Vacheron Constantin recreated its unique 1950s rectangular-shaped Aronde timepiece and debuted it at SIHH in 2011.
The Historiques Aronde 1954 is a classically styled, artistically created watch and while not delivered in large quantities, the level of detail and quality speaks volumes about Vacheron Constantin. “Aronde” means “swallow” (bird) and refers to the wings in the context of this watch, as reflected in the design of the case which has double rounded curved case flanks, and uniquely curved sapphire crystal — making this one of the more distinctive rectangular-shaped timepieces available.
An opaline silvered dial that appears more cream than silver (as is often the case with silvered opaline dials) has been expertly engraved with hand-applied horizontal and vertical guilloche lines and then topped with hand-applied gold baton hour markers, with the exception of gold Arabic numerals at 12 and 6, and stick hands for the hours, minutes, and small seconds. An 18K gold Maltese cross emblem has also been applied by hand at 12 o’clock. “VACHERON CONSTANTIN” is printed in black, on a raised surface just below the emblem. The square-shaped smooth sunken surface of the small seconds subdial is printed with a black cross-hair design.
Crafted from 18K rose gold, the case is larger than the original, to meet modern tastes, but is no less elegant. This watch is like a Cartier Tank or Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, which coincidentally are owned by the same company (Richemont SA) as Vacheron Constantin. And while those brands sell more rectangle-shaped watches than Vacheron by a significant amount, the 31.20 mm x 9.95 mm (44.5 mm lug-to-lug), some might argue has the best craftsmanship, heritage, and aesthetic of the bunch.
Not to mention, the 4Hz hand-wound caliber 1400 AS (20.65 mm x 2.65 mm) movement, with 20 jewels, 40-hours of power reserve, and top-level Geneva finishes — is superb. The original retail was $29,500.