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semperfi55

Review - Vacheron Constantin Harmony Complete Calendar

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semperfi55

The calendar complication today is as obsolete as the mechanical movement it accompanies. It is mechanically impressive, it gets the job done; but quartz can do better. 

 

But quartz cannot convey the same intangibles as a mechanical calendar watch. I appreciate the variety of ways watches display their calendar. The calendar can be expressed through wheels and windows, hands, rotating discs, or a binary red/white indicator. The variety in expression reflects the diversity in watchmaking (Swiss vs Soviet vs Chinese)  and ingenuity. More than anything, I enjoy the mundane ritual of setting up a calendar complication.

 

Clearly I have not fumbled around with setting the calendar of a Casio with 3 non-descript buttons :rolleyes:

 

I digress... I have been collecting quite a few calendar watches prior to acquiring this vintage Cuervo y Sobrinos Triple Calendar:

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Review of this watch can be found here:

Ignoring the fact that the watch is actually from the 1950s, the dated design and display appealed to my hipster tastes. The watch has a combination of month window, revolving date ring, and additional hand pointing to the day. The diversity in display was fascinating and I would not hesitate to collect more similar watches. Then @DarthPistachio directed my attention to this wonderful gem.

 

The Gen

The reference 4000S/000R-B123 is a complete calendar watch from the Harmony Collection, which features watches with  square cushion cases. 

VRrYfe.jpg

The Harmony Complete Calendar was unveiled in late 2016. It features day, date, month, and moonphase complications.  As you can see, the old-style calendar display evokes a certain vintage feel for this watch. 

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The complete calendar, also known as a triple calendar complication usually shows the date, day,  month, and sometimes a moonphase. Unlike an annual calendar, the triple does not take into account months with less than 31 days. And unlike a perpetual calendar, it definitely does not take into account leap years. 

The earliest triple dates an be found in pocket watches, with the complication making the transition  to wristwatches in the 1920s. Here is an early example by Vacheron Constantin:

Ref. 4240 from 1942

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The eagle-eyed among you would notice the present-day Historiques 1942 is practically a homage of the ref 4240:

VnDTTA.jpg

This is not the first time Vacheron Constantin has released a triple calendar watch, but this is probably the first time you see a VC triple calendar replica.

RRP for the Harmony Complete Calendar: £37,300

 

 

The Rep

I could not believe this was replicated. @DarthPistachio had given me a link to the rep but I opted to stick to our TDs. It was only after they could not source it did I bite the bullet with a non-TD. 

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Bear in mind I have modded the "moonphase". What you see is not what you get ;) Read below to find out more!

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Watch is set at 1:50 am, which is why the day wheel overlay looks off; it is just about to flick to the next day.

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Dimensions

The gen case is 40mm x 40mm; mine measured to be 40.1mm x 40.7mm

The gen case height is 11.01mm whereas my rep is 15.3mm

The gen lug-to-lug is 49.28mm, while the fake is 48.7mm

Lug width on my watch measures 22.7mm

In summary, the rep is thicker with a shorter lug-to-lug; but the cushion case size is spot-on.

 

Dial

 The dial has a matte surface which does not attract as much dust as a glossy dial. The day and month windows are much smaller than gen.

VRaA4G.jpg

Ignore the moonphase display here: it has been modded. 

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The Arabic numeral hour indices are presented in a font of Art Deco style. The print here is slightly raised from the dial with some imperfections visible on the "8". Further out is the chemin de fer minute decorations followed by the date numbers in red. The orientation of the red numbers switch at 7/8 and 23/24, as per gen.

VRmzUF.jpg

The date hand has a red crescent head, the hand length is just about right, flush to the red numbers.

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The rep has the correct hand stack. The hands are of the vintage style, a sort of mish-mash between leaf and sword hands, with a cathedral-like hour hand. The second hand has a long tail with a small circle, giving a very elegant, elongated aesthetic.

VRmKY0.jpg

 

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Movement

The gen uses a 27-jewel Calibre 2460QCL with the Hallmark of Geneva on its movement plate.

I am unsure of the movement used in the rep. But it does have a beautiful and detailed fake movement plate.

VRmYWs.jpg

The rotor has a coarse Grain de riz decoration but still a fair attempt and decor.

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Note the Hallmark of Geneva on the caseback, it is not found on the rep movement plate, which is oddly honest :lol:

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Impressive Côtes de Genève work on the fake plate,but the less impressive camera work was unable to capture it faithfully. At least the repmakers have put down the 27 Jewels inscription as per gen :D 

VRmLmU.jpg

The caseback is held down by 4 screws.It is easily removable; no need for rubber balls, sharp knives or ball of tape.

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As you can see from the back, this means the movement can only be removed from the case via the front.Which means... this watch is one hell of  a ballache.

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More photos below to showcase the exquisite detail on the rep movement.

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The front of the case can be pried off with some skill and even more luck.

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Check out the self-inflicted damage on the case :facepalm: The things I will do to alter minor aesthetics.

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The movement under the dial...

The original rep moonphase disc is actually a day/night disc. The blue used it not as vibrant as the gen. The yellow used in the moon/crescent looks jaundiced.

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After some Illustrator work, time to start printing...

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Not too shabby :thumbsup:

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Here is the gen for comparison:

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Note the moon discs which have been attached onto the blue disc, rather than printed on. I had initially tried to stick on rose gold leaf circles to replicate the 3-dimensional effect. However, that proved impossible due to the fragile nature of gold leaf. In the end I had to resort to just printing the gold disc onto the blue background. I could only manipulate the rose gold colour gradient to make it look metallic and more 3-dimensional.

 

Case

The rose gold case on the rep is highly reflective. It has a rounded, cushion case not often seen in gens and reps. 

VRmIPI.jpg

The standard crown with Maltese cross. The pusher @2 adjusts the month, @4 adjusts the date indicator, @10 adjusts the day.

VRmCKo.jpg

 

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The curved case back part further adds to the height of the case.

VRmlcf.jpg

 

VRmNaX.jpg

Here you can see more of the damage inflicted on the case...

VRmFop.jpg

 

Strap and Clasp

The strap is of typical poor quality which feels like supple cardboard.

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Branded leather strap though...

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The butterfly clasp has a Maltese cross but no other details.

VRmxPT.jpg

 

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Opening and closing the clasp is rather stiff, and is typical of the rep VC clasps. I have a similar problem with my Patrimony Bi-retrograde watch.

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The pin is secured onto the strap with a screw.

VRmr7b.jpg

 

Functions

In my watch, the date changes instantaneously at midnight but day only changes at 2-3am. The month wheel overlay is too congested; it is too small to fit all 12 months without some part of the adjacent month slipping into view in the month window.

VRrVmd.jpg

Unfortunately, the "moonphase" is actually a day/night indicator. Again this does not faze me. A simple mod and I have something that matches up aesthetically.

VRr6wZ.jpg

 

Conclusion

A rarely seen cushion case complete calendar watch which is 4mm thicker than gen. It has a functioning day, date and month but fake moonphase.  For a collection that is not repped at all, this rep is the best you can get! At 40mm x 40mm it is a case dimension very suitable for the modern wrist, unlike my sub-35mm vintage Cuervo y Sobrinos.

VRatEg.jpg

 

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Not too chunky on the wrist either. Mine is 6.5inches for reference.

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Obligatory wristshot! Look at that moon :drool:

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@Glaude @McGilli @Luxuracer @DefinitelyNotGingerBubba @NCRich @Logixa @Theviking@Thommo82 @paccbet @Drfunsocks@bdnica@RussP @Chixisigma @Hyjynx

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Adit
Posted (edited)

Brilliant thread. Well done mate. Extremely informative and educational :clap:

Love VCs.  Absolute works of art!

I'm looking at a couple of offerings from our TDs presently

 

Edited by Adit

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Jasonbaylee

Meticulously drafted!
Awesome pics n concise commentaries.

Subscribed.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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NCRich

Great review and love the moonphase.  Very nicely done!

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RussP

Interesting read.

I love the Jose Cuervo watch in the first picture.

Thanks for the tag too.

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Dylan88888

Very informative. Appreciated.  Well done. 

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Theviking

First class report @semperfi55 extra marks for modding the moon phase! Get it on a gen croc strap from ziczac to frame that beautiful cushion case. 

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Foxindebox

That is a VERY nice piece there mate! Kudos on the moon phase mod too :thumbsup2:

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GingerBubba

What a great review, well done mate! Thanks for taking the time. I second the need for a better strap though. And better wrists - more manly. Hope this helps!

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semperfi55
13 hours ago, Adit said:

I'm looking at a couple of offerings from our TDs presently

Let me know if you come across any good finds, always on the look out for more dress watches!

13 hours ago, Jasonbaylee said:

concise

I don't have as much time as before now, so the reviews are much shorter :lol:

11 hours ago, NCRich said:

Very nicely done!

Cheers Rich! :D

8 hours ago, RussP said:

I love the Jose Cuervo watch in the first picture.

Right up there with my Dubey & Schaldenbrand "Rattrapante". If this watch was a bit smaller, it would be perfect!

7 hours ago, Dylan88888 said:

Very informative. Appreciated.  Well done. 

Thanks! :)

7 hours ago, Theviking said:

Get it on a gen croc strap from ziczac

I need to start factoring this into the budget and not just rush for the next purchase :rofl:

6 hours ago, Foxindebox said:

Kudos on the moon phase mod too :thumbsup2:

Thanks! :D 

5 hours ago, DefinitelyNotGingerBubba said:

And better wrists - more manly.

Sadly, one thing the Chinese still can't rep properly :cry:

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bdnica

 

Wow....  interesting read as well as a great review.  There's so much interesting history with watches & watchmaking that reading things like your post are a reminder of how little I really know.  Be careful or you might educate some of us here... that could lead to all sorts of unforeseen/unintended consequences!

I'm with @RussP - the Jose Cuervo you opened with is incredible.  I've taken down photos of the wife, kids, dog, etc., and replaced all of them with just that image!  Seriously, have you written about that piece before and I somehow missed it?  If not, any chance you can share how/where you found it, the backstory and maybe a few additional pics?  Your public demands more!

Again, great job!

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Glaude

I need to get back on reviews ! Can't let this awesome piece you wrote, stay alone :) 

Nice job on the mod and of course the review ! :thumbsup2:

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bdnica
5 minutes ago, Glaude said:

I need to get back on reviews ! Can't let this awesome piece you wrote, stay alone :) 

Nice job on the mod and of course the review ! :thumbsup2:

Just as I hit 'Submit Reply' I thought about tagging you with a message that you need to get off the couch and take things to the next level.   There's a new sheriff in town... !  :Secret:

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Logixa

Excellent post @semperfi55. Was a nice read and well excessively written teardown!

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semperfi55
23 hours ago, bdnica said:

Seriously, have you written about that piece before and I somehow missed it?

Maaaaaaaate, and @RussP

 

 

23 hours ago, Glaude said:

Nice job on the mod and of course the review ! :thumbsup2:

Thanks! Unfortunately the gold leaf plan didn't work out as intended. Gold leaf is too fragile to manipulate!

16 hours ago, Logixa said:

excessively

Thanks Logixa! Love the use of "excessively" there :lol:

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bdnica
3 hours ago, semperfi55 said:

Maaaaaaaate, and @RussP

  



giphy.gif

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Chixisigma

You're a real asset to this community, pal - another wonderful review.

Well done!

Cxs

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Adit
On 21/04/2019 at 14:26, semperfi55 said:

Let me know if you come across any good finds, always on the lookout for more dress watches!

Currently on my watch list (get it? ) are a Malte Perpetual Calendar from Kuvarsit, a somewhat anonymous RG white dial model from Mary, a VACS023 from Silix and Jubilee 1755s from Perfect and Trusty :)

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GingerBubba
1 hour ago, Adit said:

Currently on my watch list (get it? ) are a...

I've adit with you and your constant punning.

Get it?

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Adit

:clap:

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MAJ75

A very well executed piece @semperfi55 words & images of the highest quality.

I admire members who push the boundaries with content & taste in non-mainstream horology...all credit to you.

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Drfunsocks

@semperfi55 another great and very well written review! Love that you go for a lot of unique watches, got nothing but respect for that! Im still yet to pull the trigger on a moonphase watch, i no longer wear shirts to work so dress watches are getting phased out a bit but man you just make me wanna splash the cash with your great reviews! Keep it up mate!

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donnghia

Marvelous, I would like to buy it but do not know if I can mod the moonphase disc like you or not...

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