Offered at almost $380,000 and crafted from expensive Platinum 950 alloy, the 2013 Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle 14-Day Tourbillon (Ref. 89000/000P-9843) with its modest styling and compact size is a quintessence of inconspicuous consumption. With its moderately oversized case and a time-proven, bullet-proof reliable mechanism, it is a trinket for the kind of people who would prefer a vintage Rolls-Royce to a brand new Koenigsegg.
Like the other members of VC’s Patrimony family of ultra-expensive watches, the new Patrimony Traditionnelle 14-Day Tourbillon sports a simple, easily readable dial, which is slightly off-centered to the top providing the timekeeper with a slightly unbalanced appearance.
Just like its body, as well as perfectly executed winding crown and even folding clasp, the dial is crafted from sand-blasted platinum and is discreetly decorated with twelve stick-shaped hour markers and the usual “railway”-style minute track. The indicator, by the way, is echoed by the power reserve sub-dial that is placed at 12 hours (as usual, the pointer on the power reserve display moves in a counter-clockwise direction as two pairs of mainspring barrels gradually unwind releasing potential energy stored by each of four springs.)
But, of course, the main element of the dial’s decor is the huge tourbillon mechanism.
Visible through a circular cut-out at 6 o’clock and, the tourbillon carriage sports the famous Maltese Cross that slowly rotates around its axis. To make the mechanism serve as a subsidiary seconds indicator, VC has additionally equipped the module with a thin pointer, which is similar to the one placed at power reserve display, but, for some reason, lacks the counterweight tip.
The hand-wound Caliber 2260 that powers this cold beauty comes with four spring barrels that together increase the timekeeper’s guaranteed power reserve to at least 336 hours or whole two weeks! Decorated with brilliantly executed vertical Geneva Stripes, the mechanism also proudly bears the legendary Hallmark of Geneva, which basically means that the watch complies with the highest standards of Swiss watchmaking tradition.
Measuring 42 millimeters in diameter and 12.22 millimeters in height, the device is considerably larger than a classic “dress watch”, however it still looks well-balanced and, compared to such modern-styled jobs like Girard-Perregaux Tourbillon Bi-Axial or Chopard L.U.C. 3C Tourbillon (Ref. 161929-5001) that offers the same functionality, but is only good for nine days, looks almost compact.
Although Vacheron Constantin plans to limit the Patrimony Traditionnelle 14-Day Tourbillon’s production to just 50 watches, its main limiting factor will be the price. After all, there are few individuals that happen to possess a rare combination of good taste and a bank account with balance looking like an international phone number.
Photos: Vacheron Constantin
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle 14-Day Tourbillon (Ref. 89000/000P-9843) specification
Price: €290,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Hand-wound, VC Caliber 2260, in-house, 6.80 mm x 29.10 mm, 231 parts, four barrels stacked in pairs, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 31
Movement frequency: 18,000 vph
Power reserve: 336 hours (14 days)
Movement decoration: Geneva Stripes, polished screws, Hallmark of Geneva
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, tourbillon, power reserve indicator
Case: Platinum 950
Size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 12.22 mm
Dial: Platinum, sand-blasted
Hour markers: Stick-shaped
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Dark blue alligator Mississippiensis leather strap with folding clasp in platinum 950