To mark their presence at the 2014 Watches & Wonders fair in Hong Kong recently, Vacheron Constantin chose the occasion to reveal three exquisite new pieces to compliment their Patrimony Collection. As is only to be expected from the illustrious Grande Master, each one is beautifully executed, and in typical Vacheron Constantin fashion, they are all the more captivating thanks to their lack of ‘look at me’ syndrome which other marques are often bound to employ to make their presence felt.
All three models are created in rose gold cases, and feature the introduction to the range dials in a smoky slate grey opaline colour – which is new to the collection – with rose gold indices, pointers and hands, and gently domed sapphire to the front with exhibition caseback. All three are presented on Mississippiensis alligator straps with triple folding clasps topped off with the distinctive Maltese Cross – probably the most ostentatious aspect of the collection even if it is discretely tucked away largely out of sight on the underside of the wrist, as elsewhere the collection’s understated presence still resonates with a presidential gravitas which Vacheron Constantin do so very well.
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony – Simplicity Belies Complexity.
Setting aside for one moment the tenet that there is nothing basic whatsoever about Vacheron Constantin, the ‘most basic’ model in the new collection is the new Patrimony Manual Wind (Reference 81180/000R-9162), an immaculate two-hand, hours and minutes offering, presented in a slim 40mm x 6.7mm case. Inside beats the in-house Calibre 1400 with its power reserve of 40 hours.
The starkly beautiful dial boasts slender hours and minutes hands and tiny applied gold dot minute markers, punctuated with fine, slim hour indices and quarter hour markers whose tips taper to a point, with the Maltese Cross insignia just beneath the 12.
These details are also carried over onto its sister, the new Patrimony Automatic (Reference 85180/000R-9166), although with the addition this time of central seconds and a date aperture at the 6. Power is delivered smoothly across 40 hours via the Calibre 2450 self winding movement.
Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date – Almost Exuberant
Where both of these pieces are the essence of minimalism, on the Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date Vacheron Constantin’s designers have pushed the boat out a little further, as the upper and lower hemispheres of the dial are dominated by their respective arcing retrograde displays, yet these almost oversized scales give the watch a spacious demeanour and also mean that the hollowed arrow-tipped gold pointers are always easy to read – something which is not always a given as some retrograde dates can be too compacted for checking at a fleeting glance. The date spans from the 9 to the 3 with the hour indices being cropped to half-length to accommodate the odd-only 1-31 numerals, and a corrector pen is included to adjust the date in months of less than thirty-one day’s duration. The weekday below is also pleasantly spaced and it too is instantly legible.
At 42.5mm, the Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date (Reference 86020/000R-9940) is also slightly larger in diameter than its siblings, and inside is the in-house Calibre 2460 R31R7 automatic movement, an interesting snippet as the ‘R’ denotes the retrograde action and the 31 and 7 referring to the date and weekdays. A 22 karat gold rotor with hand decorated hobnail finish is visible through the sapphire crystal window.
As it’s in the dna which courses throughout Vacheron Constantin’s collections, the new Patrimony models are an exercise in simplistic elegance and sophistication. Each minute detail has been loved to the last and finished to excellence. Vacheron Constantin have a habit of making the complicated appear simple and as a result, these new additions are timepieces which do not need to raise a fuss to be understood.
New Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Collection – Prices
Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date (Reference 86020/000R-9940) – $49,600 USD (Estimated)
Patrimony Manual Wind (Reference 81180/000R-9162) – $19,600 (Estimated)
Patrimony Automatic (Reference 85180/000R-9166) – $27,800 (Estimated)