The Traditionnelle collection is Vacheron Constantin’s take on Geneva haute horlogerie traditions stemming from the 18th century. Yet time and time again, the manufacturer has shown that it isn’t afraid of adding contemporary touches to its Traditionnelle timepieces. Recent additions such as the Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface have seen the collection embrace the use of sapphire crystal as dial components. Meanwhile, the Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar, winner of the 2019 Innovation Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, provides further evidence of Vacheron Constantin’s openness to push watchmaking boundaries.
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle with Green Dial
For Watches & Wonders Shanghai 2023, the brand has opted to return to basics in terms of mechanics but maintain a contemporary flair for its Traditionnelle novelty. While time-only watches pose minimal adversity to a veteran watchmaker from a technical standpoint, only perfection is deemed acceptable when it comes to its design as there is nowhere to hide flaws. Here, we bring you the details and our thoughts on the eponymous Traditionnelle, now with green dial.
The Case, Dial, and Hands
The case of the new Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle retains its usual sizing of 38 mm x 7.7 mm. On the wrist, it epitomises elegance with its dressy dimensions. Its slim profile allows it to slip under a dress cuff with ease while its sub-40 mm diameter ensures that the watch complements rather than overpowers the wrist. The material of choice here is pink gold which, in our opinion, is the right choice by virtue of how well it pairs off with the dial and leather strap – both of which are unabashedly green.
This isn’t the first or only watch in the Traditionnelle collection to feature a green dial. For instance, the Traditionnelle Tourbillon in platinum with green dial is also available in the current catalogue after making its debut earlier this year. And back in 2021, the pink gold variant was presented as a 30-piece limited edition model reserved for the Chinese market. A similar strategy is applied to the simpler, newer Traditionnelle in green. Though not a limited edition piece, the watch will be reserved exclusively for China for a full month after Watches & Wonders Shanghai 2023. In Chinese culture, the colour green is often associated with harmony and health. It is also the colour of jade, a semi-precious (or precious, depending on who you ask) stone highly prized amongst the Chinese. The Traditionnelle’s jade-hued dial is given a sunburst finish, allowing it to interact with light magnificently. Depending on the angles, the dial can appear light or dark with sunburst striations. On the dial are baton-style 18K 5N pink gold appliques serving as hour markers. The same material is used to craft the hour and minute dauphine hands, as well as the lancet seconds hand that dwells within the seconds sub-dial. This sub-dial is adorned with a concentric guilloche pattern and recessed to set it apart from the main dial visually and texturally. The minutes and seconds are displayed in the form of white-printed railway-style tracks. All-in-all a traditional Genevan affair, bar the green dial.
Driving the latest Traditionnelle is the same 19-jewel, 116-part Calibre 4400, manufactured in-house by Vacheron Constantin. The manually wound movement has a power reserve of 65 hours and operates at a modern 4 Hz frequency – not bad at all for a movement measuring only 28.6 mm x 2.8 mm.
Like the vast majority of Vacheron Constantin calibres, the Calibre 4400 is finished to exceptional standards worthy of the Hallmark of Geneva. A look through the sapphire crystal case back says it all: Geneva waves across the top surface of bridges; polished bevels, screw heads and jewel countersinks; sharp inward and outward angles; and of course, perlage on the base plate, among many other things.
The Competitive Landscape
From within the recent crowd of salmon- and green-dialed wristwatches, it is the Traditionnelle that stands out with its simplicity – a classic time-only watch with hardly any distraction other than the mesmerising greenness of the dial. Good news for fans of the watch: it isn’t a limited edition timepiece, although it will be reserved for the Chinese market for a month after its release. The Traditionnelle in pink gold with green dial is priced at CHF23,700.
If you had to pick a watch from this year that was most similar to the Traditionnelle with green dial, it’d have to be the Laurent Ferrier Classic Micro-Rotor Evergreen. Compared to the Traditionnelle case, the Classic case utilises plenty more curves and soft lines, and therefore appears “softer”. It is rendered in red gold and is larger than the Traditionnelle, at 40 mm. The colour of the dial is named ‘Evergreen’ by the brand, inspired by nature, growth and renewal. Much like the Traditionnelle, the Classic Micro-Rotor Evergreen is a three-handed watch. It does, however, have a self-winding movement instead, the Calibre FBN229.01. The Calibre FBN229.01 is exceptionally well-finished, more so than its counterpart, which also dictates its dearer price of CHF57,500. At more than double the price of the Traditionnelle, it is down to the buyer to decide if the superior finissage is worth the premium.
For something a little off the beaten path, look no further than the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Small Seconds in green. Presented in 2021 to commemorate the Reverso’s 90th anniversary, the 45.6 mm x 27.4 mm x 8.5 mm watch features a vivid olive green dial and calf leather strap (by Casa Fagliano). The Reverso is also time-only like the Laurent Ferrier and Vacheron Constantin. Where it differs is in its case, more specifically, in the way it’s rectangular, reversible and crafted in stainless steel. The Reverso Tribute Small Seconds in green was priced at SGD12,600 when it made its debut.
It’s not going to rewrite the annals of watchmaking, but the new Traditionnelle is exceedingly charming with its potent pink gold and jade green dial combination. The watch is quite literally easy on the eyes, the same way a green forest confers a calming effect to its beholder. Of course, it is more than just a looker – it also has a solid movement with high finishing to boot. If you’re looking for an haute horlogerie, time-only dress watch with flair, the Traditionnelle in green is your answer.