Introducing the Vacheron Constantin Maitre Cabinotier Perpetual Calendar Regulator
Creating a piece unique usually means changing colours or materials of the case and dial, or having a new shape. That’s the case with almost all the unique watches made for Only Watch 2015. With the Maitre Cabinotier Perpetual Calendar Regulator, Vacheron Constantin goes one step further (in fact, dozens of step further). With this kind of watch, VC shows its expertise in creating exclusive and original calibers providing a highly specific result, a proper unique watch, with a unique complication, unique movement and unique design. Let’s have a first look at the Vacheron Constantin Maitre Cabinotier Perpetual Calendar Regulator.
This new timepiece is part of Vacheron Constantin’s Maître Cabinotier collection composed of exclusive timepieces – and that includes no less than THE most complicated watch in the world, the recently revealed Vacheron Constantin Pocket Watch ref. 57260. Seeing a grande maison like Vacheron going back to the actual roots of high-end watchmaking – watches made to order, with unique features – is extremely good news. The Vacheron Constantin Perpetual Calendar Regulator watch features a specific regulator-type time display (meaning minutes on the central axis and the hours in a separated subsidiary dial). The display is inspired by 17th century “Master Clocks” that were used to adjust watches at that time. These timekeeping instruments served as a point of reference in the watchmaking workshops and astronomical observatories of the time. However, this specific regulator display is not the only features of this watch, as its unique movement, the calibre 2460 RQP, also drives a perpetual calendar with moon-phases.
Even with such complications on the dial, it remains an extremely legible watch. A classical perpetual calendar usually required 3 distinct sub-dials (and even four on certain watches): one for the day of the week, one for the date, one for the month, one for the leap year (that is usually displayed inside one of the sub-dials) and one for the moon-phases. Trying to combine this display with a regulator complication would have normally ruined the legibility (that is the main objective of such a watch). That’s the reason why the Vacheron Constantin Maitre Cabinotier Perpetual Calendar Regulator displays its perpetual calendar via only one sub-dial and 3 windows. At 6 are located the date and the moon-phases and on each side of the hour dial at 12, two discreet windows shows the day of the week and the month. Finally, the leap year comes in a small aperture, into the hour sub-dial.
The dial shows another expertise of the brand: hand-guillochage. On the Vacheron Constantin Maitre Cabinotier Perpetual Calendar Regulator, it starts with a solid gold plate that is then engraved (engine-turned to be precise) by hand. This dial is again totally unique, both in its layout (due to the specific movement), in its finish and in its colour, a soft brown opaline. The indications of the hours and minutes are easily identifiable, with Roman numerals for the hours and Arabic numerals and pink gold “Clous de Paris” applied markers for the minutes. The case is also made in 18K pink gold and measures 42mm. Its, very classical, shape and elegant, it’s typical of Vacheron Constantin’s production.
Finally, this Vacheron Constantin Maitre Cabinotier Perpetual Calendar Regulator encased a unique movement – well, in fact, a unique module developed to fit an existing movement, the famous automatic Calibre 2460, that is used as a base in the Vacheron Constantin Harmony Dual-Time, in the Vacheron Constantin Metiers d’Art ‘Angel Watch’ or in Vacheron Constantin Patrimony World Time. This unique Maitre Cabinotier shows a new module on the top with a specific regulator complication and a perpetual calendar unseen before at VC. However, even if only a module, such a development for only ONE watch remains quite a prowess and something extremely rare in the actual industry. More details on Vacheron-Constantin.com.
Even though I dislike big watches and yellow gold, this watch makes me swoon. It’s everything the brand wants to say, horological brilliance and classic aesthetics that are somehow more exciting than Patek. I love the dial, the hands, the calibre and most certainly the complication. My only minor quibble are the gold pyramid minute markers that seem a bit superfluous and unnecessarily attention seeking. Note that VC has left a lot of room for development here…..when this watch gets issued in stainless or platinum, I may need to mortgage my house. This one looks really good with its dark leather strap.