Vacheron Constantin’s Traditionnelle & Patrimony Collections Are The Pinnacle Of Dress Watches

Vacheron Constantin’s Traditionnelle & Patrimony Collections Are The Pinnacle Of Dress Watches

Randy Lai
Randy Lai


Whereas a watch like the Vacheron Constantin Overseas is the purest expression of the go-anywhere-do-anything philosophy, there’s a lot to be said for horological objects which are dedicated to exploring decidedly fewer concepts – in much deeper detail. 

Fresh into 2024, that’s precisely the situation we find ourselves in; as we pivot away from archetypal integrated bracelet sports watches and narrow our focus to two specialist additions in Vacheron Constantin’s Traditionnelle and Patrimony collections. 

Pictured: Vacheron Constantin’s aptly named Patrimony Self-Winding Jewellery, priced at $137,000; and Traditionnelle Tourbillon Retrograde Date Openface (POA).

In their own way, each embodies a dialogue between aesthetic beauty and mechanical excellence: time-telling testaments to the brand’s eternal mission.

“Do better if possible, and that is always possible.”

RELATED: The Vacheron Constantin Overseas In Pink Gold Is A Mid-Sized Marvel

Gem Of A Watch: The Patrimony Self-Winding Jewellery

Vacheron Constantin

Unveiled to the public at Watches and Wonders Shanghai last September, this fresh Patrimony reference is the more, shall we say, unconventional of two Vacheron Constantin watches we’re currently excited about.  

Clothed top-to-bottom in diamonds (769 round-cut ones, to be precise) this is the first bona fide high jewellery design to make a home of the Patrimony collection. “Until now, the Patrimony [range] has only offered a delicate setting on the bezel, or even the dial, of certain 36.5mm models” says Christian Selmoni, Director of Style & Heritage.

“However, we felt that the elegance of the collection lent itself admirably to a bolder version in terms of setting.”

Vacheron Constantin

Channelling the stylistic purity of circular perfection at Vacheron Constantin circa 1950, this icy Patrimony takes the brand’s history with gem-set ladies’ watches firmly into the 21st century. How exactly? By marrying unisex form factor to an “essential” movement, and wrapping all of that up in a snowstorm of gem-setting to rival anything you’ll purchase on Place Vendôme. 

Sized at 37mm, the watch’s thin concave bezel and pure three-hand dial make it enjoyable on a range of differently sized wrists.

Above all else, “it’s the case size that now seems to determine what’s wearable on a male or female wrist,” says Selmoni. 

Vacheron Constantin’s gem-setters intended for the new Patrimony’s external facets (variously covered in round-cut diamonds) to form “a halo of light around the dial”, and when you train your eye upon the latter area it’s glaringly obvious why. The dial accounts for over half the gems utilised in total, all 420 of which are applied using the “snow-setting” technique. 

A demanding process to even the most skilled gem-setters, snow-setting requires that all the diamonds set into this Patrimony dial be individually selected and irregular in size. This, Selmoni explains, is vital to obtaining the “singular aspect of random preciousness” that defines the experience of viewing and interacting with this dial. Ergo, no two Patrimony Jewellery watches will be the same, since their dials will have been paved with stones in a range of idiosyncratic sizes.

Vacheron Constantin

Conceived, from the very beginning, as a celebration of style, we also can’t look past the fact that this Patrimony Jewellery release integrates Vacheron Constantin’s handy “self-interchangeable” system.

The piece ships, as standard, on a pearlescent strap in blue alligator leather but – with a simple pinch of your fingers – this can be substituted for a wide array of compatible alternatives. From cross-stitched lambskin to inky blue satin, a fistful of diamonds isn’t your only pathway to self-expression.

Open To Innovation: The Traditionnelle Tourbillon Retrograde Date Openface

Vacheron Constantin traditionnelle

41mm in size and clothed in pink gold, this double complication confidently takes up the torch for open-dial watchmaking at Vacheron Constantin; and is such a showstopper that we actually wrote about it twice before in 2023 alone.  

Innovating upon the avant-garde aesthetic which the brand began tapping into after the new millennium, this Traditionnelle Tourbillon is a close spiritual descendant of the ‘Twin Beat’ (2019) and Complete Calendar (2021) – both established presences in the eponymous collection.

In particular, the latter’s use of a see-through sapphire dial unlocked a range of “new creative possibilities” for the artisans at Vacheron Constantin: where heritage watchmaking techniques could be used to realise a distinctly contemporary look.

This seamless fusion between modernity and tradition is evident in the Calibre 2162 R31: the self-winding, deliberately exposed engine that is both heart and soul to this release. Turning the watch over, you’ll find all of the consummate finishing that’s indicative of the Geneva Seal, along with a movement architecture split into three islands – all decorated in a handsome shade of ‘slate’ grey evoking suits of English flannel or Brutalist architecture. 

“The calibre exudes a palpable tension between high watchmaking…and the permanent need to innovate,” says Selmoni. “It will thus make a lasting mark on its time.”

Vacheron Constantin traditionnelle

The real party, however, plays out front-of-house. The same sapphire dial featured in the Complete Calendar reappears here. Between the exposed gear train that draws one’s eye to the retrograde date overhead (fanning out between 9 and 3 o’clock) and the tourbillon, there’s plenty of visual excitement to be had every time you glance down at this watch. 

That said, the Traditionnelle Tourbillon Retrograde Date Openface never feels overcomplicated: largely because, as ever, the watchmakers of Vacheron Constantin have been meticulous in tweaking shapes, textures and proportions that amount – in a word – to ‘balance’ in the dial. 

Don’t be fooled by the “openface” moniker: if you’re a fan of engineering, here’s a dial – and by extension a watch – that has plenty of hidden depths.

Vacheron Constantin traditionnelle

This article is presented in partnership with Vacheron Constantin. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Boss Hunting.

Randy Lai
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].



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