Redressing the balance

Vacheron Constantin puts the ‘perpetual’ in perpetual calendar with its Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar that remixes the idea of fixed frequencies

During the course of your average SIHH, watch journalists will come face to face with hundreds of new timepieces. It can be a challenge t rying to file all those first impressions in the appropriate part of your short-circuiting brain. So when one watch comes up time and time again in conversation, you can bet there’s probably something worth noting about it. In the case of the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar, that’s actually something of a huge understatement. The watch offers up a genuine game changer in terms of innovation, namely an entirely new system of extending the power reserve of the watch.

The Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar with 65 day power reserve.

It does this by redefining a basic assumption in mechanical watchmaking that the energy output of the mainspring barrel is set at a fixed rate, and that the stated power reserve that comes with a watch is basically that – give or take a few hours. Vacheron Constantin dispenses with previously held wisdom with ingenuity and a serious dose of bona-fide invention. The talk of the fair was inspired by the brand’s new approach, which gives the watch two balances that each operate at a different frequency – the mainspring a source of variable energy levels for the first time.

What this means for the wearer is that you can go about your day, sporting the Twin Beat (brevity is necessity) on your wrist with the kind of self-confidence that comes from knowing your timepiece is the envy of those around you, with its hours, minutes, date, month, leap year cycle fuelled by a high frequency 5Hz balance. Then, when you take the watch off your wrist, a pusher at 8 o’ clock allows you to switch to the low frequency, which runs at 1.2Hz, cleverly extending the life of the watch to up to 65 days. Slip it back on the wrist, activate the faster mode, and the watch continues to tell the time with absolutely no need to adjust anything, something that previously wasn’t possible if you left your perpetual calendar watch unworn for any length of time.

Further underscoring the 264-year-old watch brand’s ‘boss’ level of watchmaking, the vampiric, energy-draining tendencies of the jumping indications have been rendered negligible thanks to a redesigned system that drains far less energy with each ‘jump’ of date, month and leap year. A gear differential has been integrated allowing the hands to read from more than one source. And yet the watch calibre comes in at a positively delicate 6mm in height, inside a 12.3mm case. The Twin Beat puts the ‘perpetual’ in perpetual calendar.

This is the first watch in the world that offers such a function – bar its digital cousins that go into sleep mode when not being used. The fact that the Twin Beat is such an undeniably beautiful wristwatch – guilloche dial, Côtes de Genève on the plates and bridges and engraving on the contemporary design – does make one wonder, just how long its fortunate owner will really leave it idling away quietly in a drawer.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar
Movement

Calibre 3610 QP, mechanical manual-winding. Approximately four days power reserve in active mode and approximately 65 days in standby mode.

Case
42mm diameter, 12.3mm thick, 950 platinum. Transparent sapphire-crystal caseback. Water resistant to around 30m.

Strap
Grey alligator leather strap with alligator inner shell, hand-stitched; 950 platinum pin buckle clasp.

 

 

 

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