Vacheron Constantin has launched some interesting creations in recent years, but this year at SIHH the launch of the Traditionelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar moved the brand up the ranks as one of the heroes of watchmaking for the present year. The glorious perpetual calendar is incredibly clever, as it can run at two different frequencies (either 5Hz or 1.2Hz) in order to extend its power reserve to up to 65 days—1,560 hours in case you’re wondering. Using its pusher at 8 o’clock, the movement swaps between its two different balances, with the low frequency operation at 1.2Hz meant to be used for “standby mode” if you opt to wear something different for a few days, weeks, or months.
All this technical innovation is fascinating, but in seeing the Twin Beat in the flesh at Watches & Wonders in Miami, there’s more to the equation than the innovation itself. We’ve seen a good number of advanced and highly technical watches over the years, but so often where these pieces fall flat is in wearability. As you can see from our wrist shots accompanying this story, that isn’t an issue when it comes to the Twin Beat. Measuring 42mm across and 12.3mm thick, the piece really isn’t all that much bigger than a conventional perpetual calendar, and it wears quite comfortably on even a modestly sized wrist (6.75″ for your reference). Using a traditional dial upper half of a dial, and an openworked lower half with smoked sapphire subdials for its month and date, the aesthetics of the Twin Beat cross the boundaries between traditionalist and contemporary styling as well.
After having unveiled their new entry-level Fiftysix collection the previous year, it’s not entirely surprising that Vacheron has returned to the highest level of watchmaking with their 2019 release. Otherwise it’s been a bit of a sleepy year in terms of highly technical watchmaking, leaving the Twin Beat to steal the spotlight, at least until another batch of releases breaks cover at Baselworld in less than a month. Will Vacheron be knocked from the podium? We’ll have to wait and see.