vacheron constantin historiques ultra-fine 1968 has chosen to make 2010 a tribute year to its ultra-thin timepieces by reissuing, again within its “Historiques” collection, a square-shaped model dating from 1968 and equipped with the famous ultra-thin self-winding Calibre 1120.
In revisiting this watch, the Manufacture has adopted an extremely distinctive style: that of the 1960s. This 4N 18-carat rose gold timepiece creates a striking contrast between the strict square dial opening and the slightly curving case flanks. The resulting design exudes an impression of elegant understatement, further accentuated by a vertical-brushed silver-coloured dial adorned with simple and geometrical hour-markers.
The pared-down lugs lend a pleasingly strict touch to the overall effect, while the sapphire crystal that is bevelled all around further underscores the ties between this watch and the non-conformist period when it was first launched. Everything about the design echoes the legendary Swinging Sixties through an original model that has in time become a great classic.
Compared with the original 1968 watch (reference 7614), the watch now presented features updated technical characteristics in tune with modern times: water resistance to 3 bar, equivalent to around 30 metres; a sapphire crystal, and a clipped-down solid case-back exactly like the original model.
Despite such improvements, which generally tend to increase bulk, this watch measuring 35.2 mm along its sides is even thinner than its historical predecessor: 5.5 mm compared with 6.52 mm, making it one of the thinnest watches in its category.
Like the 1968 model, the contemporary version is equipped with the ultra-thin self-winding Calibre 1120. This exceptional movement driving hour and minute hands has powered some of the most prestigious ultra-thin self-winding watches in horological history.
Despite its apparent simplicity, it features a sophisticated construction that called for some unusual technical solutions. For this re-edition, the Manufacture Vacheron Constantin has rebuilt the calibre: although its dimensions – 28 mm in diameter and 2.45 thick – remain unchanged, it is now equipped with an 18-carat gold oscillating weight bearing the Maltese Cross system. It offers an approximately 40-hour power reserve. Stamped with the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva, its exceptional finishing features Côtes de Genève, bevelling and chamfering on all parts, and hand-drawn flanks.
By way of conclusion, vacheron constantin historiques ultra-fine 1968 has chosen in 2010 re-issue two ultra-thin watches that have made their mark on its history, duly christened “Historique Ultra-fine 1955” and “Historique Ultra-fine 1968”. By choosing to equip them with the same legendary vintage calibres – the 1003 and 1020 rebuilt for the occasion and now bearing the independent and sovereign Hallmark of Geneva certification – the Manufacture is showcasing its peerless creativity in the field of exceptional classic watches. And in the process, it is also demonstrating its complete mastery of extreme slenderness by treating it as a full-fledged complication in its own right.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Vacheron Constantin introduced the world’s thinnest wristwatches and today, they revive the quest for ultra-thinness with the Historique Ultra-Fine 1955 and 1968 models. The 1955 model represents a round case ultra-thin watch with a caliber 1003 movement, only 1.64mm thick, making the watch having a total height of just 4.10mm. This results in the Ultra-Fine 1955 being the thinnest watch in the world. The mechanical manual winding movement is based on the original caliber 1003 from 1955, but rebuilt in 18ct gold and bearing the Hallmark of Geneva.
This Hallmark of Geneva can only be applied when the movement complies to 12 technical and style criteria which are outlined on the Vacheron Constantin website (click here to visit the Hallmark of Geneva section). Below is a picture of the rebuilt caliber 1003 movement in 18ct gold by Vacheron Constantin:
The Ultra-Fine 1968 model is a square case timepiece, using Vacheron Constantin’s caliber 1120 movement, as introduced in 1966 and produced since the end of 1967. Below you see a picture of both timepieces. Vacheron Constantin’s caliber 1120 movement has been based on Jaeger-LeCoultre’s caliber 920. Jaeger-LeCoultre however, never used this movement in one of their own watches. Vacheron Constantin, together with Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe used the Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 920 movement in their own watches with their own caliber numbers.
Vacheron Constantin (caliber 1120) and Audemars Piguet (caliber 2121) are the only manufacturers to still have these ultra-thin movements in production. Patek Philippe used it (under caliber number 28-255) during the first 10 years of the Nautilus timepiece before switching to a different movement, bearing caliber number 335SC.
All in all, the Vacheron Constantin caliber 1120 movement has somewhat of a cult-status amongst collectors, especially those who love ultra-thin watches or have a weak spot for G?É¬rald Genta (designer of the Nautilus and Royal Oak) or Hysek (designer of Vacheron Constantin’s ‘222’ which later became the ‘Overseas’).
The Ultra-Fine 1955 timepiece is based on Vacheron Constantin’s reference 4961 (introduced in 1955) since that particular model already embodied a decidedly modern touch at the time of its launch. The 36mm 18 ct pink gold watch case of the Ultra-Fine 1955 is water resistant to 30 meters and has a transparant caseback using a sapphire cyrstal.
The Ultra-Fine 1968 timepiece is based on reference 7614, also in an 18ct pink gold watch case and measures 35.2 mm along its sides and is even thinner than its historical predecessor: 5.5 mm compared with 6.52 mm, making it one of the thinnest watches in its category (of watches with a self-winding movement).
By choosing to equip these Historique timepieces with the same legendary vintage calibres ?¢Ç¨Äú the 1003 and 1120 rebuilt for the occasion and now bearing the independent and sovereign Hallmark of Geneva certification ?¢Ç¨Äú Vacheron Constantin is shows their authority when it comes to exceptional classic watches.