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Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon 6000T Watch Hands-On

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon 6000T Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Some of my favorite new Vacheron Constantin watches for 2018 are these two Traditionnelle Tourbillons (in 18k pink gold or platinum) as references 6000T/000R-B346 and 6000T/000P-B347. The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon was also on our list of the top 10 watches of SIHH 2018. If there is anything that historic Swiss Vacheron Constantin does well (in addition to their art watches), it is producing very fine tourbillons. What makes a fine tourbillon in my opinion isn’t about reinventing the tourbillon wheel (that was a terrible quasi-pun) but rather executing it both attractively and with performance in mind. In other words, to make the tourbillon look pretty while providing timing accuracy. The reality of this little “whirlwind” system is that while it was originally designed to theoretically help make clock and pocket watch movements more accurate, in wristwatches a tourbillon can actually make a movement less accurate than one that uses a traditional regulation system.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon 6000T Watch Hands-On Hands-On

All images by Ariel Adams

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon 6000T Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Among other things, Vacheron Constantin watches come with the prestigious Seal of Geneva, which is not merely a cosmetic label attached to a luxury watch to justify charging more for it. The Seal of Geneva is an indicator of provenance (produced within the Swiss Canton of Geneva), decoration (particular decoration techniques need to be applied), and more recently, performance. The Geneva Seal is applied per watch and is stamped on the movement. It isn’t everything, but it is a big step in the direction of being able to feel confident that your lovely new tourbillon will also serve you well as part of a dependable watch.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon 6000T Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I for one never shy away from timepieces with mostly artistic merits, but I also like my timepieces to perform adequately as time tellers. I wouldn’t call the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon an “art watch” in the way other Vacheron Constantin timepieces might be, but the movement is slathered with loads of hand finishing and polishing and one can easily apply the term “beautiful” to the accumulation of all that artistic effort.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon 6000T Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon 6000T Watch Hands-On Hands-On

As the name of the Traditionnelle Tourbillon watch implies, it is a very traditional timepiece in concept, form, and execution, which is why one might be interested in it. Rather than really try to invent anything new, this is fine Swiss watchmaking at its best because it is about refinement and elegance. Take a high-end tourbillon, make it as timeless as possible, make sure it is a Vacheron, and also make it as practical as possible. Let me compare the 2018 Traditionnelle Tourbillon to some previous models produced by Vacheron Constantin. The two models I am thinking about are the Traditionnelle Tourbillon Minute Repeater and the Traditionnelle 14-Day Tourbillon.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon 6000T Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Each of these previous watches is technically lovely, but not as aesthetically refined in my opinion. One of my main issues in those watches is that the actual dial to tell the time is both smaller than the face of the watch and also off-centered, being skewed upwards a bit. Size wise, they were also bigger with the Traditionnelle 14-Day Tourbillon being 42mm wide and 12.2mm thick. The 2018 Traditionnelle Tourbillon has less power reserve, but is also an automatic. It also comes in a very well-proportioned 41mm wide case that is just 10.4mm thick. Wearability (in my opinion) favors the 2018 Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon as compared to its existing sister models.

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Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon 6000T Watch Hands-On Hands-On

While it is a matter of taste, in my opinion the Traditionnelle dial and hands are among the finest and most appealing to look at among high-end dress watches. What makes the face of these timepieces a winner is that it does three things correctly. First is that the dial is well-made and attractive to look at. The indices are applied, the hands are elegant in their shape, and the dial overall is a testament to design restraint and refinement. Second is that the dial is very legible. Properly-contrasting materials and colors work well together to result in a dial you can read pretty much all the time. Don’t miss the dual-finished Dauphine-style hands which are polished on one facet and given a satin finish on the other facet. Third, is because this dial not only has personality to it, but also brand character. Seeing this dial more or less leads you to think “Vacheron Constantin,” and that type of brand identity is really important when asking a consumer to spend luxury watch volumes of money.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon 6000T Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Finally symmetrical and offering just the time with a tourbillon window, the Traditionnelle Tourbillon dial simply makes me happy to look at – and isn’t that reason enough to like it? Speaking of brand-character, the Vacheron Constantin Maltese Cross logo is the shape of the tourbillon bridge, which I’ve always thought was a nice detail. Finishing on the tourbillon itself, the bridge, and most of the movement is very nicely done as per typical Vacheron Constantin standards. It is all part of the in-house made caliber 2160 automatic movement.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon 6000T Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon 6000T Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Speaking of automatic, the rotor is a semi-hidden peripheral rotor which sits on the outside of the movement. The half ring of engraved gold can be viewed through the sapphire crystal caseback, oscillating around the movement when in motion. Peripheral rotors aren’t new, but they aren’t common either. Their value is two-fold. First, when engineered properly they can help make a movement thinner because there isn’t an added mass on the back of the movement. Second, they allow for an unbridled view of the movement because it isn’t always partially blocked by a traditional automatic rotor. Therefore, in a system like this the user gets the convenience of an automatic winding system as well as the ability to fully appreciate the movement inside of the watch.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon 6000T Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon 6000T Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Geneva Seal certified caliber 2160 is produced from 188 parts and is 5.65mm thick. The movement operates at 2.5Hz (18,000 bph) with a power reserve of 80 hours. My only quibble is that for better chronometric performance I’d like to see a movement like this operating at 4Hz (even if that does diminish the power reserve somewhat). Once again, the movement indicates just the time with hours and minutes on the main dial, and the 60-second tourbillon which doubles as a seconds indicator. The clever way that you read the seconds is by looking for the single blued-steel screw used in the tourbillon.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon 6000T Watch Hands-On Hands-On

For 2018 Vacheron Constantin has produced two non-limited edition versions of the Traditionnelle Tourbillon which come either in 18k pink gold or platinum. The latter is part of Vacheron Constantin’s “Collection Excellence Platine.” That basically means in addition to the case (including the crown and strap buckle) being in platinum, so is the dial and I believe the hands and hour markers as well. Vacheron Constantin even uses thread in the alligator strap stitching which has platinum in it. The Traditionnelle Tourbillon Collection Excellence Platine version of the watch has a “PT950” label on the dial to remind users that these watches are exclusively for platinum fetishists.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon 6000T Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The unpretentious, simple, and practical execution of these Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon watches make them winners in my opinion – assuming you have your sights set on spending over $100,000 USD on a watch. If you are “going tourbillon,” it is a good idea to go all the way. Vacheron Constantin did a great job in making a very high-end tourbillon wearable and practical for daily use, which isn’t something you can say all the time. Legibility and wearing convenience, in addition to a Poinçon de Genève-certified movement help round out the excellent horological package. Price for the Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle Tourbillon reference 6000T/000R-B346 in 18k pink gold is $118,000 USD and the Traditionelle Tourbillon Collection Excellence Platine reference 6000T/000P-B347 has a retail price of $149,000 USD. vacheron-constantin.com

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Comments

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  • Aditya

    That is a breathtakingly gorgeous piece of art and engineering. I would buy it if I had that kind of dosh sitting around doing nothing.

  • Phil Dix

    would have been great in a 38-39 mm case, no open dial for the tourbillon but with a reversed one on the back. But still a great piece in this config.

  • It looks like an Orient Bambino Open Heart

  • BNABOD

    I don’t do dress watches but this is sublime. That movement is a great to look at. Overall very well made but price wise even in precious metal (and I don’t feel like going full Marius on you) seems like a really big stretch.

    • And the platinum up-charge makes zero sense.

      • IanE

        And an awful lot of cents.

      • egznyc

        Definitely not zero cents! Now Mark, didn’t you see: the dial is also made from platinum? ;-).

        • Oh the dial. Now it all makes scents (as in the price still stinks).

      • Dimman

        Rarity/exclusivity, I guess.

        We were discussing platinum on another thread. I did a little research since at some local casting facilities. The upcharge for platinum isn’t exclusive to watches it seems. They charge for gold a flat $39 labour fee. Platinum they charge $8/g labour. On something 3.6 cubic centimeters it worked out to about $600 more in labour. On top of the casting grain.

        Not $31000, but still an extra cost beyond just metal pricing.

  • Joe

    I wish there were more watches employing peripheral rotors. The only other one I can think of is Carl F. Bucherer.
    Especially when the movement is nice to look at, offering the best of a manual wind with the convenience of an automatic.

    So nice but so out-of-reach 🙂

    • I seem to recall Breguet has some as well.

    • ???

      I mostly hope NOMOS can modified their Epsilon with a peripheral rotor. In my view it has beautiful layout and finishing, but is usually overlooked.

    • Nello Alexandri

      JLC Hybris Mechanica 11.

      • Joe

        I forgot about the Hybris Mechanica, although overall I’d prefer the VC.
        In fact I could buy 3 VCs with spare change…if I had that sort of money 🙂

    • SuperStrapper

      Here’s one that always gets forgotten:

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2888c8d24883b50a396f3e751c2cee3c3fcac4a568bf1bd9a82d73404e9325be.jpg

      Probably because overall the watch is pretty ugly. But it goes back about 10 years I think.

      The a1000 is usually the first one that comes to mind for most but the year after CFB released it DeWitt answered with their own that had nicer archetechue and better finishing and included a tourbillion:

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/06123e3dc8dff183efb9ddbe36afcde0f0bf69add4472859e7b14270799dcac2.jpg

      It also slipped into relative anonymity pretty quick.

    • Gokart Mozart

      Loiseau 1f4 has two peripheral rotors, one for each side of the movement as it is double sided watch.

      Beat that. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/34c7496e9ff4c2d3a4f75cf85d9f343cd46cfdcd16dd640396e020d086f8896c.jpg

      • Joe

        Wow, interesting, but not for me 🙂

        • Gokart Mozart

          Unfortunately the Great Dominque Loiseau passed away a little while after finishing the watch, so unfortunately it will likely not go into production as very few people would be able to make it. He was a genius who should be celebrated more.

          It has perpetual calender, split seconds chronograph, equation of time, Tourbillons, minute repeater, petite and grand sonnerie and more and includes the reversible case.

          He also designed the legendary Blancpain 1735 grand complication and the Omega central Tourbillons.

        • Berndt Norten

          They’re writing songs of love, but not for thee
          A lucky star’s above, but not for Joe
          With love to lead the way
          I’ve found more clouds of gray
          Than any Russian play could guarantee.
          I was a fool to fall and get that way;
          Heigh-ho! Alas! And also, lack-a-day!
          Although I can’t dismiss the memory of Ray’s kiss, I guess he’s not for me.

          • JLG

            I don’t know who’s encouraging you but for the love of God please stop. It’s horrible. Horrible. Not funny. Horrible.

    • cluedog12

      Piaget 910P as well.

      • Joe

        So much I find out from you guys in these comments sections 🙂

  • Those watches and especially the platinum version, are simply stunning. Price is kind of stunning as well.

  • IanE

    Very desirable, but look at the price. Just who do they think they are, Patek Philippe?

  • LetoAtreides69

    I don’t get a $31k upcharge for platinum – seems a bit of highway robbery. Other than that, if I was in the market for a 6 figure tourbillon this would be high on the list.

  • SuperStrapper

    Really exceptional execution. As close as I can inspect with these pictures I can find no real flaws aside from the dial side being fairly unexciting. VC tourbillions are incredible and among the best in the business, but in general I’m not aspiring to own one and usually just wonder what the watch would cost without it.
    If pressed I might also mention that the movement seems a little small for the case, but it wouldnt change a buying decision.

    • ???

      The movement is 31mm in diameter. I think it’s acceptable regarding the 41mm case.

      • SuperStrapper

        I didn’t say it wasnt acceptable. In fact I said it would’nt affect a buying decision. It’s simply plain that the movement wasn’t developed for this watch alone, which is one of the furthest-reaching hallmarks of exclusivity in watchmaking. Not achieving that doesn’t downgrade its status (necessarily) as those are usually bonus points.

        • ???

          If I’m not wrong, this is the only watch equipping with cal. 2160 so far. And I don’t think VC will pair it with a smaller case in the future. By the way, regarding their current line-up, you will find the 10mm difference between the case and movement is already small(i.e. VC is used to matching a small movement to a large case).

  • Raymond Wilkie

    I could look at this piece all day long. It is absolutely gorgeous. No silly gimmicks. No Lurid colours. Just a beautiful executed timepice that has class written all over it. It sucks that i can’t see these for real. Perfect size to. I wish i had been born rich instead of well hung.

  • Timestandsstill

    Luscious!

    However I do believe in platinum it is indeed a limited edition of which the model shown is number seven of a total of 25, contrary to info in the article . Many, if not all, of their Excellence Platine Collection are limited editions.

  • cluedog12

    Too many tourbillons in the world, but this is one I may choose to save from the tourbillon apocalypse.

  • SuperStrapper

    Interesting most jewels are in polished sinks aside from a single chaton (outside of the tourbillion that appears to have a polished one on the front and a flat one on the rear). Is that a different metal or just a darker finish?

  • Playboy Johnny – Team Marius.

    Beautiful even with the Tourb. (NO more Tourbs!)
    Love the rotor.

  • WINKS

    Would look great on a NATO…

    • Stuart MacKenzie

      Or Perlon!

  • egznyc

    Nice dial, and even nicer movement. I’d go for the platinum – if money were no obstacle – but the ostentatious “Pt950” written right on the dial ruins it for me.

  • Rupert Muller

    It might be nitpicking on an otherwise perfect watch, but I really do not understand the saw-toothed case back. As there are other holes for unscrewing the case back, why on earth did they come up with that feature? It’s OK on a diver watch but not on this otherwise classic watch design.

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