Blue dials are currently very popular. Synonymous with distinction without being conventional, this year they bring style to the most timeless collection by Vacheron Constantin Patrimony retrograde day-date. Although the Patrimony Retrograde Day Date is not new, it has been given a completely new facelift with the time information displayed across the dial which is decorated with this majestic color and a sunray-effect satin finish. The ballet of the gold hands is more refined in this natural, pared-down composition, particularly the two retrograde mechanisms arranged in semicircles which indicate the days and the date. All these functions are easy to adjust with the crown, without the need for correctors.
To achieve this simple appearance, a complex mechanical movement is housed in the 42.50 mm rose gold case. This self-winding 2460 R31R7/2 caliber and its 274 components measure just 9.7 mm thick. It provides the watch with a power reserve of 40 hours once wound. Its cogs and its hollowed-out oscillating weight which bears the Vacheron Constantin symbol, a Maltese cross, can be seen through the sapphire crystal case back.
As with most of the brand’s timepieces, the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony retrograde day-date is certified by the Geneva Seal, a sign of excellence and reliability. This model comes with an alligator strap in the same shade as the dial.
The Patrimony has always exemplified the quintessential dress watch for Vacheron Constantin – think slim, round cases and clean dials.
The collection was expanded at SIHH earlier this year, by way of new, deep blue dials paired with 18k pink gold cases. While blue dials are hardly new – the colour is quite fashionable now – it is less often combined with rose gold. Three models – the time-only Patrimony, the Patrimony with date, and the Retrograde Day Date – benefited from the facelift. Setting aside the boutique editions, such as the ones for the Paris and Moscow, the new model is the fourth variant of the Retrograde Day Date. It was previously available in more conventional dress watch colours, with silver or black dials. In contrast, the new blue and pink gold combination is a richer, more modern look.
Not only are the colours different, the dial finish is too. While the earlier white dial version models have a grained, matte finish, the new blue dial has a sunburst brushed surface that radiates from the centre and catches the light nicely, giving the blue a metallic tint. Given the wide expanse of the dial, the sunburst finish lends a little more to the watch.
Colour and finish aside, the dial is typical Patrimony. The minute track is made up of gold circular spheres, while the applied baton hour markers are solid pink gold.Also reflective of Vacheron Constantin’s house style, which leans towards off-centre or asymmetric dial layouts, the retrograde date sits close to 12 o’clock, so the applied markers on the north side of the dial are shorter.Overall, however, the dial looks balanced; the calendar indicators are useful in occupying the large space of the dial.
The expanse of the dial allows the indicators to be spread out, leaving them easily legible.
Also legible are the hands, which are designed according to function: the calendar pointers are spear-shaped with skeletonised ends, distinguishing them from the sword-shaped hour and minute hands.At 42.5mm wide, the case runs just a little larger than the average dress watch. In comparison, the simpler Patrimony with date is 40mm, which traditionalists might argue is already too wide for a dress watch.
That being said, the relative thinness of the case at 9.7mm gives it elegant enough proportions to slide under a double cuff.Inside is the cal. 2460 RT, which is Vacheron Constantin’s in-house cal. 2460 SC with the addition of the retrograde calendar module.The movement is hallmarked with the Poinçon de Genève, or Geneva Seal, so it comes as no surprised that it is finely finished, with the i’s dotted and t’s crossed.Although it is a base movement, the cal. 2460 is Vacheron Constantin’s top of the line base, explaining its fairly elaborate construction. That’s best illustrated by the hack seconds mechanism, visible on the left of the balance.While the new Patrimony Retrograde Day Date is a mere facelift – the technical tour de force of the year is unquestionably the 65-day Twin Beat – the watch, along with the other new models fitted with blue dials, add a tinge of modernity to fairly traditional designs.
It’s a good looking watch and tangibly attractive, with one weakness, a stiff retail price. With a price tag of just over US$43,000, it’s within 10% of the basic Patek Philippe annual calendar, but the Patrimony is a simple calendar, albeit with retrograde displays. In short, it’s a beautifully executed watch, but it doesn’t scream value for money. Vacheron Constantin Patrimony retrograde day-date