This week, the Palexpo facility in Geneva, Switzerland, will become the center of the watch world for the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH, a luxury watch show rivaled only by BaselWorld in relevance and prestige. We’ve got a team on the ground, there to bring you the most exciting releases. Follow our coverage here, and also be sure to check out Instagram. We’ll be posting to our feed throughout the week.
Price: Price upon request
Availability: One unique piece in each of white and pink gold
Movement: 1731 QP
Case Diameter: 42mm
Case Thickness: 11.6mm
Case Material: White gold; pink gold
Unique Features: Perpetual calendar; minute repeater
Upshot: Vacheron Constantin may be making overtures toward slightly more affordable timepieces, but it remains one of the most high-end watchmakers in existance. In 2016, the boast was carried out by the Reference 57260, the most complicated watch ever made. At last year’s SIHH, the brand unveiled the Les Cabinotiers Celestia, an entry into its special Les Cabinotiers series that featured an “astronomical grand complication” including complications to tell time three ways, plus a moonphase, perpetual calendar, a tourbillon, celestial chart and more. This year, they’re showing off with a watch that pairs two of the most difficult complications to make, the minute repeater and perpetual calendar, within a gorgeous and relatively slim watch.
Who It’s For: One lucky buyer for each of the two pieces — Vacheron is only making one in white gold and one in pink (each is referred to as a “pièce unique” for this reason). It should be noted, however, that the Maison is really making this model to show off its watchmaking skill; at this level, it’s doing the horological equivalent of privately sending a rover to Mars.
First Take: A minute repeater packs into a wristwatch all the complexity of a chiming clock that can tell its wearer the hour and minute by sound — beautiful sound, for that matter. The perpetual calendar navigates our tricky Gregorian calendar (and its pesky leap year) and the watchmaker’s bane of months with 30 days rather than 31. Both complications are incredibly difficult to engineer — wrapping them together into a watch is rare, and Vacheron does so in an absolutely stunning package, with clean dial design and a 42mm case in white or rose gold.
Insight: In the past, Vacheron has crammed its show-stealing watches with an incredible array of complications, pushing the envelope for what a watch can accomplish. That’s less the case here. And while the Minute Repeater QP might have a little less “oooh and ahhh” factor that some of its most complicated work, keeping things straightforward will probably mean a more enjoyable watch for whichever lucky sons of guns gets their hands on it.