Presented at SIHH 2019, the new Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar introduces a patent-pending system for lossless timekeeping transition between high-frequency Active mode (5Hz) and low-frequency Standby mode 1.2Hz (8,640 vibrations per hour). It comes with a normal power reserve of 4 days, however, when put in so-called “Standby Mode” and the movement switches to a lower frequency, the power reserve is jacked up to no less than 65 days.
The basic premise of the watch is sensible: an ultra-long power reserve when the watch is not in use, so that the perpetual calendar needs no adjustment even if the watch is unworn for two months. Powered by the in-house cal. 3610 QP, the Twin Beat achieves that with two balance wheels, as well as a smartly designed instantaneous perpetual calendar. A pusher at the 8 o’clock position allows the wearer to easily switch from one frequency to another, depending on activity level. When the watch is on the wrist, the wearer will get the most out of it by keeping it in Active mode, which features a 5Hz (36,000vph) balance and 4 days of power reserve. However, when the watch is taken off the wrist, the wearer can switch frequencies so that the movement slows down to 1.2 Hz (8,640 vibrations per hour) in order to continue operating with a power reserve of at least 65 days. At any point during the Standby mode running time, the Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar can be switched back to Active mode and reworn, with all its calendar indications perfectly up to date.
In terms of design, it’s all in line with the design codes of Vacheron’s Traditionnelle collection, and it comes in a polished 950 platinum case that measures 42mm in diameter and 12.3mm in height. The dial is made in two main segments in a multi-stage process. A gold dial segment is decorated with hand-guillochage, and then fitted within an outer segment of sapphire crystal. Gold hour indexes are then set into the sapphire-crystal dial segment, which is further laser-engraved and ink-filled.
At the 12 o’clock position is the power reserve indicator, which shows two aligned scales, one for the Active Mode with 4 days of power reserve and one for the Standby Mode with 65 days. On the lower half are three sub-dials, one for the months, one for the date, and in between these two is a small dial for the leap years. At 9 o’clock is an indicator for the selected mode: Active Mode with a frequency of 5Hz or Standby Mode with a frequency of 1.2Hz. The hour and minute hands feature two different finishings, one side is polished and the other side is grained for enhanced legibility.
Movement plates and bridges are decorated with Côtes de Genève and then treated with NAC, a dark coating that offers superior resistance and durability compared with other similar-looking treatments. Available exclusively from Vacheron Constantin boutiques, the new Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar (ref. 3200T/000P-B578) has a price of Euro 219,000. Production will remain quite low, as five pieces are expected in 2019. More details in an upcoming in-depth article and on the Vacheron Constantin website www.vacheron-constantin.com
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