Vacheron Constantin is the oldest watch manufacturer in the world: it was founded in 1755, obviously in Switzerland. But that doesn’t mean he gives up on opening up new challenges. At Watch and Wonders 2023 in Geneva, the Maison presented its first sports watch with a retrograde date display. In other words, instead of traveling a 360-degree circle, a hand moves in a narrower arc, numbering from 1 to 31. Another distinctive point is the technical complexity in a sporty-chic style.
The in-house caliber 2460 R31L/2 has precision moon phases, which only require a one-day correction every 122 years, presumably when the watch will be from another owner. The retrograde indication is a function that is part of Vacheron Constantin’s heritage, but is used for the first time in the Overseas line. However, the new model retains the characteristics that characterize the collection: hexagonal bezel evoking the Maltese cross, fluted crown, polished and satin finishes, translucent lacquered dial, luminescent hour markers and hands, to which it associates the retrograde date and precision moonphase .
The Overseas collection continues the design history, with new calibres, of the original model born in 1996. The idea is to combine Haute Horlogerie and casual elegance. Over the years, the different versions of the Overseas have kept hexagonal bezels, in-house self-winding movements and interchangeable bracelet-straps. All features present in the new Overseas model with retrograde date and moon phases. At the heart of the 41 mm diameter steel case is the Manufacture caliber 2460 R31L/2, which for the first time in this collection combines a retrograde date and a highly precise moonphase. The blue lacquered dial creates a play of light thanks to the rehaut, the outer part on which numbers and additional scales such as the tachymeter scales are engraved, with a velvety finish and sunray satin center. The complications are legible with great clarity.
It took several months of aesthetic research to combine a precision moon phase and a retrograde date in a sporty yet elegant case, while ensuring high legibility and balance. The first step was to integrate the retrograde date, the Maison’s signature, into a sports-inspired watch.
The self-winding Manufacture caliber 2460 R31L/2 has a 40-hour power reserve. The movement, which has 275 components, can be viewed through the sapphire crystal case back. In particular, the pearly surface of the plate and the 22-karat gold oscillating weight adorned with a stylized wind rose recalling the themes of travel and exploration. The phases of the moon are visible through an aperture at 6 o’clock, with a graduated scale from 0 to 29½, which serves to count the days since the last new moon. This complication, known as the age of the moon, corresponds to the rotation of our satellite around the Earth, which takes 29 days, 12 hours and 45 minutes.
A retrograde date indication with a central hand occupies the top of the dial. To ensure optimal use, all functions are set via the crown: winding, date correction, moon phase and time adjustment. The timepiece is delivered on a steel bracelet accompanied by two calfskin and blue rubber straps.