01.13.2012
By Terry Flanagan

Legendary Vacheron Constantin Debuts New 2012 Watches

The 256-year old Swiss company–the oldest continuously-run watchmaker in the world–expands its offering with new 2012 lines. True to its tradition of technical innovation, mechanical precision, and aesthetic originality, these new models utilize tourbillon technology, self-winding movements, and hand-decorated faces. These works of art aren’t really just watches–such precision and craftsmanship are fully deserving of the term “chronometer”.

Hand-painted and self-winding: The “Les Univers Infinis” line

Literally translated into “Arts & Crafts: The Infinite Universe”, this line deftly combines craftsmanship and newly developed technology. Using a mechanical, self-winding movement called the Calibre 2460 (fully developed by the watchmaker), the Les Univers Infinis line is finished and decorated entirely by hand, using various artistic techniques. Lavishly painted and meticulously engraved dials are set with jewels, finished off by an enameling technique. With this group of watches, artistic detail and mechanical precision come together.

Going…and going: The Patrimony 14-day Tourbillon

Historically meant to increase accuracy by combating the effects of gravity, the tourbillon has, over the years, evolved to symbolize technical expertise and mechanical precision. Though the tourbillon’s role in influencing accuracy has since become debatable, their intense value as a sign of craftsmanship remains.

Simply encased, Vacheron Constantin allows this particular line to let its technological innovations speak for themselves. A lavishly handmade tourbillon mechanism contains two extra bridges for added precision in assembly (though at a price: accessing the rest of the watch for completion is more complicated); all other elements are created and finished by hand.

Most remarkable in this line is the 14-day power reserve. While most wound watches are equipped with a decent amount of working time, these particular models use a mechanism that mounts four barrels in coupled pairs, allowing each barrel to unwind in one-fourth the amount of time, thus allowing the watch to work for up to two weeks in between wind-ups.

A definite investment rather than a simple wardrobe enhancement, these chronometers are meant to last for generations—and are crafted to do so.

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