Vacheron Constantin Ultra-fine 1955

Vacheron Constantin “Historiques” collection

 
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Published by 3788 on November 18 2009, 12:15.

Calibre 1003 for the “Historique Ultra-fine 1955” watch

For Vacheron Constantin, celebrating the 55th anniversary of the birth of the ultra-thin Calibre 1003 provides an opportunity to revisit its heritage, as well as to highlight its ultra-thin expertise in a period when this term tends to be somewhat overused.

Considered by many experts to be one of the most beautiful and refined ultra-thin movements on the market, Calibre 1003 has been defying mechanical laws for over 50 years. It is extremely complex to produce and its adjustment calls upon the full measure of expertise cultivated by a fine watch manufacturer.

Vacheron Constantin has chosen to present a redesigned version of this movement, while its 1.64 mm thickness – still a market slimness world record – and its 21.10 mm diameter remain unchanged.

Its finishing is however even more refined, since the bridges and mainplate are now crafted from 18-carat gold. Its 117 parts enable it to beat at a frequency of 18,000 vibrations, and endow it with an over 30-hour power reserve despite its tiny size.

The decoration is extremely meticulous: Côtes de Genève, bevelling and chamfering, and drawing the steel parts with a file are all performed by hand. This exceptional degree of finishing earns the new version of Calibre 1003 the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva, an independent and sovereign certification awarded by the State of Geneva which thereby guarantees the origin, precision, durability and fine craftsmanship of models from a handful of Geneva-based watch companies.

For its 2010 re-edition, Calibre 1003 is presented in a round watch in 4N 18-carat pink gold measuring 36 mm in diameter, inspired by one of the three historical models introduced in 1955, reference 6099. The latter has been selected because of a design that already embodied a decidedly modern touch at the time of its launch.

The reinterpreted version in 2010 magnifies the aesthetic qualities of the original without betraying its spirit. It also features further enhanced technical characteristics on a par with today’s tastes and expectations: water-resistance to 3 bar, equivalent to 30 metres; an exhibition caseback fitted with a transparent sapphire crystal; a titanium casing circle contributing to the overall rigidity; and an even slimmer 4.1 mm case making it currently the world’s thinnest mechanical hand-wound watch.

The result radiates an aura of uncluttered, pared-down restraint and purity. Its fascinating aesthetic features – the slender bezel; the distinctive lugs, each shaped like an arm of Vacheron Constantin’s Maltese Cross emblem; its solid gold opaline silver-coloured dial adorned with baton hands marking the hours and minutes – combine to endow this watch with a rare breed of elegance stemming from the compelling strength of sheer simplicity.

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