With its new Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle (ref. 43075/000R-9737), the House expands its line of gorgeously simple dress watches. Equipped with the good old VC 1120 automatic caliber that was, for example, also used to power the ultra-thin Vacheron Constantin Historique 1968. It, too, features a classic “two-hander” layout and has a chance of becoming a good investment, since, after the initial “first step out of the store” drop of 20 or maybe 25 percent, its aftermarket resale price will possibly only rise as it will age gracefully together with its first owner.
Only 28 millimeters in diameter and just 2.45 millimeters thick, the movement is based on the Caliber 920 that was developed in the late 1960s by Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Sold not only to Vacheron Constantin but also to Audemars Piguet and even Patek Philippe, the movement is still regarded as one of the most advanced “simple” ultra-thin automatic calibers of all times being the thinnest self-winding caliber equipped with a full-size oscillating weight.
The relatively slow frequency of its balance wheel that beats at just 19,800 semi-oscillations per hour may be considered too archaic by those uninitiated, but in return, you get not only longer power reserve, but also better life expectancy of the mechanism since the moving parts obviously experience less wear moving at a slower pace. Counterintuitively, in some cases, a slower frequency actually means better ability to keep time since those inevitable errors in regulation and fine-tuning are multiplied at a slower rate.
As usual in this price range, the movement was not simply equipped with a personalized oscillating weight (it is, by the way, finely skeletonized in order to form the trademark Maltese Cross), but is also meticulously hand-polished, chamfered, decorated with the the traditional for Swiss-based watchmakers Cotes de Geneve (aka “Geneva Stripes”) pattern and is also proudly stamped with the Hallmark of Geneva: a shield that only the highest-quality mechanisms are eligible to wear on their bridges and quarter plates.
It must also be noted, that for some time now the Geneva Seal is applied not only to the movement itself but for the watch as a whole, so you must understand that the new member of the gorgeous Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle family confirms to the highest standards of Swiss watchmaking, it’s that rare occasion when you buy something more than just a well-advertised brand name and a recognizable logo.
Although being primarily a dress watch, the new Patrimony Traditionnelle sports a slightly oversized body. Measuring 41 millimeters in diameter, the circular-shaped job is crafted from 18-karat rose gold, which is perfectly combined with a chestnut brown Mississippi alligator leather strap.
Like most classic-styled watches, the new timekeeper is adequately legible thanks to its silver-toned opaline dial that offers an adequate background for the rose gold hour and minute hands, as well as for the applied hour markers, too, made from the same noble metal.
The official press release doesn’t say a word about the timekeeper’s price*.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
* UPDATE ON PRICING: In the United States, the watch is offered at a pretty average (at least, for this brand) price of $30,000, but the selling price may vary greatly depending on where in the world you plan to buy one.
Photos: Vacheron Constantin
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle (ref. 43075/000R-9737) specification
Price: $30,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, VC1120 (base JLC Caliber 920), 28 mm x 2.45 mm, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 36
Movement frequency: 19,800 vph
Power reserve: 40 hours
Movement decoration: Cotes de Geneve pattern, skeletonized rotor, chamfered and hand-polished, Hallmark of Geneva seal
Functions: Hours, minutes
Case: Rose gold, 18-karat
Size: 41.00 mm
Case height: 7.30 mm
Dial: Opaline, silver-toned
Hour markers: Applied, rose gold
Hands: Rose gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Chestnut brown alligator Mississippiensis leather strap, on an 18-karat rose gold pin buckle