For over 180 years, Vacheron Constantin has been engaging with female patrons of fine mechanical watchmaking. As the oldest watchmaker in existence today, it recognises the important role women have played in making wristwatches mainstream. While aristocrats or ladies of leisure previously enjoyed the sophistication of rich and elaborate designs, today’s female collectors value a balance between artistic elegance and technical finesse.
This year, the brand pays tribute to its long lineage of female collectors with two dynamic timepieces: Patrimony self-winding and Traditionnelle perpetual calendar ultra-thin. Both illustrate perfectly the maison’s theme of the year, The Anatomy of Beauty.
Inspired by a historical piece from 1957, Vacheron Constantin’s new Patrimony self-winding celebrates the idea that beauty lies in the minute details. It features a 36.5mm case with a redefined curvature, coupled with a gently convex dial, a subtly rounded crown and leaf-shaped hands.
The case middle’s curved back joins the caseback, where clear sapphire crystal reveals a wonderful perspective of the calibre 2450 Q6/3. The in-house movement runs at a brisk 4Hz while providing a 40-hour power reserve. More impressively, it has a full-sized skeletonised rotor bearing the brand’s Maltese cross icon, while standing just 3.63mm thin.
There are four versions of the watch: two in white gold with a deep blue dial, and two in pink gold with a blush dial. Both boast an ombré effect on the dial. Each colour variant features a bezel set with 72 round-cut diamonds and gold beads applied to the circular-grained minute track. The other has 48 round-cut diamonds on the minute track for a more discrete appearance. In the latter case, gemstone setting on a curved surface requires great finesse.
Lovers of high complications will be familiar with the watchmaker’s renowned perpetual calendar calibre, the 1120 QP. The highly reliable, ultra-thin performer has a complete calendar display with leap year and moon phase indications, as well as a full-sized oscillating mass that measures just 4.05mm thick.
In a compact 36.5mm case, this stellar movement powers the new Traditionnelle perpetual calendar ultra-thin. There are three analogue counters for the calendrical indicators and a separate moon phase subdial.
The watch pays homage to a perpetual calendar tradition — the 48-month wheel, which completes one rotation every four years. On the dial, dauphine hands indicate the time with gold baton hour markers and a chemin de fer minute track. With its 40-hour power reserve and winding rotor, the mechanical calendar will remain accurate until the end of this century.
In either white or pink gold, the former features a blue-grey tinted mother-of-pearl dial, while the latter sports a white mother-of-pearl dial. The bezel, lugs, and pin buckle are set with 93 round-cut diamonds, while the crown has a single, sparkling round-cut diamond.
Furthermore, Vacheron Constantin has introduced an interchangeable strap system — a first for the Traditionelle line — that allows women to express their individuality freely.
A retrospective of Vacheron Constantin’s contributions to ladies’ timepieces
1838: Vacheron Constantin creates an early ladies’ watch with a quarter repeater and an off-centre seconds display.
1889: The watchmaker introduces its first ladies’ wristwatch.
1930s: Verger, the maison’s French representative, commissions a wide selection of ladies’ wristwatches displaying cameos decorated with Asian and Greek influences.
1940s: Secret watches become popular with Vacheron Constantin’s female clients.
1970s: Women’s watches by Vacheron Constantin reflect a spirit of female independence with sportier designs.
1990s: A new female clientele emerges in the Swiss watch industry during its revival.
2020: Vacheron Constantin introduces Égérie, its first dedicated ladies’ collection.