Two of the more popular vintage-revival watches released last year were the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Triple Calendrier 1942 and 1948. The pieces, which now sit in boutiques alongside the critically-acclaimed Overseas collection, caught the attention of many publications early last October for their integration of the 1940s triple calendar design and Vacheron’s excellent contemporary manufacturing abilities. They also contributed to Vacheron’s growing Historiques collection which also includes the Cornes de Vache 1955 chronograph and the American 1921 watch.
At the SIHH 2018, Vacheron Constantin unveils the Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers collection of hand-crafted timepieces that are inspired by the origins of hot air ballooning. The conquest of the skies by balloonists in the late 18th century has long been the subject of wonder and a demonstration of man’s pioneering spirit. It is this concept that Vacheron Constantin’s watchmakers and artisans strive to embrace in the new series of five different balloon dial watches — each retailing for $135,000.
Vacheron Constantin is not just releasing just a few new models this edition of the SIHH, but an entire array of complicated masterpieces! It starts with a whole new collection, the FIFTYSIX, which is inspired on Vacheron Constantin’s reference 6073, which the brand launched in 1956. Elegant yet masculine lines envoke the style of this era, and transform it into the 21st century. The FIFTYSIX will be available in three different varieties, a date model, one featuring day of the week, date, power-reserve indicator, and the final version features a complete calendar with precision moon phase.
The new Overseas Dual Time, which was already pre-announced at the end of last year. Fitted with the all new manufacture caliber 5110 DT, this versatile travel companion is available in either steel or 5N pink gold. It will be joined by a new Overseas ultra-thin perpetual calendar with a 5N pink gold case. This gives the watch a more precious look compared to its white gold sibling that we already knew. It is however powered by the same ultra-slim caliber 1120 QP, which is just 4.05mm in height.
For those after a clean and classic looking timepiece, the FIFTYSIX Self-winding model with date function is it. The watch comes with the option of a 40 mm-diameter steel or 18 carat 5N pink gold case. A peak inside will reveal a brand new mechanical self-winding movement in the Calibre 1326 which affords hours, minutes and seconds functions alongside the aforementioned date window at the 3 o’clock mark. The movement also affords a very handy 48-hour power reserve and stop-seconds device.
The Traditionelle collection will also be expanded with two new models: a tourbillon and a complete calendar. Both will be available in 18 karat 5N pink gold, as well as in Vacheron Constantin’s exclusive Collection Excellence Platine limited series, in which details such as the dial, clasp, and even the strap stitching are made from platinum.
The Traditionelle Tourbillon is powered by an entirely new caliber, which is, in fact, the very first automatic tourbillon movement of Vacheron Constantin. It does take a keen eye to notice this though, as the watch is fitted with a peripheral oscillating weight, so a clear view of the movement remains.
With the Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers does Vacheron Constantin not only pay tribute to some of the earliest aviators: the people who took to the skies in hot-air balloons, but also shows once again the craftsmanship that they are capable of. By combining engraving, pounced ornament, and plique-à-jour enamel, they really bring the scenes to life, while they also allow seeing a glimpse of the complicated movement inside. Five different versions display the most important events in early aviation history.