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Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Manual-Winding and Moon Phase Retrograde Date Celebrate 20 Years of the Collection

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Manual-Winding Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date

Recently Vacheron Constantin have been about two things: haute horology and the Overseas. Indeed, when it comes to the sheer amount of attention to detail and horological engineering that goes into both those areas of the brand can often leave the humble Patrimony being forgotten about. Well, the Patrimony is now celebrating its 20th anniversary and with it comes a great opportunity to revisit what makes the collection a surprisingly important one. An opportunity seized upon with the launch of a new Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Manual-Winding and Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Manual-Winding

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Manual Winding

For the anniversary, there haven’t been drastic changes here as the template for the Patrimony is well established. It’s Vacheron’s most centrist collection, not as casual as the entry-level Fifty Six – another watch inspired by the 1950s, as the name indicates – or the much more lavish Traditionnelle, which has found itself as a home for Vacheron’s high watchmaking tours de force.

When you’re sticking to the relatively pared back formula of the ‘50s, there’s only so much wiggle room you have. And yet Vacheron have managed to seriously up the ante. If you’re looking for a svelte dress piece the equal of any Calatrava (and I’d argue a touch more interesting), look no further.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony

Two vintage models side by side

Firstly, the size has thankfully been adjusted downwards. 40mm wasn’t exactly gargantuan, but what a difference a millimetre makes! The new watches now sit at 39mm and, while that’s still a couple of mils bigger than the vintage pieces, it’s a perfectly wearable and, let’s be honest, more practical size to be working with. It also ensures that the dial feels minimalist rather than sparse, a tricky line to balance.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony 1410U000R H018

Of course, there are some concessions here. Unless you’re working with a lot of excess space in the case, downsizing the width of a watch comes with some compromises. Primarily that’s in thickness, which honestly isn’t a big deal. Sure, it’s a touch thicker, but if anything that gives the new Patrimony more wrist presence than a slimmer, 38mm watch would have.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony 1410U000R H018

The dial itself has been overhauled to have an almost aggressive curve to it. The pie-pan look is emphasized by sunburst guilloche in an antique silver that really shows off the slope around the edge of the dial, authentic to the modern Patrimony’s horological square roots. The detailing is equally faithful, with sharp, triangular indexes interspersed by absolutely miniscule, polished golden pearl hour markers. Other than the handset, that’s it, nothing else. At least in the manual-wind version.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony 1410U000G H017

The manual movement inside is the calibre 1440. For a manual-wind watch the 45-hours isn’t great, but it’s part of the innate give and take that comes when designing a slim watch that most of us don’t really think about. It’s funny though because the calibre 1440 is immaculately finished; it has to be, the Patrimony has the Geneva Seal which enshrines a superlative level of attention to detail into the DNA of the watch. And yet the new watches have a solid caseback. And not just solid but plain and unadorned at that. There’s actually method in that particular madness though, which leans into another aspect of the new Patrimony models: customisation.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony 1410U000G H017
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony 1410U000R H018

The idea is that when you buy one of the new watches, you can have whatever you want engraved on the caseback, be that a message, a coat of arms, something to make it that much more personal. It’s usually an optional extra, here built into the watch. Sure, it’s a shame that you can’t see the movement but the option to make it your own in a very real sense is at least a solid twist on the formula.

Price and Specs:

Model: Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Manual-Winding
Ref: 1410U/000G-H017 (18k white gold), 1410U/000R-H018 (18k pink gold),
Case: 39mm diameter x 7.7mm thickness, 18k white gold or 18k pink gold
Dial: Old silver toned
Water resistance: 30m (3 bar)
Movement: Vacheron Constantin calibre 1440, automatic, 19 jewels, 116 parts
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42h
Functions: Hours, minutes
Strap: Olive green or azure blue alligator leather with 18k white gold or 18k red gold pin buckle
Price: TBC

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moonphase Retrograde Date 4010U000G H070

Joining the time-only model is a new take on the Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date. A combination of retrograde date across the top half of the dial and an accurate, beautifully rendered moonphase across the bottom. It’s a stalwart of the Patrimony collection as a whole and has become a Vacheron signature. It’s not a small watch; the complication needs room to breathe after all and shoving a 31-day indicator onto a small dial is a recipe for disaster. So here you have 42.5mm which on the wrist feels almost disc-like when combined with its relative thinness.

Other than the new dial (same updates as seen on the Manual-Wind above), there’s one key difference between the new Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date and the previous in that it joins the 39mm time-only models for one other 20th anniversary twist: the straps.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moonphase Retrograde Date 4010U000G H070
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moonphase Retrograde Date 4010U000G H070

The new edition of the Patrimony Retrograde Moon Phase is only available in white gold; the Patrimony Manual-Wind models are available in white gold or rose gold. All however come with distinctively modern (some might say un-Vacheron) straps. The white gold models come on an olive green while the rose gold is paired with azure blue. It’s a small change, but one that makes a marked difference to a watch collection that has often tended towards the sober over the fun.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moonphase Retrograde Date 4010U000G H070

There are certainly showier pieces in the Vacheron collection than the Patrimony. Even this year, the new Excellence Platine slice of monopusher beauty is all but guaranteed to take the limelight with its two-toned hands and insane complications. And yet the Patrimony for me is quintessential Vacheron. It’s elegant, reserved and timeless to the point of being almost ahistoric. It’s the kind of watch that in its understatement conversely emphasises finishing, that in its quiet echoes a supreme confidence. It is also, less pretentiously, an absolute beauty, now with its slight evolutions more than ever.

Price and Specs:

Model: Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moonphase Retrograde Date
Ref: 4010U/000G-H070 (moonphase)
Case: 42.5mm diameter x 9.7mm thickness, 18k white gold
Dial: Old silver toned
Water resistance: 30m (3 bar)
Movement: Vacheron Constantin calibre 2460 R31L, automatic, 27 jewels, 275 parts
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 40h
Functions: Hours, minutes, retrograde date, moonphase
Strap: Olive green alligator leather with 18k white gold pin buckle
Price: TBC

More details at Vacheron Constantin.

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About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.