W&W 2014: Introducing Malte Openworked Tourbillon - Gemset

A horological high-wire act

Developing and crafting a tonneau-shaped calibre entirely in-house calls for exceptional mastery of mechanical horology. Openworking it and staging it within an ethereally light architecture while infusing it with a sense of volume and creating striking light and shadow effects represents the ultimate challenge. Such is precisely the tour de force Vacheron Constantin has accomplished with its new Calibre 2790 SQ beating at the heart of the Malte tourbillon openworked model.

The focus of impressive dedication and care, this movement has drawn upon the combined experience of the finest watchmakers and artisans of the Manufacture. The conception, modelisation and design of this calibre took these masters of their craft over 500 hours of striving to achieve the perfect balance between a fully functional tourbillon mechanism and the transparent openworked aesthetic. Depending on the angle from which the watch is viewed, a subtle interplay of light and shadow is created within the depths of the calibre, accentuated by the three-dimensional effect of the architectural motif stemming from a new approach to hand engraving.

Stylistic research around a geometrical structure

Geometrical shapes have always inspired the greatest builders, architects and artists, playing with light according to the position of the sun or forming a pyramid of chiaroscuro contrasts based on fundamental geometrical elements arranged in layers. Inspired by these works, Vacheron Constantin has devised an original architectural motif based on the shape of a triangle to provide a unique interpretation of hand engraving. Once again demonstrating the impressive range of their art, the artisans of the Manufacture performed truly stunning work on the surface of the parts composing Calibre 2790 SQ. In a succession of meticulous strokes of the burin that sometimes involves working to the nearest tenth of a millimetre, they have created tiny triangles composed of recurrent straight lines creating a three-dimensional effects, before hand-drawing and chamfering the 246 parts of the calibre. This geometrical mosaic forms an architecture generating an astonishing volume effect through light and shadow effects further enhanced by the airy structure of the imposing tourbillon carriage.