In 1941, Vacheron Constantin combined technical prowess with aesthetic perfection by introducing its ultra-thin minute repeater wristwatch. With the four one-of-a-kind Les Cabinotiers Minute repeater tourbillon – Four seasons models, the Manufacture perpetuates the tradition of chiming watches by drawing inspiration from this emblematic 1940s timepiece. Each of the watches is equipped with the 2755 TMR calibre, which regulates the striking mechanism by means of a one-minute tourbillon with a rotating carriage serving to neutralise the effects of the Earth’s gravity. The manual-winding movement, with a 58-hour power reserve discreetly indicated on the back, beats at a rate of 2.5Hz (18,000 a/h), a low frequency typical of traditional watchmaking. With its 471 components, the 2755 TMR calibre incorporates a silent centripetal flywheel strike governor, guaranteeing the excellence of the minute repeater.
Depicting the undulations of a carp swimming in a decor graced with seasonal colours, the dials are to artistic crafts what the minute repeater is to mechanical horology: a demonstration of exceptional expertise.
Masterpieces of miniaturisation, these watch faces are engraved using the bas-relief technique to highlight the richness of the scenography. No less than 60 hours per dial are required to engrave the material with a burin in order to create a depth effect based on differences in height of up to 1.35 mm. The enameller then takes over with a palette of 12 colours applied using the champlevé technique, which involves embedded the enamel in the cavities created by the engraver. Around 15 firings are then necessary to achieve the desired colours by applying successive layers. These high-risk operations must be carried out with the greatest care to prevent multiple firings from cracking or dulling the enamel.
Sound and music have always played a role in the Maison’s partnerships, the latest of which is with Abbey Road Studios, a name closely associated with iconic artists such as The Beatles, Adele and Oasis. In collaboration with the studios, Vacheron Constantin launched its Fiftysix® collection, backed by the “One of not Many” campaign. The partnership also has a role to play for “La Musique du Temps®”, as Vacheron Constantin entrusts Abbey Road Studios with recording the unique sound of each model.