Pre SIHH 2012 – Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionalle 14-Days Tourbillon

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Frank Geelen | ic_query_builder_black_24px 4 minute read |

Vacheron Constantin launches a new Patrimony Traditionelle Tourbillon with 14 days of power reserve and it meets the new Geneva Hallmark standards. A beautiful classic timepiece with a new designed tourbillon movement, caliber 2260. 

We’re still a few months away from the SIHH 2012, but pre SIHH novelties are already being released. This is the exiting period for watch collectors and aficionados. Vacheron Constantin’s first pre SIHH release is entirely different from their latest release, the Patrimony Contemporaine Small Model, but again very elegant and one that collectors have been waiting for…

After the release of the Saint Gervais, Vacheron Constantin’s way to celebrate its 250th anniversary with a 4 barrel movement and 250 hours of power reserve, caliber 2250, many collectors have been waiting for a ‘simple’ tourbillon. The word ‘simple’ of course a very relative term in this context. With the new Patrimony Traditionelle 14-Days Tourbillon, Vacheron Constantin brings exactly that what collectors have been hoping for, a ‘simple’, elegant and very beautiful tourbillon with a 4-barrel energy source delivering 14 days of autonomy.

In order to provide a full 14-day power reserve, the new Vacheron Constantin Calibre 2260 is equipped with four barrels mounted in coupled pairs. They are all connected and all unwind simultaneously, but naturally four times slower than a single barrel. Besides the practical utility of the huge power reserve, the regulating organ fitted inside the tourbillon results in improved rating precision and enhanced long-term stability.

The new Calibre 2260 features two large bridges, instead of the three appearing on the previous Vacheron Constantin tourbillons, which are finished with Côtes de Genève. The tourbillon carriage is inspired by the brand’s signature Maltese Cross and is a perfect showcase for the exceptional level of finishing. Not only the visible parts have been beautifully finished, but also parts that will only be seen by a watchmaker when the watch is serviced, are hand-bevelled and circular spotted. The rounding off of the tourbillon bar alone (!) takes over 11 hours of manual craftsmanship!

The design is elegant and classic and features a slender bezel, a case middle with a fluted base, a screw-down case-back fitted with a sapphire crystal, facetted hour-markers (double at 12 o’clock), pink gold dauphine hands and an opaline silver-toned dial.

The hour and minute dial is positioned slightly off-centre, which looks good and give the dial much more depth. The pink gold case measures 42 mm in diameter and is only 12.20 mm thick, which is quite flat if you consider the presence of four barrels and a tourbillon. The two photos above are courtesy The Hour Lounge, Vacheron Constantin’s own forum. According to Alex Ghotbi, Vacheron Constantin’s community manager, the timing results has shown a deviation of 2 seconds in 2 weeks! This will of course not be the new benchmark, but it’s an incredible achievement in accuracy.

Early November of this year, the Hallmark of Geneva celebrated their 125th anniversary and  announced new criteria that will make this standard of excellence even more demanding. The Patrimony Traditionelle 14-Days Tourbillon is Vacheron Constantin’s first watch to meet those new criteria.

The new Hallmark of Geneva criteria will be applicable as of 2012, and these now not only concern the movement alone, but instead the watch as a whole. Component production as well as verification of the entire set of operations leading to the finished watch are now the object of a systematic and more demanding monitoring procedure conducted by independent State-sworn agents. Once a movement has been officially approved in accordance with the Hallmark of Geneva requirements, periodic unannounced inspections will be made in the company in order to verify the compliance of production processes. The inspections will in particular serve to check that the assembly, adjustment and casing-up are indeed performed in Geneva, as well as to evaluate the quality of the components produced and the assembled movements.

Rather than just the movement, the entire watch is now stamped with the Hallmark of Geneva. The exterior of the timepiece is thus taken into account, and in particular the elements connecting the movement to the case, meaning the casing-up rings, the clamps and braces and the dog screws. All components must also comply with the production processes and finishes laid down by the Hallmark of Geneva.

The testing of the completed watch is now an integral part of the requirements of the quality label. This is true of the water resistance, of which the company’s internal controls are duly cross-checked by the Hallmark of Geneva authorities. The power reserve announced for a given movement is also periodically tested. Finally, the precision of the watch as proven by a wear simulation test becomes an essential element in awarding the label. The Hallmark of Geneva conducts precision measurements for a full seven days to ensure that the variation in rate does not exceed one minute per week.

More information about Vacheron Constantin’s new timepiece can be found at the Vacheron Constantin website and their own forum, The Hour Lounge.

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