Introducing The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon 6000T Watch
Some of my favorite new Swiss Vacheron Constantin watches for 2018 are these two Traditionnelle Tourbillons (in 18k pink gold or platinum) as references 6000T/000R-B346 and 6000T/000P-B347. The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon was also on our list of the top 10 watches of SIHH 2018. If there is anything that historic Swiss Vacheron Constantin does well (in addition to their art watches), it is producing very fine tourbillons. What makes a fine tourbillon in my opinion isn’t about reinventing the tourbillon wheel (that was a terrible quasi-pun) but rather executing it both attractively and with performance in mind. In other words, to make the tourbillon look pretty while providing timing accuracy. The reality of this little “whirlwind” system is that while it was originally designed to theoretically help make clock and pocket watch movements more accurate, in wristwatches a tourbillon can actually make a movement less accurate than one that uses a traditional regulation system.
Among other things, Vacheron Constantin watches come with the prestigious Seal of Geneva, which is not merely a cosmetic label attached to a luxury watch to justify charging more for it. The Seal of Geneva is an indicator of provenance (produced within the Swiss Canton of Geneva), decoration (particular decoration techniques need to be applied), and more recently, performance. The Geneva Seal is applied per watch and is stamped on the movement. It isn’t everything, but it is a big step in the direction of being able to feel confident that your lovely new tourbillon will also serve you well as part of a dependable watch.
I for one never shy away from timepieces with mostly artistic merits, but I also like my timepieces to perform adequately as time tellers. I wouldn’t call the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon an “art watch” in the way other Vacheron Constantin timepieces might be, but the movement is slathered with loads of hand finishing and polishing and one can easily apply the term “beautiful” to the accumulation of all that artistic effort.
As the name of the Traditionnelle Tourbillon watch implies, it is a very traditional timepiece in concept, form, and execution, which is why one might be interested in it. Rather than really try to invent anything new, this is fine Swiss watchmaking at its best because it is about refinement and elegance. Take a high-end tourbillon, make it as timeless as possible, make sure it is a Vacheron, and also make it as practical as possible. Let me compare the 2018 Traditionnelle Tourbillon to some previous models produced by Vacheron Constantin. The two models I am thinking about are the Traditionnelle Tourbillon Minute Repeater and the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle 14-Day Tourbillon.
Each of these previous watches is technically lovely, but not as aesthetically refined in my opinion. One of my main issues in those watches is that the actual dial to tell the time is both smaller than the face of the watch and also off-centered, being skewed upwards a bit. Size wise, they were also bigger with the Traditionnelle 14-Day Tourbillon being 42mm wide and 12.2mm thick. The 2018 Traditionnelle Tourbillon has less power reserve, but is also an automatic. It also comes in a very well-proportioned 41mm wide case that is just 10.4mm thick. Wearability (in my opinion) favors the 2018 Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon as compared to its existing sister models.