November 5, 2014
by Ariel Adams
This one-of-a-kind “piece unique” watch from Vacheron Constantin comes with a case that has been hand-engraved with a dragon scales motif and a sensible price of over $500,000. For 2014, at the Watches & Wonders show in Hong Kong, comes the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Calibre 2253 L’Empreinte Du Dragon timepiece. The dragon theme is more than likely in honor of the powerful Chinese Zodiac sign, but I prefer to think of it as being in honor of dragons we came to know in 2014. In any event, it will be about a decade until it becomes the year of the dragon once again.
So in honor of dragons, I decided to listen to the Game of Thrones opening theme on repeat while writing this article on the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Calibre 2253 L’Empreinte Du Dragon watch. So that you too can enjoy a similar journey, I’ve embedded a video with the Game of Thrones HBO show opening theme that repeats for over two hours below. You should play it before proceeding. With the classic looks of a Vacheron Constantin, I can certainly see a timepiece like this living in a medieval fantasy universe.
The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Calibre 2253 L’Empreinte Du Dragon watch is based on the existing Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionelle Calibre 2253 watch, which exists in the brand’s collection in various forms. What makes this reference 88172/001R-A104 version of the watch unique is the particular dial treatment, as well as the hand-engraved 18k pink gold case. According to Vacheron Constantin, the case was engraved by a single master engraver who had been given the prestigious title of “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” in 2011 – indicating that he is a master artisan.
While Vacheron Constantin produces their watch movements in-house, many of the varied crafts and artistic decorations found in their most exclusive models are the result of talented third-party contractors, who perform specialized artistic projects for the world’s top Swiss watchmakers.
Inside the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Calibre 2253 L’Empreinte Du Dragon watch is the wonderfully complicated Vacheron Constantin caliber 2253 manually wound mechanical movement. As part of their 14 Day Tourbillon movement collection, the calibre 2253 is comprised of 457 parts. Operating at a frequency of 18,000 bph (2.5 Hz), the movement has a power reserve length of 336 hours.
In addition to the tourbillon-style regulation system, the movement has a perpetual calendar and some other additional calendar-related indications. Perpetual calendars are calendar systems that take into consideration leap years which have a different length than normal years. Thus, the dial of the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Calibre 2253 L’Empreinte Du Dragon indicates the leap year, month, date, and day of the week as part of the calendar system.