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Retro Chic

Vacheron Constantin watches, made by hand, are exquisitely detailed and can take a year and a half to produce. For its 247th anniversary last year, the company designed the limited-edition 247 series. The version pictured here is the 31-Day Retrograde Calendar watch, which comes in rose or white gold or platinum. The dial at the bottom of the face tells the day of the week, and the arc above the firm's trademark, the Maltese cross, registers the date. The watch is "retrograde" because at the end of each month the dial returns to Day 1.

The face is pleasingly uncluttered—curving lines of numbers, three sleek hands, a small dial. The case's step-down design gives it a streamlined appearance. Overall, the 31-Day Retrograde is a handsome, confident and understated watch, a singular product of art and engineering. Sony Music gave one to Enrique Iglesias after the company heard the singer had admired it. That very watch had been promised to the president of Guatemala, but he agreed to wait for the next one. El presidente was left to explain to Guatemalans how he could afford it on his salary of $5,800 a month.

Scorecard: VACHERON CONSTANTIN 31-DAY
DIAMETER: 36 mm
HEIGHT: 5.05 mm
MOVEMENT: Automatic self-winding
JEWELS: 36
PRICE: $18,500 in white gold
CONTACT: 877-862-7555, vacheron-constantin.com

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