemont owner and CEO.


The Chronometer (which was also made in a surprising quart version for men) housed an automatic caliber 1310.

1996 Overseas Chronograph

The Overseas model  along with the Chronometer was also launched as a chronograph housing the automatic  cal 1137. Offered with a silver or a black dial the chronograph was also offered with a gorgeous military type dial.



A stunning prototype with blue / black dial was made but unfortunately never went into production. The Color scheme was used 12 years later for the Greek Overseas!


1997 Ref 37001 Historiques 1912

A superbe tonneau watch with mobile lugs directly inspired by the original creations of the beginning of the tonneau era. Made in 1162 pieces in rose gold and 750 in white gold and housing cal 1132. The design team created a watch case with a curved back and mobile lugs for greater wearing comfort. Legend has it that the case maker was so maddened at the design team who never found the prototype results good enough that he had menaced them to bring his shot gun to Geneva to resolve the issue!


2000 Malte Tourbillon

The Malte collection was an all new collection which was to draw its design elements from Vacheron Constantin’s history. Conceived originally as a collection of round watches it was to house simple to high complicated calibers. However , Vacheron Constantin had been working on a tonneau shaped tourbillon movement (cal 1790) which was ready at the time of launch of the Malte line, which explains the reason behind a tonneau shaped Malte Tourbillon in a collection of round watches.



The Malte tourbillon like its round counterparts had a powerful design stemming from its fan shaped lugs and dagger hands. It was made in both rose gold and platinum in either full dial or a superb skeleton version.



The Malte tourbillon was also offered at the 2003 “Only Watch” auction (the principle being a unique timepiece offered at auctions the proceeds of which went to research muscular dystrophies) in steel version with salmon dial and ruthenium coated movement.


In 2006 a gorgeous steel version with black dial and rose gold hands and indexes made in 10 pieces in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Geneva Boutique was launched.

  scan courtesy of Paul Boutros

The same year, in 2006 Vacheron Constantin created what is still today one of the brand’s boldest and viciously cool timepieces: the Black Nickel Malte Tourbillon in a platinum case made in only 3 pieces for the Singapore and Kuala Lumpur Boutiqes.  This watch had the particularity of having a black nickel coating on the movement which along with the perlage made it seem as if the movement was made of carbon fiber!



In 2007 the Malte Tourbillon was offered at the Only Watch auction, this time  in platinum with a stunning sand blasted platinum dial and the first time platinum was used as a movement component: the carriage bridge. The extremely complex crafting of this plate endowed with such a superlative level of finishing represented an extraordinary feat in itself, particularly given the malleability of the metal. 


In 2008 Vacheron Constantin made a special piece for the US market limited to 10 pieces. Similar in philosophy to the black nickel model but with a palladium case and an open dial revealing black diamond coated movement.


scans courtesy of Paul Boutros scans courtesy of Paul Boutros

In 2010 a gorgeous version without the date and power reserve version was launched in a limited edition of 100 for the Honk Kong market.


2001 Royal Eagle Chronograph

The Malte collection having encountered immense success the brand decided to create its tonneau counterpart with the same design cues but aiming at a younger clientele by the introduction of steel cases for the chronograph version (the 1st non Overseas to have a steel case).

The Royal Eagle chronograph with large date was made in steel or rose gold housing an automatic caliber 1137. They also existed with a light dial with printed numerals or either silver or grey guilloche dials with applied numerals.



2001 Royal Eagle Day/Date

Housing the automatic caliber 1206 this model was made in yellow and white gold.
Late 2006 the Royal Eagle models were merged into the Malte which were to gradually phase out the round models.




2003 Egerie

Meaning muse in French. One of the rare modern Vacheron Constantins to be made specially for the fairer sex the Egerie was made both with a manual cal 1400 and quartz. The Egerie came in many different models in yellow or white gold gemset or not.



2004 Overseas  Automatic (2nd generation)

The Overseas models were beefed up in 2004 with a more sporty masculine redesigned 42mm case as well as featuring what is considered today iconic: the half Maltese cross bracelet links.


The second generation Overseas no longer was chronometer certified but became antimagnetic featuring a soft iron inner case protecting the movement from magnatic fields. The movement was also changed going from cal 1310 based on an Girard Perregaux 3100 ebauche to cal 1126 based on a 889 a Jaeger LeCoultre ebauche.


A Hong Kong special edition was made in 2006 following a special request from Vacheron Constantin's Hong Kong boutique, it was made in 300 pieces for the men's model and 200 for the ladies' model.


2009 saw the launch of an extremely fresh version in steel with titanium bezel, a slate grey dial on strap.


A unique bespoke Atelier Cabinotier piece made for left handers and a dial with red accents  showed up at auction at Antiquorum in 2009 selling for US$24,000.

scans courtesy of Paul Boutros scans courtesy of Paul Boutros

In 2011 a smaller sized 36mm ladies model in gold with diamond set bezel was launched as well as a 42mm version in rose gold and slate grey dial on strap.



2004 Overseas Chronograph (2nd generation)

Same as with the automatic model, the movement also has antimagnetic protection but kepi the same automatic chronograph caliber.


In 2006 a yellow gold version was launched.


In 2008 a stunning rose gold version was launched either on strap or a lovely bracelet.  The deep rich gold perfectly sets out the polished and mat surfaces of the case but even more of the beautiful bracelet. 




2009 saw the launch of an extremely fresh version in steel with titanium bezel and chronograph pusher screws and a slate grey dial on strap.


In 2012 a version with a lovely blue dial was also launched


Limited edition Overseas Chronograph models

The Overseas chronograph model led the way to some rather creative limited edition models , the design elements of which were subsequently reproduced in the regular versions (ie: the titanium bezel of the Engine model which was replicated in the steel/titanium model with slate grey dial).

2007 Japan Limited Edition: 2 models (50 pieces each) in steel with gorgeous dials quite similar in texture to the US limited edition. One with blue numerals and the other with beige numerals.



2007 Engine: Made in 50 pieces also for the Japanese market this Overseas Chronograph was made in partnership with the car magazine Engine thus the name of the watch: Overseas Engine!


It opened a new path for Vacheron Constantin as it used two materials that had never been used by the brand before: titanium (for the bezel and pusher screws) and carbon fiber.
To further underline the car connection the chronograph hands on the watch mimic the indicators on a car's dashboard. The hands do not start at the habitual 12 position but rather at 7.
2007 US market : a steel version limited to 100 featuring a stunning grainy dial with ocre numerals and a first, the Overseas on a leather strap.


2010 Turkey  A rare bird in Vacheron Constantin production, a two tone Overseas Chronograph in steel with rose gold bezzel, crown and pushers limited to 150 pieces.



2010 Greece : A 100 piece limited edition Overseas Chronograph for the Greek market. The dark blue guilloché dial is matched with a blue rubber strap and an extra dark blue croc strap. The case back is not engraved with the habitual Amerigo Vespucci sail boat but with a Greek Trireme.



2010 Pisa : Overseas Chronograph in steel (on rubber strap and croc strap) made in only 20 pieces for the famous Milanese retailer Pisa. The dial is mat black with indexes filled with yellowish luminous material.


2005 Malte Dual Time

Housing an automatic cal 1222 and made in yellow gold and white gold. The second timezone is read via a subdial as 6 o’clok merged with a day/night indicator. A power reserve indicator as well as the date complete the whole.  One of the most notable features of this watch is not its mechanism but the amazing guillochage of the dial!





2006 Overseas Dual Time

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Overseas collection a dual time model was launched with the same Cal 1222 and same indications as in the Malte Dual Time.


A regular steel version was launched as well as a 250 piece limited edition in rose gold on bracelet and a mouth watering chocolate colored dial.


In 2008 the Overseas Dual Time was launched in pink or white gold on strap. The pink gold model has a white gold bezel and both are diamond studded with 88 brilliant cut diamonds for a total of approx 0.90 carats. 

The watch comes on a white croc strap and a white rubber strap. However considering its size of 42mm it could also be worn by gentlemen with a more bling sense of sartorial elegance or whose leisure lead them to spend time lazing on Flavio Briattore’s yacht in Porto Cervo. Also dubbed here on the Lounge as the “Beckham”



In 2009 The Dual Time was launched in rose gold on strap


2010 saw the launch of an extremely fresh version in steel with titanium bezel and date pusher screw and a slate grey dial on strap.


Inspired by the Chronograph made for the Turkish market the Dual Time was also launched in a lovely two tone version in steel with rose gold bezel and pushers available only in Vacheron Constantin boutiques.


2007 – Malte  Chronograph

To prevent the confusion between the different names with similar shapes Vacheron Constantin decided to phase out the round Malte timepieces and save this collection for tonneau watches and consequently rename the Royal Eagle as Malte.

Two rather surprising limited edition models were made for the US market  one in steel (limited to 100 pieces) and one in rose gold (limited to 30 pices) bith with a gorgeous burgundy dial, red chronograph seconds hand and red stitching on the strap.


A gorgeous  rose gold model  with a dark grey guilloche dial made was made in 50 pieces for the German market in 2008.

scan courtesy of Radek

In 2008 the Malte Chronograph was redesigned. The steel case was discontinued and only a rose gold and white gold model existed.


side by side view of the new and previous Malte Chronographs

A limited edition of 20 pieces in white gold with blue dial was  aslo made specially for the Moscow boutique.


2007 – Malte Tourbillon Regulateur

Launched in 2007 in the Collection Excellence Platine in a limited edition of 50  in platinum with a monochrome sand blasted platinum dial the Malte Tourbillon Regulateur featured the minutes on an excentered dial at 12 o’clock, central minutes hand and power reserve.


In 2008 a non limited edition in rose gold and platinum was also launched followed shortly by a rose gold model with black dial available only in the Vacheron Constantin boutiques. All housed cal 1790R





In 2009 a sublime diamond set version was introduced. The case is paved with 270 baguette cut diamonds with a total weight of approx 12.33 carats while the dial dazzles with 236 baguette cut diamonds with a total weight of approx 5.66 carats. The invisible setting (a rare craft) gives the impression that the whole watch is made of diamonds and not of white gold. 


2009 Malte Moonphase and Power Reserve

Inspired by a round model with the same complications but made in a limited series only for the Taiwan market.  Launched in pink gold and white gold and housing the manual wind 1410 in a reworked and highly sexy case  the Malte Moonphase with power reserve had one of Vaheron Constantin’s most complicated dials with five different finishes! The inner zone features a silvered, finely hand-guilloché “Clous de Paris” or hobnail motif. The outer zone is decorated with a vertical satin-brushed finish, also silvered. The minute circle, the power-reserve display as well as the inscriptions Vacheron Constantin Genève and Swiss Made are all transferred, while the seconds subdial at 6 o’clock is circular satin-brushed. And finally, the minute-circle and power-reserve zones are screen-printed in white. The moon-phase display embodies a clever blend of technology and expertise, composed of a disc with a galvanised base and a moon face in 18-carat white gold or pink gold depending on the model. 



cal 1410 dial side, on the Malte Moonphase there are
no diamonds

2011 Overseas Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

I really like complicated movements in sporty cases and it was time for the Overseas to house a complicated movement.

This became reality in 2011 with a phenomenal 80 piece limited edition in steel with titanium bezel and chronograph pusher screws. Add the slate grey dial and a dash of panache with the mustard color hands and you have what is in my opinion one of the most desirable Overseas.



The same year a 20 limited edition piece in full steel  was made specially for the Vacheron Constantin New York boutique with a vibrant mélange of blue for the dial and red for the hands.



Finally a non limited edition was launched in rose gold in 2012.



All these models house the automatic cal 1137.
2012 Malte 100th Anniversary

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the tonneau shape at Vacheron Constantin the Malte case was redesigned as to be more inline with the original tobnneau watches first launched by the brand 100 years ago.

A limited edition  of 100 pieces in platinum with a striking “glittery” disl (for the lack of a better word) was created housing manual wind cal 4400.



2012 Malte Small Seconds

Surprisingly ever since the launch of a dedicated tonneau line in 2000 there never was a time only Malte! This small seconds piece with a rose gold case and cal 4400 took 12 years to see the light of day!


2012 Malte Ladies

Only in rose gold with a gemset bezzel and quartz movement


2012 Malte Tourbillon

Last but definitely not least. his version is just stunning and tops my wish list. The rose gold case is slightly larger than the small seconds models at 38 x 48.2 mm and houses a brand new movement cal 2795, comprising 169 parts, beating at a leisurly frequency of 2.5 Hz (18,000 vibrations/hour) and a 45 hour power reserve. The large tourbillon cage takes up a large part of the lower half of the dial taking center stage and distilling a quite aura of sleek elegance. Last but not least the movement finish is nothing short of astounding may it be on the back plates, the tourbillon cage or the underdial.






11/21/2012 - 13:19
11/22/2012 - 22:57
11/21/2012 - 15:47
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11/22/2012 - 09:48
11/22/2012 - 16:59
11/22/2012 - 18:21
11/22/2012 - 21:08
11/21/2012 - 13:19
heartheartheartheartheartheart Cheers Kent
Thank you sir !
11/22/2012 - 22:57
Wow! Tons of Tonneaus! Great series Alex!
11/21/2012 - 14:30
In my humble opinion, the tonneau is the only shape other than round that has stood the test of time and even to this day defines high style in haute horology. Is there any other watch brand with a more interesting and varied history with the tonneau form than Vacheron Constantin? Not that I can name. Thanks Alex, for this wonderful and timely series!
Right in time for the arrival of your gorgeous Malte :-)
11/22/2012 - 22:58
Re: Vacheron Constantin and the Tonneau 100 Years of Creativity Part 4
11/21/2012 - 15:17
Very informative thanks!   I do wonder though why every time they release a Malte absolutely perfect for my taste it has to be a limited edition of 10 angry
You're a man of expensive habits Brent :-)
11/22/2012 - 22:59
Bravo, Alex!
11/21/2012 - 15:47
Tu t'es surpassé ! What a great review with such wonderful photos. A great collection of tonneau watches. I have always had a weakness for that design. Your article really shows VC's great design abilities. (S'est mis en valeur)! Regards, Joseph
Merci Joseph, ravi que cela t'ai plu
11/22/2012 - 22:59
Re: Vacheron Constantin and the Tonneau 100 Years of Creativity Part 4
11/21/2012 - 16:59
Alex, this is a wonderful article that brings us up-to-date with an iconic VC style and perhaps anticipates a related novelty at SIHH?  I never thought of the OS line as having "tonneau" cases because of their circular dials but can see it clearly now.  BTW, is there a double-entry for Deep Stream; 2009 and 2010? 
Thanks for the heads up and glad you enjoyed the read
11/22/2012 - 23:01
11/21/2012 - 17:05
I will take one of each please.  
Thank you Eric
11/22/2012 - 23:01
A feast for the eyes. You've done it again Alex!
11/21/2012 - 22:26
Thank you Chronometer
11/22/2012 - 23:02
Four home runs is a Grand Slam, great reports.
11/22/2012 - 01:15
It was interesting that this chapter really brought to life so many watches that I have shared and viewed with others, particularly Duncan. It was in Singapore that I fell head over heals for the Royal Eagle and several Malte models. You took me back to a great chapter in my life with your article. Many, many thanks. Best, Tim
"Four home runs is a Grand Slam" ??
11/22/2012 - 06:50
LOL!! Now I see why the Giants didn't get into the World Series! surprise Tim, don't confuse those poor Euros about baseball. Its bad enough they have to try and explain soccer, I mean football, to us! Hope you are feeling better. Warm regards, Joseph
Glad you got the joke! This is a great series
11/22/2012 - 09:14
and Alex is the World Series of Watches winner. It just doesn't get any better than this my friend. See you in a few weeks. Tim
Thank you for the kind words even though the baseball
11/22/2012 - 23:06
joke remains cryptic :-) on this side of the pond we're into rugby and football (yeah the sport on your side of the pond is played with....the hands :-) ) Happy Thanksgiving and see you in a bit over a month
VC galore!
11/22/2012 - 09:48
Thanks for the write up Alex, excellent article.
Glad you enjoyed the read Rei
11/22/2012 - 23:07
what a rich history of a tonneau design...
11/22/2012 - 13:21
and abundance of beautiful models... I was not aware of the Malte tourbies offered at Only Watch... oh, that salmon dial is yummywink 
The Salom dial tourbillon was a killer!
11/22/2012 - 23:07
Re: Vacheron Constantin and the Tonneau 100 Years of Creativity Part 4
11/22/2012 - 15:21
The 1996 Prototype with the blue/black dial...heartheartheart  cool The 2010 Greek version - if combined with a steel bracelet - just the same. And for the new blue dial Overseas Chrono: crying when looking at my bank account. It's just so beautiful...! Great article again, Alex!  yes
Oh oh you seem to have been bitten by the Overseas bug :-)
11/22/2012 - 23:08
Is it...
11/23/2012 - 00:11
...that obvious? cool Got to find better disguise... wink
Words and beauty thoughtfully interwoven...
11/22/2012 - 16:31
It's becoming the rule to expect first-class articles in the Lounge and this is no exception! This contribution by Alex is outstanding, indeed I feel that the context and presentation almost outshines the content. In the recent past it's been an absolute pleasure to see a rich seam of very informative articles from various Loungers. You've set the bar high and the benefits as such have been a bonus for all to both learn and enjoy. It's no wonder the one get's caught-up in the VC wake! Best wishes Tony
Tony thank you for the warm words, they hit the spot :-)
11/22/2012 - 23:09
I really love this post!
11/22/2012 - 16:59
Thank you Alex for the post. Many of the watches are beautiful! I am planning for my next watch in 2013 and I am thinking of a chrono next. My current 38mm patrimony Traditionelle suits my small wrist but am afraid the chronos are too big for me. Will start checking out at the boutique in MBS soon! Robin Wong
A nice vintage or Historique would be your size, and glad you
11/22/2012 - 23:11
enjoyed the read
Excellent review!....
11/22/2012 - 18:21
Wow--what an informative review...thanks for providing it.  tempusfugit
Glad you enjoyed the read
11/22/2012 - 23:11
excellant article
11/22/2012 - 21:08
Alex full of information in my humble opinion this  tonneau line is testament of vacheron constantins out of this world craftsmanship
Thank you and welcome to the Lounge
11/22/2012 - 23:12
Mine's a 2008 USA Limited Edition Malte Tourbillon
11/22/2012 - 23:26
Great article, Alex. Thanks
The Singapore tourbillon ain't that shabby either:-) glad you enjoyed
11/23/2012 - 00:26
the read Edward
Re: Vacheron Constantin and the Tonneau 100 Years of Creativity Part 4
11/23/2012 - 02:51
Estimated Alex, great job...a colector like me always respect the origins of the authentic watches...I like to see some of my VC-s on your article Regards.
Thank you Javier and please do share your timepieces!
11/23/2012 - 08:19
or the Tonneau is my favourite,
11/23/2012 - 09:12
closest to my heart & my very special taste smiley                                                      signed Alex ! A very personal and interesting article from the Tonneau Master himself. It's your model, has always been, and will always be, deep in your heart. As usually dear friend, an amazing piece of documentation when you are at the best! Thanks, for a classic post laugh Cheers Doc                                              
My favorite tonneau is the one which once graced your wrist :-)
11/23/2012 - 09:55
Yes, we could agree that it is THE Tonneau:-)
11/24/2012 - 20:28
Watches aside; the 'boy's' look good by the sea!...
11/25/2012 - 13:23
Doc,  is this a recent photo-shoot of Pompe and Winston?  How are they? Best wishes Tony
a more recent pic
11/25/2012 - 21:51
and they are fine. 13 and stone-deaf and seven and behaes and run like a 4 uear old one! Pompe & Winston give you their best regards Doc
Love that photo, Doc
11/27/2012 - 19:02
When all is not good in the world, I need only look at my own Lab sleeping, and I am returned to peace. Best, Robert
Re: Vacheron Constantin and the Tonneau 100 Years of Creativity Part
11/23/2012 - 16:54
Thank you Alex for this superb list of VC's masterpiecs. The "Tonneaux" are elegant and clasy but I still prefer the round models. One you have not included in your list,  the Malte Regulator is a splendor. With its double back and visible mechanism and a beautifuly made dial it is my favorit VC. Unfortunately you need a strong bank account to purchase one.....  I am happy and satisfied with my Overseas with the pink gold bezzel, the Hong Kong version. The dial is sofisticated and very readable. The movment is so precise. The only problem I have is that one one the screws sometime even two, linking the steel bracelet to the case fall off. It has been replaced several time by VC technicien without succes !!!   After a few months if I don't check regularly the four screws I loos one. Stupid defect.
The Malte Regulator is
11/24/2012 - 04:42
definitely a strong watch amongst the Loungers but it is round therefor not for this article. As for your Overseas that is not good, please send me a mail and I'll see what can be done so that thé screws issue doesn't happen again
Re: The Malte Regulator is
11/24/2012 - 13:38
Thank you Alex for your proposal to help me. I don't want to give my watch to Richemont VC SAV. They send the repairs to an external workshop, D. Van Riet. In that workshop they have totaly destroyed the case of my Panerai. It was a mistake to ask them to replace the power spring of my Panerai. Fist it took about 10 months to get it back and as I said the case is destroyed. So no more confidence in this very bad workshop. I will get the right screws and fix them myself. Yes the Malte Regulator is round but the Overseas illustrate in your article. Did I mis something ?!?
Small misunderstanding as in your
11/25/2012 - 11:33
1st post you said that I had not mentioned the Malte Regulator
Fantastic conclusion (for now) to the Tonneau series!
11/27/2012 - 19:26
Tghank you for producing this excellent and exhaustive series.  I did not fully appreciate the rich history of tonneau watches produced by VC.  There is so much to take in.  I am amazed at how you were able to collate so much information, Alex, but who else could have done this??? It is really remarkable how many tonneau tourbillons there have been even since just the year 2000.  It would be hard to choose a favorite.  Do you have a favorite tnneau tourbillon?  I have to say, I really love the 2007 Excellence Platine Malte Tourbillon Regulateur.  I also really love the moonphase on the 2009 Malte Moonphase and Power Reserve.  That treatment of the moonphase disk seems unique to this model, correct?  Perhaps my second favorite moonphase. Best, Robert
My favorite tourbillon would be either the Singapore or the US Limited
11/27/2012 - 20:31
Glad you enjoyed the read:-)
Re: Vacheron Constantin and the Tonneau 100 Years of Creativity Part 4
04/24/2014 - 13:46
Nice pictures and good descriptions :-)