Known not only for their cutting edge Overseas family of sporty chronographs and three-handers, but also for the unique Historiques collection of re-issues (well, technically they are not “reissues” since they are powered by more modern movement while looking almost exactly as their classic models,) the Swiss watch manufacture Vacheron Constantin is about to start selling their new Vacheron Constantin Historiques Toledo 1951 (ref. 86300/000R-9826) dressy three-hander: a timepiece that comes in a fairly unusual (for the brand) body that blends the noble rectangular shape of the bezel with a sporty “cushion” style form of the massive rose gold case.
While not as bizarre as the Vacheron Constantin Historique Aronde 1954 (Ref. 81018/000R-9657) that was issued almost three years ago and officially presented to the public at SIHH 2011 event, the new Vacheron Constantin Historiques Toledo 1951’s (Ref. 86300/000R-9826) peculiarly shaped rose gold body seems to be not only pleasant to look at, but also quite comfortable, too, thanks to its thin, ergonomically curved profile.
Powered by their in-house Caliber VC 2460SC engine (a very thin automatic movement that also animates at least 10 other three-handers from the prolific Swiss-based brand, while also serving as a base for at least seven other mechanisms currently offered by Vacheron Constantin), the watch is only 9 millimeters thick, which makes it especially comfortable for those who prefer to wear shirts with tight cuffs. And at a size of just 33.3 x 42.3 millimeters (let the latter dimension doesn’t scare you since it also includes the model’s pair of rather short integrated lugs), it is definitely compact enough to be called a classic dress watch.
Judging by the look of it, this beautiful timekeeper was possibly made as a tribute to the gorgeous Art-Deco Vacheron Constantin Cioccolatone model that was on sale around 60 years ago.
Although the silvered opaline dial with its applied Arabic numerals, “pearl” minute track and longer, more refined hour and minute hands are definitely from another era, the curvy body of the watch with its flowing lines and integrated, organic lugs seems to be recreated very accurately.
As usual for the brand of this caliber, the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Toledo 1951 offers a superb combination of elegance, ergonomics and legibility making it a perfect choice for a person who considers round and classic rectangular watches too generic for his taste.
As far as legibility is concerned, I, as always, find the lack of Superluminova even on its hour and minute hands a bit disappointing: the pointers are clearly wide enough to house the luminous compounds and tiny strips of lume, from where I stand, wouldn’t hurt the gadget’s stately appearance. On the other hand, the daytime legibility is superb with the silvered opaline dial providing the rose gold hands with a background that is contrasting enough for almost any situation. Of course, the antireflective coating on the synthetic sapphire crystal also helps a great deal.
The recommended minimum street price of $36,000 USD is definitely a steep one, but it’s absolutely normal for the brand and is something to be expected when you factor in the materials, the quality of movement and, well, all the cash invested into the brand by Richemont SA.
Photos: Vacheron Constantin
WWR preliminary verdict:
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5
Vacheron Constantin Historiques Toledo 1951 in Rose Gold (Ref. 86300/000R-9826) watch specification
Price: $36,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber VC 2460SC, in-house, 182 parts, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 27
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 40 hours
Movement decoration: 22-carat gold rotor with guilloche and Hallmark of Geneva stamp on the bridge
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Case material: 18-carat rose gold
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Rectangular/Cushion
Bezel shape: Rectangular
Case size: 42.30 mm x 33.30 mm
Case height: 9.00 mm
Lug width: No data
Dial: Silvered opaline
Numerals: Arabic, applied, 18-carat rose gold
Hour markers: Match numerals
Hands: Rose gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Hand-stitched, saddle-finish large square scale brown Mississippiensis alligator leather strap with 18-carat rose gold buckle
Case back: Sapphire