The complete calendar is not one of the most prestigious complications in watchmaking, but in the hands of the prestigious watchmaker Vacheron Constantin, it is a tribute to traditional watchmaking itself. The Traditionnelle Calendar Complet Openface is therefore not intended to demonstrate Vacheron’s lofty horological prowess – it has the Westminster Sonnerie or the Armillory Tourbillon Planetaria, to name a few, to cover that – but to honor the legacy of complication. The triple calendar was originally developed for pocket watches, before appearing in wristwatches in the 1920s. Vacheron Constantin was one of the few brands to make it. Rolex was another. In recent years, Vacheron has revived the complete calendar in its Historical and Traditional collections.
The full calendar, also called the triple calendar, shows the date, day and month. Months with less than 31 days are not taken into account on the triple calendar and must therefore be manually adjusted five times a year (end of February, April, June, September and November). This is different from the annual calendar, which adjusts the date automatically and only requires manual correction once a year (in February with its 28 days). The annual calendar is a fairly modern complication, introduced by Patek Philippe in 1996. The more traditional perpetual calendar predates the annual calendar by several decades and is more sophisticated. Not only will it correct itself every month, regardless of the number of days, but it will take into account the occurrence of leap years, and display the correct date, day, month and moon phase in perpetuity. It was invented in 1762 and widely used in pocket watches from the 18and and 19and centuries.
The popularity of the triple calendar function in wristwatches has waned as people shifted to annual and perpetual calendars, but Vacheron Constantin keeps the function’s vintage charm alive. In the Traditionnelle Complete Calendar Openface, it features an avant-garde openwork treatment that puts the mechanism in full view from the dial side. It contains caliber 2460 QCL/2, which includes stop-second and moon phase functions and has a 40-hour power reserve. It is decorated in the traditional style, with a circular-grained mainplate, bevelled bridges and a Côtes de Genève motif. The plate and the bridges receive a modern anthracite surface treatment. The upper part of the sapphire crystal dial is adorned with a matching slate gray guilloché segment. The applied indexes and the Dauphine hands are in gold. The dial, with indication of the day, date, month and moon phases, is covered with a translucent sapphire crystal. It is produced in both rose gold and white gold and is priced at $47,300.