Hands-On: The Vacheron Constantin Historiques Ultra-Fine 1955
Before we go any further, it’s worth bringing up that slimness essentially is just one proportion of a development (to make a weak quip) however once you get below around 3 mm – which we can apparently take as a sensible but somewhat discretionary edge for what comprises an additional level/dainty physically wound development – you’re managing progressively trying watchmaking. The fundamental issue is that resiliences become unforgiving on the grounds that clearances are so minute – everything from the thickness of cog wheels to the measure of leeway accessible for setting the hands begins to therapist to somewhat nerve wracking extents, and hence numerous watchmakers really consider ultra slim watchmaking a complication all by itself. (It’s always made me laugh hysterically that the Berner Dictionary of Horology, the nearest thing to an “official” watchmaking word reference there is, characterizes additional level watches as watches which are “amazingly level” with a completely straight face. So no, there is no all around concurred on definition, and the expressions “ultra slim,” “additional level,” “extra slender,” and so forth will in general get utilized pretty much synonymously.)
Now the explanation I notice two faculties in which this is definitely not a new watch is on the grounds that, as the name shows, the Historiques Ultra Fine is really founded on a watch that the company initially made in the year 1955, and which was presented with the type 1003. Vacheron Constantin freely acknowledged it; the watch was alluded to as “la montre la in addition to plate du monde” in its promoting – the flattest watch in the world.
The Historiques Ultra Fine 1955 isn’t the most slender wristwatch in the world today – that title shows up at present to be held by two watches, which are the Piaget 900P (formally, 3.65 mm thick by and large) and the Jaeger LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Squelette (authoritatively 3.6 mm; clearly the distinction between the two, which is about equal to the measurement of a human red platelet, is of more scholarly than experiential significance, yet those are the numbers).
Beyond a specific point, obviously, the question of which holds what record becomes less significant than the effect of the general bundle, and in the event that you’ve a preference for actually perfectly done unrepentantly exemplary watchmaking, the Historiques Ultra Fine 1955 is for you. It’s regularly said of slight, level watches that you fail to remember they’re on the wrist however I didn’t discover that to be the situation with this one; it’s flimsy to such an extent that you nearly feel like you’re watching such a wizardry stunt. The watch is so dainty and light you nearly feel as though you’re wearing a cut-out of a watch. Also, it appears to be forbiddingly straightforward from the outset – yet on the off chance that you invest some energy with it, it begins to take on a sort of obvious richness all its own. The vanishingly little clearances for the hands are worth a nearby look as they uncover exactly what a tight fit it is for all the components inside the watch, and the case-production alone is worth the cost of affirmation – Vacheron figured out how to put forth the defense both amazingly slender, but inflexible enough to make a protected as-houses home for the type 1003 inside. Despite the fact that it’s a basic watch, it’s likewise perfectly made throughout.
Rather shockingly, this is really not the most slender watch development that Vacheron Constantin has at any point utilized. That record is held by a development a ton of people have never known about: the Lassale type 1200, seen above, which was made for a few years beginning in 1976 by a company called Bouchet-Lassale SA. Lassale type 1200 was just 1.2 mm thick and it achieved that tallness partially by really ditching the extensions completely and making the stuff train run totally in metal rollers set into the mainplate – consider them undifferentiated from a flying tourbillon. For a great deal of reasons metal rollers in the going train are for the most part not thought about such a hot thought, however nonetheless for the time it was a drastically surprising development. Vacheron and Piaget, among others, both utilized them and here we see a Piaget-badged type 1200. Vacheron history specialist Alex Ghotbi has written that they were not decisively a triumph, however – the developments were essentially difficult to administration, and adjusting them comprised of throwing out the old development and dropping in a new one. The Vacheron form was known as the type 1160, and it had pretty haute-de-gamme get done with including Geneva stripes (you need to wonder how the company figured out how to locate any metal to eliminate at all).
Even all the more shockingly, this isn’t the most slender development at any point utilized by Vacheron Constantin. To locate that uncommon monster – and I do mean uncommon – we need to go right back to 1931, which was the period of alleged “blade” pocket watches. The most slender of the flimsy is the Vacheron Constantin reference 10726 (above) which had a development 0.90 mm slight. Just three were made – for clear reasons this was not by and large a go-to mechanism as far as dependability – however to the extent I know no one has at any point made anything more slender (once more, for pretty evident reasons).
Remarkably, in spite of the life span of the type 1003 its record for slimness actually stands today: at 1.64 mm it is the world’s most slender customarily built watch development. In the Historiques Ultra-Fine 1955, it is something delightful: the plate and scaffolds are in pink gold (just like the case and hands) and it’s a wonderfully fancy, archaic antithesis to the aloof, practically marmoreal magnificence of the dial. At almost $30,000 this is definitely not an economical speculation, yet it is not just a record-holder – and a record holder, in 2015, for a very long time – however it is moreover, and likely more critically, a flawless example of an exceptionally requesting and specific sort of watchmaking. Records come and go, and they may momentarily leave a mark on the world – however the Vacheron Historiques Ultra-Fine 1955 is history.
The Vacheron Constantin Historiques Ultra-Fine: pink gold case and implement hands, 4.1 mm x 36 mm with straightforward caseback. Development, Vacheron Constantin type 1003, 1.64 mm x 21 mm, 31-hour power save, running in 18 jewels; changed in accordance with temperature, isochronism, and positions; spans and mainplate in 18k gold. $29,600; More information from Vacheron Constantin here.