A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A few weekends ago I took some time to take a few pictures of my VC 47212. I am still learning how to use my camera with a macro lens (as well as Photoshop), but I really had a good time doing this photo shoot. I though I would share with you a few of the pictures I took, and take this opportunity to share as well some of my impressions.

“The Perfect Watch?"


A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

Since I first laid eyes on it in 2001, the Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph has been my “Holy Grail” watch. For the last 7 years, I have been obsessed and infatuated by this mechanical and artisanal marvel. And since acquiring it 4 months ago, my love for this watch has increased exponentially. To state the obvious, it is much nicer to be obsessed by something when you can actually enjoy it.A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

And so be warned that the views stated below are probably not the most objective… A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

The Case and Lugs
The watch measures 41.5mm in diameter, and 11mm in height. To each his own, but for me those are the perfect dimensions, both in absolute terms and in terms of diameter/thickness ratio (on this last point, I think that the 47212 is greatly improved from the 47112, whose officer’s back made the watch 14mm, slightly too thick relative to its 39mm diameter). While the watch has a good presence on the wrist, it will neatly fit under a shirt cuff. And the angles of the lugs really make the watch fit my wrist perfectly. A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

At 6.25oz (178g), the 47212 has pretty good heft, and I am always aware that I’m wearing the watch, which I like very much - for that, you gotta love platinum… And the great thing about Pt (and other precious white metals) and that most will not recognize what it is, and so it does not cry out for unwanted attention. I’m completely sold on platinum, if I could I would have all my watches in that metal – the premium is sometimes steep, but I do think that it is worth it.

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

The case is wonderfully finished, and I find its pure and simple lines very aesthetically pleasing. I love the way the case borders the dial. It has a nice thickness and frames very well the dial, and its slight angle increases the perception that the watch follows the shape of the wrist. I am also enamored with the side profile of the watch. When Alex first posted the pictures he had taken of the 47212, it was his sole side shot that convinced me I had to get that watch no matter whatA closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph.

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

The Malte lugs remain my all-time favorite, a perfect combination of elegance and sturdiness. They really give the watch a lot of flair, and look both art-deco and modern at the same time. Hard to explain why, but I much prefer the side and the ¾ views of the Malte lugs than the front view…
Maybe my eyes are playing tricks on me, but it seems as if the Malte lugs are not the same on all the models. The DTR, for example, seems to have straighter lugs than the EP QP. When looking straight at the EP QP, it seems as if the lugs are moving away from the watch, creating somewhat of an “X”. To be honest, I would have preferred if VC had made the lugs on the 47212 straighter, similar to the DTR (the lugs looked better on the 47112 as well, IMO) (or is it just because the lugs are longer, resulting in a wider lug at the end?). Having said that, this is not an issue for me.

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

The Crown and Pushers
When the EP QP first came out, I really wasn’t keen on the round chrono pushers. I still prefer the square pushers of the 47112, but the round ones have grown on me. In fact, I think that they suit better the style of the 47212, which is more of a dress watch compared to the sportier 47112. Thank God VC didn’t go for pushers similar to AP’s SurvivorA closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph.
On the crown, nothing much to say, apart from the fact that it is the nicest in the biz… When my watch is neatly tucked under my cuff, I do like to take a little peek at the Malte cross on the crown to remind myself of the watch I’m wearing. Never fails to bring a smile on my face… A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

The Most Awesome Dial in the World
By far the most awesome beautiful and moving (yes, movingA closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar ChronographA closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar ChronographA closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
…) dial I have ever seen. Every thing about it is perfect (well, almost). In terms of composition, the dial is very well balanced: it is a busy, yet simple dial (Mr. L’s side by side comparison against the Patek 5970G clearly makes the point… http://www.thehourlounge.com/thread/view/comparison-between-vacheron-47212-amp-patek-5970g_17460_17460.html ) Between us Loungers, if I could have The Watch Genie grant me one wish, I think I would wish for VC to come out with the EXACT same watch, but excluding the chrono complication and having it strictly as a QP (and while I’m talking to the Genie, I would probably ask him to put in the hour markers from the Malte QP Retrograde). But I digress…

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

The platinum sand-blasted finish is, to state the obvious one of the key features of the watch. Much has been written about the Excellence Platine dial, and all the hype is warranted. I think our dear Moderator said it best, so I hope he will not mind if I quote him:
“The visually arresting sheen of the dial needs to be seen to be truly appreciated; the dial’s grainy appearance reflects light in a very original manner giving the watches in the Excellence Platine collection a monochrome post industrial appearance of the highest contemporary effect.” To use a cliché, no photo can do it justice, it truly needs to be seen in the flesh to be truly appreciated. Under very bright lighting, it will sparkle like fresh snow. But under normal conditions, it will reflect softly the light.

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

The “PT950” sign? Yes, I could have done without, but I am a lot less bothered about it than most Loungers. It is so small, and painted in grey instead of black, that it is very discrete. There are a lot of dials out there that have a lot more of unnecessary writing on them, and in more obvious fashion.

Against this grainy and soft glittery background, the 11 applied hour markers really stand out, resulting in great legibility. I love how they catch the light, really bringing the whole dial to life. The only thing that I wonder is why VC decided to
use white gold for the markers, when everything else on the watch is made out of platinum?

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

I actually like the fact that each sub-dial has a different font size, giving each one of them a different “personality”... And yet the difference in size is small enough that it is not that easily noticeable.

VC got it right again with the hands. The broad, sword-shape Malte minute and hour hands have had their end reworked to give them a more elegant look, which fits very well with the overall spirit of the watch. But my favorite are by a long mile the two chrono hands. The use of blued steel brings just enough color in the dial - and it is my favorite color… I am in love with this silver-blue color combo, it would have killed me if VC had decided to use red in this watch (it was really out of place on the platinum version of the 47112)

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph


A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

The one thing that really annoys me about my watch is the fact that both the day and month discs have not been correctly aligned – the good news at least is that it is a problem that can be fixed. I will need to get it sorted, but I just can’t convince myself to send my baby back to Switzerland for a few months… And here I need to have a little dig at VC, and their need to improve their quality control… We are talking here about a grand complication watch, made in a limited edition of only 50. Yet, the 3 that I have seen/known about have had problems. In this case, the discs aren’t aligned properly; the first one I bought had a moonphase disc that was doing a full turn in an hour; and Mr L’s 47212 didn’t work properly either and had to be sent back to Geneva. Maybe its bad luck, but 3 out of 3 is not great (by the way, John I hope your watch is back an working properly…). Always do better, if possible, and it is always possible…A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

But then again, even if the watch didn’t have a movement, I would probably buy it, as long as it would have its moonphase… I know I must sound like a broken record, but I AM ABSOLUTELY IN LOVE WITH THIS MOONPHASE!!!!A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar ChronographA closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar ChronographA closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar ChronographA closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar ChronographA closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph BY far the nicest I have ever seen, the platinum moon-phase disc is engraved, patinated and entirely finished by hand. It is a true work of artA closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, and words cannot describe it properly...

Again with this one, its appearance can change drastically depending on the type of lighting – sometimes the face and stars really stand out of the black background, and sometimes the whole disc seems to be completely monochrome. I could go on for ages, but I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves… So here are a few shots of both the melancholy and smiling faces (the melancholy one is by far my favoriteA closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar ChronographA closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar ChronographA closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph)

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

The Movement
Every night, before putting the watch back in its box, it take a minute or so to look at this beautiful Caliber 1141 QP… This Lemania-based movement is 7.37mm thick and 27.00mm in diameter, this movement counts 21 rubies and has a frequency of 18,000 vibrations/hour. The finishing is outstanding, but I would have to agree with Mr. L that it could have benefitted from a small bridge or two, as in the PP5970G. I am not technically intelligent enough to comment on the merits of the swan neck fine adjust, I’ll just say it looks goodA closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph. Again I’ll let the picture do the talking… The expression “like butter” has been used to death, but there is no better way to describe how it feels to work the column-wheel chrono and the wind the watch – and everyone with a similar movement will know what I am talking about.

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph


A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

In Conclusion…
While this is, in my view, without a shadow of a doubt the nicest watch that was ever made, it is still not perfect, and there are a few little things that could be improved… Yet, no material object has ever brought me such joyA closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph.

And because of this, I’ve been wearing it almost every day. It has picked up a few battle scars along the wayA closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar ChronographA closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph. The 2 notable ones are a) the one on the case/lug is the result of my wife trying to grab my hand (yes, I still love her, but I always walk to her left now), and b) the one around the crown was made by the automatic winder that came in the box. Needless to say that it was the first and last time I have used it.

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

And I’ll end this on the obligatory wrist shots…

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

Cheers,

FrancoisA closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

11/15/2008 - 13:26
11/15/2008 - 13:27
JB
11/15/2008 - 20:54
WHL
11/16/2008 - 05:26
11/16/2008 - 19:53
11/16/2008 - 09:12
11/16/2008 - 20:05
11/16/2008 - 20:14
11/17/2008 - 10:07
11/17/2008 - 12:38
11/17/2008 - 16:57
Your close-ups are outstanding...
11/15/2008 - 06:58
they have real depth.  Thanks Francois!
thanks Dean for the kind words
11/15/2008 - 13:22
I think the shots aren't bad for a beginner, but I know there's a lot of room for improvment... Thank God for Photoshop - it's amazing how much it can improve the shots (you should have seen the originals...) Cheers, Francois
Re: Beautiful pictures and a beautiful tale;
11/15/2008 - 08:06
Hi Francois, I just got back from a week long business trip that took me to 3 cities in 4 days and I sat down at the computer at 1:00 am and was captivated by both that fabulous watch (God it's gorgeous!) and your loving story about it. If that watch were mine I'd never take it off.  Just looking at it makes me smile I can't imagine my feeling if I could wear if every day.  Best of Luck to you and wear it in the Best of Health!! Best regards, Tom
Cheers Tom,
11/15/2008 - 13:26
I'm happy you liked the story, and that the pics made you smile... As you said I would like to be able to never take it off, but I move so much in my sleep, I feel it is safer in its box Francois
Re: A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
11/15/2008 - 08:10
amazing photos from an amazinng objet d art wear it always in good health vassilis
Thanks Vasilis
11/15/2008 - 13:27
To your point, it is easier to take nice pictures when the subject is so gorgeous
A fantastic write up. You definately are having a lasting love
11/15/2008 - 10:47
affair with your watch and boy can I understand.  May it time only happy moments Great scans too, you need to work a bit on depth of field I'm putting this in the Recommended Threads section
Alex, you've made my day
11/15/2008 - 13:34
My first Recommended Thread... that's the equivalent of the Oscars on the HL. Thank you for such an honor! You are correct, the love is Uber strong, and I don't think I'll ever have such strong feelings for any other watch. It is such a pleasure to be able to enjoy my "Grail Watch" every day Thanks for the constructive criticism, maybe you can give me a few pointers when we see each other next Wednesday? I intend to bring my camera, there are a few beauties I would like to photograph... Cheers, Francois
What a love story:-) I have heard that cal1141 is now inhouse is
11/15/2008 - 10:52
it true?
Lemania has licenced the plans of the base movement to VC who makes
11/15/2008 - 10:59
all components in its facilities. I don't know if it can be defined by inhouse but even though the development of the Lemania base was not done by VC the caliber is made and assembled bv VC.
thanks Alex for the clarification
11/15/2008 - 13:41
for how long is the license agreement? Is it a long term solution for VC or is it only until they develop their own movement?
its been about 2 years and it will continue until VC's inhouse manual
11/15/2008 - 16:06
wind cal is ready.
so if I understand what you are saying,
11/16/2008 - 02:50
the movement of my 47212 has been completely build by VC? I thought that they were using the Lemania ebauche and modifying/improving it, but it would be good news if all the work had been done by VC, only borrowing Lemania's blueprint/design...
you are right, great bonus huh? (nt)
11/16/2008 - 16:57
.
is this also true for my Malte Chrono EP movement (nt)
11/16/2008 - 18:43
It should be :-) (nt)
11/16/2008 - 19:51
.
possible but don't know :-(
11/17/2008 - 11:00
a
Best nes of the weekend!!! :-))))))))) (nt)
11/16/2008 - 19:49
.
Best news of the weekend!!! :-))))))))) (nt)
11/16/2008 - 19:49
.
Thank you! The Luuuuv is definitely there ;-)
11/15/2008 - 13:38
The 1141 becoming inhouse is a very good news, thanks for the update! Cheers, Francois
Well, François, if this is not a "déclaration d'amour" ...
11/15/2008 - 13:54
... I don't know what is and I certainly can understand why. It must be a great feeling owning your "Grail watch". Hope Olivier will share your love for it and, who knows, maybe one day you will pass it on to him... that is, if you two can part! These are very nice shots. The moonphase is really amazing!!! Makes me want to get a macro lens for our D70 as well, although I don't have a great watch to shoot it with yet. Enjoy every moment! Cheers Natacha
Thank you Natacha for the kind words
11/16/2008 - 02:57
With my VC and my little healthy Olivier, life is great. Hopefully one day I'll be able to give him this watch (the PP slogan comes to mind...) I'm happy to hear that you share my views on the moonphase, and yes, you should definitely get a macro lens for your D70 - I'm sure soon enough you'll have your VC to shoot. Merci, Francois
Great articl, mon ami!
11/15/2008 - 20:54
Hi Francois, That's a great tribute with excellent pics of your watch. I really enjoyed it. I'm really a big fan of the malte lugs as well and you've got some very nice shots of them. The close-ups of the moon and the movement are really great. Some of the wider shots lack depth of field (as Alex said) and its difficult to see what exactly you were focussed on. But your technique has improved enormously! You've captured vey well, I think, the scintered ground-glass appearance of the dial; not an easy thing to do.  And the sub-dials and pointers really are first rate. Congratulations, Francois! C'est super! Oh BTW I fixed the lug and you didn't even have to send it away for 3 months. No charge! I just wish it were really this easy...
LOL, Joseph. Will you fix a couple of my scratched pieces? ;-))) nt
11/15/2008 - 23:04
I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the article and the pics Joseph
11/16/2008 - 03:02
...and thanks for all the pointers on photoshop, they made a BIG difference in the final result I'll make sure that I speak to Alex about the best way to take the wider shots on Wednesday... And yes, wouldn't it be nice if scratches could go away this easily? Cheers, Francois
Wow, Francois I am Uber impressed with your write up and the beautiful
11/15/2008 - 23:15

shots of your 47212... you well deserved the recommended thread!

Really great watch! Hope you let me play with your baby for just a while at the Maison dinner Anyway, cherish each and every second of your Holy Grail Malte Perpetual Chrono EP! Cheers buddy!

Thank you dear Radek
11/16/2008 - 03:04
I am looking forward to seeing you again, and I'll gladly lend you my baby for a little while... Which of yours will you bring to SIHH? CHeers, Francois
Sill weighing my options...
11/16/2008 - 12:30
I might have a watch or two to pick up from Geneva so I might come in empty-handed
now that's interesting news...
11/16/2008 - 19:51
are you thinking VC, or will you finally adopt a poor little Pam?
way too many cool VCs out there, Francois ;-)))
11/16/2008 - 22:48
A Pam will still have to wait a bit, I think! I am not telling coz I do not want to jinx things up...
Bravo!
11/16/2008 - 05:26
Your enthusiasm for this watch is contagious! Great photos and write up, Francois. Thanks, Bill
Thanks Bill
11/16/2008 - 19:53
and I must say that I am looking forward to reading your write-up on your upcoming piece Cheers, Francois
Love the photos...
11/16/2008 - 09:12
The details you captured both in your article and pix are fantastic.  I have to admit my Wife is used to walking on my right side to avoid potential watch wounds that can be caused by her engagement ring! Best regards, Dino
Thank you Dino for the kind words
11/16/2008 - 20:04
Re walking to the left of your wife, I hope that you didn't learn the hard way Regards, Francois
hats off you have one of the nicest watches ever! nt
11/16/2008 - 10:46
nt
Thank you Sir! :-) (nt)
11/16/2008 - 20:05
.
I guess it really has your name on it!!
11/16/2008 - 14:21
Hi Francois, I am happy to see that you are really enjoying YOUR watch tremendously.  I can almost feel the pain you must have felt when it got that scratch on the lug.  Lucky it was your wife.  I would hate to imagine the murderous rampage you would've been in if it had been a stranger. Seriously, your new camera and ever improving photographic skills really do the watch justice.   Good job and keep 'em coming!! Best Kazumi
Cheers Kazumi
11/16/2008 - 20:14
Indeed it wasn't a pleasant moment when my lovely got scratched... However, the fact that it was my wife, and that she wanted to hold my hand to give me a hug, made it easier accept. I'm really glad I'm not the one responsible, otherwise I would probably still be mad against myself. If I had not been involved in my car accident, I probably would not be the proud and lucky owner of my 47212 - so it is kind of fitting that now my watch as a few scars, just like me... Like owner, like watch... Cheers, Francois
Beautiful pics! Camera and lens ? (nt)
11/16/2008 - 23:52
vc
Nikon D80, with a AFS VR 105 Macro Lense
11/17/2008 - 12:37
Thanks Doc for the comment Cheers,  Francois
Good choice!
11/17/2008 - 18:02
I bought these on recommendations from among others IanS, who use the same. But it's ure more easy with this, by which I taken most of my pics  See you in Geneva at the dinner, I presume ? Doc
Oh yes my Dear Doc, I'll finally get to meet you in Geneva! :-) (nt)
11/17/2008 - 21:55

.

You can bet on that!
11/17/2008 - 22:17

I already bought tickets for the flights, so if not a snowstorm stops me in January, I will be dining with you all, and will check your health for free See you Doc

Well done
11/17/2008 - 10:07
It's a so wonderful watch. Well done ! Deniz
Merci Deniz :-) (nt)
11/17/2008 - 12:38
.
Francois, Your photo's are spectacular
11/17/2008 - 13:37
The close-ups on the dial are the best I have seen. It's very difficult to get a picture that shows the micro texture. Wear it in good health and please stay away from taxi's late at night. John
Thank you Mr. L :-)
11/17/2008 - 16:57
I REALLY hope that your 47212 is back with you, working properly, and that you can enjoy it... Cheers,  Francois
Love those Lugs!!! Gorgeous!! nt
11/22/2008 - 06:21
nt
Re: A closer look at the EP Malte Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
10/12/2009 - 00:45
I am on the verge of buying this model, and the comments you make re the alignment of the day and month are my only real concern. It sounds like you would recommend the watch be checked out for this before picking it up (or taking it away only to send it back again) ... I do think it could be the closest watch to all round perfection I have ever seen, combining the best material and functions and aesthetics. I had the chance to see the one in the Geneva boutique and it is a beautiful beast! Time will tell if it just seems to get better and better with owning it (as it seems for you), and if it makes a sensible choice for an heirloom (my son might be in line for it, but he might not have my tastes and flog it!). I am getting a little excited now, mine will be the last one to come out of the Manufacture - it is still there, I saw it on a tour round a few weeks back and that was the straw that broke the camels back! Be mine! Alex - note to you as I have now at last signed up to the Lounge since we met in Geneva on that occasion... thanks for helping host a great trip.