While all other watchmakers are banking on bright and bold, Vacheron Constantin is going monochrome. The Swiss horological icon has revamped one of its best-loved releases, wrapping the Traditionnelle Complete Calendar in 18K white gold, complete with a smooth slate grey dial. Say what you will on contemporary design, but there is just something timeless about this colour combination.
Suffice to say, the complete calendar isn’t exactly a new thing for Vacheron Constantin. The maison has produced the complication, which shows the month, day of the week and date with a 122-year accurate moonphase display feature for years, however, the selection has previously been quite limited. Until now, Vacheron’s Traditionnelle Complete Calendar has been available in both pink gold and platinum as an “Excellence Platine” model, however, this time around, VC has dialled down the vibrance.
For fans of the original release, the trademarks are all there. With a stepped round case and lugs, the new 41mm Traditionnelle Complete Calendar cops a familiar fluted caseback and railway minute-track that VC describes as ‘swept over by Dauphine-style hours and minutes hands’. In essence, the new timepiece retains that element of Vacheron Constantin originality, most notably in the display of the calendar indications. Both the day and month windows are positioned around the rim of the dial, while the date is shown by a dedicated pointer, further highlighting a precision moon phase located at 6 o’clock.
The positive news here is that the arrangement actually frees up a bit more space. Considering there is a lot of information going on in a relatively small framework, that’s a good thing. Too many complete calendar-style timepieces sacrifice aesthetic and legibility in search of greater acclaim, excessively squeezing themes into tight sections. Thankfully, Vacheron Constantin hasn’t overdone it, with the new Traditionnelle Complete Calendar never in danger of becoming cluttered.
Importantly, the use of 18K white gold only strengthens Vacheron Constantin’s ties to the past. As the watchmaker elegantly outlines, the “baton-type hour markers in 18K white gold are also imbued with the watchmaking pragmatism of the 1920s, which required the aesthetics of a watch to fully serve its function”.
Under the hood, the white gold Traditionnelle Complete Calendar keeps things familiar. The timepiece is powered by the Calibre 2460 QCL/1, an ‘evolved’ version of the Calibre 2450 that features 308 components. A self-winding movement, this addition is equipped with a stop-seconds mechanism and beats at a rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour. Best of all, the movement was designed and developed entirely in-house, and comes complete with a 40-hour power reserve. But like all good Vacheron Constantin models, the latest release is a lesson in subtle luxury.
The 22K gold openworked oscillating weight is emblazoned with a design inspired by the Maison’s Maltese cross emblem, visible from the back. In fact, in a fitting touch, even the circular-grained baseplate and chamfered bridges are adorned with a Côtes de Genève motif.
For a brand steeped in history, Vacheron Constantin doesn’t mind playing up to new trends, in fact, you could argue it probably helped to forge a few. The new Traditionnelle Complete Calendar watch marks a welcome return to the spirit of traditional 18th-century fine watchmaking, albeit with a refined contemporary twist. The new Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Complete Calendar in 18K white gold is available now through now Vacheron Constantin boutiques and is priced at USD$41,300 (approximately AUD$55,500).
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Technical data
Calibre: 2460 QCL/1
Power Reserve: Approximately 40 hours
Indications: Hours, minutes, central seconds, Complete calendar (day of the week, date, month)
Case: 18K white gold
Diameter: 41 mm
Thickness: 10.7 mm
Caseback: Transparent sapphire crystal
Water-resistance: Tested at a pressure of 3 bar (approx. 30 metres)
Dial: Velvet-finish slate grey
Strap: Black Mississippiensis alligator leather with calf inner shell, tone-on-tone stitching, square scales
Buckle: 18K white gold buckle, Polished half Maltese cross-shaped