Vacheron Constantin has redesigned one of its legends, the Traditionnelle Chronograph Perpetual Calendar, giving it a new movement, Calibre 1142 QP. It is available in two versions, platinum and pink gold, and it is surprisingly large at 43 mm in diameter, 12.94 mm thick. The price is also large, around $150,000 for the platinum version. The watch has some illustrious competition in the form of the Patek Philippe 5970, which also uses a Lemania-based movement, has a largely similar dial, but is more classically-sized at 40 mm.
Clarity on the dial
The dial of this perpetual calendar chronograph sets out everything in an orderly fashion, ready to measure times from a sixth of a second right through to the four-year calendar cycle. Seconds are subdivided into thirds, corresponding to the 3 Hertz rate of the balance. Just outside this, there is the tachymeter scale. At 6 o’clock, there is a subdial for the date, with moon phase, hand-finished and with two portraits, one smiling, one sad. Chronograph minutes at 3 o’clock, continuous seconds at 9 o’clock. Day of the week and month in two small symmetrical rectangular windows. And the leap year indicator is curiously positioned in a window at top right. The case is the brand’s classic Traditionelle, with straight lugs, rectangular pushers and a distinctive caseback. Standard 3 atm/30 metre water resistance.
The dial side is clear and functional, but the real visual attraction is what can be seen through the sapphire crystal in the caseback. Calibre 1142 QP is a hand-wound movement that replaces the previous 1141 QP. The chronograph mechanism, with its column wheel and horizontal clutch, is entirely visible, while the perpetual calendar module is on the dial side of the movement. Like the 1141 QP, the new 1142 QP is based on a Lemania movement created in the 1940s and used for watches by Patek Philippe, Omega, and more recently by Breguet, running at 2.5 Hertz and distinctive for its wishbone bridge. Lemania’s intellectual property is now owned by Breguet, a Swatch Group brand, and so the base for the 1142 QP comes from there. It now runs at 3 Hertz, and has a longer power reserve, 48 hours. The movement and the entire watch are certified by the Hallmark of Geneva quality mark, something that sets it apart from the previous version of the watch.
Strap and stylus
The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle chronograph perpetual calendar has a hand-stitched alligator leather strap with a platinum or pink gold folding clasp. Vacheron Constantin also provides a stylus with the watch for correcting the calendar and moon phase indications. Keep it running and it will need correcting only in 2100 when the usual leap year cycle will miss a beat.
Two versions, platinum and gold
The pink gold version is reference 5000T/000R-B304. Read more on the Vacheron Constantin website.