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- A model born from a combination of contemporary design and the wealth of Vacheron Constantin’s watchmaking heritage.
- Strict respect for tradition, exemplary finishing and an openface dial embody constantly renewed creative expertise.
- Calibre 2162 R31: an in-house self-winding movement combining a tourbillon with a retrograde date display on an openworked dial.
The expression of an avant-garde aesthetic, the demand for mechanical sophistication and the desire to share creative expertise are at the heart of this Traditionnelle tourbillon retrograde date openface watch. The opening onto the architecture of the 2162 R31 movement – with its slate grey shade achieved by an NAC surface treatment – perfectly visible on both sides of the watch, highlights its mechanical power. The retrograde date display, complemented by a tourbillon, gains depth in a functional and contemporary style.
Openface design and retrograde date
A retrograde date display is one in which the indicator does not complete a full turn of the dial, instead travelling along its entire measurement segment and then returning to its starting point to begin a new journey. This is generally an arc of a circle swept over by a dedicated hand. Most retrograde displays apply to cyclical time indications such as hours, minutes, seconds, days or dates. This mechanism requires great precision and rigorous discipline, particularly with regards to shock- and wear-resistance. At Vacheron Constantin, special retrograde displays first became popular in the 1920s, a period when the Maison distinguished itself by a style inspired by the aesthetic principles of Art Deco, conducive to letting the imagination roam free and expressing wildly extravagant touches.
Heir to the References 47245 and 47247 from the early Noughties, the Traditionnelle tourbillon date retrograde openface combines its retrograde display with a partially openworked dial, another signature of the Maison since the early 20th century. Openface dials highlight the technical nature and the meticulous and consistent attention to detail through an avant-garde aesthetic approach. Housed in an 18K pink gold case measuring 41 mm in diameter and only 11.07 mm thick, this new timepiece is fitted with a grey alligator strap secured by a pink gold folding clasp.
Alternating finishes combining traditional High Watchmaking and technical boldness
Stepped round case and lugs, a fluted caseback, a slim bezel, a railway minute-track, bi-facetted Dauphine hands and gold baton-type hour-markers: the characteristic attributes of the Traditionnelle collection, inherited from the Age of Enlightenment, are rooted in the Geneva’s grand High Watchmaking traditions. At Vacheron Constantin, however, respect for the past does not exclude creativity but in fact stimulates it. Resulting from three years of work and dialogue between artisans and master-watchmakers, this timepiece features alternating hand-finishes that endow it with remarkable depth.
The openworked sapphire dial, which also has a guilloché segment, reveals in-house Calibre 2162 R31, whose retrograde mechanism plate is highlighted by a slate grey surface treatment, achieved by a succession of thin galvanic layers. It is further enhanced by vertical hand-brushing on the upper part, its surface having been smoothed with a dedicated abrasive serving to create subtle light effects, as well as a hand-guilloché lower part. The retrograde date display, complemented by a tourbillon, thus gains added depth in an ultra-contemporary yet very watchmaking style.
Stylised in the shape of a hollowed-out Maltese Cross, the tourbillon features a set of refined and complex finishes: the inside of its carriage is hand-bevelled, its cone-shaped transversal bar is hand-polished to give it a mirror-like gleam close to perfection.
Calibre 2162 R31 pushing the boundaries of contemporary fine watchmaking
Proudly bearing the Hallmark of Geneva, the Traditionnelle tourbillon retrograde date openface watch is driven by a 242-component in-house movement. Calibre 2162 R31 revisits the concept of High Watchmaking by adapting it to modern times with its NAC slate grey finish, 72-hour power reserve and decorated gold peripheral weight. “This calibre exudes a palpable tension between High Watchmaking traditions and the permanent need to innovate”, notes Christian Selmoni, Director of Style and Heritage at Vacheron Constantin. “It will thus make a lasting mark on its time.”
Beating at a rate of 18,000 vibrations per hour and measuring just 6.25 mm thick, Calibre 2162 R31 combines a retrograde date with a tourbillon. This unexpected match is embodied in a technical geometry of rare beauty with a retrograde mechanism visible to the naked eye through the openworked dial. The majestic tourbillon is set in a contemporary mainplate with a very high-quality watchmaking finish reflecting the grand Geneva tradition.
The expression of an avant-garde aesthetic, the demand for mechanical sophistication and the desire to share creative expertise are at the heart of this Traditionnelle tourbillon retrograde date openface watch. The opening onto the architecture of the 2162 R31 movement – with its slate grey shade achieved by an NAC surface treatment – perfectly visible on both sides of the watch, highlights its mechanical power. The latter is notably highlighted by hand-crafted finishes such as vertical hand-brushing on the upper part of the retrograde mechanism plate and guilloché work on the lower part. The retrograde date display, complemented by a tourbillon, takes on added depth in a functional and contemporary style.
Interview with Christian Selmoni
Are openface dials a Vacheron Constantin speciality?
The company has a long history of this type of display, known as “openface”. The very first Vacheron Constantin timepiece with a partially openworked dial dates from 1918. It was a pocket watch with an astronomical calendar which, was totally innovative at the time in terms of design. It was not until almost a century later that the Manufacture once again turned its attention to this dial concept with Reference 47247 unveiled in 2002 on the eve of the millennium, for the 247th anniversary of the Maison. This 247-piece limited-edition available in a 37 mm platinum case, features a retrograde date, a trailing days subdial at 6 o’clock and an openworked dial enabling the retrograde date mechanism to be admired. It marks this same openface spirit that has become a Vacheron Constantin signature.
How was the integration of these openface dials then perpetuated?
In 2019, the Traditionnelle Twin Beat perpetual calendar was part of this dynamic, playing on the tensions between contemporary style and the power of tradition. It clearly marked a milestone. Two years later in 2021, a new interpretation was born: the Traditionnelle openface complete calendar. This stylish reference, presented in a 41 mm case in white or pink gold with an openworked sapphire dial, opened up new creative possibilities by combining watchmaking tradition/heritage with contemporary design.
Might one say that the new Traditionnelle tourbillon retrograde date openface watch is a worthy heir of the above-mentioned models?
Definitely so. This new reference continues to write the history of watches with openworked dials at Vacheron Constantin. And it does so in grand style with a tourbillon, a retrograde date and absolutely remarkable component finishes. The idea here is to push the limits of technical complexity and horological beauty by making them visible, all in a classic rose gold case. The opportunity to admire the contemporary design of Calibre 2162 R31 is truly spectacular. This new interpretation embodiyng a blend of contemporary design and watchmaking heritage, is clearly a strong signature of the Maison.
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
31 mm (13½”’) diameter, 6.25 mm thick
Approximately 72 hours of power reserve
2.5 Hz (18,000 vibrations/hour)
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece
Hours, minutes, small seconds on tourbillon carriage
18K 5N pink gold
41 mm diameter, 11.07 mm thick
Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
Water-resistance tested at a pressure of 3 bar (approx. 30 metres)
Openface, assembled in four parts:
– 18K gold slate grey openface plate with an hand-guilloché upper-part, surrounded by an opaline flange with railway minute-track
– 18K gold applied hour-markers
– Sapphire glass
– 18K gold tourbillon second’s ring
18K 5N pink gold hour & minutes hands
18K gold blackened date hand with white crescent
Grey Mississippiensis alligator leather strap with alligator leather inner shell, hand-stitched, saddle finish, large square scales
18K 5N pink gold folding clasp
Polished half Maltese cross-shaped