By Harlan Chapman-Green
We just love dress watches here at WristReview, they’re one of our greatest passions. A simple and clean dress watch that’s been done correctly should easily be able to keep up with more complex timepieces, even ones from different manufactures, because the devil is in the subtle details. There’s two ways to go about a dress watch, the less is more approach used on classics such as the Calatrava from Patek Philippe and the Saxonia collection by A.Lange & Söhne is one of the ways. These epitomise the simple dress watch with clean dials, gorgeous details such as the hunter style door on the Calatrava or the German Silver movement of the Saxonia are particular highlights. Then there’s the other way, where more is frankly still more. Ornate details from art nouveau designs shine through on models such as the Breguet Classique, such as enamel dials, Breguet hands and the ever so elegant fluting of the case flanks. What about the Patrimony, though?
I’ve always found it to be in the middle and that doesn’t necessarily mean less is more, though. The Patrimony collection took the looks from the sixties era and took them bang up to date in new diameters and construction techniques. One of the best parts is that they still managed to keep the watches ultra thin, even the more complex ones remain amazingly slim. Very few do ultra thin watches as well as Vacheron and rightly so. Perhaps my favourite part of this sleek piece is the moon phase. I love moon phases as you should already know by now, all are inherently good, some are better than others. The one on this is just grand, the moon and stars are made of whichever gold colour you choose and it will only go off by one day every 122 years. As well as this the stars have been organised into their respective constellations and then marked with tiny grooves so we can make out the shapes.
The automatic winding movement sat inside this watch is the in-house Calibre 2460 R31L and is completely visible thanks to the sapphire caseback. In Vacheron Constantin’s true tradition, the movement in this watch has been awarded the Seal of Geneva. A Geneva Seal movement is a thing of pure art with newly updated set of requirements that mean the manufactures have no choice but continue to improve their watches. The Cal. 2460 R31L movement has 27 jewels, 40 hours of power reserve and is only 5.4mm thick. Coupled with the fact that the movement is a three-hander with moon phase and the lovely big retrograde date indicator totalling 275 components and suddenly we begin to realise that this is actually more of an art piece than previously thought. The softly rounded case goes well with the less obvious details of the watch, such as a small crown at 3 O’clock and the thin original style bezel. This allows for some play with the lighting thanks to a slight downward curvature of the dial. These are details that other companies need to watch out for, Vacheron is one of the few that can repeatedly trip them up with such touches. When it goes on sale next year it’ll cost you $39,900 for one, better get your name down now! For more info, please visit vacheron-constantin.com