This may be the inaugural post over here on Maltese-Cross, but you join us in the middle of a global crisis in 2020. At this point Watches And Wonders has moved to online-only; Baselworld cancelled (seemingly indefinitely), and potential buyers in the watch market biding their time as they have their life on hold.
Watches And Wonders for Vacheron Constantin has seen them deliver a set of watches that deliver a real knock out in the haute horlogerie space. There isn’t a day go by that I don’t peruse the Facebook watch groups and the inevitable question arises: “Why shouldn’t brand x be in the Holy Trinity of watchmaking?”. The concept of the Holy Trinity is no doubt a very subjective topic, but nevertheless the past month has seen some of the most exceptional watchmaking feats be displayed by VC that as far as this editor is concerned, they’re still right up there with the best.
With such an exceptional display the only real updates for models that mere mortals can justify were to introduce the rather marvellous bronze coloured dials in the Fifty-Six line. This makes sense to a certain extent – why introduce a smorgasbord of new models when the immediate future is so uncertain? Rolex, Tudor and many other brands have put their new releases completely on hold until 2021 so it is no surprise that updates to the existing model line is a touch thin on the ground.
And yet here we are with a post-WaW watch release that might just be right up the street of a collector, looking for something special and yet attainable.
THE EXCELLENCE PLATINE LINE
The Excellence Platine range has been delivering beauty for quite a while now and it’s everything one would come to expect of a limited edition run of Vacheron’s bread and butter models. The standard models always have every base covered in terms of high-fidelity details but the big step up is coming from the fantastic finish on the all platinum dials and the heft of the platinum cases. Even the stitching on the ultramarine blue straps is interwoven with the noble metal. The cheeky little Pt950 symbol on the dial may be a touch unnecessary but there is no denying that the use of the corrosion resistant element is the ultimate in luxury, and the continued longevity of a timepiece that can be passed down to further generations.
Aesthetically speaking, this watch is right up my street. I have certain penchant for the silver dial and blue strap combination (which incidentally is the only configuration here, unless if you go for non-limited declinations). The finish on the hands, dial, case and movement are no-doubt exceptional. Mirror polished hands and dart indices make for pleasing dial furniture.
What is especially pleasing about this dial is that it has a simplicity that beguiles the complexity beneath. The retrograde date feature is based on springs that must be tempered, polished and tuned at the factory so that the switch over is perfect. Potential owners should be aware of the service costs every 3 to 5 years for such a watch but I suspect that the prospective owner of such a timepiece isn’t overly concerned. This 50 piece limited edition commands a £26,000 price bump over the gold model (£38,800). There’s no way around this – that’s quite a jump.
The Patrimony case is one of the dressiest models in the line up but in this situation the size and complication could quite nicely lend itself to an everyday watch. It’s probably going to wear you, more than you wearing it, if you’re a T-shirt and shorts guy; but would work quite nicely with a shirt and jeans or chinos. The neutral colour scheme will work with many outfits and the dial colour allowing strap swaps to match shoes and a belt when called upon. It’s disappointing that the watch is so large at 42.5mm but the larger wristed will be pleased with this, and it does have the benefit of allowing the retrograde date complication “room to breathe” on the dial.
There is a precision moonphase at the 6 o’clock which adds to the charm. This is operated by the crown rather than via pushers on the case sides. Given the lack of pushers, the watch is still only 30m water resistant which prospective owners should consider splash-proof only – potentially limiting daily wear depending on your routine.
The in-house 2460 R31L movement is automatic winding with a 40 hour power reserve, and is unique to this model line. It is Geneva Seal finished with an engraved 22 carat gold winding rotor and of course features the retrograde date feature. It’s only 27.2mm in diameter so the overall watch size could afford to come down. Fortunately, the dial doesn’t give away the fact that the movement is on the smaller side.
Model reference: 4010U
Case Material: Pt950 Platinum
Case size: 42.5mm
Case thickness: 9.7mm
Strap width: 22mm
Movement: 2460 R31L (27 jewels, 275 parts)
Hallmark of Geneva (Movement & Case)
Price (May 2020): £65,000
Image Credits: vacheron-constantin.com