Presented to the public at the SIHH 2010 event, the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle 38 mm (Ref. 82172/000G-9383) hand-wound watch is a white gold version of the model presented last year. With its Spartan design and a nicely decorated hand-made mechanism, this refreshed timepiece still seems to be an accessory of choice for CEOs of transnational corporations.
Like the original model, the refreshed iteration is still powered by the Calibre 4400 hand-wound movement. Classical in its style and design, the movement is easily serviceable and, featuring one large mainspring barrel instead of a pair, is more reliable.
However, for reliability there is a price. The single barrel design ensures no more than 65 hours of power reserve after the watch was fully wound. Of course, that is more than enough if you simply want to have a dressy timekeeper that would easily survive the weekend, yet, in this price range, there are plenty of similarly styled watches that offer a lot more impressive power reserve rating.
For example, the new IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Caliber 59210 (Ref. 5101) will work for at least eight days, which is quite remarkable, isn’t it?
The movement is well finished, too, with its perfect Geneva stripes, sun-burst pattern on the barrel and beautiful perlage. The caliber also sports the legendary Hallmark of Geneva seal that ensures that the mechanism was made according to the highest industry standards.
The watch’s dial features faceted hour markers giving the dial a third dimension and clearly stating that this is not some cheap stuff from the “below $3000” category of Swiss watches. The dauphine hands are slightly frosted, which makes them look even more, well, noble.
The sub-dial for the small second hand, which is located at 6 o’clock, is a down-sized version of the main dial. It also somehow balances the Maltese Cross and the oversized (well, at least, to my taste) “Vacheron Constantin / Geneve” marks at 12 o’clock.
It is really a good thing that the watch doesn’t have a date window, since it would simply ruin this peaceful, zen-inspired design.
Of course, there is no Superluminova on neither on its hour markers, nor on its hands, but that doesn’t look like a serious problem here since this watch clearly wasn’t designed to be worn as a daily beater that one would wear day and night only getting it off to take a shower (the timekeeper’s water resistance rating is just 30 meters, which is, too, a kind of standard in this niche).
Considering current trend of making oversized luxury watches for the third world dictators and freedom-fighters-turned-billionaires, this new Patrimony Traditionnelle is delightfully compact.
With its mirror-polished 18-carat white gold case measuring just 38 millimeters in diameter and less than 7.8 millimeters thick, the time measuring device doesn’t take too much space on one’s wrist and, thanks to its relatively long lugs, looks great even on a hand of a slightly overweight person in his 60s.
The notched case back cover with its sapphire crystal (it, by the way, seems to have an antireflective treatment) not only gives the device a slightly more muscular, manly appearance, but also provides a superb view at the aforementioned Caliber 4400 in all of its hand-made glory. To my taste, there are too many technical inscriptions on its polished rim, but that’s a sort of a standard, so there is nothing I can do with it.
Photos: Vacheron Constantin
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle 38 mm watch specification
Price range: $19,500
Movement: Calibre 4400, hand-wound, 21 jewels, 28,800 vph, 2.80 mm high, 28.5 mm in diameter, Swiss Made
Complications: Small seconds display
Power reserve: 60 hours
Case material: White gold
Bezel material: White gold
Case shape: Round
Transparent case back: Yes, sapphire caseback
Case size: 38.00 mm
Case height: 7.77 mm
Dial: Silver opaline
Hands: White gold
Strap: Black hand-stitched, saddle-finish square-shape scales alligator leather with 18-carat white gold buckle polished half Maltese Cross
Crystal: Sapphire, AR-coated
Water resistance: 30 meters