Words from Vacheron Constantin:
“Circular perfection, a quest for essentials, harmonious proportions. Patrimony epitomises stylistic purity, inspired by Vacheron Constantin models from the 1950s” (Vacheron-Constantin.com).
Sized at 41mm, this Patrimony watch of Vacheron Constantin is built out of 18k 5N pink gold. Compare to conventional 4N pink gold, 5N pink gold uses 8.5% more copper (4N has 12% => 5N has 20.5%). Addition of copper gives the reddish tint to the yellow gold, and the increase in the copper percentage gives this case more of a red gold color to it.
Beside the copper percentage, it is a high polished case that basically does not have any resistance against water. As Vacheron States, they did not include any gaskets to enhance the sound of the minute-repeater system. Therefore, company asks this watch to be protected from any encounter of liquid and dust.
Lastly, with the Ultra-Thin in the name, this Patrimony watch has thickness of 8.1mm. With such a thin case, this watch should fit well with more formal and dressy situations.
Back of the watch is also composed of 18k 5N pink gold with the transparent sapphire glass back. Around the ring are the Vacheron Constantin branding and logo with various reference number, Geneva seal logo, serial number, and Au750 that certifies 18k gold.
Sapphire glass in the middle well displays the gorgeous movement with two gongs for the minute-repeater function.
III. Dial, Bezel, and Crown
Similar to the rest of the watch, everything from the indexes, hands, bezel, and crown are all made out of 18k 5N rose gold.
On the Opaline dial are the rose gold bar and triangle indexes with an off-center small seconds near the 8 o’clock marking.
Bezel is simple yet classic smooth bezel that is adorned by the crown and repeating slide. Crown is a conventional crown with the first position for manual winding and second position for adjusting time. It also has a Vacheron Constantin logo on the side.
Repeating slide that is located on the left of the watch activates the minute repeater functionality when wound clockwise. With the activation comes first the hours on a low note, then the quarters sounding alternating low and high notes, and lastly the minutes on a high note. This functionality was first used for visually impaired people to tell time and before the spread of electricity.
Going with the classic and elegant design language is the balck alligator Mississippiensis leather strap. Unlike most of other watches that only uses alligator leather on outer side, Vacheron Constantin’s Patrimony watch’s bracelet has alligator leather on both side.
Finishing up the preminum double sided alligator leather strap is the 18k 5N pink gold Ardillon buckle. Overall, the combination fills in the last piece of puzzle to a proper dress watch.
Included in the name, the movement used on this Patrimony model is the Calibre 1731. This movement is a rather complicated movement that houses the minute-repeater function. Consisted of 265 parts and 36 jewels, this movement has approciamately 65 hours of power reserve. However, as Calibre 1731 is a manual winding movement, it needs to be wound to function.
One hallmark that this movement achieved is the famous Geneva seal. Geneva seal is a hallmark that addresses the high-end Geneva watch brands and gurantees of quality, durability, and workmanship. However, recently, Geneva seal has appeared on more and more brands and models, making people question if the hallmark of Geneva is still guaranteeing the same standards as what it represented in the past.
VI. Conclusion and Pricing
This watch of Vacheron Constantin is a phenomenal watch. Vacheron Constantin’s history and brand value is accepted world wide and guarantees quality. Also, engineering such a complicated movement of minute-repeater into a case that is only 8.1mm thick is not cheap (being the thinnest manual-winding minute repeater on the market).
Reflecting upon what all this watch brings, this Patrimony model of Vacheron Constantin is priced at 339,000 USD. Even though it is a very expensive watch, it aims for the niche market that wants the best of the best. It is a beautiful and high complication watch that is hard to justify the cost without fully understanding the value and history of Vacheron Constantin. With that said, for people who are able to afford this watch, it is a beautiful and well engineered watch that is an one of a kind.