Vacheron Constantin Répétition Minute, the thinnest watch of the market
In the wake of four years’ development, an undeniable legitimate history has been built… Vacheron Constantin endlessly sublimates micromechanical arts with an ultra-slim striking watch.
Is the Tourbillon era behind us? Has the famous invention attributed to Abraham-Louis Breguet become obsolete after having been worked upon by several brands during these past two centuries? Absolutely not! However, brands of excellent horology henceforth cross swords with the queen mother of complications, that is, the minute-repeater. From a historical point of view, this ultra-complicated mechanism created in the 18th century gave time through sound at night, at an epoch when electricity was unheard of and when the pledged insomniacs would not have woken up to light the candles or torches.
If today’s era can easily be spared this functionality, the skill required for the creation and regulation of such a mechanism remains ultimately fascinating since it embodies the height of watchmaking science. In terms of image, it perpetuates the idea that behind every mechanical timekeeper, whatever its category, has been a watchmaker in full possession of his faculties and craft.
The double legitimacy of Vacheron Constantin
Extending over more than two centuries, the Vacheron Constantin history is sprinkled with striking watches. In 1810, a pocket watch already coupled striking mechanisms with other major complications. Other models have then joined famous wrists. In 1929, that of Egypt’s King Fuad, then in 1935, that of his son’s, are amongst many other instances.
It is in 1941 that the brand launches its first wristwatch equipped with only the minute-repeater complication via an ultra-slim movement, the calibre 4261. In 1992, the quest was continued with the calibre 1755, a minute-repeater movement displaying only 3,28 in thickness! The arrival of this Patrimony Contemporaine Minute Repeater, on September 2013, gives the opportunity to the brand to recover its legitimate history as much in the course for the thinnest as for the skill of striking watches.
Indeed, the calibre 1731 – date of the tribute paid to the birth year of the founder Jean-Marc Vacheron – exceeds the 1992 calibre’s thickness by a tenth of millimetre, but it has the virtue of being the thinnest in the market today, without needing to sacrifice its 65 hours power reserve on the altar of the record course. Four years of work and implementation was needed for this.
A classical case for this Patrimony Contemporaine Calibre 1731
What best presentation-case than the timeless housing with which the mechanism forms a body, reinforcing its resonances and exploiting every bit of space? It concerns the emanation of an ultra-thin piece created in 1955 on the occasion of 200th anniversary of Vacheron Constantin, revisited in 2004 to become the Patrimony Contemporaine, reference 81180: extreme slimness, runner form, curved bezel, domed dial and glass, circular-grained minute-circle, baton hands… For this 2013 premiere, its architecture has once more been optimised thus creating an ultimate record: a piece of 8,09 mm !
The Hallmark of Geneva
Stamped Hallmark of Geneva, the ultra-thin Patrimony Contemporaine Calibre 1731 Minute Repeater illustrates the arts of the chamfer producer whose formation is done over at least 18 months at Vacheron Constantin. Behind every piece, there is a master of the «Grandes Complications» workshop, signer of the model even till the particularity of its sonority.
A minimum of six months is needed for its assembly and setting. 265 components, 36 rubies. 18 carats 5N pink gold case, 41mm in diameter, 8,9mm in thickness, silver opaline dial, circular-grained minute-circle, decentring of the small seconds at the 8 o’clock position, sapphire back, brown Mississippiensis alligator leather strap, hand-stitched, large square scales, saddler finish and pink gold pin buckle stamped with a polished half Maltese cross.
Vacheron Constantin innovates with the ultra-slim Calibre 1731
Two inertia-blocks designed in the purpose of braking the regulator’s rotating axis, thus smoothing the energy provided by the barrel’s spring. When the regulator rotates, the centrifugal force makes one of the ends move slightly away towards the exterior, while the other end comes pressing the axis to slow down and stabilise the rotation’s speed and thus ensuring a constant speed of the striking-mechanism. 21’600 vibrations per hour, manual winding, 65 hours of power reserve.