It is one grand accomplishment to create a high complication such as a perpetual calendar, but takes an entirely different level of skill, and of confidence, to expose every aspect of its operations to the world — as seen in the new Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton in 18-karat 5N pink gold. What’s even more remarkable is the watchmaking prowess demonstrated in creating a machine this complex and at a mere 4.05mm thick, which will make sense of the calendar until March 1, 2100 — a perpetual calendar requires exceptional mastery of miniaturisation to create the highly efficient and accurate movements that can correctly display all date information despite variable months and leap years.
Inside its 41.5mm diameter by 8.1mm thick case is the extremely precise self-winding Calibre 1120 QPSQ/1, which is the same movement found in the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin (1120 QP/1), except that in this case it has been skeletonised. This is achieved through a technique that consists of finely openworking the mechanical movement by hollowing out its components without compromising their integrity. At Vacheron these components are, of course, then hand finished and decorated to further celebrate the functional beauty of the movement, which has a frequency of 19 800 vibrations per hour and around 40 hours of power reserve. The transparent caseback also reveals the gear trains and openworked Maltese cross-shaped oscillating weight with its segment in 22-karat gold.
On the dial, applied hour markers are in pink gold, as well as the Maltese cross emblem, day, date, and month-counter rings. A moon phases display is at 6 o’clock. The Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton is presented on a satin-brushed pink gold bracelet with half Maltese cross-shaped links. It also comes with two additional easily interchangeable straps in blue alligator leather and blue rubber, and is priced at a little over R2-million. The Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin also received an elegant update this year in pink gold with blue dial and retails for R1.77-million.