The Toledo 52 reborn with a full-calendar movement
and a handsome new dial face
Vacheron Constantin is a brand preparing its self for its quarter millenium in 2005 but when you have 250 years of history looking down on you a tribute to past models and designs is sometimes the best way to present this past to new generations.
That is what Vacheron Constantin has decided to do by introducing, at the Salon International de Haute Horlogerie which took place in Geneva from April 7-14, 2003, the Toledo 1952 which as its name indicates is inspired from a timepiece dating from 1952.
But here is where we have a perfect example of Vacheron Constantin’s avant garde designs. Where many other brands are following the bigger is better trend started a few years ago by Panerai in “sports watches” and which unfortunately, in my opinion, is hitting more “clasical” timepieces one may think that Vacheron Constantin has decided to follow the tracks of many others. But Vacheron Constantin does not follow trends!
The new Toledo 1952 is of the exact same size as its prestigious predecessor. Which leads one to underline the boldness of Vacheron Constantin’s design when releasing such a big watch 50 years ago, at a time when most men’s watches were the size of today’s lady’s timepieces!
yellow gold model
Centuries of watchmaking experience and pride of craftsmanship come together in the Toledo 1952’s subtly carré cambré case. It houses a movement whose auxiliary full-calendar mechanism stylishly enlivens its dial face. Displaying the date, day of the week, month and phases of the moon, these three 21st-century Toledo designs form harmonious compositions, with the finest materials enhancing the intricacy of its mechanical heart in a serenely classic spirit.
The watch’s striking stepped case displays a neat godroon decor, handsomely cambered curves and sensually rounded bracelet attachments. As Mr. Proellochs, CEO of Vacheron Constantin, pointed out the curves on the case reminds one of the sand on the beach once the waves have receded. And it is true, the watch has a wonderful tactile feeling, no edges…only sensual curves.
Discreetly marking the hours and minutes, simple baton-style hands let the slate or silver-toned dial, protected by a slightly cambered crystal, speak for itself with elegance. Its silvery circular date calendar with blued steel pointer is set against vertical pinstripe guilloché work.
The dial also bears four Arabic numerals and four applied hour markers in 18K gold on the dial’s raised area. Discreetly framed at 6 o’clock by a track for the seconds, the moon-phase display features a front plate whose starry decor matches the disc’s endlessly waxing and waning moon.
The fine detailing of the Toledo 52 is echoed by technical excellence throughout. Bearing the traditional Maltese cross symbol, the crown corrects the hours, minutes and day-of-the-week display. Actioned by a corrector stylus, three pushpieces flush with the case flank control the month, date and moon-phase indications.
But the Toledo 1952 is not just a case. The movement is a fine example of Vacheron’s craftsmanship and horological expertise. Beating at 28,800 vibrations per hour and adjusted in five positions, its 36-jewel selfwinding caliber 1125 movement provides over 40 hours of reserve power.
white gold model
The movement is based on a Piguet ebauche (Vacheron Constantin will soon be introducing its new inhouse autmatic movement) but modified and finished to the company’s very high standards, the movement’s bridges and bars have been shaped and their edges bevelled by hand, the sides of components delicately decorated with parallel file strokes and screw heads carefully polished.
The watch’s individual production numbers are engraved on its case and movement alike. Limited to 100 watches in all, the platinum model is numbered by hand opposite 9 o’clock on the case flank.
But how does the watch look on the wrist ? As I have many a times said in previous posts I don’t like big watches but here the Toledo 1952 looks good and not overly big on the average sized wrist due to the curved case back.
Mr. Proellochs wearing his Toledo
Mr. Proellochs, Vacheron Constantin’s CEO, told us that he was so enamored with this watch that he wanted to borrow one to wear during the fair but his fellow collegues chipped in to offer him a platinum Toledo 1952 for his birthday right before the opening of the fair. I wish a happy belated birthday to Mr. Proellochs from the Purists community.
Reference: 47300/000G-9064, 47300/000J-9065, 47300/000P-9067
Caliber: 1125, selfwinding
Movement thickness: 5.53 mm
Movement diameter: 26.60 mm
Power reserve: > 40 hours
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour
Indications: Hour, minutes, seconds, date, day of the week, month, phases of the moon
Case: 950 platinum or 18K gold in yellow or white
Dial: Slate-colored or silver-toned, vertically engine-turned at center, applied Arabic numerals and hour markers in 18K gold, very circular date calendar with Arabic numerals
Water resistance: 30 m (approx. 100 feet)
Strap: Night-blue, brown or black padded and hand-stitched alligator mississipiensis leather
Buckle: standard type, in 950 platinum or yellow or white 18K gold