Coming in the footsteps of the 2005 Tour de l’Ile model sporting the same three complications, the 2010 Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle “Calibre 2755” (refs. 80172/000P-9505 with slate opaline dial & 80172/000P-9589 in silvered opaline) is the most advanced model in the revered Swiss brand’s current product range. If the complexity and thousands of hours of skilled labor invested into the making of the hand-wound caliber are not enough to impress you, I think this will: the watch will bear a price tag that will make your Rolls-Royce Phantom look like a fairly average executive sedan.
Vacheron Constantin often uses mechanisms sourced from Jaeger-LeCoultre as well as old (some even call them ‘vintage’) movements built by now long-gone Lemania brand to power their, ahem, less expensive timekeepers. However, for this high-end model, they chose a fully in-house Calibre VC 2755 manual-wind mechanical movement that was developed by their engineers.
Sporting three “real” complications — minute repeater, tourbillon, and (the most useful among them) perpetual calendar that won’t require a correction in about four hundred years, the caliber, as far as I understand, is fully-eligible for a “Grand Complication” title and, what’s even more interesting, fits inside a pretty compact space of only 33.3 mm in diameter and 7.9 mm in height and still stores enough energy to keep time for up to 55 hours.
The impressive power reserve is achieved courtesy of its balance wheel beating at a slow by today’s standards pace of just 18,000 vph. Still, I don’t see a problem here: the frequency fits organically into the overall deliberately archaic look of the timekeeper.
But what makes Vacheron Constantin particularly proud, is its new minute repeater mechanism. While most lower-grade minute repeaters are noisy and are also prone to premature wear because of the mechanisms’ standard “recoil escapement with a lever” scheme inherent flaws, the new solution from the legendary Swiss brand is both silent and, what’s even more important in the long run, more reliable.
According to the company, to achieve both targets they had to employ a so-called ‘centripetal governor’ design that uses the opposite centrifugal and centripetal forces to even-out energy of the repeater’s spring.
As to the appearance of this new Patrimony Traditionnelle “Calibre 2755”, it is, again, deliberately classic with its visibly off-centered dial layout mimicking that of the original Tour de l’Ile. It is more balanced, though, with its tri-compax perpetual calendar located on the northern part of the dial providing enough visual weight to equalize the dominant mass of the tourbillon showing off the brand’s signature Maltese Cross symbol.
It is still not clear how much the Manufacture plans to ask for this beautiful objet d’art, but I can guess that the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle “Calibre 2755” in 950 Platinum will start at around $600,000. Or more.*
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
UPDATE ON PRICE: It’s been revealed that the recommended minimum price tag for this gadget is set at even more impressive $740,000 making the gadget one of the most expensive “non-jewelry” in the Swiss brand’s whole product range.
Photos: Vacheron Constantin
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle “Calibre 2755” (refs. 80172/000P-9505 & 80172/000P-9589) specification
Price range: $740,000 USD (MSRP)
Movement: Calibre 2755, hand-wound, 40 jewels, 18,000 vph, 7.90 mm high, 33.3 mm in diameter, Swiss Made
Complications: Date, perpetual calendar, leap year, minute repeater, tourbillon, power reserve
Power reserve: 55 hours
Case and Bezel material: Platinum 950
Transparent back: Yes, sapphire case back
Case size: 44.00 mm
Case height: 13.65 mm
Dial: Silvered or dark-grey opaline
Hands: White gold, polished
Strap: Black or dark blue hand-stitched alligator leather with platinum buckle polished half Maltese Cross
Crystal: Sapphire, AR-coated
Water resistance: 30 meters