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SIHH 2019: The New A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date & Other Novelties
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SIHH 2019: Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar (with live video) and hands-on

With additional information from our hands-on session.
by Peter Chong on January 14, 2019
Watches
Overview
Brand

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar

Complication / Type of Watch

Two Balances
Perpetual Calendar
Dual differential system

Recommended Retail Price

Euro 175,000 before taxes

Vacheron Constantin presents the Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar, a timepiece that can adapt to its wearer’s needs. Running at a high accuracy, high frequency when worn, and a power saving lower frequency when not. This is a very innovative and interesting system, and the first time it has ever been seen on a watch.

The VC Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar on the wrist.

When worn, the Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar beats at a high frequency that is aligned with modern active lifestyles, displaying the hours, minutes, date, month, leap year cycle and power reserve on its dial. When the watch is not being worn, its in-house developed calibre 3610 QP can be slowed down in order to maintain its timekeeping abilities over an extended power reserve of at least 65 days.

Vacheron Constantin Tradionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual (Press Release)

Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar 5 Hertz Hz 1.2 Hertz 65 day power reserve multi-frequence

The Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar transforms the mainspring into a source of variable energy levels, giving fine mechanical watchmaking a completely new degree of versatility.
The Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar two balances, each operating at a different frequency that has never been used before by the Maison. 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.

Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar 3200T/000P-B578 5 Hertz Hz 1.2 Hertz 65 day power reserve multi-frequence

If the watch is to be taken off and left unworn for some time, it can be switched to Standby mode, which runs on a second balance with a drastically reduced frequency of 1.2Hz (8,640vph). This allows the maximum power reserve to be extended to 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.

Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar 5 Hertz Hz 1.2 Hertz 65 day power reserve multi-frequence
Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar 5 Hertz Hz 1.2 Hertz 65 day power reserve multi-frequence

The perpetual calendar is commonly considered as the most practical out of all the high complications. A complex mechanism that can correctly display all date information despite variable months and leap years, the perpetual calendar has an everyday relevance and utility. Up until now, however, the relevance and utility of the perpetual calendar have been restricted by the limits of conventional mainspring technology, making it necessary in most cases to set a perpetual calendar watch each time before it is worn.
Now, a hand-wound perpetual calendar can be set flat on a table and picked up more than two months later, still displaying the correct date and month. The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar brings true significance to the “perpetual” part of its name and charts a new course of timeless innovation.

Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar 5 Hertz Hz 1.2 Hertz 65 day power reserve multi-frequence

The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar utilises a patent pending mechanical system that enables instantaneous switching between Active mode (5Hz, 36,000vph) and Standby mode (1.2Hz, 8,640vph) without interrupting the ability of the movement to keep time.

The switching mechanism is a clever system using a two prong hack mechanism. The trick is to release the slow beat balance (larger and shown right above) before stopping the fast beat balance. This because the slow beat movement needs a bit more time to come up to speed.

Crucial to the operation of the Twin Beat® system is the mode selector that operates on an all-or-nothing principle, allowing only one balance to oscillate at a time. Additionally, the all-or-nothing construction ensures that the switch is instantaneous, with no lag when transitioning from one mode to the other. This guarantees that the timekeeping operations of the calibre 3610 QP are never interrupted, even for a fraction of a second, and that the time display remains as precise as possible.

Both the Active (5Hz, 36,000vph) and Standby (1.2Hz, 8,640vph) balances are driven by the same mainspring barrel, which is the most efficient way of distributing energy and the only way to have a single power-reserve indication. This high prioritisation of efficiency is central to the Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar, particularly with the Twin Beat® system and what it represents. The other side of the Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar’s optimised energy consumption is its 1.2Hz (8,640vph) Standby mode, which steps in during long periods of stasis when the watch is laid flat and a high-frequency balance would only drain the mainspring with no added advantage.

Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar 5 Hertz Hz 1.2 Hertz 65 day power reserve multi-frequence

In order to fully leverage the advantages of the user-controlled Twin Beat® system in maximising the potential power reserve, the perpetual calendar mechanism was reworked to use as little energy as possible.

Jumping indications are notorious for their parasitic influence on the balance of a movement. The energy requirements for their jumps cut into the energy going towards the balance, and in many cases the balance loses amplitude and the chronometry of the entire movement is compromised. This effect can be exaggerated in a watch with multiple jumping indications, such as a perpetual calendar timepiece.

The instantaneous jump is affected by the use of a snail mechanism, and via a spring which is charged over a period of 24 hours. At the end of the snail, the power of the spring provides the impetus to jump all indications at the same time.

In the Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar, Vacheron Constantin has implemented instantaneous jumping indications for the date, month and leap year. Simultaneously, the jumping mechanism has been completely redesigned, utilising a sprung dual-gear compound system that requires four times less torque than a conventional jumping display. With this improvement, even at midnight on New Year’s Eve when all three indications jump instantaneously, the effect on the amplitude of the active balance is negligible.

Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar 3200T/000P-B578 5 Hertz Hz 1.2 Hertz 65 day power reserve multi-frequence

Other Technical Challenges

In order to support the main features of the Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar — the blockbuster perpetual calendar and the innovative Twin Beat® system — a number of other mechanical issues had to be addressed.

With the Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar, Vacheron Constantin has moved beyond the conventional range of oscillator frequencies for the first time. In doing so, new inhouse areas of research and development were opened concerning the fundamental principles of mechanical timekeeping regulation.

As a result, a new hairspring was created specifically for the needs of the highly sensitive Standby balance (1.2Hz, 8,640vph), with cross-sectional dimensions of 0.0774mm by 0.0159mm, comparable to the finest examples of human hair. The hairspring of the Standby balance is nearly four times smaller in cross section and exponentially more delicate than the hairspring of the Active balance (5Hz, 36,000vph).

Although the display of the hours and minutes may seem to be the most straightforward part of the Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar, they are far from simple or conventional. Because the calibre 3610 QP has two balance wheels, only one of which is allowed to oscillate at one time, the hour and minute hands have to draw variable information from two gear trains for one reading of the time. This is accomplished by a gear differential that allows the hands to read more than one input source of timekeeping data.

Instead of the second wheel of the train carrying the timekeeping information to the dislay, a special cannon pinion with a differential is used, so that the cannon pinion rotates at the same speed regardless of which wheel is running.

A second differential is mounted on the barrel for the dual purpose of winding the mainspring and also reducing the mainspring torque as it is directed towards the Standby mode balance (armed with a delicate hairspring created especially for the slow-beat balance). Two final differentials translate the power reserve into the subdial that indicates remaining mainspring wind.

The second differential within the barrel. This allows for maintaining power during winding as well as to allow the same double mainsprings to run at different speeds depending on which train is operational.

Despite all this, the 480-component calibre 3610 QP measures only 6mm in height and 32mm in diameter, an impressive feat of micro-engineering on its own. With the Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar, Vacheron Constant further expands its considerable savoir-faire in compact movement construction.

Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar 5 Hertz Hz 1.2 Hertz 65 day power reserve multi-frequence

Made by Design

Despite the pedigree of the classic case design in platinum and the prestige of a high complication, the Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar deliberately embraces a modern aesthetic take on age-old finishing techniques.

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 similarlooking treatments.

On the dial, the very 18th-century art of engine turning and frosted finish are transmuted into clean radial guillochage and sand-blasted surfaces. In order to perfectly achieve this union of tradition and modernity, 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 for a sleek, seamless appearance.

This balance of classic case design, combined with contemporary dial and movement aesthetics, complements the underlying theme of the Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar — unequalled historical savoir-faire channelled through timeless innovation.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar Technical Data

Reference 3200T/000P-B578
Calibre 3610 QP Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin Mechanical, manual-winding 32mm (14 ¼) diameter, 6mm thick 5Hz (36,000 vibrations/hour), 1.2Hz (8,640 vibrations/hour) 480 components 64 jewels Active mode (5Hz frequency): approximately 4 days of power reserve Standby mode (1.2Hz frequency): approximately 65 days of power reserve Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece

Indications Hours, minutes, instantaneous perpetual calendar, power reserve, frequency mode
Case 950 platinum 42mm diameter, 12.3mm thick Transparent sapphire-crystal caseback Water-resistance tested at a pressure of 3 bar (approx. 30m)
Dial Gold hand-guilloché slate-coloured dial (inner part) and transparent sapphire-crystal dial
18k white-gold applied hour markers, 18k white-gold hours and minutes hands
Black oxidised gold power-reserve, date, month and frequency-mode hands
Strap Grey Mississippiensis alligator leather strap with alligator inner shell, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales
Clasp Pin buckle in 950 platinum, polished half Maltese cross-shaped

Available exclusively from Vacheron Constantin boutiques

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