A longstanding part of the Vacheron Constantin watchmaking heritage, the World Time complication is making a noteworthy comeback in the form of the Patrimony Traditionnelle World Time model. Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin, this new mechanical self-winding movement is distinguished by its capacity to indicate the world’s 37 time zones, including those offset from Universal Coordinated Time (UCT) by a half or quarter-hour.
The new Patrimony Traditonnelle World Time by Vacheron Constantin marks the return to the collection of a complication inextricably bound to the history of the Geneva-based manufacturer.
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A pioneer in the development and production of innovative watches, the Manufacture Vacheron Constantin has displayed the same approach in being resolutely open to the world at large. Created in 1755 in Geneva and able to look back over more than 255 years of uninterrupted activity, Vacheron Constantin soon began exploring the four corners of the earth. It established a presence in the United States in 1832 and in China in 1845 – well before the International Meridian Conference held in Washington in 1884 which divided the world into 24 time zones, taking the Greenwich meridian as the longitude 0 point of reference. This new approach became indispensable in keeping step with the development of international travel and of railways.
Driven by a wish to demonstrate that the multiple time-zone watch could be further perfected, Vacheron Constantin introduced its first timepieces endowed with an international time mechanism in 1932.
This movement was the work of a brilliant Geneva watchmaker, Louis Cottier, who had imagined and developed a mechanical movement indicating the 24 time zones from 1 to 24 by means of a disc rotating around the central dial and the outer bezel bearing the names of the world’s major cities.
This first Vacheron Constantin World Time “Cottier system” watch (reference 3372) enabled simultaneous read-off of the time in 31 cities around the world. It marked the start of a rich and longstanding relationship between Vacheron Constantin and the World Time complication. In 1936, Vacheron Constantin presented two new versions of its World Time model with a 31-city dial (reference 3650) and a 30-city dial (reference 3638) without Cairo.
In 1937 and 1938, the Geneva-based manufacturer unveiled six table clocks with a mobile dial featuring 67 locations, including summer and winter time in Paris. From the 1940s onwards, Vacheron Constantin attributed the reference number 4414 to a world time model with a 41-city dial and a day/night division of the mobile 24-hour disc. During the 1940s and 1950s, many famous customers were captivated by this useful and ingenious mechanism, and contributed to spreading the fame of this new complication.
In 1957, Vacheron Constantin wrote a new chapter in its history of World Time watches by introducing the first World Time wristwatch, reference 6213, ordered by an Egyptian dignitary. It was the first of a long line of models incorporating this remarkable complication and that earned it an outstanding reputation among connoisseurs and collectors.
A patented new World Time calibreEager to make a major new contribution to the history of this complication, the Vacheron Constantin master-watchmakers and engineers have sought to create a mechanical movement capable of indicating not only the full time zones, but also the partial ones, so as to reflect the exact temporal reality in the 37 time zones. A number of countries have indeed adopted a half-hour or quarter-hour difference from UTC, and the Calibre 2460WT by Vacheron Constantin takes account of these specific characteristics. By way of example, it provides the correct time indication for Caracas, since Venezuela decided in 2007 to switch from a full time zone to a half time zone (GMT – 4:30).
The indication of the 37 time zones as proposed by Vacheron Constantin in its Patrimony Traditionnelle World Time is as complete as one could wish for. The display consists of three dials: a sapphire dial with a unique day/night shading; a metal dial with a “Lambert projector” type map; and a metal chapter ring. Beating at a frequency of 4 Hz (28,800 vibrations per hour) and endowed with a 40-hour power reserve, mechanical self-winding Calibre 2460WT drives displays of the hours, minutes, central seconds and World Time. It enables simultaneous read-off of the time in all regions of the world, along with the day/night indication provided by the central world map. All indications are adjusted via the crown, thus considerably simplifying the use of this highly technical watch. A patent has been filed for the new Vacheron Constantin Calibre 2460WT bearing the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva.
Appreciable user friendlinessDespite its complex construction principles, the new mechanical World Time movement is extremely user-friendly. The wearer chooses the reference time and places it opposite the black triangle at 6 o’clock. The time in the reference location can then be read off either by the hour hand, or by the 24-hour disc, while the time in the other 36 time zones is simultaneously readable. The cities shown in black represent the full time zones, while the cities in red indicate half-hour or quarter-hour zones.
Incorporating all the signature characteristics of the collection – a slender bezel, a knurled motif on the case-back, a screw-down sapphire crystal case-back, and dauphine hands – the new Patrimony Traditionnelle World Time comes with a 42.5 mm diameter 18K pink gold case that is water-resistant to 30 meters. It is fitted with a brown alligator leather strap secured by an 18K pink gold folding clasp.View gallery - 9 images