SIHH 2012: Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle 14 Day Tourbillon

Here’s a look at the SIHH pre-release from Vacheron Constantin, the Patrimony Traditionnelle 14 Day Tourbillon.  Don’t be fooled into taking this piece for a classical tourbillon — in fact this piece boasts a 14-day power reserve, powered the four barreled VC Calibre 2260 (we’re talking 2.2 meters of barrel spring, people!).  As well, this is the first Vacheron Constantin timepiece to be approved according to the new Geneva Seal criteria (see “Did You Know?” below).

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Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle 14 Day Tourbillon

42mm pink gold case (12.2mm thick), mechanical hand-wound VC Calibre 2260 (336 hours/14-day power reserve, 4 barrels), Geneva Seal, alligator strap with pink gold clasp, transparent back fitted with a sapphire crystal

Reference 89000/000R-9655

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. The four barrel-springs amount to a total length of around 2.20 metres — now that’s a lot of spring!  Comprising 231 parts and beating at a frequency of 18,800 vibrations/hour.

The architecture of this new Calibre 2260 features two large bridges (instead of the three appearing on the previous Vacheron Constantin tourbillons). The large surfaces thus available serve to highlight the finishes lavished on this movement, including the Côtes de Genève that are thus given full scope for expression. Having two extra bridges serves to enhance the precision in terms of assembly, but represents an additional difficulty for the watchmaker who thus has less easy access to the movement. The tourbillon carriage is inspired by the brand’s signature Maltese Cross and provides a splendid showcase for the exceptional level of finishing of each movement part, including a number of interior angles, all naturally hand-bevelled. The rounding off of the tourbillon bar alone takes over 11 hours of manual craftsmanship to achieve an optimal effect.

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), 5N pink gold dauphine hands and an historically inspired opaline silver-toned dial adorned with a variety of finishes make this an exquisite collectors piece.

Live pics via The Hour Lounge

Did You Know?

New Geneva Seal Criteria

As of 2012, the certification no longer concerns 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.