Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Contemporaine Self-Winding

In Vacheron Constantin’s own words, the Patrimony is “circular perfection”, serving as a minimalist, modern interpretation of its elegant models of the 1950s. The four new Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Self-Winding models introduced today re-establish this well-known collection. With a redesigned case and crown, they distinguish themselves from their Holy Trinity competitors by offering a bit of wow factor to go with the classic round design.

The dials combine light play and their physical features to give an otherwise flat design a great sense of depth. Light-coloured in the centre, the deep blue and lush pink begin to darken as the dial travels past the edge of the gold hour markers, finishing in a deeper shade at the minute track. When this is paired with their convex nature, the darker edges and lighter centre help maximise the effect. Owing to the dial shape, the leaf minute and seconds hand, crafted in gold matching the case, are also lightly curved at their tips, a subtle but important touch. Two of the references forgo the droplet-like minute markers, opting instead for round-cut diamond gemsetting. Printing is minimal and classy, and changes depending on the dial colour, with the brand name just below the applied Maltese cross at 12 o’clock and “Swiss made” beneath the 6 o’clock marker. That same marker happens to be truncated, making way for a date aperture framed in pink or white. The date discs integrate into the design very well – this is how you do simple date windows!

In line with the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Self-Winding design language, there are no frills here. And yes, I’m aware that diamonds could very much be referred to as “frills”, but the overall case shape is kept very simple. A slightly protruding bezel and caseback sandwich the midcase, all in a high polish. Depending on the reference, you can opt for a smooth, polished bezel, or one set with 72 round-cut diamonds. There’s a new, more rounded crown with a high-polish coin edge for extra grip that’s emblazoned with the Maltese cross. Square lugs are close-set for the 36.5mm case size, letting the head of the watch shine. Both pieces of crystal are sapphire, while the snap-on caseback offers 30 metres of water resistance and an overall height of 8.45mm. The straps are matched according to the dial colour, both made of alligator leather and featuring a convenient quick-release system. Powered by the in-house calibre 2450 Q6/3, the Patrimony Self-Winding achieves a 40-hour power reserve with a 4 Hz beat rate. Finished with burnished pinions and Côtes de Genève among many other techniques, it’s marked by the Geneva Seal. With an overall thickness of only 3.6mm, it conforms very much to Vacheron Constantin’s specific brand of understated magnificence.

Believe it or not, even elite brands like Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Self-Winding have “entry level” watches. Though there’s absolutely nothing cheap or basic about what Vacheron does, the world’s oldest continuing watchmaker launched the Fiftysix line as its entry point back in January of 2018. Meant to invoke a mid-century charm and everyday flexibility, the Fiftysix line features a range of dressy sport/casual watches, mostly in 40mm sizing, that feature a traditional cascade of complications, including the Self-Winding featured here, a Day-Date, a Complete Calendar, and even a tourbillon.

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