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Vacheron Constantin Patrimony –Review of Swiss High-End Watches

Updated on August 19, 2011

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony: Aesthetic Simplicity

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony collection will perplex those who are accustomed to hear about the complexities of Swiss high-end luxury watchmaking. The majority of Patrimony timepieces look very unassuming, displaying an almost anticlimactic aesthetic of simplicity. Patrimony is the ultimate “back to basics” watch collection, but it is also one of the most successful Vacheron Constantin ever produced.

The reason for this success is that the watchmaker realizes that watches don't need to be very complicated in order to be great time keepers; they “only” have to exhibit a monumental, timeless dressy look and contain simple and impeccable mechanisms – and this is exactly what Patrimony is about.

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Patrimony: Classique, Contemporaine, Traditionelle

The three main lines in Patrimony – Classique, Contemporaine and Traditionelle (French words that mean “classic, contemporary and traditional”) – tentatively describe approaches that encompass entire eras. To say that something is “classic” or “traditional” is to say that it's timeless, or never out of fashion, and to say that something is “contemporary” is to frame it in today's modern experience.

These titles not only reiterate Vacheron Constantin's purpose as an enterprise that deals with time, they also mark, more specifically, the principles of the collection: pure, lucid design encasing mechanisms of varying, but usually minimal sophistication (some models contain complications and grand complications).

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Round and Round

The one fundamental that defines Patrimony is the perfect round shape of the bezel. It becomes the main feature in all models; made of either platinum or gold, the circle dominates the watch in an absolutist manner, as all components – the dials, hands and indices – are designed as subordinates. The overall appearance is intended to facilitate legibility.

  • Patrimony Classique, the least complicated line, offers two main varieties of watches: functional and jewelry oriented. The first variety (along with extra-plates) is simplicity itself, both in outward design and the movement. In most models not even a seconds hand is allowed to obstruct time reading. The jewelry variety includes gem-set bezels, precious-metal bracelets and other adornments; the bejeweled watches add on a touch of refined elegance.

Three Characters

  • Contemporaine features an even stricter look, implied especially by the straight hands. The concept behind this line is modern utility combined with traditional appearance: the seconds hand on the main dial, the date, the retrograde calendar complications and the self winding movement make these timepieces useful in more than one way.

  • Traditionnelle includes decorations that elevate the watches to accessories of regal quality: encrusted with diamond indices, the dials decorated with traced rings, Traditionnelle crowns the Patrimony collection.

Eventually, the company focuses its efforts on maintaining tradition, embodying it in classic designs that nevertheless contain all the contemporary technological achievements. The words Classique, Contemporaine and Traditionelle express Vacheron Constantin's vision in three planes, each of its own distinct character. All the wearer needs to know is which one suits his or her own.


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