Vacheron Constantin: Cobalt Flash

by Carol Lee

The Swiss watchmaker celebrates the beauty of blue in four different collections at SIHH 2019. Here’s a look at the cobalt stunners.

As the world’s oldest watchmaker which has been in continuous production, Vacheron Constantin has, since 1755, created horological masterpieces that watch lovers around the world proudly own. At this year’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, the Swiss Maison unveiled a series of striking blue-faced watches that will please collectors of all calibres, especially those who are looking to add a little something special to their stash. These handsome timepieces certainly caught our eye at the show as we walked through the collection with Laurent Perves, Chief Marketing Officer at Vacheron Constantin.

The Stylish: Vacheron Constantin Patrimony

Of the 41 styles currently residing in the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony shrine, the three new additions with azure dials and polished rose gold cases are arguably the most arresting. Those especially taken by the hypnotic “Midnight Blue” dial will find themselves spoilt for choice between the three styles and movements: Patrimony Manual Winding, hours and minutes (Calibre 1400), Patrimony Self-winding, hours minutes, seconds and date (Calibre 2450 Q6), and the Patrimony Retro Grade Day-Date, Self-winding (Calibre 2460 R31R7/2).

  • Patrimony Retro Grade Day-Date, Self-winding (Calibre 2460 R31R7/2)

Our guess: Collectors with a taste for minimalism are likely to gravitate towards the first two, while those with a taste for something different would appreciate the unique dial of the Retro Grade, where date and day of week are displayed as two semicircles, and dainty diamond polish gold pearls dot the minute track. All three come with Vacheron Constantin’s iconic alligator leather strap.

The Sleek: Vacheron Constantin Overseas 

This year, the classy yet sporty Overseas collection that’s designed for the modern jetsetter welcomes its first ever tourbillon model. The self-winding Overseas Tourbillon features the 188-part Ultra-Thin Calibre 2160 with a 22k gold peripheral rotor, both of which are visible through the transparent sapphire crystal caseback, and add a touch of refinement to the Overseas’s rugged good looks. The blue-lacquered sunburst satin-finished dial perfectly complements the stainless steel case with six-sided bezel, and offers versatility of wear with three interchangeable bracelet/strap options – in steel, leather and rubber – to bring you from boardroom to weekend.

  • Overseas Tourbillon

For something dressier, there is the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin, which also boasts the new blue-lacquered sunburst dial, but is encased in alluring pink gold. This version comes with two interchangeable straps – a blue Mississippiensis alligator leather strap featuring a black nubuck lining with a micro-perforated effect, and a blue rubber strap.

Labour of love: The bar of the tourbillon carriage in the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon is entirely hand-bevelled, which takes about 12 man hours to complete.

The now iconic Overseas collection, by virtue of its lifestyle offer of easy-to-change straps underscores the value of relevance adopted by the Maison. As Perves put it aptly, “It is not about the past or future. It is about the present. How are we constantly relevant, as a Maison, to today’s expectations which are changing? The context is changing. We are the same – in message and value. Our watches still give time; they are mechanical and beautiful. It is about how we take lessons and inspirations from the past to find our success in the future.”

The Smart: Vacheron FIFTYSIX®

2018 saw the launch of FIFTYSIX®, the collection that is a nod to the Maltese cross-inspired 6073 model of 1956. One year on, the retro-contemporary collection is refreshed with two new models: the FIFTYSIX® Complete Calendar (Calibre 2460 QCL/1) and FIFTYSIX® Self-winding; both with dials in “Petrol Blue”, a rather fetching shade that’s been specially developed for the collection. Whether you’re partial to blue or not, you’ll find that the hue rather suits the sector-type dial, and also helps to draw attention to the chapter ring with alternate Arabic numerals and baton-type markers. We think the FIFTYSIX® in Petrol Blue is a great everyday watch that puts the smart into smart casual.

  • FIFTYSIX® Self-winding

The Splendid: Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar

True blue fans will know that the Les Cabinotiers are named after the 18th century workshops (“cabinets”) and watchmakers (“cabinotiers”) who first crafted these exceedingly complicated bespoke timepieces. Beneath the modern “Midnight Blue” dial and contained within the stylishly slim 42mm-diameter 18k white gold case of the latest Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar are the ultra-thin Calibre 1731QP movement, which measures only 5.70mm in thickness, and the Perpetual Calendar complication.

Bearing testament to Vacheron Constantin’s technical expertise and aesthetic sophistication, the hand-wound movement beats at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour and comprises exactly 438 components – some, they say, are as fine as a strand of hair. “For a House that has been around for 264 years, it is all about ‘heritage enabling innovation’. It is the innovation that has been a constant. Our long history is the reason why we innovate, and our innovation is the reason why we have been around for so long,” said Perves.

A dark blue Mississippiensis alligator leather strap completes the look that is at once modern and elegant.

Perfect balance: Occupying the upper half of the dial are the day, date and month indications, while the moon phase indicator sits comfortably in the lower half of the Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar.

“Vacheron is the epitome of technical excellence, the highest degree of quality and beautiful aesthetics – deserving of the level of respect we have from collectors. You can make the most fascinating engineering machine, but if it is not beautiful, the emotion is not there.”

Laurent Perves, Chief Marketing Officer, Vacheron Constantin


Images courtesy of Vacheron Constantin, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.


Related links:

Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2019

Vacheron Constantin: Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Phoenix

Vacheron Constantin: The Twin Beating Cross

Vacheron Constantin: Overseas, the Traveller Collection

Vacheron Constantin: Retro Modernity of the FIFTYSIX®


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