With most people’s attention focused on the renaissance of the Gold Historiques 222 and even the skeletonised version of the Overseas during Watches and Wonders 2022, the presentation of Vacheron Constantin’s salmon dial chrono QP was – surprisingly – bypassed by many. Fair enough, Vacheron’s Traditionelle Perpetual Calendar Chronograph with an in-house movement has been around since 2016, so it was not a novelty. However, what was new was the presentation of this platinum version with a beautiful salmon dial, perpetuating the refined yet demure existence of a model that underscores Vacheron Constantin’s status as one of the top proponents of Swiss watchmaking.
Comparisons to Patek Philippe’s 5270 perpetual calendar and chronograph are inevitable, especially with this latest platinum case/salmon dial combo, and welcome. Interestingly, both Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin had relied on the prestigious Lemania calibre as the chronograph base for their perpetual calendar chronographs until Patek broke rank and launched its in-house movement with the 5270 in 2011. Vacheron Constantin followed suit and released its 1142 QP calibre, which was, however, still based on the Lemania chronograph but featured an in-house perpetual calendar module. Its debut was inside the reference 5000T-00P.
Regarding specifications and layout, the latest Traditionelle Perpetual Calendar Chronograph follows in the footsteps of other ref. 5000T. The case measures 43mm and is crafted in platinum, and displays the classic Traditionelle shape with straight lugs, rectangular brushed pushers and the signature fluted caseback. The case has a height of 12.94mm, and the sapphire caseback reveals the spectacular mechanics of calibre 1142 QP.
The novelty of the latest QP chronograph is the harmonious combination of a platinum case and salmon dial, an ensemble that evokes the great days of Vacheron Constantin’s classical watchmaking when coloured dials were considered the epitome of elegance. A member of Vacheron’s elite Excellence Platine collection comprised of limited editions made of platinum, the watch will be produced in limited annual quantities and sold exclusively at Vacheron Constantin boutiques.
We’ve seen this model in platinum with a sober dark grey dial and in pink gold with a white dial, but I have to admit that this platinum/salmon combination is the most beautiful of the lot. The subtle warm glow of the opaline salmon dial is entrancing and contrasts beautifully with the gleaming white polished platinum surfaces of the case. Looking closely at the dial, you’ll notice the impressive amount of details and finishings that enrich the spectacle and foster legibility.
Starting with the chronograph functions, the painted tachymetre scale on the periphery of the dial used to measure average speed is picked out in a lighter pink colour with darker markings aligned with the numerals (base 1000). In fact, the lighter pink-coloured track also appears on the slightly recessed small seconds at 9 o’clock and the 30-minute chronograph counter at 3 o’clock. All three tracks are, in turn, set on a circular satin-brushed ring and the horizontal counters further distinguished by their snailed interiors. Combined with the blue central chronograph seconds hand and the blue hand for the elapsed 30-minutes, these small yet highly effective design details really help the chronograph functions stand out. Although they might not be perceived at first glance, there are some subtle changes on the dial. One, for example, is the tiny bit of extra space between the date ring and the minutes track compared to the earlier models that seem to invade the track. Another subtle update – and I am hazarding a guess – is that the applied white gold hour markers are slightly longer.
The days and months are displayed in two bevelled rectangular windows above the axis of the central hands, and the leap year appears in an oval-shaped aperture just above the 30-min chronograph counter. A pointer-style date counter at 6 o’clock, with odd numbers displayed on a circular satin-brushed ring, is home to the moon phase indicator. The Man-in-the-Moon face is depicted on a platinum disc with raised polished moons surrounded by stars on a frosted background. The face of the Moon has two expressions: smiling and sad.
Another feature that distinguishes this model is the new interpretation of the Maltese cross that now appears in pink gold with faceted arms that have been sandblasted on one side and polished on the other. Last but not least, the incorporation of blue hands for the chronograph functions and the date is new and contrasts beautifully with the salmon dial.
The manual-winding calibre 1142 QP inside the Traditionelle Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is one of the most highly prized calibres among collectors. Based on the historical Lemania 2310 column-wheel chronograph – you can still see the historic Y-shaped or wishbone-shaped bridge alla VC and the column wheel with a Maltese cross – there have been some in-house modifications/improvements. The most noticeable one, of course, is the addition of a perpetual calendar module, while the frequency has also been adjusted to 3Hz instead of the historical 2.5Hz, purportedly to increase reliability and shock-resistance. Finally, the calibre1142 QP features the Geneva Seal, certifying the high level of finishing of both the calibre as well the finishing of the watch as a whole, an additional accolade. The finishings of the movement include a circular-grained mainplate, Côtes de Genève on the bridges, hand-bevelled components and straight-grained flanks.
Clearly, the combination of a historic chronograph movement with a perpetual calendar is a technical gem and one that will attract collectors. Add to this the beautiful platinum/salmon interpretation, and the aesthetic value of the watch soars. In short, the watch might have been eclipsed by the noise of other novelties during Watches and Wonders, but it will be avidly coveted by a few discerning collectors.
The Salmon Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Platinum comes on a blue hand-stitched alligator leather strap with a platinum folding buckle. The price is EUR 121,250 (excl. taxes). It will be only available through Vacheron Constantin Boutiques.
For more information, please visit www.vacheron-constantin.com.