A couple of weeks ago, Vacheron Constantin has revealed its new Patrimony Traditionnelle Calibre 2253 (ref. 88172/000P-9495) model featuring a perpetual calendar, a minute repeater, a tourbillon and, omg, an equation of time complication. While the first three of these “grand complications” are more or less common and you can get one from almost any serious brand, the fourth is still rare even among high-end watchmakers and, while not serving any practical purpose, at least makes the device stand out among the precious few competing products in this price range.
Frankly speaking, I never understood the purpose of the equation of time complication. Sunrise and sunset indicators come in handy in January (at least, in the Northern hemisphere,) when you get the winter blues and only these little buggers assure you that everything is going to be alright, that day is getting longer and the Summer is on its way. Perpetual calendar is good for those suffering from Alzheimer’s, and the tourbillon, as well as a minute repeater, is just plain mesmerizing: one can never be tired of looking at it.
The logic of why does one need to know the deviation of the apparent solar time from the mean solar time, if he or she is not an astronomer or a skipper without a GPS navigation system, somehow escapes me. Perhaps, this kind of “useless” complications exists just for its own sake. Or, more likely, serves the purpose of telling the world that the owner can afford one.
Well, sorry for the rant and back to our sheep. Like all members of the Patrimony Traditionelle line, the “Calibre 2253” model sports a beautifully executed case with a transparent display back giving a good view at its gorgeous hand-wound movement.
However, its noticeably off-centered dial is ruined with three extra indicators: two for the sunrise and sunset indicators at 8 o’clock and 4 o’clock respectively and the equation of time indicator between 10 and 11 o’clock.
Well, to put it more clearly, the indicators are alright, it is the color of hands that spoil the things.
Trying to increase the legibility, Vacheron Constantin decided to make the small hands in bright blue while leaving the hour and minute hands in its original color of platinum. As a result, the seven small hands dominate the dial making it look busy and even messy. Perhaps, VC should have executed them of platinum or in rhodium-plated gold and left them at that.
All things considered, this is an interesting and even desirable watch, which is going to be a much thought-after collector’s item even in the 2050s, since it will be produced in an ultra-limited edition of only 10 (ten) pieces. It is also okay to wear the watch with pride.
Just bear in mind that vanity is the seventh deadly sin.
As far as pricing is concerned, the ref. 88172/000P-9495 will retail for almost half a million US dollars, but that’s something to be expected when you factor in the material its case is fashioned from, as well as the sheer complexity of the mechanism that’s ticking inside it.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: Vacheron Constantin
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle “Calibre 2253” (ref. 88172/000P-9495) (Collection Excellence Platine)
Price range: $490,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Calibre 2253, 29 jewels, 18,000 vph, 457 parts, 9.60 mm high, 32.0 mm in diameter, 4 mainspring barrels coupled 2×2, in-house, Swiss Made
Functions & Complications: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, perpetual calendar, leap year, minute repeater, tourbillon, power reserve, equation of time, sunrise/sunset
Power reserve: 336 hours (14 days)
Case: Platinum 950
Transparent case back: Yes, sapphire case back
Diameter: 44.00 mm
Case height: 15.71 mm
Dial: Silvered or dark-grey opaline
Strap: Black or dark blue hand-stitched alligator leather with platinum stitching and platinum buckle polished half Maltese Cross
Crystal: Sapphire, AR-coated
Water resistance: 30 meters