The Traditionnelle is, as its name suggests, a pretty classic timepiece, even by the old school standards of Vacheron Constantin. Most pieces offer a pared-back, dress watch sensibility, with plenty of gold, clean dials and, occasionally, a calendar or two. There’s nothing too aesthetically groundbreaking in there, safe and elegant as they are. Which makes the new Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface a bit of a surprise.
Visible mechanics aren’t entirely new to the collection; the Traditionnelle Self-Winding Ultra-Thin Skeleton is £64,000 of intensely showy craftsmanship and the occasional tourbillon cage does the job, too. But this is one step removed from skeletonization, simply lifting up chunks of the dial to show what’s underneath. The result it a completely different look and feel to the Traditionnelle.
Based off Vacheron’s Complete Calendar, the new look shows off the discs for day, month and the moon phase in their entirety, as well as – thanks to the discs now being sapphire – the wheels powering them. It makes for a slightly chaotic first glance, with all the days and months visible at once, but with simple highlighting it’s easy enough to get to grips with.
The peripheral date is just the same as ever, though I do find the hand gets a touch lost in the mix. It’s not a problem for the function, seeing as the date doesn’t move so quickly you lose track of it (at least, outside of a lockdown), but an extra bit of colour to highlight rather than the black wouldn’t have gone amiss.
While the majority of the dial is sapphire crystal, the upper segment still uses a lovely slate grey guilloche, a counterpoint to the overtly technical look of the rest of the watch that I really appreciate – that and the anthracite coating of to the visible movement that blends it into the overall face of the watch.
At the centre of the Traditionnelle Openface is the Calibre 2460 QCL/2, basically a calendar version of the 2450, which historically was the first automatic movement Vacheron designed completely in-house. It has a 40-hour power reserve which is fine, but I’d like to see higher for a calendar. The less chance that I’ll need to re-set the entire thing, the better. It’s definitely a looker though, with a stunning gold Maltese cross rotor, all visible through the caseback.
The big question then is whether or not it actually works – and I’d say so. Personally, I still prefer the more classical Traditionnelle pieces, but as a more modern face to the collection, a sapphire dial is pretty spot-on, much more so than full skeletonization would be (and has been). I’m not a fan of the latter anyway – I wear a watch to hide my wrist, not read the time on it – and openworking shows off the deceptive simplicity of Vacheron’s signature calendar to a tee. If it didn’t have that guilloche segment, I’m not sure I could get on board but as it is, the look’s balanced on the knife-edge between elegant and technical.
The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface is available in two versions, of which we very obviously have the rose gold. The other is white gold, but other than case-matched hands and indexes, they look the same. Of the two, I much prefer the rose gold.
On the wrist that 41mm case is as elegant as ever, slightly larger than some dress watches but still svelte for a Complete Calendar. It feels downright lovely and with the new, contemporary aesthetic is a damn sight more eye-catching than previous Traditionnelle’s I’ve worn.
It just comes down to what you want from your Vacheron. If I were after something more modern, I’d probably opt for an Overseas and save a white-dialled Traditionnelle for dressier occasions. But there’s no denying the collection could use a bit of a refresh and the Openface might just be what it needs.
Price & Specs:
Model: Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface
Case/dial: 41mm diameter, pink gold case, openworked sapphire dial
Water resistance: 30m (3 bar)
Movement: In-house calibre 2460 QCL/2, automatic, 27 jewels, 308 parts
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 40h
Functions: Hours, minutes, complete calendar: day of the week and month display, date, moonphase
Strap: Grey mississippiensis alligator leather
More details at Vacheron Constantin.