The Hour Lounge Exclusive: Introducing Quai de l'Ile Annual Calendar

Press release:

Personalisation, horological complexity and a new movement for the  “Quai de l’Ile Retrograde Annual Calendar” The resolutely contemporary Quai de l’Ile collection launched by Vacheron Constantin in 2008 is now enriched with a Retrograde Annual Calendar model. This complication is revealed through the new Vacheron Constantin Calibre 2460 QRA and housed within a 43 mm case offering unique opportunities for personalisation.

It made a significant impact in 2008 and will doubtless not go unnoticed in 2011. Resolutely contemporary and embodying as never before the concept of personalisation in the field of fine watchmaking, the Quai de l’Ile collection welcomes a new complication that is as useful as it is technical: the retrograde annual calendar. Clothed in pink or white gold – or both if the customer so wishes – this model with its dynamic lines houses a new mechanical self-winding complicated movement designed, developed and crafted by Vacheron Constantin: Calibre 2460 QRA, bearing the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva. This calibre incorporates two expressions of technical mastery: the annual calendar combined with a retrograde date display.

A rare and extremely useful combination The annual calendar is undoubtedly one of the most useful complications, since it takes account of the essential calendar irregularities over a full year. Contrary to simple calendars programmed for 31-day months and requiring date corrections almost every two months, the mechanical programming of the annual calendar enables it to handle months of both 30 and 31 days. This means it requires adjustment just once a year in order to cope with the specific vagaries of the month of February. Already remarkable in its own right, this complication is associated in the new Quai de l’Ile model with a retrograde date display, an acknowledged Vacheron Constantin speciality.

A new calibre
The master-watchmakers and design engineers of Vacheron Cosntantin have conceived, developed and crafted the new Calibre 2460 QRA, complying with technical specifications that included the need to meet the high finishing and construction stipulations laid down by the Hallmark of Geneva regulations. The new 326-part Vacheron Constantin Calibre 2460 QRA drives the hours, minutes and small seconds at 9 o’clock, as well as the annual calendar with retrograde date display, months and a high-precision moon-phase indication requiring correction just once every 122 years. Equipped with a stop-seconds device to ensure precise time-setting, it is endowed with a 40-hour power reserve and a frequency of 4 Hz (28,800 vibrations per hour). This mechanical self-winding movement is equipped with an oscillating weight mounted on ceramic ball bearings and specially developed to match the spirit of the innovative Quai de l’Ile collection. Crafted in ruthenium-plated 22K gold, it is distinguished by its pure lines enhanced by five raised decorative fillets.

A visibly modern character
The contemporary character of the Quai de l’Ile collection is further reinforced by the case of the Retrograde Annual Calendar available in a new 43 mm size. Cushion-shaped and featuring a screw-down back fitted with a sapphire crystal pane, this original case is a contemporary reinterpretation of a classic watch shape. Like legendary cars that are endlessly redesigned to keep pace with style developments, the Quai de l’Ile case is a vivid expression of an avant-garde watchmaking concept, while remaining entirely in harmony with the stylistic spirit of Vacheron Constantin. Constantly in search of flowing shapes and visually perfect curves, as well as the boldly assertive character and dynamic lines of stealth-type objects, the Vacheron Constantin designers have pushed the limits of these territories in conceiving and designing this case that now symbolises the Vacheron Constantin personalisation concept.

Time for personalisation Available in three versions in the standard collection (pink gold, white gold or two-tone pink and white gold), the Quai de l’Ile Retrograde Annual Calendar corresponds to another of the collection’s signature features: personalisation. The owner can personalise the model according to certain predefined principles, and this unique and unprecedented opportunity in the field of Haute Horlogerie is made possible by the original construction of the Quai de l’Ile case and its seven-part middle: lateral flanks at 3 and 9 o’clock, lugs at 12 and 6 o’clock, inter-lug pieces at 12 and 6 o’clock, and a support plate. In addition to these seven elements, the 43 mm-diameter case comprises the bezel, the back and the crown. Combined with certain dial elements, this construction enables Vacheron Constantin to offer its clientele 700 potential variations within the complete Quai de l’Ile collection.

A new face
The latest addition to the collection also offers new dial versions with satin-brushed/vertical finishing in the central zone and opaline finishing in the outer zone, as well as for the day and month indications. When launched in 2008, the Quai de l’Ile achieved a considerable impact through its unprecedented association between the watchmaking world and the most secret and sophisticated “Security Printing” technologies. A powerful emblem of this original security system, the sun motif inspired by the clock tower of the Tour de l’Ile (next to the historic headquarters of Vacheron Constantin) is placed inside a disc printed in invisible ink and appears between 4 and 5 o’clock only under ultra-violet light.

The Quai de l’Ile Retrograde Annual Calendar is delivered with two straps: one in black or brown alligator leather, and the other in black or brown rubber, secured by an 18K pink or white gold folding clasp.

Resolutely modern in terms of its design and of the original concepts on which its unique personality is based, the new Quai de l’Ile Retrograde Annual Calendar merges perfect mastery of mechanical complexity with innovative design and an entirely original personalisation concept. 

Quai de l'Ile Annual Calendar Retrograde

Quai de l'Ile Annual Calendar Retrograde

Quai de l'Ile Annual Calendar Retrograde

new cal 2460 QAR
Quai de l'Ile Annual Calendar Retrograde

underdial: the annual calendar mechanisme
Quai de l'Ile Annual Calendar Retrograde

Quai de l'Ile Annual Calendar Retrograde

Quai de l'Ile Annual Calendar Retrograde

Quai de l'Ile Annual Calendar Retrograde

Quai de l'Ile Annual Calendar Retrograde
11/15/2010 - 11:57
11/15/2010 - 12:01
11/16/2010 - 20:03
11/15/2010 - 14:33
11/16/2010 - 10:29
One word.
11/15/2010 - 11:57
Clean Doc
Re: One word.
11/15/2010 - 12:01
An extremely handsome watch. A superb addition to the VC collection. Would love to see same caliber housed in a Patrimony Traditionelle case as well.
Can't wait to see it in January! (nt)
11/15/2010 - 12:25
+1 (nt)
11/16/2010 - 20:03
Re: The Hour Lounge Exclusive: Introducing Quai de l'Ile Annual Calendar
11/15/2010 - 12:29
I guess I am getting carried away and thinking too far ahead, but VC should definitely use this caliber in a future Overseas. This watch looks so handsome and modern, yet still captures the essence of VC.  The dial is so unique...the month aperture is not 'directly' above 6 o'clock, and the moonphase is near 9 o'clock (not typical). Beautifully executed. 
Has to be seen.
11/15/2010 - 14:33
I love the case, the dial and the caliber... But all pit together? I don't know , I would love to see it for real.
I have to see it for myself in Geneva to have a definite opinion...
11/15/2010 - 14:39
You know how big a fan of the QdI line I am. For now all I can say is that it is three steps forwards and one backwards. My pros come down to: - a larger number of personalization combinations on this particular model compared to previous versions - a new in-house caliber is a definite winner - a brand new complication for VC, and a very useful one at that   One drawback I see so far is the dial which eventually might turn out a winner once I see it in person. I'm concerned about the legibility of the date. It seems VC had the same concern and thus a bigger case (not sure how the bigger case wears on the wrist either since the original one seems quite big already due to its overall shape...).  Also I was so attached to the see-through dial on the previous models that the new solid one comes as a surprise to me. I think the new design might be a bow/wink towards some more conservative VC audience. I was counting more on the cool visual effect of the Malte Perpetual Calendar Openworked dial here as well. But hey this new dial execuion makes it all the more interesting and proves VC is always on the prowl to think outside the box. A big round of applause goes to the off-center month subdial - that looks like a nice twist on the whole design. But then again it seems like it was forced entry by the large retrograde date design. That really means, IMHO, VC was able to outrun yet another disadvantage and turn it into success at the end of the day. I understand there must have been quite a number of issues with the dial itself and I can now see why it has taken so long for the new model to be released. All in all, I like the concept and believe it will be a great success. Now how about a pricing of this piece? Cheers, Radek
What is the hand on the moonphase dial pointing to?
11/15/2010 - 16:19
I am sorry for my ignorance but can anyone tell me what the hand inside the moonphase display dial is telling us.  Surely it is not the age of the moon as there is a separate set of indices 0 to 29 1/2 for that on the top half of the dial.  The indices at the bottom half does not have any numerics or units so I am cuirious what those gradations stand for. Anyway, like Radek, I would like to see this model in the metal before any final conclusions.  It seems the "modern" side of the QdL has been watered down... The innovative printing seen all over the first two models (which traditionalists may have found gimmicky) seems to have been limited to the secret sun, and the "oh so cool" open-working is also sadly absent (maybe to have a cleaner, less distractive dial).  I guess this year VC is catering to the more traditional VC fan with this classical VC in QdL casing. I am a somewhat apprehensive of the legibility of the retrograde date, despite the oversized case.  Of course, final judgment has to be reserved until I get a chance to see this watch in person. I look forward to seeing more of this and VCs other new offerings! Best regards, Kazumi
Is it...
11/15/2010 - 16:50 of the week?

Seconds, I hope! nt
11/15/2010 - 16:52
You are correct...
11/15/2010 - 16:55 does say in the press release that the calibre has a stop-seconds function for precise time yes, that must be the seconds. :-)
yes seconds hand (nt)
11/15/2010 - 16:58
Stop-seconds function
11/16/2010 - 13:49
I hope I will not be accused of nitpicking but even with the stop-seconds function it would be difficult to set the time precisely because of the "small" seconds hand (instead of a sweeping seconds hand) and the lack of "seconds" indices.  I am sure it was a design choice though (aesthetics over function). It is reassuring to hear that VC's team did try out an open-faced version (I would have expected just as much).  If the team couldn't put it together, then it was not meant to be. BTW, I just noticed in the press release (under "A New Face") it mentions "day and date".  Is this a typo (as there is no day of the week indication here)? Kazumi
the text should be taken for what it is....a press release :-) However
11/16/2010 - 14:48
you are right about the typo, I changed day into month
The hardest thing about producing a masterpiece is being able to
11/15/2010 - 18:10
repeat it...  I loved the QdI from the first time I laid eyes on it. I really was surprised and amazed by the new dial, it was a big (positive) shock to the system! The QdI Palladium simple date model remains on the top of my wish list... Given the impact of the first release, I was expecting a lot for the 2nd wave of models...  Like Radek, I'm not too sure about this model - I will have to wait to see it in the metal to pass final judgement.  I do like the release of a new movement, and I like the clear and uncluttered way to present the months of the year. I love the vertical burshed finish on the dial, its feels very modern, in line with the QdI line spirit.  But so far I'm not too convinced about the day display, I wish that it didn't eat into the "2" and the minutes/hours, and there are too many lines for my liking; I would have loved to see it with a semi-transparent dial (as Kazumi pointed out, maybe the inclusion of the solid dial was to respond to general feedback on the first 2 models?...); regarding the simple moon disk, although it works well with the overall feel of the watch, is certainly one of the blandest released by VC (the one used on the new Malte Tonneau would have looked nice...); and I'm hoping that this case will not feel too big... Thanks Alex. I loved all the teasing leading up to the official release... By the way, it was - as always - great fun to see you this past Saturday, along with Mo, Celine and Jeanne...   Cheers,  Francois
I'm keeping my opinion of this watch for the SIHH review BUT
11/15/2010 - 18:30
I have to admit that this full dial doesn't excite me as much as the saphire versions did, on the other hand there were so many who loved the case but not the dial... I saw two prototypes for this watch: the original was supposed to be an open dial but the dial was impossible to make according to what VC wanted! In fact this watch was supposed to be launched last year but postponed until the dial was exactly as VC wanted it and the saphire dial was abandoned along the way. I also saw a semi open dial version but it didn't look too good. I do agree François however that the moonphase would look better with some oomph. It was great seeing you in London as well, it was a blast   
Having not seen it in person yet, I think...
11/15/2010 - 18:50
It is beautiful! I like the very useful annual calendar complication and the dial layout is original and attractive. Your pictures are great Alex, but I bet in person this piece will be even more stunning. Best, Mike
A very original dial layout
11/16/2010 - 00:05
I really like this dial layout even if I'm not convinced by the date display which seems a bit confusing to me. But the QDL case works very well in this context. Thanks Alex !
Thanks for the scoop Alex. Looking forward to seeing it in Jan. [nt]
11/16/2010 - 02:54
I must be missing something
11/16/2010 - 04:15
I am assuming the hand around the moonphase is the small sec., but where is the day of the week indicator? W.
there isn't any!
11/16/2010 - 10:29
Re: The Hour Lounge Exclusive: Introducing Quai de l'Ile Annual Calendar
11/16/2010 - 08:26
Classic and classy design outside, great technology inside, innovative movement.
I like the dial layout but the fact that it is toned down with the
11/16/2010 - 12:14
full dial doesn't work for me. I find the moonphase also too bland
Alex, regarding the moonphase...
11/16/2010 - 12:49 guess is that VC is reserving the beautiful moons for the Malte and Patrimony collection. Since the QDL is supposed to be a modern futuristic take on VC, I'm assuming the moon is intentionally toned down.  Two questions: - Like PP's annual calendar, why does'nt the VC one have day of the week? - Does'nt the size of this watch limit its acceptibility or usefulness to some potential buyers? I always found the standard QDL a very big watch, and this is even bigger. I think more than the diameter, it is the height.
the case is larger but not thicker, I actually like the case. this is
11/16/2010 - 13:27
because of the retrograde hand, and more space was needed on the dial. The lack of week day is a design decision
No doubt the most appealing Quai de l'Ile to me so far, ....
11/16/2010 - 13:53

my few cents worth : 1. very useful and appealing complication, being the first VC annual calendar, definitely a winner in this aspect. 2. aesthetic wise, also a winner with so many subdial and a sublime satin dial. however a tad difficult to read the date.  3. a wrist test required to gauge whether it is big being a dress watch for my miserably small wrist. 4. too many arabic numerals on the dial, so have kept the hour markers left at just as applied elevated stroke markers. well, a WIS just cannot be satisfied with any newly launched models, can we?  

It is all about the Sun! I had a bit of an awakening this morning
11/16/2010 - 18:36
and will share my thoughts with all of you this afternoon. Take another look at this beautiful piece of art and think Sun. I'll be back..... Best, Tim
I don't understand the full dial, makes the QDI look like the other
11/16/2010 - 18:59
models of the VC collection whereas the open dial set it apart from everything else VC or not VC!
Re: The Hour Lounge Exclusive: Introducing Quai de l'Ile Annual Calendar
11/17/2010 - 00:42
Hi Alex, my first post... very interesting QDL  never seen or heard about before.... Must get my first VC soon, cannot attend this forum without.... Mo
Mo, amigo good to see you here :-) Welcome (nt)
11/17/2010 - 10:52
Salute VC for new caliber and dial design
11/17/2010 - 05:17
Salute VC for a new caliber and an overall nice design of the dial layout. I like moonphase a lot :). However, judging solely from the photos, this watch may not be friendly-user. San day of the week presents a disadvantage, and the retrograde date indicator may pose some challenge to eyes muscle. Hopefully, seeing the watch in the flesh will change my assessment. Teetann
"And now for something completely different"
11/17/2010 - 05:38
Quai de l’Ile Retrograde Annual Calendar It is all about the Sun. I was perplexed at first when I saw this New Quai de l’Ile. What happened? Where is that intricate, complex, secretly marked dial with its lattice like technology looking back at us? What is this asymmetrical, form breaking, “clean” dial doing in by beloved gold case of perfect proportion? It came to me after a long sleep. The day before had been very warm for mid-November, people were all talking about the heat, the sun’s last hurrah before Autumn really took hold. Yesterday was all about the Sun. My mind raced in dreams, Fantasia like images flying by, clocks, watches, calendars… a sundial! Why are they “placed” on the face, distinctly separate, yet crashing into one another and bonding? The realization hit me. They are all different modes of measuring time, no shit Sherlock, but on this face—placed as pieces of history, wrapped up in Art! The Sundial lay out of the days of the month, reminding me of sundials I have seen in all over Europe on the sides of buildings, similar semi-circular sweeps with the same style markings—on this face, marking the days, not hours as they pass. The wheel of months, separate, almost floating on the dial, the larger measure of time but still connected to the others, dependant on their collection of minutes and hours to harvest the next month and move the wheel along its path. The little seconds, working away in his tiny world, faithfully running his sprint to slowly raise and lower the moon in its 29 ½ day cycle across our sky. And the moon, not white or silver, not detailed, but a warm gold mirror of its light source—the Sun. The details of the face; the rounded, applied gold numbers, reflecting back to the case, adding little bits of added light to help the face glisten. The crown has even been smoothed out to optimize the warm feel of the gold, drawing the owner in to touch the crown. The Sun “mark” on the face, changing in ultra-violet light, one of the Sun’s gifts to us, the cleansing (or damaging) wave length of light that on this dial, keeps the watch safe from anyone trying to copy the beauty and intricacy of this artistic canvas of time. I think we are all looking at new art, breaking the frame of the old, with the old as the sundial motif of the days—breaks through the standard minutes around the dial, a symbolic measure of the past and present—simply perfect. I do know this movement is also a unique gift from our watchmakers at V&C, as we have been so well informed by Alex’s article. I know there will be many discussions about this new calibre. The combination of case, face and movement is sublime, in the true sense and the vapors of creativity have reformed in an elevated form of watch making we must all take pause to applaud. Thank you for the gift, the creation and the courage to give the watch world a new piece of history. I cannot wait to see this work of art in person, but you many have already figured that out. Best to all, Tim
Thanks Tim for your insight...
11/17/2010 - 07:22
I can see what you're talking about.  It's definitely something I haven't really thought about yet.  I can't wait to see it in person and see if this inspiration catches my soul. Thanks for sharing your interpretation! BR, Dan
Hi Dan. I think you are correct, the final piece of the puzzle will
11/17/2010 - 08:31
be to see this beauty in person, try it on and see what happens. I have never experienced a watch like this before, so it will be exciting on several levels. Take care, Tim
That is a very poetic approach Tim, thanks for sharing (nt)
11/17/2010 - 10:55