Makers of arguably some of the most beautiful watches in the world, I am rarely (if ever) disappointed by Swiss masters Vacheron Constantin. The latest piece to catch my eye is the Malte Moon Phase and Power-Reserve. A very distinctive looking piece that combines the Marque’s traditional style and technical complexity with an exceptional level of legibility and unique appeal to create an instant classic.
A Brief History Lesson
For those of you that may be new to the world of high-end watch making it is worthwhile touching on Vacheron Constantin’s history so that you appreciate just who we are dealing with here. As the loyal guardian of an unbroken Genevan watchmaking tradition since 1755, Vacheron Constantin has an exceptional heritage that represents an inexhaustible source of inspiration for its contemporary creations such as this new Malte model. In 1889, the Geneva-based manufacturer produced its very first wristwatches and commenced on a journey of stylistic exploration.
Subtle Yet Shapely
Presented in a tonneau or “barrel” shape case, this is a style that was first explored by Vacheron Constantin back in 1912. Throughout the years this unique case design has seen several variations to its basic shape, at times elongated, curved, embellished or pared down according to the inspiration of the moment. This is the true genius of a Vacheron Constantin timepiece, the subtlety with which the brand shapes its pieces, at times almost imperceptible to the casual observer and at the same time mind blowing to the seasoned enthusiast.
A contemporary expression of the brand’s inimitable artistic sensitivity, the Malte line was born with the third millennium in a reinterpretation of the tonneau shape. Be warned though, the case size is very generous at 39mm x 49mm and as such will not suit all wrists. Yet it is this same size that allows for the outstanding legibility of the borderline complex dial.
Believe me though, with a dial this stunning, you will want to be able to fully appreciate even the finest of touches. Beautifully adorned with five different finishes, the level of highly skilled craftsmanship involved would be almost unthinkable from any one else. The inner zone features a silvered, finely hand-guilloché “Clous de Paris” or hobnail motif. The outer zone is decorated with a vertical satin-brushed finish, also silvered.
The minute circle, the power-reserve display as well as the inscriptions Vacheron Constantin Genève and Swiss Made are all transferred, while the seconds subdial at 6 o’clock is circular satin-brushed. And finally, the minute-circle and power-reserve zones are screen-printed in white.
As the finishing touch on a wonderfully subdued dial the moon-phase display presents an intelligent blend of technology and expertise, composed of a disc with a galvanized base and a moon face in 18-carat white gold or pink gold depending on the model. The extremely broad dial ensuring user-friendly readability is punctuated by nine hour-markers, two Roman numerals and a Maltese cross, all in 18-carat white or pink gold, depending on the version.
Keeping It In-House
Animating this refined masterpiece is the manual-winding 1410 calibre developed and manufactured entirely in-house by Vacheron Constantin. In recognition of its heritage it bears the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva, an indication reserved exclusively for movements stemming from the finest Geneva workshops, and graced with exceptionally careful hand-crafted finishing.
In addition to hour and minute hands, the Calibre 1410 drives a precision moon-phase display which will not require any setting for more than 100 years and an indication of the over 40-hour power reserve. This 22-jewel manual-winding movement oscillates at a rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour.
Available in a choice of 18-carat white gold or 5N pink gold, the satin-brushed case-back is secured by screws. The dial is protected by a glareproofed cambered sapphire crystal and is fitted with a square-scale alligator-leather strap in black for the white gold model and chestnut brown for the rose gold model – both equipped with a gold folding clasp matching the case colour.
The Final Word
In case you didn’t glean this from the above I am very big admirer of Vacheron Constantin and their stunning creations. The Malte Moon Phase presents a very attractive option for a discerning individual who is seeking a high-quality piece from a very well-respected watch maker that offers a level of moderate complication without going over the top.
The appeal of this watch is both in its subtlety and its legibility, as well as the exceptional craftsmanship it exhibits. This is a timeless piece that will be passed down through the generations.
For more information see Vacheron Constantin’s official website.
Category: Watch Reviews