Earlier this year we covered the new Métiers d’Art Fabuleux Ornements watches from Vacheron Constantin, featuring some of Vacheron’s delicate open-working skills. Aside from these, there was a general theme focusing on new open-work watches at SIHH 2014, and one of the skeletonised centrepieces was the Malte Tourbillon Openworked.
This is not the first openworked Malte Tourbillon, but the tonneau-shaped Cal. 2790 SQ (‘SQ’ for ‘squelette’ i.e. skeletonised) is new, with tourbillon, power reserve and date functions. The Cal. 2790 SQ measures 27.37mm x 29.30mm x 6.10mm and is in a Platinum 950 case measuring 38mm x 48.24mm x 12.73mm. It has a 45 hour power reserve.
Not only is the movement skeletonised, but it also features a significant amount of engraving – if you look carefully you will see that there are lots of triangles and rectangles, as well as ‘Vacheron Constantin’, and both a small Vacheron Maltese Cross and the shaping of the tourbillon cage as the same cross. The hand-engraving work for each watch takes almost a week to complete.
A rather modern feature of the skeleton Malte Tourbillon is the sapphire dial, onto which the date, power reserve and sub-seconds are printed – the date is at two o’clock and the power reserve display, at ten o’clock. You might not see them all them at first glance, especially the power reserve indicator, but if you look at the dial more closely, or at an agle, you will be able to see it.
I acknowledge that skeletonised watches are not to everyone’s taste, especially for those who want a quickly legible dial on which they can see the time at a glance out of the corner of their eye. For them, and for those who prefer simple clean dials, this, and any other openwork piece, will not be for them. The Malte cases have a strong presence, and so it is with this watch. If you are familiar with the line, then you will already know how it feels on the wrist, but if not, it’s large but sits slim and low.
Regardless of whether skeletonisation is your ‘thing’ or not, there is no denying the immense skill that goes into the beautifully detailed skeletonising of a movement, so even if this is not the watch for you, you might find it interesting to read more about how Vacheron approach this art here on their website .