An excellent review of the 1731 Minute Repeater on

Deployant:  Calibre 1731.I am not sure if I am allowed to bring up another blog on THL, but I saw this on VC's official page feed on my FB page.  Excellent review and lovely photos. A must online visit !
I'm not Kim il Jung (yet) so there is no issue
02/18/2014 - 12:05
mentioning other blogs or forumscheeky Especially since Peter Chong is a freind
Thanks Alex. Its nice to see Peter, who is the global
02/18/2014 - 12:14
authority on ALS, write such a compelling review on the VC 1731.
Only one nit to pick
02/18/2014 - 18:16
I can't accept this statement as providing the last word on who has the thinnest minrep currently: "The movement is exceptionally thin, measuring only 3.90mm in height. However, we note that this is slightly thicker than the 1755 (3.28mm) it replaces. In comparison, the JLC Hybris Mechanica 11 movement, Caliber 362 measures some 4.4mm high. But JLC manages to squeeze this thicker movement in a case slimmer than VC’s."  It should be the movement's dimensions that count in the race for slim as cases and crystals can be shaved to suit a target number but at the detriment of the watch's durability.  Some still restort to extra-small calibers to achieve their advertised thinness, but the cal. 1755 is a respectable, and case-filling, 32.80mm wide or just shy of 15 lignes.  VC remains IMHO the King of Thin yes.
Re: Only one nit to pick
02/18/2014 - 19:28
I agree with you.
Re: Only one nit to pick
02/19/2014 - 01:06
Your point is well-taken, tick-talk, and I find it interesting that though the watch industry generally seems to acknowledge and distinguish between the dimensions of the movement and those of the assembled watch, presumably for the very reasons you have outlined above, P. Chong's review appears to lend weight only to the latter. I have read elsewhere mention of "double records," wherein accolades, given separately for achievements in landmark dimensions for the movement and for the assembled watch - and considered equally important - are together claimed to be earned by a single brand for a particular watch. Though I am sympathetic to your argument that only the movement should matter in any competitions regarding thinness, since the dimensions of assembled watches can be manipulated, as you so well point out, to "the detriment of the watch's durability," can it not further be posited that movement dimensions may similarly be minimised at the expense of durability and serviceability? Did this not inadvertently occur in the situation of Lassale's Calibre 1200? (If I am not mistaken, Vacheron & Constantin abandoned their version of this 1.2 mm manual movement, Calibre 1160, for issues of serviceability, among perhaps other reasons.) I feel that the market may ultimately be the judge of a watch's success, based in no small part on issues of performance, durability and serviceability, and that when deciding who wears the mantle of "maker of the thinnest watch," these factors, though undoubtedly important, should not necessarily eliminate from consideration the design and dimensions of the assembled watch, as these issues may also apply to the design and dimensions of the movement itself.
Thanks for advancing the discussion :-)
02/19/2014 - 01:26
I absolutely agree with your point that a movement can be made too thin and thereby become fragile and unreliable.  Your example of the Lassale/Vacheron Constantin calibers 1160 and 1170 are a great case-in-point as they were soon dropped due to these issues.  Officially and rightfully, VC does not accord these movements the status of being their thinnest.  Rather they were a mistake made in the race to thinness, and really should not have gone into production.   The skill and resulting accolades will accrue to those Manufactures that design and construct a thin and reliable movement.  I personally feel this is a more worthy (and more difficult) challenge than finding ways to slim the case.  While a brand may honestly advertise its wearable dimensions, its quite another matter, and even a bit disingenuous, to attach such significance that the rather pedestrian dimensions of the tractor within are forgotten angel.
Re: Thanks for advancing the discussion :-)
02/19/2014 - 03:01
Allow me to also express my gratitude to you for initiating this conversation. Yes, I concur that designing, developing, and producing a movement both flat as well as dependable is a difficult challenge, and should be recognised more strongly than the design of the body housing such an engine. The recently released Piaget Altiplano 900P is a curious departure from the practice of separating movement and watch case, and perhaps complicates this discussion framework somewhat, but I wondered what are your thoughts, if any, in general, on incorporating parts of the case in to the movement in the search for ever slimmer watches, and, in particular, on Piaget's approach towards this goal. One observer has admitted to not knowing quite what to think: ". . . there is a small voice at the back of my head that whispers that the 900P is a bit of a cheat. All right, the movement has been integrated into the case — an unusual move (though not unheard of; Audemars Piguet did it with their first selfwinding tourbillon in 1986.) However, the design — the result of flattening the gear train into the same plane as the dial — is everything the [Watch] Snob usually loathes in a watch, and it's an inevitable consequence of the 900P's engineering. Whether it's a moment for conversion or anathema, I haven't yet been able to decide. . ." (http://www.askmen.com/fashion/mens-watches/watch-snob-sihh-2014-4.html).
Great discussion. I believe that it is not important to be
02/19/2014 - 11:22
part of a race or competition concerning thickness / slimness or whatever. To me, what is important is that timepieces have a unique character and personality that can stand the test of time.  Look at the Tour D Lile. In 2005, it was the most complicated wristwatch in the world. It is'nt anymore, but still has such beauty and personality, that the number of complications do not matter in relation to others.  I do not care whether VC 1731 is thinner or not next to the new JLC MR. It has a unique beauty and personality of its own and in ten years time it will still be able to make me go weak at the knees.  This 'x' factor effect is what is important, and VC is amazing at this. Many other top brands manage a lot of innovation in their watches but their watches are unable to 'speak' to me. Being a respectable forum, I will not name brands and models.
I agree with you KK on the X factor which hits all the right
02/19/2014 - 12:12
chords (which for a minute repeater seems appropriate :-) ) at a point the whole "world's most complicated, simple, thinnest, thickest, heaviest, stupidest etc... reminds me of the attrocities you see in the Guiness Book of records with the world's longest toe nails, biggest pizza... I think the most impoprtant in whatever you do is to do it right and with the Cal 1731 VC has got it right in all aspects, technical, aesthetical and acoustics heart
You hit the nail on the head!
02/19/2014 - 16:52
Truely, these hyped "firsts" are for the most part a reflection of insecurity for some brands and vague market positioning for others.  VC with its history and skills doesn't need to prove themselves, at least in that manner.  Consistently excellent, always elegant...that's my nomination for their credo heart.
Well said, KK!
02/19/2014 - 13:27
 
Thanks guys for your kind words...
02/19/2014 - 17:39
...
As a vintage guy,
02/19/2014 - 18:06
I have an instinctive suspicion new-fangled gimmickry indecision, but one must keep an open mind for the truly innovative and useful.  AP's '80s extra-flat tourbillon is another good case-in-point as the market accords it relatively low value.  It still freaks me out to see the jewels poking through the caseback surprise.   To confess, I admire those who take the risk to invest in contemporary pieces, especially watches with new technology.  With vintage you have the luxury of a more retrospective analysis on merits enlightened (LOL, I must finish before another smiley pops up wink...oops, too late)
Smilie count alert!
02/20/2014 - 00:28
...hey Dean.. We don"t 'invest'! We 'spend'! G
An attempt to be kind, Gary
02/20/2014 - 18:09
angel Ah, but you would catch it wink.  Damn, how do I turn those smileys off? surprise