Doors have only just opened at the 2019 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva, and already, one novelty is being lauded as potentially the watch of the fair. The timepiece in question: Vacheron Constantin’s innovative Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar.
The perpetual calendar is one of the most useful and masterful complications in watchmaking. In addition to the time, these watches display the day, date, month and frequently the year, and they’re clever enough to account not only for months being of different lengths, but for the occurrence of leap years.
Theoretically, this means that a perpetual calendar watch, after it’s been correctly set and wound, shouldn’t need adjustment until the year 2100—a minor problem, and one most of us won’t live long enough to encounter.
The larger issue is, perpetual calendar watches are an aficionado’s choice—highly complex and generally incredibly expensive—meaning that their owners are very probably in possession of numerous other timepieces.
As part of a collector’s rotation, the perpetual calendar is unlikely to be worn on a daily basis, and unless it’s kept in a watch winder (if automatic) or regularly hand wound, its indications will constantly creep to a halt.
As a result, you’ll have to reset its myriad displays whenever you wear the watch — precisely the “fiddliness” a perpetual calendar is meant to eliminate.
The world’s oldest watchmaker in continuous operation, founded in 1755 and ceaselessly crafting the finest timepieces ever since, Vacheron Constantin has drawn on its more than two-and-a-half centuries’ horological expertise to solve this problem.