Despite all the troubles this year, Vacheron Constantin have not disappointed, unless you count ours, sequestered in our own houses and unable to see their creations. First up is a spectacular pair of perpetual calendars for the Overseas collection.
They are impressive on a number of dimensions: housed in the iconic rose gold Overseas case and available on bracelet, leather or rubber strap, the ultra-thin perpetual calendar movement is testimony to the watchmaker’s prowess.
The version with the blue lacquered dial (£85,000) creates an everyday watch with ultimate chic aesthetics. The skeletonised rendition (£121,000) displays the maison’s haute horlogerie skill for all to see. Skeletonising a movement is an art form in itself and Vacheron are first among equals.
However, for technical mastery, look no further than their Cabinotiers collection for truly unique grand complications. “La Musique du Temps®” is the theme under which three tour de force watches have been released: the first is the “Astronomical striking grand complication – Ode to music” featuring, as the name suggests, both astronomic and calendar functions with a minute repeating mechanism; the second is named after singing birds, showcasing exquisite enamelled dials, an art form in its own right; and thirdly, the “Grand Complication Split-seconds chronograph –Tempo,” a force majeure combination of horological functions that include a split-second chronograph, a perpetual calendar and minute repeater.
Piaget have continued their quest for the thinnest mechanical movements, by putting into production the prototype of the Altiplano Ultimate Concept, which they unveiled at SIHH two years ago. Still measuring a gossamer 2mm in depth, with the case forming part of the movement, a unique, integrated winding crown, an ultra-thin crystal, new developments include the barrel and energy regulation, which means the power reserve is now more than 40 hours but still so thin and light, you are hardly aware it is on your wrist.
As we have come to expect, Lange & Söhne have produced another technically beautiful watch, the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater in blue and silver, which comes in a limited edition of 25. This is the world’s only watch that combines a mechanical jumping numerals display with a decimal minute repeater. This new iteration bring us the dial elements in the current colour de rigeur in the horology world: blue. Lange & Söhne enthusiasts would be delighted at the chance of getting their hands on one of these on vogue limited pieces.
Roger Dubuis this year took a slightly different direction and produced a watch that was away from their usual skeletonised tourbillon. The Diabolus In Machina has the usual oversized Excalibur case, but it is made from a patented material called “CarTech Micro-Melt BioDur CCMTM”, a metal that is formed from sintering an initial powdered form of CCMTM. Being more scratch resistant than stainless steel, this innovative material stays shiny for longer. However, the real difference in the Diabolus In Machina is the minute repeater complication. Underneath the usual stylised dial, instead of space between the mechanics, the case is a density of metal parts for the repeater. The watch is one of one with a price tag to match: £495,500.