When you are in lockdown, as many of us are, you tend to appreciate the finer things in life; family, reading, writing, playing board games and building that old warship model you have had for years in the attic. Many people feel that there is something quite nostalgic about the situation we all find ourselves in. For some of us out there, it takes us back to an era when the digital world was merely in its infancy, when diesel cars were a good thing, reading a newspaper was the norm, and the only thing that remotely resembled Grand Theft Auto was, perhaps, hide and seek. What I’m getting at here is the appreciation of being able to connect with something tangible, something mechanical, something that is simply powered by wheels and cogs, something that you just need to interact with. With that in mind, I have the upmost pleasure of introducing to you something that I feel is evocative of a time gone by, a timeless, understated object of desire; the Vacheron Constantin Classic Traditionnelle manual-winding.
Well yes, it is ‘just a watch,’ but a very beautiful and perfectly formed watch, from what is arguably part of the holy trinity. It sits proudly, yet elegantly, in a 38mm case size. Now this is not just a timepiece, it’s the true meaning and definition of fine watch making; it does not only tell the time, it’s a history lesson. This watch is an ode to horology.
The case itself oozes sensuality, and the beautiful curvature shows the work of these skilled artisanal individuals. Now, I’m not a huge fan of sub-dials, but this one is handsomely done. Turn this watch on its back and that’s where all the magic happens – the manual wind Calibre 4400/1 is beautifully executed and the movement enables the wearer to interact directly with the watch.
Some people say, the longer the power reserve the better and, whilst this watch only needs a wind every three days or so due to its 65 day power reserve, I say, the more you interact with the watch the better it feels. The Vacheron Constantin has a tangible quality to it and, to me, a power reserve is merely a demonstration of horological prowess.
Imbued with history and a sense of rigorous discipline, Traditionnelle timepieces showcase technical refinement conveyed through eminently horological characteristics. From the simplest to the most complicated, these models pay tribute to craftsmanship and know-how passed on from generation to generation.
The bridges are beautifully finished with Côtes de Genève, and all of the engraving is stunning to look at. There are no complications with this movement, no over elaborated open heart design, it’s no tourbillon, and you don’t even get a date window. It’s the kind of watch that requires you to have a closer look at things. But this is the point – it’s simple, it’s true to the past of making things that just work. Now the only problem you will have is whether you buy this or the Patek Phillip Calatrava.