In a retrograde date display, the hand does not make a complete revolution of the dial, but passes through the measuring segment to then jump back to the starting point and begin again from the new. Retrograde displays first appeared at Vacheron Constantin in the 1920s in pocket watches. It was not until 1940 that the manufacture produced its first wristwatch with a retrograde date display in combination with a minute repeater, named after the man who commissioned it in 1935: the Don Pancho. In the early 1990s, Vacheron Constantin revisited this characteristic complication in several wristwatches, such as the Mercator of 1994 and later the Saltarello of 1997. This year, the retrograde display becomes an overarching focus point, with no less than three novelties in three different collections.
The Overseas Moonphase and Retrograde Date Display
Launched in 1996, the Overseas collection can be seen as the successor to the iconic 222, Vacheron Constantin’s first sporty-chic watch launched in 1977. By way of illustration, it brings robustness, elegance and a versatile appearance. For the first time ever, a timepiece in the collection now also comes with a retrograde date display in combination with a precise astronomical moonphase, the technical complexity of which is showcased on the dial.
The case of the new watch, which belongs to a collection that is a symbol of Vacheron Constantin’s sportiest watchmaking ability, loses none of its recognisable attributes. The 41-mm steel case has a polished and satin-finished finish, while the six-winged bezel creates the brand’s Maltese Cross emblem. The case height is 10.48 mm, while the water resistance is 50 m.
The dial of the Overseas Moonphase and retrograde date display
For the dial of the Overseas Moonphase and Retrograde Date Display, Vacheron Constantin has succeeded particularly well in striking a balance between the sporty signature and the traditional watchmaking complications. The retrograde date display, which is visualised by means of a central hand, is located in the upper half, while the precise moonphase sits in the lower half of the blue lacquered dial. This complication, called ‘age of the moon’, shows the phases of the moon from 0 to 29 ½, from which one can read the number of days that have elapsed since the last new moon.
Inside the timepiece, Vacheron integrates its manufacture automatic calibre 2460 R31L/2, which has a power reserve of 40 hours. The 275 components of the movement and the oscillating weight on 22-carat gold can be admired through the open caseback.
Strap and price
To round off the delivery, the watch comes with a blue calfskin strap with grey stitching and a blue rubber strap in addition to the steel bracelet with triple-folding clasp. As an additional highlight, the watch has a second stainless-steel triple-folding clasp that is compatible with both additional straps. Interested parties can purchase the novelty for 47,500 euros.
The Patrimony retrograde date and weekday display
The combination of metal cases and salmon-coloured dials has been found in Vacheron Constantin watches since the 1940s. Whether in steel cases, as in the Reference 4178 chronograph, or platinum cases, as in the Reference 5000T, the colour combinations arouse the interest of collectors and enthusiasts alike. Since 2022, the interplay of platinum and salmon shades has been an expression of a new aesthetic that is reflected in the maison‘s various collections in limited annual production. Deeply rooted in the history of the manufacture, the new Patrimony retrograde date and day of the week display in 950 platinum also picks up on this timeless combination.
Meanwhile, the case of the new Patrimony retrograde date and weekday display is made of 950 platinum. The case has a diameter of 42.55 mm and a height of only 9.7 mm. In addition, it provides water resistance to 30 metres.
Nestling inside the platinum case is the salmon-coloured dial with a sunburst pattern. The Maltese cross, the emblem of the house, is proudly emblazoned below the 12 o’clock marker. But this is a new interpretation reserved only for this salmon-coloured dial: the arms of the cross in 18-carat rose gold are sandblasted on one side and faceted on the other. The retrograde indication of the day and date is done classically with blued steel hands, while the hours and minutes are indicated by hands in 18-carat white gold. Further accents are set by the outer ring of the dial, which is adorned with fine diamond-cut pearls made of 18-carat white gold; this is where minimalist design and elegance come together.
The calibre 2460 R31R7/3 is an in-house calibre with automatic winding and a power reserve of 40 hours. The open caseback reveals the skeletonised oscillating weight in 22-carat gold, inspired by the Maltese Cross. The main plate is circular-grained on both sides, while the bridges on the back are decorated with the Côtes d Genève motif.
Strap and price
The new timepiece is available on a dark blue Mississippiensis alligator leather strap with calfskin lining. The price of this novelty is 67,000 euros.
The Traditionnelle Tourbillon retrograde date display Openface
The Traditionnelle Tourbillon retrograde date Openface follows in the footsteps of Reference 47247, the watch that made the retrograde date and partially skeletonised dial design a trademark at Vacheron Constantin in 2002. Now, with a tourbillon, retrograde date and high watchmaking finishing of the components, the 2023 novelty continues to write the history of open-worked watches at Vacheron Constantin.
The new Traditionnelle Tourbillon is the result of a three-year development process that combines two of the maison‘s hallmarks: the retrograde display and the open-worked dial design. With an 18-carat rose gold case that measures 41 mm in diameter and 11.07 mm in height, the new watch features a graduated round case and lugs; signature features of the Traditionelle collection.
The open dial, which consists of four key elements, also shows how technical complexity and watchmaking aesthetics are brought into harmony. Golden baton indices frame the faceted dauphine hour and minute hands, which are also made of 18-carat 5N rose gold. The PVD-blackened hand with a white lacquered tip in 18-carat gold indicates the retrograde date, while the complemented tourbillon adds depth to the dial.
Inside, the calibre 2162 R31, developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin, is hard at work. The automatic movement with 72-hour power reserve has a modern slate-grey finish and a contrasting oscillating weight in gold, which can be admired through the open caseback.
Strap and price
The Traditionnelle Tourbillon retrograde date display Openface comes on a grey Mississippiensis alligator leather strap with alligator leather lining. The price is 195,000 euros.