With a history that dates back to 1755, Vacheron Constantin is one of the world’s oldest watch manufacturers that is still in operation today. Since the 1800s, Vacheron Constantin has been producing timepieces specifically designed for women, and the brand continues to create women’s models that uphold the same exacting standards of mechanical ingenuity and finishing that can be found among the men’s models. First unveiled at Watches & Wonders Geneva earlier this year, the Vacheron Constantin Women’s Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin offers one of watchmaking’s most prestigious complications in a compact form that features a mother of pearl dial and a case covered in diamonds.
Measuring 36.5mm in diameter and 8.43mm-thick, the case of the Vacheron Constantin Women’s Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin is crafted from solid 18k gold (either white or 5N pink gold), and it features a classic round shape that is fitted with a thin bezel and small lugs that gently curve off from the side and turn downwards towards the wrist. In terms of sizing, 36.5mm is about as versatile as you can get. Regardless of whether popular trends are currently favoring larger or smaller case sizes, rarely is someone’s wrist either so large or so small that 36.5mm actually becomes flat-out unwearable.
Regardless of whether you opt for white or pink gold, the bezel and lugs are set with 76 round-cut diamonds, while the winding crown also receives a diamond embedded into it. A sapphire crystal protects the dial, while a second sapphire crystal occupies the majority of the screw-on caseback and offers an unobstructed view of the beautifully decorated movement. Like most perpetual calendar watches, setting the various calendar displays is done with a series of small push-buttons that are located on the side of the case, while the crown at 3 o’clock controls the usual winding and time-setting functions. Although the Vacheron Constantin Women’s Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin does officially offer a water resistance rating of 30-meters, you can reasonably assume that you are not meant to wear your solid-gold, diamond-set, ultra-thin perpetual calendar in or around the water.
The dial of the Vacheron Constantin Women’s Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin features a blue-gray tinted mother of pearl surface (the pink gold version receives a white mother of pearl dial). It offers a relatively traditional approach to a perpetual calendar display, with a three-register plus moonphase layout consisting of the day, date, and month each displayed on separate registers, with the leap year indicator sharing the month display, and a moonphase complication placed towards the 6 o’clock location. Polished dauphine-style hands point out the time against a railway minutes track printed in white, which is punctuated by white gold baton-style hour markers. The moonphase disc appears in a similar blue-gray tone as the mother of pearl dial, while the moon and stars are depicted in white gold to match the dial furniture and the metal of the case.
Powering the Vacheron Constantin Women’s Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin is the in-house Caliber 1120 QP. The movement itself measures just 4.05mm=thick, which allows the watch to achieve its notably thin overall profile. Consisting of 276 components and running at a somewhat unusual frequency of 19,800vph (likely a decision made in order to extend the power reserve to 40 hours), the 36-jewel movement offers users a power reserve of approximately 40 hours and it will not require calendar correction until the year 2100. Additionally, as the Cal. 1120 QP includes the Hallmark of Geneva, it offers all of the finishing and attention to detail that you would expect to find on a movement of this quality, such as circular graining on the mainplate, polished teeth on the going train, hand-beveled bridges, and ample applications of Geneva stripes. Fitted to the watch is a blue-gray alligator leather strap with a calfskin lining and a matching 18k white gold buckle, which is adorned with 17 round-cut diamonds to match the case. Additionally, the strap connects to the watch with an innovative quick-release system, which enables instantaneous tool-free strap changes with the push of a button located on the interior of the strap near the lugs.
When it comes to mechanical watch complications, perpetual calendars are considered to be some of the heavy-hitters within the industry, and they are often reserved for brands’ most premium and exclusive models. The stereotype of women’s luxury watches not offering serious mechanical complications is definitely starting to change, and models such as the Vacheron Constantin Women’s Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin are proof that women’s watches can offer some of the most prestigious mechanical complications, while still retaining their diamond-set cases and mother of pearl dials. With an official retail price of $87,500 USD, this is not an inexpensive timepiece. However, as an ultra-thin perpetual calendar crafted from solid gold, covered with diamonds, and produced by one of the world’s most highly respected luxury watch manufacturers, you would also expect nothing less. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.