I first met Dennis through the Modern Day Watch Enthusiasts Facebook group. This is a group where you initially feel like you have to have a thick skin, and give as good as you get, but if you hang around long enough you’ll actually learn something that is genuinely confidence inspiring. Words are not minced – but only in an effort to educate others.
Watches that get sold from HudsonTime are genuinely checked to the nth degree for dial condition under microscopes and the greatest emphasis on making sure everything is genuine in a vintage watch. Given this, unsurprisingly all of the watches in the shop are marked as SOLD already! I should know – I own a beautiful 1970’s Longines from HudsonTime that almost gets as much wear as my Overseas!
What’s really exciting for me though is actually getting some idea of what is in Dennis’ personal collection. Some amazing pieces go in and out of the shop, and it’s then incredible to think what amazing pieces don’t make it into the store front. This reference is an awesome mix of luxury, retro-cool and amazing value from a 90’s watch. I had to get Dennis to talk about this watch in his forthright style, filled with passion for this hobby and quality hidden gems.
You can follow Dennis at @HudsonTime on Instagram. All photo credit goes to Dennis.
For reference, Dennis’ wrist size is circa 19cm. The watch is 35mm in diameter, 50m water resistant and made of solid 18K yellow gold. There is a hidden double deployant clasp, also made of 18K gold. The dial is white/silver guillochet cut. The movement is a chronometer grade automatic with hacking, calibre 1126/1 (based on Jaeger-LeCoultre 889).
If you want to talk about your watch in this series, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or grab me on Instagram at www.instagram.com/maltesecrossblog
IS THIS YOUR FIRST VACHERON?
My first entry to high horology after Rolex in the early days was an AP ultra thin cal and a Vacheron Contantin pocket watch called the Chronometre Royal. I paid merely 200 bucks for it at the time. Loved it’s history and how unpretentious tool driven it was with its zero finished pure brass movement.
WHAT’S THE STORY OF YOU PICKING UP THIS WATCH? WHERE DOES THIS WATCH SIT IN YOUR COLLECTION?
Often I see people on watch forums posting and asking others what their grail is , and almost always it correlates with trends of the time. A Nautilus, a Submariner, a Royal Oak, another yawn. Very little personal desire and individualism and more about hype and demand. Nobody says a Dino Falcone for once!
In comes the Chronometre Royal Phidias Vacheron Constantin. Quite an interesting watch; this version being produced only for 2 years and being sold at the same time as the first generation Overseas in 1996. It was also the comeback of a Chronometre Royal being used again in a waterproof case for the first time since the 1970’s.
To be honest this wasn’t hard to get and it cost merely 3 of my Memovoxes combined. The term “grail” on watch forums, I have an allergy to. This is not a grail for me period, but a modern I see myself rocking a while wherever life leads me.
When I first saw the Phidias on 47nd street in person in the early 2000s it blew me away in gold. I think I would have hated it if they made a full steel variant, but it was one of the most gorgeous integrated bracelet designs I had ever seen , I didn’t care if it was 35mm. VC is like my favourite problem child – every few generations are incredibly executed while not consistently and you gotta skip a few, like the newest overseas chronographs with the yuck date wheel! The Chronometre Royal 2215 should be an insane grail coming out way before Royal oak and being one of the first true steel luxury automatics out there, but zero marketing or progression, just like this.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE (OR LOVE) ABOUT THIS REFERENCE? AND NOT SO MUCH?
To me an entirely gold watch with a bracelet ends up becoming a fine jewellery first, and a watch second. Bracelet execution cannot be plainly brute or a 1:1 clone shell of a steel variant watch. The strength of gold demands something more elegant, yet doesn’t have to be flimsy construction.
What was hard was to find a solid gold Phidias that fit my wrist at 7.5 inches and a Chronometre Royal version in nostalgic connection to my first VC. Plus the Chronometre Royal had a few subtle differences over the regular I liked.
First being a larger and sportier case than the regular Phidias, which included the crown guards, solid gold date window and continuous coin edge design on the bezel and caseback. Details only the owner will notice and love.
Second, is the guillochet dial with a hexagon and wave chapter ring finish. The dial changes completely from a wavy pattern to a hexagon depending on the light hitting the dial directly. When VC does a guillochet dial it’s simply the best, beating Patek and AP ( check the 250th anniversary ).
Third is the 889/1 JLC movement inside over the F Piguet , which has been finished beyond VC standard and Geneva Seal being a Royal Chronometer (Which is ironic as the pocket watch variants were tool) COSC , and it being one of the best automatics ever made.
It’s funny how life makes full circles – another Chronometre Royal for the collection after all these years and thank God not another yawn Day Date. Having a screw down waterproof case and double butterfly clasp means I will be wearing this most of the time when beater is not needed. And unlike my 200 gold vintages, I don’t have to worry about it in a hot humid day.