Say hello to my bulging friend - the Malte. Yea, I said it. Vacheron Constantin redoes its classic Malte watch case for 2012 as a "bulging barrel" design that is not universally liked, but is distinctive. I for one am actually a fan of the new more exaggerated tonneau style case and thin profile of this casually elegant range of watches. For men there are three versions this year.
For a long time the Matle has been part of the Vacheron Constantin line up. It has housed all sorts of movements - many with very high complications. The new range is much more simple and wonderfully chic in my opinion. The conservative brand offers only one style of each this year - with more to follow for sure in the coming years.
My favorite version is a limited edition of 100 pieces model in 950 platinum called the Vacheron Constantin Malte 100th Anniversary Edition. It is the 100th anniversary of the tonneau-shaped watch for Vacheron Constantin this year by the way... The watch is a simple two-handed with cool sandblasted silver dial and black Roman numerals. It contains the Vacheron Constantin in-house made Calibre 4400 manually would movement.
The main Malte case for 2012 is quite thin and curved a bit. On the wrist is it extremely comfortable and I love how it looks. Size is decent at 36.70mm wide and 47.61mm tall. Aside from the tourbillon, the watch have very simple solid casebacks. One the dial the hands are those lovely models that are sort of dauphine shaped with small ends and have that contrast polishing of satin and polished for a bold, legible look.
The simple standard Malte model for 2012 is the Vacheron Constantin Malte Small Seconds. It differs from the limited edition model in terms of the dial case material and movement. The movement is actually the same base, but here offered in the Caliber 4400 AS version with a small seconds dial. The dial for this model is more in line with the contemporary Vacheron Constantin aesthetic. Applied baton hour markers in gold with Roman numerals at 12 and 6 o'clock. Also a very nice piece on the wrist. This year the Malte Small seconds will be offered in 18k pink gold only.
There is also a smaller Malte model for women but I won't cover that here. The high complication version of the new Malte, is the Malte Tourbillon. The case here is slightly bigger due to the movement, and is 38mm wide by just over 48mm tall. It is also thicker and contains Vacheron Constantin's Calibre 2795 manually wound tourbillon movement. The great looking watch has a tourbillon window that looks massive due to the case design - but is no larger than on most other VC watches of today. The watch has an exposed caseback and the movement is as pretty as ever. Well integrated into the new Malte case, the Tourbillon is a strong looking high-complication watch with a relaxed personality.
Each of the new Malte watches for 2012 will be strong sellers in what feels like all Vacheron Constantin markets. As they redevelop the US market I think simple yet distinctive pieces like this will have a strong appeal to consumers looking for an elegant watch from a top Swiss brand. Prices are as follows: $24,600 for the Malte Small Seconds, $51,300 for the Malte 100th Anniversary limited edition, and $183,900 for the Malte Tourbillon.