The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date is vying for the stealth-wealth crown The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date is vying for the stealth-wealth crown

The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date is vying for the stealth-wealth crown

Borna Bošnjak

Some watches make their specialness obvious, shouting from the rooftops, bedecked in hype and marketing. While these are just as deserving of a spot in the annals of horology, the recent trend of stealth wealth has caused a surge of releases that look to keep their aces up their sleeves. Vacheron Constantin’s new Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date is just about the perfect embodiment of this, sporting a white precious metal case, not overly shouty salmon dial, and hiding a double-retrograde, Poinçon de Genève-certified calibre within. It also outshines any previous Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date model, now renamed from Bi-Retrograde, bringing back the model’s platinum case. The Patrimony has long served as Vacheron’s look back to the quirky designs of the 1950s, such as the Disco Volante ref. 4986 that inspired it, with this newest combination being one of many retrograde models the brand released for Watches & Wonders 2023. For a closer look at the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date, check out the video link below, or read further to discover more about what “circular perfection” is, according to Vacheron.

A special dial for a special case

Starting the trend in 2022 with the Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, Vacheron Constantin is once again pairing a platinum-cased piece with a salmon dial, hoping to make it a signature of their most special offerings. With a brushed sunburst pattern emanating from the central pinion, the colour darkens towards the edges, depending on the angle of the watch, thanks to the slight doming of the dial. This helps to add plenty of depth, which is further helped by the sharply faceted, fencepost hour and minute hands, applied hour markers and minute markers in shape of tiny silver pearls – the effect is actually quite stunning.

Zooming in, we get a closer look at the applied tooth-like indices at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, that also follow the curvature of the dial. Contrasting against the coppery pink tone are the heat-blued, skeletonised arrow hands tasked with pointing at the day of the week below the pinion and the date fanning across the top of the dial. The printing for the calendar indications is in blue to match the hands, as is the Swiss made text at the bottom of the dial, while the Vacheron Constantin branding is in black. I do wish Vacheron kept the colours consistent here – with such a simple dial layout, less is certainly more, and tiny details become more apparent.

For the larger-wristed folk

When first discovering this watch, the biggest surprise was certainly the choice of dimensions. The Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date mimics the case size of the rest of the collection, measuring in at 42.5mm in diameter. For a watch of this style, that’s certainly larger than many would have expected, and paired with a height of 9.7mm, wears quite flat thanks to the long lugs. Though its sizing may not cement the Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date as the go-to dress watch for many, it does make it more appropriate for less formal scenarios. Having said that, it’s certainly not trying to be sporty, and the 30-metre water resistance confirms that.

The smooth bezel perfectly mates to the subtly domed sapphire crystal, with the lugs continuing the downward curvature away from the case. The crown is large but very thin in hopes of being as unobtrusive as possible. From this angle specifically, I can definitely see a development of the Disco Volante lineage, even though the fully polished 950 platinum case no longer features the signature stepped bezel.

The blue details of the dial are further accented by the alligator leather strap with calf leather lining. It’s tonally stitched and consists of square alligator scales, finished in a Maltese cross 950 platinum pin buckle.

Poinçon de Genève-worthy

Visible through a small aperture of the sapphire crystal caseback is the Vacheron Constantin 2460 R31R7/3 calibre. Developed in-house, it changes up the rotor from earlier versions of the movement to a 22k gold, openworked number with the Maltese cross insignia. All of the other elements you’d expect from a Geneva Hallmark-certified movement are there, including perlage, anglage and fine striping, though, namely due to the large case size, the 2460 does look a little undersized. Specification-wise, the movement counts 27 jewels, beats at 4 Hz and has a power reserve of 40 hours.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date pricing and availability

The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date is available now as a Vacheron Constantin boutique exclusive. Annual production is limited, though unspecified. Price: A$104,000, €70,000

Brand Vacheron Constantin
Model Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date
Reference Number 4000U/000P-H003
Case Dimensions 42.5mm (D) x 9.7mm (T)
Case Material 950 platinum
Water Resistance 30 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire on both sides
Dial Sunburst salmon
Strap Blue alligator, calf lining, 950 platinum pin buckle
Movement 2460 R31R7/3, in-house, automatic, Poinçon de Genève
Power Reserve 40 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, retrograde day, retrograde date
Availability Vacheron Constantin boutique exclusive, limited annual production
Price A$104,000, €70,000