Vacheron Constantin from the heavy hitters of Swiss traditional watchmaking was the guest of our Hands On corner with its Patrimony Traditionnelle Caliber 2253 model which was accepted as one of the most successful samples of grand complication style timepieces.
"The Grand Complication concept is almost as old as the watchmaking history. In fact, the complications involved in such watches have been repeatedly applied by the hi-end brands of the watch industry but, this has not succeeded in reducing the importance of those timepieces. Vacheron Constantin continues to be among the long-established brands that offer the most striking examples in this regard.
It would not be wrong to say that the model we chose for review today is almost as complete as the dictionary meaning of grand complications. The model that collects indispensable hi-end functions such as minute repeater, perpetual calendar and Tourbillon also includes the equation of time feature which is known as the most emotional complication of traditional watchmaking.
The model’s case is made of platinum, an excellent choice considering its functions (and of course the price tag it carries). The case measures 44mm in diameter and 15.71mm in thickness.
When it comes to grand complication models, the case designs do not really stand out, because all the attention is gathered in the movement part. Taking into account the Patrimony Traditionnelle model family that the model is based on, we can say that the case features a very elegant and modest design. The case sports AR coated sapphire crystals on both sides and it is mirror polish finished excluding the platinum part of the caseback. The fluted winding crown is accompanied by an extra pusher for operating the functions of the timepiece. The case offers a bold wrist presence and a heavy feel due to the specific weight of platinum and its not that compact dimensions. Water resistance rating is set at 30 meters.
The model's dial has a fairly busy design, consisting of a circular SunBurst patterned sub-dials on a matte finished surface where the gray / anthracite tones are dominant. Of course, the most noticeable part of the dial is the Tourbillon cage located at the 6 o'clock position. Inspired by the Maltese cross, the balance wheel and the escapement can be seen through the dial. Information about the Perpetual Calendar function can be read from the sub dials arranged in the form of 3-9-12. There are three off-centered dials with extra indicators: two for the sunrise and sunset indicators at 8 o’clock and 4 o’clock and the equation of time indicator located between 10 and 11 o’clock. Opaline dial is accompanied with platinum hands and indices.
The model is powered by the brand’s true art piece movement Caliber Ref.2253. 29 jewels hand-wound movement features 457 individual parts. Beating at 18000vph, which is a considerably low rate for a modern movement, Ref.2253 offers an impressive power reserve of 14 days when fully wound thanks to its dual twin barrels. The movement is Hallmark of Geneva certified as the rest of the brand’s calibers and features a power reserve indicator at the back plate which can be seen through the sapphire display caseback.
The model is offered on a shiny black alligator strap. The strap is secured by a folding clasp made of platinum and designed in the shape of the Maltese cross.
The production is limited to 10 pieces only and the model comes with a price tag approaching CHF 500,000.00.