Vacheron Constantin 6115 Ultra Slim ¶
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The trends of today’s watch market have been decidedly up – bigger, bolder, and bigger again. In the last 10 years we’ve seen the proliferation of enormous watches, designs that dominate the wrist and catch the eye with bold lines and ever-increasing complication. It wasn’t that long ago that a 40mm design was considered a big watch – today it’s a minimum for a men’s watch. While I love big, bold design (my daily watch is a Bell & Ross Instrument), I think there is still a place for elegant, simple and pure design in wristwatches. So when we received a legendary Vacheron Constantin Ultra Slim (ref. 6115) here at Matt Baily’s, I knew it had to be the subject of my next blog. It is the antithesis of big and bold. It is one of the slimmest, most elegant watches ever made.
Vacheron Constantin has a long history of making extra slim watches and pocket watches. Starting in the early 19th century, they began producing extra-fine highly complicated pocket watches that were far slimmer than the norm. In the early 1900s they began making a series of pocket watches that are still amazing for their slimness – several under 3mm thick, and one featuring a movement that was a staggering 0.9mm high. But slim pocket watches are one thing – slim wristwatches are a whole different challenge.
1955 saw the launch of the 1003 calibre, the slimmest manual wind wristwatch movement ever created. At 1.64mm thick and 21mm wide, the 1003 is an amazing piece of watchmaking. Wafer thin and finely finished, the 1003 is a tiny work of art. Compared to the common ETA/Valjoux calibres found in most watches nowadays, its slimness defies belief. The watch we have here features the 1003 calibre – in fact, the 1003 is still in production today and can be found in the new Ultra-Fine 1955 model, a testament to the quality and longevity of the design.
When you pick up a 6115, your first thought is “this can’t possibly be a mechanical watch”. It’s thinner than the slimmest modern quartz watches. It is almost weightless, despite the 18k gold case. The lugs are delicate and the whole watch is nicely proportioned. The 33mm case is small by modern standards, but perfectly suited to the thin design, and the narrow bezel and domed crystal makes the dial look bigger. Despite the tiny size the crown is easy to wind and set, and has a nice clean feel with a light winding action.
Popping off the snap back you are greeted with a stunning sight. A tiny movement hides inside, dwarfed by the (not at all big) case. The detail of the movement is spectacular; the balance wheel dominates, with tiny balance screws for regulation. The rhodium plated bridges have cotes-de-geneve striping and miniscule engraved lettering giving the specifications of the movement. For someone who appreciates mechanical devices, this movement is a treat. It looks like someone shrank an antique pocket watch movement... and then flattened it with a hammer for good measure.
The dial is as clean as they come. A creamy white colour, it features only two hands, the Vacheron Constantin logo, applied gold stick markers – and nothing else. No luminescent markers. No date. No complications. Not even a seconds hand. This is the purest sort of watch – the time, and nothing more. After 1955 Vacheron became known for this sort of simple and elegant design, the ultra-thin wristwatch being their signature design in its various incarnations over the years. Despite updates and changes in style, the spirit of the originals stayed intact – clean, simple, slim, and perfectly elegant. It is the prototypical classic watch. And our 6115 is one of the early example, dating to the 1960s – the heyday of slim, elegant wristwatch design.
After years of big, brash design we are starting to see a return to classic, simple lines in wristwatch design. Even Vacheron Constantin is returning to its roots after years of sporty designs, reviving the ultra slim as the new Ultra Fine 1955 model, alongside a number of classic designs in the Historiques collection. If you are looking for a true classic, and a mechanical marvel at that, the 6115 is an excellent choice. It is the antithesis of big watches that have become the norm. So why not be a rebel and wear something spectacularly simple? If you are interested in purchasing our 6115 give me a call at 514 845 8878 or visit our contact page.
6115 Compared to a Hamilton Jazzmaster Slim Automatic.
The ultimate in fine-ness