Published by Pierre-Paul Godts
Form and content
More than a mere stylistic composition, the new Toledo 1951 revives an entire era, masterfully living up to its stature as an emblematic model within the Historiques collection by Vacheron Constantin.
The creative exuberance of the 1950s
Collectors well remember the delicious anecdote regarding the new ‘form’ watch presented by 1951 and featuring the remarkable asset of an astonishing square case. It was an immediate hit, winning over a broad audience including the Italians who nicknamed it “cioccolatone” in reference to the shape of its case that reminded them of a famous chocolate sweet.
The very fact that this watch with its non-conformist design elicited such enthusiasm lay in its ability to take the pulse of an effervescent period. Throughout a decade characterised by outstanding vitality and optimism, designers in all fields were eagerly exploring new avenues, including occasionally confronting each other so as to boost creative momentum.
At Vacheron Constantin, aesthetic trends were actively cultivated so as to nurture a design dynamic, as vividly embodied in the “Toledo” model.
A welcome addition to the Historiques collection
A keen sense of its duty to pass on traditions and to share its passion inspired the Historiques collection, which is intended to reinterpret emblematic models. This approach provides an opportunity to highlight Vacheron Constantin’s distinctive aesthetic design codes and choices. The Historiques collection thus revives a wide range of very different, innovative and successful designs – within which the Toledo 1951 watch finds a natural place.
In 2003, the Toledo model had already been revisited and introduced with a complete calendar. This year, the new Toledo 1951 has opted for closer similarities with the original 1951 model through a form watch with a three-hand display that preserves the warm signature mood of this timepiece imbued with a touch of Latin charm.
Mingling skills and applying the law of equilibrium
The design of the new Toledo 1951 stems from an extremely advanced study of curves and the square shape – along with the art of associating them in the most restrained and balanced possible way. In-depth work was done in order to find the perfect proportions for this form watch with its cleverly controlled curves.
The 18-carat pink gold case features three rounded sides composing the signature of this timepiece. These three levels give the case a consistently dynamic appearance that is further accentuated by the uniform polishing on the sides and the round angles. Like a facetted cut diamond, the case catches the light that bounces off its curves and levels. Shadowy and luminous zones enliven this timepiece pervaded by a resolutely vivacious aesthetic. The sapphire crystal is also slightly curved to follow the same aesthetic impetus.
In keeping with the fine tradition of artistic crafts cultivated by Vacheron Constantin, the dial displays a hand-guilloché centre. It features a geometrical motif reinterpreting that of the original and designed to accentuate the shape of the case. The delicately beaded and hollowed minute circle discreetly reveals the 18-carat gold dial. Its square form keeps the main focus on the shape of the case.
Taut lines and optical effects testify to the infinite care lavished on the design of this dial with its opaline silver-toned finishes.
The dimensions of the case – 36.4 mm x 43 mm and 8.9 mm thick – endow this timepiece with an undeniable presence, while ensuring it is not too weighty and proves particularly pleasant to wear.
The solid case-back provides scope for personalising this model supplied with an alligator leather strap secured by a half Maltese Cross-shaped pin buckle.
In tune with the new Hallmark of Geneva criteria
The new Toledo 1951 watch is powered by the famous Calibre 2460 SC, developed and crafted in-house by Vacheron Constantin. Oscillating at a rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour, this self-winding calibre equipped with a 22-carat gold oscillating weight ensures an approximately 40-hour power reserve. In line with the grand tradition of calibres from the Manufacture, the bridges are manually cut out and bevelled, the sides are hand-drawn with file strokes and each screw is meticulously polished.
This timepiece meets the new requirements of the Hallmark of Geneva. Instated by the Grand Council of the Republic and Canton of Geneva in 1886, the Hallmark is a guarantee of provenance, of craftsmanship, of durability and of expertise. In 2011, this unique quality label underwent a fundamental transformation: the certification no longer applies to the calibre alone, but instead to the timepiece in its entirety. This represents a major evolution for this authentication that has enjoyed the longstanding support of Vacheron Constantin, which now chooses to respond more fully than ever to the true expectations of an increasingly well-informed clientele.
With the Historiques collection, Vacheron Constantin intends to pursue its privileged dialogue with collectors and passionate devotees. Viewed from this perspective, the new Toledo 1951 brings a fascinating new topic to this ongoing debate.
Timepiece certified by the Hallmark of Geneva
2460 SC, developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
26.20 mm (11’’’ ¼) diameter
3.60 mm thick
22K gold rotor
Approximately 40-hour power reserve
4Hz (28’800 vibrations/hour)
• Central seconds
18K 5N pink gold
33.30 mm x 42.30 mm, 8.93 mm thick
Water resistance tested at a pressure equivalent to 3 bar (approx. 30 meters)
18K gold, silvered opaline
18K 5N pink gold applied Arabic numerals and “pearl” minute-track
Brown Mississippiensis alligator leather strap, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales
18K 5N pink gold buckle
Polished half Maltese cross-shaped
Pierre-Paul Godts – Contributing Writer
Pierre-Paul has worked for over 20 years as a Creative Director for different Advertising Agencies. Today he workes in his own Graphic design agency. Proprietor and founder of WatchMundi and WatchMundi Magazine. WatchMundi is dedicated to share the latest horological industry news from the captivating realm of wrist watches principaly in the domain of Pilot, Diving, Marine, Nautical, Vintage, GMT, WorldTimer or Motor Racing watches.