In just two editions Hong Kong’s Watches and Wonders fair has become one of the most important haute horlogerie fairs outside of Switzerland. Not only contrary to SIHH it is open to the public but also contrary to Baselworld it is free!
This year the fair sees a cavalcade of new timepieces from Vacheron Constantin including a few watches which had been eagerly awaited by Vacheronistas: a white metal Traditionnelle WorldTime, the use of Calibre 2475 in a classical case (previously in the limited edition Jubilee 1755 and the Quai de l’Ile) and the return of Cal 1410( power reserve and moonphase)
This report is non exhaustive as certain watches which were presented were not photographed so I left them out but you can see these watches in the press releases that were posted.
Let’s start with the offering for the fairer sex with the new Traditionnelle power reserve and moonphase
This model marks the return of Cal 1410 and comes in either a white gold or rose gold 36mm case and a gorgeous mother of pearl dial. The case is also set with 81 diamonds for a total of 1.2 carats.
The Traditionnelle Moonphase and power Reserve is not just about aesthetics but also about details as the moonphase will need to be adjusted only every 122 years.
Now I really would love to see this movement in a larger men’s timepiece….why not a Malte?
The Traditionnelle tourbillon with its 14 day power reserve (thus its name) is now available in an elegantly blinged version in platinum with, lugs, bezel and clasp set with a total of 80 baguette cut diamonds representing 4 carats.
As you may have noticed by now the patrimony line has been renamed as to simplify things. The Patrimony Traditionnelle becoming Traditionnelle and Contemporaine becoming Patrimony.
Vacheron Constantin presents here three new models in rose gold with beautifully contemporary slate grey dials which give these watches a pinch of casual chic sprezzatura for an overall winning look. The white date disc on the automatic sticks out way too much in my honest opinion and a grey date disc with white numbers could have been a more elegant solution. However, I’m sure my wrist would love to become home to the manual wind Patrimony or even better the Bi Retrograde.
The Collection Excellence Platine which the Loungers now know by heart now features not only a platinum case but also a vividly modern sand blasted platinum case and platinum thread stitching on the strap!
The Traditionnelle WorldTime (indicationg 37 time zones including those offset by 30 and 45 minutes) housed in a 42.5mm case and limited to 100 pieces is a sight for sore eyes. Its monochromatic hue with the central 3D world map in relief giving the watch a very minimalistic look yet filled with tiny details.
The Traditionnelle Day/Date and power reserve housing the Cal 2475 first launched in 2005 and found originally in the limited edition Jubilee 1755 - and subsequently used in the Qui de l’Ile - is now available in a 39.5mm platinum case limited to 100 pieces.
The good news is that it will also be available in a rose gold case in regular production. The bad news is that this model will only be available in China for the time being and worldwide at a later date!
A series of unique pieces in platinum and pink gold paying tribute to naturalism
Made in two unique pieces in pink gold and platinum the dials marge the delicate arts of engraving (the animals) and marquetry (the background). In total over 130 wooden parts are arranged so as to reveal the Alpine scene.
The whole art of marquetry lies not only in the choice of wood types, but also in the artist’s sensitivity in directing the veins of the wood so that they follow the décor he is creating. The steepness of the mountain slope is thus underscored by descending veins. Each part is cleanly and accurately cut using a tiny hand-held veneer saw, and no nicks or flaws of any kind are tolerated. The slightest error could mean starting all over again. The decor must be smoothly fitted and embedded and the fibres perfectly aligned.
The 3D animals (which are about 2mm thick) are deeply etched into the wood and took a full two weeks to create.
Here the engraver, the guillocheur and the enameller have taken turns in crafting this motif. Two cranes are engraved on a pink gold plate as they fly over a vast expanse of water on which the guilloche ripples are accentuated by translucent grand feu enamel.
The pair of birds is flying over a backdrop composed of an expanse of water on which the rippling motion of the waves is regularly guilloche-worked in a pattern that is both linear and circular and this is where it gets complicated. This dial involved two major difficulties for the burin: a champlevé rather than a smoothly level surface; as well as openworked apertures that had to be neatly worked around. The guilloche itself is coated with peacock-blue translucent grand feu enamel.
These watches all house the Calibre 2460 G4 with wandering hours and minutes discs and jumping day and date.
Translating loosely as the Dragon’s footprint – and I’m not referring to a new Kung Fu movie but a series of 3 unique Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle watches with an amazing hand engraved cases reproducing a dragon’s scales.
Not pictured here the Traditionnelle Calibre 2755, the other 2 pieces are the Traditionnele Perpetual Calendar Chronograph and the Traditionnelle calibre 2253 featuring a perpetual calendar, a tourbillon, equation of time, time of sunrise and sunset as well as a 2 week power reserve indicator on the back.
Obtaining the perfect geometry of a dragon’s scale was one feat but a number of challenges needed to be addressed at each stage of the work. From defining a motif harmoniously applied to the variously sized surfaces of the case, through to the engraving of almost inaccessible parts, this meticulous work calls for immense dexterity – because no mistakes could be tolerated!
There are no trial runs: the engraving is performed entirely by hand on the already assembled case, without any transferred pattern or laser tracing to serve as a reference, and at the considerable depth of 4/10ths of a millimetre!!
In addition, the specific 18-carat pink gold alloy used by Vacheron Constantin proved particularly tough to engrave because of its hardness – a difficulty compounded by the constraints of a sophisticated motif obliging the master engraving to devise dedicated half-moon-shaped tools in order to decorate the appropriate parts while avoiding the risk of damaging the surrounding areas. Entirely performed by hand using burins, a compass and custom-made tools, this intricate and delicate task calls for up to 70 hours of painstaking workmanship
Vacheron Constantin has waited close to 10 years, since the Tour de l’Ile (2005) before launching another super complication. The Maitre Cabinotiers Astrinomica is a unique piece in white gold with a diameter of 47mm and a thickness of 19mm and features 15 complications:
- Minute repeater
- Leap year indication
- Perpetual calendar
- Power reserve
- Equation of time
- Sunrise time
- Sunset time
- Sky chart
- Age and phases of the moon
- Sidereal hours and minutes
- Seasons, zodiac signs
Inspired by the Tour de l’Ile – the unique Maître Cabinotiers Astronomica which houses Calibre 2755 is one of the most complex ever made by the brand and features many astronomical complications. The manual-winding movement with a 58-hour power reserve offers a combination of 15 complications driven by 839 parts, while measuring 33.90 mm in diameter and 12.15 mm thick. The watch indicates the different elements on both faces.
11 complications are indicated on the dial side (in addition to the hours and minutes): the equation of time, tourbillon, perpetual calendar, date, day of the week, month, leap years, power reserve, sunrise and sunset times. The displays are symmetrically arranged with the day of the week appearing at 9 o’clock, the month at 12 o’clock and the date at 3 o’clock, while the leap-year indicator is discreetly positioned at 1 o’clock. The equation of time is shown by means of a short hand positioned at 10.30. The times of sunrise and sunset (which can be calibrated for the location chosen by the owner) are placed respectively at 8 o’clock and 4 o’clock .
The back dial is dedicated to astronomical indications and is just as fascinating as the front. It displays seven interesting functions: a sky chart, the solstice, the equinox, sidereal time, the age and phases of the moon, the seasons, and the zodiac signs.
This dial is built on two levels, the central disc bears a sky chart of the northern hemisphere, as well as the four cardinal points. Through two South and North openings, it symmetrically displays the months of the year and sidereal time, corresponding to “true” time. The latter indication is a necessity for watchmakers and enables them to adjust the sky chart according to the reference city chosen by the owner. A small hand sweeping around the rim of the first dial level shows the age of the moon, meaning the number of days since the last full moon.
On the second dial, long and slender central hand, tipped with a sun on its counterweight, rotates around the dial pointing to the date on the outer rim of the disc. It also indicates the zodiac sign, the season, and finally the equinox or the solstice corresponding to the current date. While an equinox is distinguished by the equal duration of day and night, a solstice corresponds to a minimum or maximum length of day and occurs twice a year somewhere around June 21st for the summer solstice and December 21st for its winter counterpart. The equinoxes are the two days of the year when the sun changes hemisphere and passes over the equator at its exact zenith. A year comprises two equinoxes: one between March 19th and 21st, and the other between September 22nd and 23rd. These dates are regarded as corresponding to the beginning of spring and autumn.
Last but not least the minute repeater benefits from Vacheron centripetal flying strike governor providing for a perfectly silent regulating mechanism leading to perfectly crystalline chimes.
Congratulations to Vacheron Constantin teams and "Les Cabinotiers".
Love the blue engraved dial under the pair of cranes +++
Dear Alex and all loungers in HK, you are very lucky to admire, in real, such collection.
Could you please post more photos of "Traditionnele Perpetual Calendar Chronograph with empreinte du Dragon." and wristshots if possible
my earlier comment for the Patrimony's, I too did not like the colour of the date disc. But I too would like to make my wrist home to the manual wind version. I tried this on in RG yesterday and it is simply a beautiful piece.
a) What does it mean that the Traditionelle Day Date PR in RG is an Asia Exclusive?
b) Also, there is one more model whch in the Traditionelle range with diamonds for men I think...you have not put photo. That is also Asia Exclusive.
I find the Traditionelle Day Date PR in RG very interesting. But somehow my heart goes out more to the slate coloured Patrimony line with the manual wind and retrogade.
Day/Date and PR will be available for rest of the world starting April
of the Traditionelle Day / Date / PR?
to see these pieces in the metal. I assume the Traditionelle WorldTime is in White Gold?!
It seems the dream team at V&C has been working double time to give us such an amazing selection of time pieces.
Thanks for the look and can't wait for all that follows.
Best to all,
collection excellence platine
there was a new White Gold edition, I wanted it to be perfectly clear to those that don't have any French!
It would not make sense to have a WG version with this beauty, except a little price break ;0)..
Best to all,
L'empreinte du Dragon!
Thank you so much Alex.
These are all magnificent watches!
I'm glad to see that VC has released a Contemporaine with a RG case and grey dial similar to the one given to emplotees for the 250th anniversary. It's a beautiful combination.
The Astronomica is a real marvel to the one released for year 250. And I have always found the tourbillon from VC the most beautiful one from any manufacturer.
The Dragon watch shows the engraver's art to a level never seen before at VC. It is breath-taking! The WT in PT with that dial is also a really ditinct take on the design. Those dials have always had an "inner glow" and this one with the central map - especially so.
It's a wonderful surprise from Vacheron. Thank you so much for sharing all these beauties. I look forward to seeing them in person.
All the best,
in fact the 250th pieces given to the employees had a black dial. I really like these grey models though
With such marvellous offering on the table I am confident that VC will create a great deal of interest. As we move forward there are all the hallmarks of a very successful SIHH in 2015.
When the dust settles I look forward to seeing things in 'the flesh'.
Well done and here's to a very successful season ahead.