- A. Lange & Söhne
- Arnold & Son
- Audemars Piguet
- Baume & Mercier
- Bell & Ross
- Breitling for Bentley
- Carl F Bucherer
- Cuervo y Sobrinos
- De Bethune
- F. P. Journe
- Giuliano Mazzuoli
- Glashuette Original
- Greubel Forsey
- Grieb & Benzinger
- Harry Winston
- Jaquet Droz
- Jean Richard
- Linde Werdelin
- Maitres du Temps
- Maurice Lacroix
- Nomos Glashuette
- Parmigiani Fleurier
- Patek Philippe
- Richard Mille
- Robert Loomes & Co
- Roger Dubuis
- Roger W. Smith Limited
- Sarpaneva Watches
- Stefan Johansson
- Tag Heuer
- Ulysse Nardin
- Vacheron Constantin
- Other Watch Articles
Vacheron Constantin Malte Tourbillon
“Between us and excellence, the gods have placed sweat on our brows.”
The perspiration mentioned by the Greek poet, Hesiod, may not apply to the quiet endeavour of the artisans of Vacheron Constantin, however, their relentless pursuit of excellence has been a core value of the Genevan brand, founded in 1755.
François Constantin sent a letter to Jaques Barthélémy Vacheron in 1819 which included the words, “Do better if possible and that is always possible.” This would go on to become the brand’s motto.
If you scrutinise a Vacheron Constantin with a loupe, you will see the finest anglage, perlage and Côtes de Genève. Productive expediency could be achieved with greater reliance on CNC but then that would not sit with the handcrafting synonymous with this most aristocratic of horological names. There are few to usurp the reign of Vacheron Constantin in the royal court of haute horology.
This year, Vacheron Constantin celebrate 100 years of producing tonneau shaped watches. In January, I attended SIHH and viewed several new models which form the latest Malte collection.
The ultimate Malte has to be the model with the whirlwind at its core, the Malte Tourbillon. The tourbillon is the highest expression of horological virtue. This complication counters the negative effect gravity would otherwise have on the rate of the movement. In the case of this particular barrel-shaped timepiece, the carriage shares its profile with brand’s logo, the Maltese Cross.
The silvered sandblasted dial provides an elegant canvas for the beautiful artistic expressions of the Genevan masters. Pink gold batons indicate the hours with succinct delivery with the exception of noon, which is imparted with slim Roman numerals. A black painted minute track negotiates the periphery of the dial.
The aperture for the tourbillon carriage is outlined with 60 integers for the subsidiary seconds. The seconds hand is neat, nestling above the revolving tourbillon cage.
The silver coloured tourbillon carriage is beautiful with brilliantly polished, chamfered screws, attesting to matchless craft of this magnificent manufacture. Indeed the tourbillon bar which spans the aperture takes 11 hours of manual work to provide the flawless finish presented to the wearer.
The hour and minute hands are pink gold and lancine-shaped. They are located off-centre, biased to the upper area of the dial due to the presence of the aforementioned aperture for the tourbillon carriage.
Above the hour and minute hands is the brand's nomenclature and the word, “Geneve”. It is the fact that the watch is produced within the canton of Geneva and its compliance with the stringent conditions of the Hallmark of Geneva, that the watch bears the Poinçon de Genève on its reverse.
The largest of all the models within the Malte collection, the case measures, 38 mm x 48.2 mm. However, its substantial dimensions provide a greater canvas area for expressing horological artistry.
Curving sides, provide a dynamic character, interfacing with light with joyous results. The profile manipulates the sunshine, imparting different shades of metallised pinks, reds and browns.
The Maltese Cross, the brand's logo since 1880, appears on the vertical flank of the crown. The lineation of the knurling on the crown is exquisitely crisp and defined.
Vacheron Constantin make fine movements, harnessing exemplary finishing and thankfully they share the spectacle with the wearer, courtesy of a sapphire crystal caseback.
A new in-house movement was developed for this model, the calibre 2795. It is a study in how to finish a watch. It is the pinnacle of the watchmaker's craft.
I have studied this movement at SIHH with the watch cradled in my hands and subsequently I have stared at the high-resolution images provided by the brand. Every detail is beautifully executed.
This is a tonneau shaped movement, perfectly matching the case shape. Vacheron Constantin would not afford a view of the movement via the sapphire caseback if the movement did not correspond to the shape of the case. It would not conform to their idea of watchmaking etiquette.
The bridges are decorated with the Côtes de Genève motif. The brushed stripes, straight and parallel do not betray their hand applied formation. Some areas of the main plate are visible, all fastidiously finished with perlage.
The screws have bevelled slots, no wayward angles, all charmingly chamfered.
The watch conforms to the new Hallmark of Geneva standard, which no longer certificates merely the movement but now the whole of the timepiece.
I have never made any secret of my admiration for Vacheron Constantin and my respect for this brand sees no sign of abating soon. To understand what constitutes the finest finissage of a high-end timepiece, one need look no further than this watch.
Sadly, those who win the lottery may select a brightly jewelled watch from a mainstream brand name. However, unlike these misguided magpies, the discerning will gravitate to the restrained elegance of a Vacheron Constantin.
I can think of few timepieces which can surpass the majestic magnificence of the Malte Tourbillon, born of relentless endeavour in a dust free workshop in Geneva. Contrary to Hesiod's opinion, the excellence of this watch did not necessitate sweating brows, but that should not negate the tireless pursuit of perfection practised by the talented few.
- Model: Vacheron Constantin Malte Tourbillon
- Reference: 30130/000R-9754
- Case: 18-carat pink gold; dimensions 38 mm x 48.2 mm; height 12.73 mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds on tourbillon cage
- Movement: Calibre 2795, manual-wind; frequency 18,000 vph (2.5 Hz); 27 jewels; power reserve 45 hours; 246 parts.
- Strap: Brown Mississippiensis alligator, large square scales, hand-stitched, saddle-finish