It looks like the Swiss watchmaking house just never fails to deliver one masterpiece after another. The new Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater (Ref. 30110/000R-9793) is not only a perfect dress watch for the extremely wealthy watch lovers. It also sports a wonderful hand-wound caliber that is claimed to be the thinnest minute repeater mechanism in the industry.
While many (even the most established ones) watchmaking brands either keep reintroducing the same basic design with only minor differences here and there, or constantly jump from one concept to another in order to find their own voice, Vacheron Constantin’s DNA seems to be constantly evolving. In fact, the evolution is so organic that, if you keep an eye on their product range, you will always find their timekeeper’s easily recognizable: like you will always recognize a Bentley in morning traffic, whether it is an old-timer from 1920s or a top of the line 2013 Mulsanne.
This new Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater (Ref. 30110/000R-9793), for example, looks very familiar because it takes design cues from their 2012 Patrimony Traditionnelle Ultra-Thin and adds to the mix ideas from their current Historiques Toledo 1951 with its “pearl” minute track, stick-shaped hands and stylish hour makers.
But, of course, the main thing that draws attention here is the Caliber 1731 hand-wound movement. First of all, with its height of just 3.90 millimeters it is the thinnest hand-wound minute repeater movement currently available on the market. The second thing is, the ingenious flying strike governor, which is not only absolutely silent in its work, but is also very efficient in delivering constant energy flow to the tiny gongs that give the watch its sweet voice.
Even if you are not much into all things technical, it is still a real pleasure to just admire this complex, skillfully built mechanism with all of its meticulously finished parts and intricate layout. This new mechanism is a very strong reminder to why makers of mechanical watches originally opted for transparent case back covers. While there are millions of watches produced every year that show you nothing but cheap, dull-looking mass-produced mechanisms behind their mineral crystals, this new Patrimony Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater’s caliber is real feast for connoisseur’s eyes.
While the watch itself is difficult to call “compact” (it is 41 millimeters in diameter, which is considered over-sized in the niche of classic dress watches), it is still very slim measuring only slightly more than 8 millimeters in thickness. Its bezel is quite thin leaving a huge dial cutout, and its sapphire case back, too, provides a perfect view at the modestly decorated and brilliantly designed caliber that bears the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva sign.
As usual in the niche of “classic” dress watches, the device features a very high level of legibility in good lighting conditions, but its readability is quite poor (if not plain nonexistent) when it comes to the darker part of the day since there is absolutely not a single drop of luminous substance neither on the dial, nor on the thin, stick-shaped hands. Although this detracts a bit from the final score, I personally don’t see any kind of problem with it: it is a dress watch, after all, not some sort of diving companion or a tactical piece designed with special forces operators in mind.
Photos: Vacheron Constantin
WWR preliminary verdict:
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater (Ref. 30110/000R-9793) watch specification
Movement: Manual, Calibre 1731, in-house, Hallmark of Geneva seal, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 36
Movement frequency: 21,600 vph
Power reserve: 65 hours
Movement decoration: Geneva Stripes, polished screws, perlage on the base plate
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, minute repeater
Case material: 18-rose gold
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 41.00 mm
Case height: 8.09 mm
Lug width: No data
Dial: Rose gold, silvered opaline
Hour markers: Rose gold
Hands: Rose gold
Water resistance: Not water resistant
Strap: Hand-stitched, saddle-finish large square scale brown Mississippiensis alligator leather strap with an 18-carat rose gold buckle
Case back: Sapphire