Horology is often perceived as a masculine domain, but history shows that women have long been interested in fine timepieces. This is proven from a peek into the archives of Vacheron Constantin, the world’s oldest watch manufacture in continuous operation, which celebrates its 267th anniversary this year.
Among the earliest woman’s pieces created by the house is a sculpted yellow gold pocket watch with quarter repeater and a small seconds display dating back to 1838. Its first feminine wristwatch, mounted on a sculpted bangle, appeared in 1889.
The tradition continues to this day. Some recent examples of its feminine-centred watchmaking include the new haute couture-inspired Égérie collection, as well as its first ladies’ automatic Traditionnelle Tourbillon. This year, Vacheron Constantin once again unveils new pieces for women who appreciate the technical and artistic aspects of horology.
For the ladies
One of these is the Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin, the latest in the Traditionnelle range, which comprises pieces that embody the heritage of Genevan fine watchmaking.
The new timepiece demonstrates the finesse and technical know-how of the manufacture with its complex mechanism —the perpetual calendar — within an ultra-thin case measuring just 36.5mm in diameter and 8.43mm thick.
Requiring no correction until 2100 if kept wound, the perpetual calendar automatically adjusts for the different number of days in each month and leap years without you ever having to adjust the date.
There are two variants available: one with a white gold case and a blue-grey mother-of-pearl dial and one with a pink gold case and a white mother-of-pearl dial.
The bezel and lugs of each case and the crown are adorned with round-cut diamonds. The moon-phase disc on each edition is the same colour as the dial, and the moon and stars are of the same gold shade as the case.
The timepiece is powered by the in-house Calibre 1120 QP, an ultra-thin movement visible through the sapphire caseback, so the owner can enjoy the traditional haute horlogerie finishings of the self-winding movement.
The mainplate and bridges are decorated with Geneva stripes, while the edges of components are hand-bevelled; even the tiny teeth of gears are polished. The rotor itself features a gold edge, and is openworked in the shape of the brand’s signature Maltese cross.
The Patrimony range
Watch enthusiasts with a minimalist bent have four more options to choose from.
In a live Vacheron Constantin digital presentation during the recent Watches & Wonders event in Geneva, Sandrine Donguy, the brand’s product marketing and innovation director, summarised the Patrimony collection thus: “The essence of pureness, timelessness, and understated style.”
That description perfectly describes the four new additions to the Patrimony range, which is inspired by the elegance of mid-century Vacheron Constantin timepieces.
With an in-house 2450 Q6/3 self-winding movement, the new Patrimony Self-Winding is a 36.5mm time- and-date timepiece that comes in white gold or pink gold with either a diamond-set or a gold bezel.
It stands out with its elegant lines and refined curves. The dial is curved, and its crown is also slightly rounded. A gradated finish, in deep blue or blush, highlights the dial’s subtle contours. According to Donguy, this effect was achieved by the application of two layers of varnish with a delicate, powdery finish.
The time is shown via leaf-shaped hands and slim indexes, along with a delicate minutes track composed of either round-cut diamonds or polished gold dots. As a finishing touch, the straps of all the new models feature an integrated system that allows the user to easily switch straps without the use of tools. Greater convenience and versatility is something that all users, whatever their gender, can appreciate.