As long as the internet and watch enthusiasts exist, there will be arguments about what the first watch on Mount Everest was. But rather than discussing semantic possibilities of the interpretation of 60-year-old advertisements, we wanted to look at a selection of Mount Everest watches (not just which was first). Smiths de Luxe The source of much argument and marketing budget, the Smiths de Luxe was taken to the summit of Mount Everest. The dispute lies in whether the watch was worn on the wrist or kept in a pocket, but, regardless, it was carried in some fashion to the highest point on earth. The watch in question now lies in the London museum of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers. Rolex Oyster Perpetual Chronometer Rolex were a sponsor of the 1953 expedition to the top of Mount Everest, with each member of the group loaned one of a batch of prototypes to wear. These watches were offered with the expectation of their return upon completion of the attempt, to allow Rolex to test how the watches were affected by the altitude. The watch now resides in the Beyer Clock and Watch Museum in Zürich, Switzerland, after being provided… Read More
To understand the Vacheron Constantin Twin Beat, we need to begin with a universal truth: in most areas of life, the most meaningful innovations are those that address real-life needs, solving practical problems in a sensible way. And those solutions come through questioning orthodox assumptions. In the case of mechanical watches, the received wisdom is that the running time of a watch before it needs rewinding (its power reserve) is fixed by the amount of energy the mainspring can store. In other words, the mainspring barrel has a fixed capacity and thus can release energy only for a fixed timespan. Therefore, a longer power reserve requires either a longer mainspring (much larger barrel) or multiple mainsprings that release their energy one by one (multiple, series-coupled barrels). Both of these conventional solutions require more space in the movement and, consequently, a bigger watch case. It's like the range of a car: have a bigger tank or build in some energy-saving technology. Now, for time-only automatic watches this limitation of power reserve is not a huge issue, since even a very slim case can accommodate enough mainspring to provide 60 hours of running time (and those who really do find it an… Read More
A tourbillon inside a steel sports watch? On a rubber strap? It's enough to bring a watch-purist out in a cold sweat. And when such a watch is launched by one of the most venerable companies in the business? Ohhh … But that's exactly what makes the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon so cool. Yes, cool. Here's Vacheron Constantin, showing off its haute horlogerie chops in casual, sports-luxe mode. The tourbillon follows a chronograph, a perpetual calendar and a world timer into the Overseas line but its presence in the collection is both strange and wonderful in a way those other complications are not. It's not the first time we've seen a tourbillon in a sports-luxe line (AP, Richard Mille et al.), but Vacheron usually surrounds its tourbillons with elegant refinement and/or high complications. This is by far the house's most understated tourbillon watch to date – and here, the delicate and beautiful mechanism sits in splendid isolation, surrounded by an ocean of blue dial. And wrapped up in steel. The case Fasten the watch to your wrist and the case shows its star quality. The proportions are great: wide enough (42.5mm) and thin enough (10.39mm) to look and feel strongly present… Read More
Vacheron Constantin is famous for its ability to create custom or one-off watches for clients (to learn more about their Les Cabinotiers department, click here). And given the brand's exceptionally long history, it should come as no surprise that Vacheron Constantin has been making custom pieces for a long time indeed. Phillips is auctioning off one such piece at their Geneva auction, a piece unique from the 1930s known as "Don Pancho". This watch was the first to feature the combination of minute repeater, calendar and retrograde date, and is, by happy coincidence, undeniably stylish. It's an interesting auction lot. Because while it has undeniable provenance (it's been in the same family for the last 70 years), and is historically significant, it's also sporting a remade dial. The estimate is between 400,000 and 800,000 CHF, but really, it could go anywhere. I guess we'll find out in May. Find out more at The New York Times.
Traditionally, the blues are associated with sadness or hard times in life. However, that's definitely not the case over at Vacheron Constantin, as these new blue-dialled additions add a bright new take on some of the brand's core pieces. But, these three blues are not the same, each is different in shade or finish, and has been created specifically to complement the character of the collection in which it sits. Here are our three picks … The Vacheron Constantin Fiftysix Complete Calendar in petrol blue As far as collections go, the Fiftysix is Vacheron Constantin's newest – loaded with mid-century charm and lots of sophisticated details, like a complex, multi-textured dial and a pleasingly idiosyncratic case. This year saw the addition of a striking new dial — a rich colour specific for the Fiftysix collection called petrol blue. On this Complete Calendar model, the new colour, along with the traditional layout of day and month apertures at the top, and moon at the bottom, makes for a compelling blend of timelessness and style. The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Blue Blue and gold is a combination that never gets old. However, it is new for Vacheron Constantin's Overseas Perpetual… Read More
I'll be frank: even using the word "unique" in this feature – let alone in its title – is dangerous territory. In this era of overblown, overhyped, and over-exaggerated positioning by brands and their marketing machines filled with a youthful and often naive "we are the next big thing!" mentality, words like unique are thrown around with impunity pretty much every other day. That said, Vacheron Constantin is not one for hype or unwarranted superlatives, and when they say their Les Cabinotiers department offers truly unique watchmaking, well, let's just say they aren't playing around. What the brand hangs their hat on here is that they can (and will) build one-off watches. These unique pieces are either created to a client's specification, or as single watches devised by the department to showcase their immense talents, and give a glimse of what is possible. Sometimes they go so far as to create new calibers and develop new techniques should the commission call for it. That said, the pieces need to remain within the brand's traditional guidelines to a certain respect. After all, you wouldn't turn to Vacheron Constantin to build you an oversized, ultra-contemporary sports watch. The brand has gone to great lengths to maintain a high level of skill… Read More
A little while ago, I had a very good day at work. That's because my job involved spending some quality time with three exceptional Vacheron Constantin watches, which just happened to be in Melbourne. The first was the Patrimony Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin — a very classic (and slender) execution. Then there was the gorgeous Traditionnelle Tourbillon, with a dial dominated by a mesmerising tourbillon that I could easily get lost in. And finally, the Traditionnelle Grandes Complication Equation of Time – a watch that really shows just what sort of artistic engineering marvels Vacheron Constantin is capable of. Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Grandes Complication Equation of Time Vacheron Constantin Australian pricing and availability Patrimony Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin, $120,000 Traditionnelle Tourbillon, $194,000 Traditionnelle Grandes Complication Equation of Time, $645,000 Available at Monards.
When it comes to Vacheron Constantin's SIHH releases, there's no doubt the pieces that were the talk of the town (and rightfully so) were the epic Twin Beat and the slightly less epic but epically attractive Overseas Tourbillon. And I get it, they're both great watches. The Twin Beat is a triumph of clever engineering and the Overseas Tourbillon is downright gorgeous. But the heart wants what the heart wants. And the Vacheron Constantin my heart wanted wasn't really a new watch at all. But, instead, an existing piece on a new bracelet. And, boy, what a difference a bracelet can make. But before we get to that, a quick recap on the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin. It was released last year on blue rubber and leather, and looks great. It had that sporty-with-a-very-healthy-dose-of-luxe Overseas look, which is dialled up to 11 in its 41.5mm pink gold case. And then there's the opaline dial in a classic perpetual calendar configuration, all powered by the mighty 1120 QP/1. So the watch is already a heavy hitter, merely by virtue of being a gold perpetual calendar from one of the greatest houses. But, add to that a truly epic pink… Read More