27 January 2015
It is one of the métiers d’art of traditional watchmaking, a form of high craftsmanship of great technical as well as aesthetic value: “skeletonization” or openworking entails eliminating as much metal as possible from the components of the movement, without compromising their function, in order to create a spectacular effect of transparency. A process that demands skill, precision and patience: the difficulty lies not so much in the tiny dimensions of the pieces that have to be finished with files and saws, as in the need to compensate for the inevitable deformations to which each element is subject. Vacheron Constantin’s Malte Tourbillon Squelette is a perfect synthesis of reliability and decoration: as a result of 500 hours of effort on the part of the watchmaker’s technicians, it has been given a hand-wound mechanical movement with an architectural structure, with bridges, baseplates and trains that have not just been skeletonized but also engraved by hand with geometric motifs. Other notable characteristics: it is a “shaped” caliber (i.e. not round but reflecting the tonneau or barrel profile of the precious platinum case), fitted with a tourbillon mechanism (one of the main watch complications) and the power reserve and date indicators have hands. In addition, the Malte Tourbillon Squelette adheres to the principles of construction required by the Geneva Seal (a prestigious certification of quality). A little masterpiece.