Here's a taste of things to come. After the all platinum model launched in 2007 in the Excellence Platine Collection (platinum case and dial), Vacheron Constantin will present at SIHH 2008 a new version of the Malte Tourbillon Regulateur in platinum and rose gold.
Notice the redesigned case of the Malte Tonneau which may well be the base for future models.
Vacheron Constantin Press release:
Vacheron Constantin Malte Tourbillon Regulator
The significance of shapes
A shaped movement in a shaped case. Such apparent logic is not necessarily the rule in the world of haute horlogerie. In choosing the Malte line to present the new Tourbillon Regulator, Vacheron Constantin is using shape to express its horological savoir-faire.
The tonneau shape, an integral part of Vacheron Constantin’s history for almost 100 years
The Malte Tourbillon Regulator is presented in a new, larger, perfectly balanced tonneau case. With its tighter lines and more assertive style, it is a spectacular reinterpretation of the Malte line. The characteristic horns, now more compact, provide the ultimate in comfort. Furthermore, the integration of the strap and case is optimised by the new satin-finished lug-covers. Water-resistant to 30 metres, the case is enhanced with a domed sapphire crystal that prolongs the lines of the bezel.
Introduced with the first wristwatches at the start of the 20th century, the tonneau shape enjoyed its golden age up until the 1940’s. The tonneau case has always been an integral part of Vacheron Constantin’s history. The brand began using this new shape for its most prestigious complicated watches in 1912 and included it in its collections throughout the 20th century.
The tonneau shape, part of Vacheron Constantin’s genetic make-up and a particularly demanding form in terms of balance and harmony, is also characteristic of the Malte line.
The 1790R calibre: a perfect example of the Manufacture’s savoir-faire
To celebrate this new tonneau case, Vacheron Constantin’s master watchmakers have designed a mechanical movement that fits perfectly into this geometric shape; this expression of art for art’s sake in horological terms is also one of the hallmarks of authentic haute horlogerie timepieces. So, at the heart of this exceptional watch beats the 1790R calibre, designed, developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin.
Embellished with meticulously-worked decorations and finishing, this manual-winding mechanical movement houses two subtle complications that are among the most prized by genuine watch lovers.
The tourbillon, which compensates for the negative effects of gravity, remains one of the most emblematic complications of the art of watchmaking and is the distillation of all the savoir-faire possessed by the Manufacture’s master watchmakers.
The regulator display – originally produced at the end of the 19th century to regulate the flow of railway traffic - will remind connoisseurs that, in the past, the best timers constantly kept an eye on the regulator clock, which had pride of place in every workshop. The hours, minutes and seconds were displayed separately on it so that each could be seen more clearly, thereby facilitating an exact adjustment of the piece being worked on.
The 18K gold dial is the visible counterpoint of the complex and meticulously-made device it houses. The regulator display, a demonstration of this exceptional timepiece’s technical nature, offers a vertical reading of the time - in hours, minutes and seconds - on the tourbillon cage. The five different kinds of finishing – snailing, guillochage, opaline, vertical satining, circular satining – ensure that each indication is extremely easy to read.
Exceptional level of finishing: eleven hours just to hand-finish the tourbillon bar
Some of the exceptional finishing operations on the 1790R movement can only be done by hand, particularly in the case of the bar.
This work is known as berçage or rounding-off. Always a technical challenge, it consists in filing the tips of the arms with perfect regularity in order to give them a conical and semi-cylindrical shape, while carefully marking off the centre and heels. To complete the operation and obtain a perfectly polished rounding-off, the craftsmen polish it with stones, buffs, wooden pegs and finishing pastes. No fewer than eleven hours are needed to meet the stringent finishing criteria required by Vacheron Constantin.
The Côtes de Genève decoration, the meticulous hand-chamfering of the edges of the bridges and the engraving of its individual manufacturing number confirm the 1790R’s exceptional character. Besides its tourbillon, this manual-winding movement features a 40-hour power reserve indicator.
Two versions available: in 950 platinum or 18K pink gold
The Malte Tourbillon Regulator is available in 950 platinum or 18K pink gold and comes on a dark-blue (for the platinum version) or brown (for the pink gold version) hand-stitched, saddle-finish alligator strap, with a matching precious metal folding clasp and polished half Maltese cross.