My position with respect to Vacheron Constantin is staunch and steadfast, and it’s been that way for many years. I feel that Vacheron Constantin represent the very best of Swiss modern watchmaking, and they remain one of my favourite haute horlogerie manufacturers in the world. They create masterpieces, and they continuously astound, delight and stir up the masses. Their timepieces are second to none, and I rarely find fault with any of their micro works of art. Which brings me to one of their latest creations, the Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar.
There’s brilliance, and then there’s sheer, outrageous insanity. Genius, even. The Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar can easily be described with any of these adjectives. Featuring an incredible 65-day power reserve, this wholly mechanical timepiece is definitely one for the ages. How the Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar can hold so much power is a question we’ll answer in the next few paragraphs. But right now, let’s look at its aesthetics.
The Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar’s 42mm wide, 12.3mm thick case is made of full platinum and features elongated lugs, an oversized and fairly thick riveted crown, and a pusher at 8 o’clock. The dial has made up of a piece of sapphire crystal with a cutout at the top half for the solid gold guilloche dial plate. The baton hour markers are made of 18k white gold, and the engraved markings are filled with lacquer. Visually, the Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar is a very striking timepiece with a lot of charismatic features. From the outset, you can very quickly tell that this is no ordinary watch.
Now, onto its mechanics. The way that the Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar holds so much power is actually having what Vacheron Constantin call a “standby mode”. Essentially, this is a power saving mode whereby the in-house produced calibre 3610 QP effectively “switches” from one beating frequency to another. This is achieved by the integration of two balance wheels, along with an instantaneous perpetual calendar.
The Calibre 3610 QP is made up of 480 separate components and enables its wearer to activate the “standby mode”, switching the movement’s beating frequency from a conventional 4Hz to a power-conserving 1.2Hz. Why that particular number? Well, according to Christian Selmoni, head of Vacheron Constantin, it represents the ideal number to optimize chronometry and energy consumption. This “switch” is done by activating the pusher at 8 o’clock. A fairly simple user-end process, but one that took many man hours to design, engineer, produced and fine-tune. And that in itself should be applauded.
The Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar is one of Vacheron Constantin’s crowning jewels, and it’s a timepiece that not only pushes the boundaries of modern horology, but also brings to light the capabilities of this foundational watchmaker. The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar has a retail cost of $199,000USD with pieces expecting to be delivered to boutiques later this year.
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