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May 24, 2024

Vacheron Constantin: Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface

Gabriel García Márquez once said, “the more transparent is the writing, the more visible is the poetry.” It seems that Vacheron Constantin took inspiration from this sentence to shake up its most classic collection, the Traditionnelle, and create the Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface – by replacing the word “writing” with the word “aesthetics” and the word “poetry” with the word “mechanics”.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface

The more transparent are the aesthetics, the more visible are the mechanics. It sounds good and perfectly fits this watch – which Vacheron Constantin dressed in a contemporary way – without distorting a model inspired by the great Geneva watchmaking tradition of the 18th century and one of the brand’s signature pieces, the Complete Calendar.

FROM PAST TO FUTURE

Popular in the 1940s and 1950s, the Complete Calendar was revisited by the brand in 2017 with an eye-catching vintage touch on the historical Triple Calendar 1942 and 1948 models. Now, vintage gives way to modern through the transparency of sapphire crystal, a very contemporary touch on which the Maison has worked a lot in recent years, but which it has sparingly introduced in the Traditionnelle line.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface

Instead of a skeletonized movement – which is the norm for open dial watches – it has a transparent dial that showcases the gear trains and the working calendar module. The anthracite-colored NAC treatment on the bridges and plates thus remains clearly visible and enhances the mechanics of both the caliber and the timepiece as a whole.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface

This watch comes in a collection whose name embodies its spirit, made of traditional lines and timeless aesthetics, combined with a continuous drive for innovation and stylistic research. With the introduction of the Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar, Vacheron Constantin had already given supreme proof of this balance between tradition and innovation in the 2019 Traditionnelle collection. Now, with the Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface, the Maison carries on this quest of experimentation combining classicism and avant-garde.

FROM CASE TO DIAL

Starting from the case, which is 41 mm of solid and elegant white gold (there is also a rose gold version) and made even lighter by the extremely thin bezel and the sapphire crystal dial – the real protagonist on the Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface stage. Rich in information but extremely legible, it develops on different levels, giving the watch an impressive depth.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface

The upper part of the sapphire crystal dial features a likewise slate grey guilloché segment – a legacy of the Traditionnelle’s classic spirit – on which the Vacheron Constantin logo is displayed, printed on the sapphire crystal that dominates the dial. The central part features the two discs, also in sapphire crystal, with the days of the week and months of the year. The current day and month are legible in contrast: two white parallelepipeds fixed to the plate underneath make them stand out against the anthracite gray of the dial and movement.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface

Although it is a relatively traditional and “simple” complete calendar, the calendar itself is enhanced by an attractive sense of mechanical depth thanks to its sapphire crystal discs, which reveal the gears and levers beneath.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface

THE MOON ACCORDIN TO VACHERON CONSTANTIN

The day of the month is displayed on a slate gray opaline flange that surrounds the dial, and is indicated by a central hand with a half-moon shaped tip while the lower part of the dial itself features the disk with the indication of the moon phases. This is a complication that is not always present in complete calendars: Vacheron Constantin interprets it in a way that is consistent with the whole structure of the watch.

The lower part of the window allowing you to view the moon phases – whose faces are represented in a very realistic way – is “obscured” by an opaque sapphire glass mask. The moon phase indicator is naturally harmonized with the structure of the entire dial, made homogeneous by the slate gray on which a part of the brass gear train stands out.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface

The identity of the Traditionnelle collection is maintained thanks to some distinctive signs such as the stepped round case and lugs, the fluted caseback, the thin bezel, the railway minute track, the bi-faceted Dauphine-type hands and the faceted and applied gold baton-style indexes (white or pink, depending on the reference). Likewise, the extreme care in the creation of the movement places this watch in the footsteps of the purest Vacheron Constantin tradition.

THE TRADITIONNELLE COMPLETE CALENDAR OPENFACE’S MOVEMENT

The caliber 2460 QCL/2 is an evolution of the 2450, the first self-winding movement entirely designed and developed by Vacheron Constantin and certified by the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva. With 312 components, the movement drives the triple calendar indications and precision moon phases, and features a stop-seconds mechanism for precise time setting. The moon phase display requires only one correction every 122 years.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface

Turning the Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface around, the white gold caseback has a sapphire crystal window that allows you to see the movement at work, with the openworked oscillating mass in solid gold decorated with brushed sections and a polished Maltese cross. It beats at 4Hz (28,800 vibrations/hour) and provides 40 hours of power reserve.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface

The anthracite color on the plate and on the movement’s bridges is produced through a NAC galvanic treatment carried out on the surface: a dark coating with a platinum-based alloy, which offers superior strength and durability compared to other similar-looking treatments. It enhances the refined finishes of the Maison, including the Côtes-de-Genève motif on the chamfered bridges.

WEARABLE AND (ALMOST) ACCESIBLE

Let’s conclude with the wearability of the Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface. Despite the use of the sapphire crystal dial on such a timepiece from the Traditionnelle collection (let’s recall that in the same collection there are the “classic” versions of the complete calendar in rose and white gold, with closed dial), the watch remains fully consistent with this collection’s standards.

This also means that it is a highly wearable and elegant watch, designed to sit under the cuff of an elegant shirt despite the 41 mm case – mitigated by the stepped lugs and by the limited thickness of the timepiece: only 10.7 mm, excellent for a complete calendar.

As is the price. The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface costs 47,600 euros, in both the pink and white gold versions. That’s 6,100 euros more than the closed dial versions; a difference that a mechanics enthusiast can consider spending to be charmed daily by the wonder of a moving caliber. Don’t we love “insane” watchmaking?

By Davide Passoni