Presenting the thinnest minute repeater of all, the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Contemporaine Ultra-Thin Calibre 1731 (with specs and price)

Vacheron Constantin has just announced the thinnest minute repeater in the world at Watches&Wonders in Hong Kong. The manually-wound Patrimony Contemporaine Ultra-Thin Calibre 1731, equipped with its brand new, in-house movement, is just 8.09 mm high.

Long rumoured and now known to have been in development since 2009, the new cal. 1731 minute repeater movement inside the Patrimony Contemporaine Ultra-Thin Calibre 1731 succeeds the the cal. 1755 repeater movement unveiled in 1992. At the time Vacheron Constantin was one of the few brands to boast an in-house repeater, and the new cal. 1731 is a worthy replacemen.

The cal. 1731 stands just 3.90 mm high, a tiny bit slimmer than the rival from Piaget which is the thinnest automatic minute repeater. Cased up, the VC repeater is only 8.09 mm thick.

As is de rigeur for high-end repeaters now, the cal. 1731 has a silent governor. This device regulates the striking of the repeater via two weighted wings which spread as the governer spins while the watch is chiming – occurring silently so as not to interfere with the acoustics of the repeater itself.

Care was taken in the case construction to optimise sound transmission. For instance, the rose gold case has no joints – it has a snap back – to maximise the resonance of the sound through the metal.

As with all mechanical VC timepieces, the Patrimony Contemporaine Ultra-Thin Calibre 1731 is certified with the Geneva Seal. The movement is typical of current high-end VC calibres, displaying impeccable, traditional finishing alongside a movement design which is eminently modern.

From the front the watch is deceivingly simple, with the only notable feature being the subsidiary seconds at an unconventional eight o’clock.

The case is a modest 41 mm in diameter, and the movement has a useful 65 hour power reserve, equivalent to just under three days.  Retail is €270,000 before taxes, equivalent to about US$365,000. – SJX

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