Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Minute Repeater Tourbillon: Understated Perfection
by Martin Green
Can a watch with a tourbillon clearly visible on the dial side ever be understated?
Common sense says no, but for the Traditionnelle Minute Repeater Tourbillon, Vacheron Constantin says yes!
Continuing on with the automotive analogy, this “Tesla” might be challenged by a Porsche Panamera Turbo, but then all the driver would have to do is simply activate “ludicrous mode” and that Porsche rather quickly becomes a faint memory in the rear view mirror.
The same goes for this Vacheron Constantin timepiece: simply activate the slide on the left side of the case to start the minute repeater and remind other tourbillon owners that they are outgunned by a distinctive, sonorous musical note.
The wearer of this masterpiece may choose not to do something like that – as he or she is obviously enamored of understatement. But at the same time firing up all its big guns perfectly illustrates what a rare treat this Vacheron Constantin timepiece is.
Rather restrained in terms of style, as Vacheron Constantin tends to be, the Traditionnelle Minute Repeater Tourbillon is a very refined timepiece. The case provides the watch with elegance without even trying, balancing the vibrant dial featuring typical Vacheron Constantin guilloché. By placing the railroad track for the hour and minute hand slightly off-center, it almost resembles a halo for the tourbillon with its Maltese Cross-shaped cage referencing, of course, Vacheron Constantin’s emblem.
Wait, did I just hear the theme song from “The Saint”?
This is, in fact, a clever way of highlighting the tourbillon without making too much fuss over it using restrained refinement and really understanding the design DNA of one’s brand.
And while this may sound like a given for a self-respecting haute horlogerie brand, all too often the temptation to make more extroverted timepieces can seemingly not be resisted.
The tourbillon and its attractively shaped cage highlights the sophisticated movement that Vacheron Constantin developed for this watch. Consisting of 471 parts, the movement is a svelte 6.1 mm high despite its 56-hour power reserve, which is visible via a power reserve indicator on the back of the watch.
The latter not only results in a cleaner dial, but also almost forces you to admire the back of the watch – not that that is tragic in any way. The manually wound movement’s lack of a rotor allows you to admire the unobstructed mechanics in their full glory. Not only can you see the minute repeater hammers in action, but also the Geneva Seal-sanctioned stunning finish.
It is quite surprising to me that Vacheron Constantin opted for a 44 mm case to house the Traditionnelle Minute Repeater Tourbillon since there is currently a trend back toward smaller watches.
With the movement itself only 33.9 mm in diameter, a smaller case would most certainly have been a viable option. It could very well be that the larger case simply provided a richer, louder space option for the minute repeater’s sound to unfold. With the height of the case only 12.2 mm, the profile of the watch is kept slim, which substantially contributes to the wearing comfort.
The Traditionnelle Minute Repeater Tourbillon is available in a platinum case with a classic silvered opaline dial or a slate-colored dial with a black railroad track, giving the watch a sportier edge.
The version housed in an 18-karat pink gold (5N) case is the most classical proposition of the three variations and only available with the silvered opaline dial. The rich color of the pink gold case makes this version the most extroverted of the trio, yet thanks to its highly sophisticated movement, even this version remains an understatement.
For more information, please visit www.vacheron-constantin.com/en/watches/traditionnelle/traditionnelle-traditionnelle-minute-repeater-tourbillon.
Case: 44 x 12.2 mm, pink gold or platinum
Movement: manual winding Caliber 2755 TMR with one-minute tourbillon, 471 components, approximately 58-hour power reserve, 2.5 Hz (18,000 vph)
Functions: hours, minutes; minute repeater
Price: €440,000 in pink gold (VAT excluded), €490,000 in platinum (VAT excluded)