The SIHH 2006

An Overview - Part 9

Text by Alexandre Ghotbi, photos by Alberto Schileo
© April 2006 by Alberto Schileo, Alexandre Ghotbi and

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Vacheron Constantin

I was eagerly awaiting to see what the venerable house was going to present after its 250 anniversary bash, and I’m glad to see that they have left the dust settle without any true bells and whistle piece but they are using many of the technical and design elements used in the anniversary pieces in their new offerings.

Last year’s festivities shone the light on the fact that Vacheron had finally given an automatic brother to its hand wound caliber 1400: the cal 2475 found in the Jubilé 1755 models has given way to cal 2450 (rotor on ceramic ball bearings as to minimise friction) and is now housed in the Patrimony Contemporaine Automatique. The fact that the case is a bit thicker than the Patrimony Grande Taille gives it better proportions. The argenté dial is truly beautiful and will definitely appeal to those attracted to the vintage look.

Vacheron was also presenting the Platinum Excellence collection, regular production pieces in platinum cases and for the first time dials (VC used a platinum dial on the Jubilé 1755 platinum model). These platinum dials can be found on the Patrimony Grande Taille (limited to 150pieces) and the Malte Chronographe (limited to 75 pieces). One needs to see these dials to truly appreciate their intense beauty, they capture light in a very particular manner with they grainy almost sand blasted appearance. Both these pieces are stunning but the Malte Chronograph with its manual winding 1141 caliber is in my opinion one of the best looking chronos out there (and believe me this comes from someone who doesn’t like the Malte Chronograph!!)

The Toledo 1952 will also be introduced in a rose gold case, and in a case with diamonds. The Malte Chronographe was also introduced in a case with diamonds.

In the more complicated range there is the Malte Open Work Retrograde Date Perpetual Calendar the exquisite Skeleton Minute Repeater which combines two arts in which VC is a master: skeletonising and repeating watches (limited to 15 pieces). Finally was presented an astounding Malte Perpetual Calendar Minute Repeater housing the last 30 (out of a total of 200) 1755 calibers. A classical complication in a very modern case (quite slim), a beautiful dial with discreet guillochage, and chimes that sound like the voice of angels makes this watch a most have for any one fortunate enough to have the funds…and the good taste to want one!! Something I really like here is the fact that there is no leap year indicator but rather the months are displayed on a 4 year cycle.

2006 celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Overseas. The Overseas line having been redesigned late 2004, Vacheron did not bring out a new version but added an extra complication in the form of a dual time with power reserve. An all rose gold model with chocolate color dial will also be produced in 30 pieces, I’m ashamed of saying this but I really liked it! I even wore one my wrist during the hour the presentation took . Hey c’mon every man dreams on having an all gold watch when walking in a single’s bar :-)!!

Part 8 - Panerai & Ferrari   |   Part 10 - International Watch Company

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Copyright April 2006 - Alberto Schileo, Alexandre Ghotbi and - All rights reserved