SIHH 2009: A Personal Journey

click on the scans for a larger view

The 2007 and 2008 SIHH novelties each produced a huge bang for Vacheron Constantin respectively with the launch of the Masks series and the Quai de l’Ile. This year no real conversation piece per se but the Patrimony Traditionnelle model range puts the turbo with two major launches which will get a lot of ink and conversation: the brand new large sized inhouse manual wind calibre 4400, which was pre launched in the limited production Historiques American 1921, which will now equip the new Patrimony Traditionnelle Manual Wind and of course the amazing Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph.

One caveat, these are just my opinions at the time and take them with a grain of salt. Many will disagree and others agree with what I write but remember that even the moderator is entitled to his opinion

The Vacheron Constantin booth at the fait was one of the only ones, if not the only which was totally open and where visitors could enter and visit the different exhibitions. On a wall was an awesome 3D film of the Caliber 4400. It’s a new system where you don’t need special glasses to have the 3 dimensional effect. 



There was also a hand beveller who showed us the different techniques. 



The different VC manufacture movements were also displayed. 



Malte Tonneau Dual Time (gem set)

Not my favorite Vacheron Constantin (even though I love the guillochage of the dial) but this new gem set version begs the answer to the question why? It exists with diamond indexes in a rose gold case as well as with diamond bezel, lugs and indexes in white gold. 



Malte Tonneau Tourbillon Regulateur High Jewelery
Jacob eat your heart out, this is what a jewelled tourbillon should look like! The case is paved with 270 baguette cut diamonds with a total weight of approx 12.33 carats while the dial dazzles with 236 baguette cut diamonds with a total weight of approx 5.66 carats. The invisible setting (a rare craft) gives the impression that the whole watch is made of diamonds and not of white gold. Amazingly captivating and a watch which would look great on my wrist had I the guts (and the half million euros) to pull it off




Metiers d’Art Lady Kalla Flame
This year’s Metiers d’Art models pay tribute to gemsetting and diamond galore.

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Kallista a new type of diamond cutting has been developed by Vacheron Constantin called the flame cut. This new shape features 57 trapezoid facets never used in watchmaking before, it also happens to be the first cut in twenty years to be officially recognised by the GIA (Gemmological Institute of America). What also makes the flame cut original is that it is the only one with both a right and a left cut, for which a specific setting has to be developed. The Kalla Flame features 202 flame cut diamonds for a total weight of approx 37 carats. It houses the manual wind calibre 1005. 

the Flame Cut diamond


Metiers d’Art Kalla Haute Couture A Secret
It looks like a diamond bracelet but lift the lid and ho and behold there is a watch underneath! The Haute Couture a Secret features 278 flame cut diamonds and 54 full cut diamonds for a total weight of approx 34.5 carats. 


Metiers d’Art Kallania

Gentlemen (yes this is designed to be a man’s watch!) start saving because this fabulous watch contains 186 emerald cut diamonds weighing almost 170 carats which happens to be a world record in the history of watchmaking (the previous record being held also by Vacheron Constantin with its Kallista weighing 130 carats). Movement wise it houses the extra flat cal 1003.The price has not yet been set but don’t count on a figure with less than 5 zeros. 



Overseas Chronograph in rose gold
Following the immense success of last year’s rose gold Overseas Chronograph, Vacheron Constantin launches a version with a white guilloche dial. A bit more formal than the grey dial version, it exists either on strap (croc and rubber) or rose gold bracelet. A definitive killer and a must have with a nice tan next summer



Overseas Dual Time in rose gold

Until now the only rose gold version of the Dual Time was available either with a chocolate dial but in a limited edition or the “Beckham” (© myself) version with diamond set bezel. The aficionado really didn’t have much choice until now. If you’re for a massive gold watch with little bling factor this one is for you. Available either with a rose gold bracelet or on strap (croc and rubber). 


Patrimony Traditionnelle Skeleton

Vacheron Constantin is known for its amazing skeleton work and the Patrimony Traditionnelle Skeleton is a proof that VC is light years ahead on competition. Each component has been painstakingly skeletonised and engraved by hand giving a whole new meaning to the words horological art. This model exists only in white gold and is produced in extremely low numbers. On a side note it is interesting to specify that once again Japan was a testing ground as the rose gold version of this model was recently launched there as a special market piece. 


Patrimony Traditionnelle Manual Wind

An amazing watch for those wanting a more “wearable” 38mm size case. It features all the Patrimony Traditionnelle aesthetics: a fine bezel knurling around the caseback, which features a screw-down sapphire crystal, facetted trapezoid hour-markers, dauphine hands and dials in several silvered tones (the later may look simple but 5 different finishing processes are used to attain the final effect) and lugs with clean straight lines. The icing on the cake is that it features the new manual inhouse calibre 4400 which nicely fills the case and can be admired via a sapphire crystal case back. Love it! 


Patrimony Traditionnelle Perpetuel Calendar Chronograph

Oooh now this one is hot. Love everything about it even though I find the case a bit on the larger side at 43mm. The two tone dial, the Patrimony Traditionnelle case and the rectangular pushers give the watch a somewhat vintage look but the amazing engraved rose gold moonphase (a VC signature) gives a wonderfully contemporary effect and almost singlehandedly justifies the purchase of the watch! Inside ticks the wonderful cal 1141QP with an additional calendar plate. Its on my wish list…. 


Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph

If this watch does not become an instant hit I’ll stop writing about watches and go raise goats! Once again the Patrimony Traditionnelle case (42mm) and two tone dial hit the spot. The watch has a very elegant and somewhat vintage appeal, yet has a very dynamic aura which make it an instant classic. 



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Wonderful, Alex. Thanks for the report.
01/26/2009 - 12:34
It looks like you will be spared from raising goats as your new job!
+1, thanks for the report (nt)
01/26/2009 - 14:30
good to know no goats this year :-) (nt)
01/28/2009 - 16:38
Great, just Great!...
01/26/2009 - 14:47
... So marvellous. The male collections lacked maybe a little coherence and identification, it is now resolved with these new additions. The finish seems to be exceptionnal as usual. The american (idols ^^) made some hearts stop. These new additions goes on the same way. Stop it, emergencies are full! I would love to see the new Patrimony manual wind in White Gold. It is difficult to find something to say against these marvels. Some people find the case of the Chronographe Quantième Perpétuel a bit large for the movement, the dial is so well treated that it doesn't shock so much imho. I do think that the Patrimony are the top of simple elegant watches. Lange are beautifully done but not my style (except the cabaret). The QDI launched a new kind of luxury sport watch sweeping all the commons "Genta Style" from the other Brands. Vacheron is definitely for me the Brad to follow. Thanks to them to make me dream François PS: I see another problem with Vacheron Constantin and some photos who are delivered on the net. The "press kit photoshops" are awful. They doesn't deliver the correct impressions of the watch and expecially of the dial of these Patrimony playing with the light. When we see your "in Flesh" photos or in a reseller showcase they look so much better.
and thanks for the report.
01/26/2009 - 14:49
agree on all you say Francois (nt)
01/28/2009 - 16:39
Thank you dear Alex, as often we share the same taste.
01/26/2009 - 15:31
As you once wrote 2 years ago, when you tried, the full gold version of Overseas, including the bracelet, you didn't want to leave it back! After feeling how heavy and impressive it is, I can't add anything more! Magic, that a watch which I never really liked (the Overseas ), can change so much in gold shape, and with leather strap, it is absolute possible to wear to a nice jacket or even a suit Still I think that kind of 'water watches' is Rolex market, whatever is said about it. Royal Oak, Hublot, Cartier, PP, Panerai or any brand, are just number two. On the other hand Rolex is just Rolex, nothing else. Vacheron Constantin is all that Rolex not is! It's a marvellous watchmaker, in the true meaning of the word So many beautiful watches from Vacheron Constantin in those few hours, I thought I never see, considering it's new collections! QDI is just unbelieable, sitting and holding it, seeing version after version, it just made me dizzy Worse seeing all you VC people, really wearing them on your wrists And all the glitter, of course it's a market, and either you like it or not, they are really impressive jewellery and you see the skillness of the craftsmen! But I'm with you Alex, I don't like diamonds on dials. It belongs to PP and Rolex. Still Vacheron&Constantin never anyhow put a face on any dial, as you can see sheiks on PP's en masse From my vintage heart, I congratulate Vacheron Constantin to a collection of modern watches, that I never have seen them have before ,in my life, and that is as you know, long Thanks dear Alex for a fantastic survey,  and most of all Vacheron Constantin for inviting us Doc
01/28/2009 - 14:11
I said I was dizzy by all those watches seen in Geneva, but of course I forgot to mention this in my thanks to you Alex Vacheron Constantin 1921Photo by Alex.Doc
thank you Doc and Vive le & :-) (nt)
01/28/2009 - 16:40
Merci et bien :-)
01/29/2009 - 00:58
Re: SIHH 2009: A Personal Journey
01/26/2009 - 16:11
Thanks for a very comprehensive report. Great article and pics. Regards, Joseph
thanks Joseph and it was great seeing you and your new marvel :-) (nt
01/28/2009 - 16:41
Re: SIHH 2009: A Personal Journey
01/26/2009 - 16:34
Thanks so much for sharing and getting me so excited this morning. The Overseas Chrono in Rose Gold is my dream watch along with the new Patrimony Chrono in 42mm. Wonder if those rubber straps would fit my SS OSC? Regards, Matt
yup those rubber straps will fit! (nt)
01/28/2009 - 16:42
Love the Chronographs!
01/26/2009 - 17:48
As I was crusing through your pictures Alex, my eyes were drawn to the chronographs most of all.  After a bit of reflection, I realized it was the lugs, sophisticated and uncharacteristically restrained, that really made the pieces for me.  Not too sure about the case size yet but after trying on a ridiculously large Panerai this weekend, and being surprised on how comfortable it was to wear, I'm open to the idea more than previously. 
I think that due to the lugs the case sits well on the wrist(nt)
01/28/2009 - 16:48
brilliant presentation of brilliant watches. VC does it again!!!
01/26/2009 - 18:18
thanks (nt)
01/28/2009 - 16:49
Both Traditionelle Chrono and Perpetual Chrono are simply stunning...
01/26/2009 - 18:53
Thank you Alex for bringing back such fresh and fond memories 
agree Radek, they are stunning (nt)
01/28/2009 - 16:49
Unbelieveable Alex........
01/26/2009 - 20:10
and those pictures are to die for!  I especially love that Perpetual Calendar...what a watch!  I can't even be looking at that for some time if I want to stay married!  Thanks so much for such a thorough review and for all of those excting pictures. Best regards, Tom
Thanks Tom (nt)
01/28/2009 - 16:50
Thank you for this report which
01/26/2009 - 21:15
summarizes quite well every piece with wonderful shots. The chrono is quite outstanding, but... I would like an in-house movement, mister moderator Cheers
But Patrice, haven't you come over that now?
01/27/2009 - 00:02
When VC has done their job, it's a Vacheron Constantin movement, like the ebauchée in your beautiful vintage day date Hej! Doc
I fully agree with you Doc, but...
01/27/2009 - 14:06
after seeing the last in house movements made by VC, I must say it's a new approach in VC spirit, and I would like to get one once, and if possible in a chrono. But this does not release anything to the other calibers. I love both; I want just to enlarge my collection... Cheers
You'll see that movement sooner than you guess I Think! nt
01/28/2009 - 16:08
inhouse chrono is on its way, just don't know when... (nt)
01/28/2009 - 16:50
I suppose VC won't deliver...
01/29/2009 - 10:15
...untested or unreliable prototypes of their chronograph to their customer, even if the customers want it so much. François "Toute ressemblance avec des situations réelles ou avec des personnes existantes ou ayant existés ne saurait être que fortuite " Don't know it in english.
if they did that I would be first in line :-) (nt)
01/29/2009 - 11:48
Many thanks Alex for this broad review of the 2009 novelties.
01/27/2009 - 01:33
It seems that the general consensus is that while there is a lack of the truly spectacular debut, this year provides VC fans, afficionados and collectors with some solid offerings.  Personally, I think this is a wise choice given the current global economic situation and the widely anticipated impact on the luxury watch market.  2009 should be a good year for consolidation and solidifying the brand's foundation and I think that VC's 2009 collection accomplishes these aims. While I like some of these timepieces, I cannot say that my immediate reaction to any of them is "I must have that watch!"  However, I will look forward to seeing them in the metal and I am sure that there is a possibility of me being swayed in a positive direction. Thanks again Alex for your fine coverage of SIHH 2009. Cheers, Duncan
seeing them in real will make you change your mind (nt)
01/28/2009 - 16:52
The Patrimony Trad Chrono is a must have for me, smitten on first
01/27/2009 - 03:26
sight, that rush that comes over you when the watch maker's art rings your gotta have it bell--you all know the feeling. The size for me is perfect, the pushers are perfect, the rose gold is perfect and the movement with that particular framing, is...perfect. Sorry I missed the events and life currently is quite intense, but this beauty has done its job and lifted my spirits. Thanks to Alex for the great review and to V&C for state of the art display, leading edge marketing and well, yes, a perfect watch for me. Best to all, Tim
shame you couldn't make it to SIHH, hopefully next year (nt)
01/28/2009 - 16:53
A lamb for the Lions.
01/27/2009 - 04:15
Alex thank you for the wonderful pictures and information (as usual). Although there may be no OUTSTANDING watch at the SIHH 2009 for VC, I believe the Historique 1921 had already set the standard with a new movement, avant guard design and exotic case. I like very much the Patrimony models introduced this year. The Traditionnelle manual wind is the ringer for me. It is sublime, understated and above all it says VACHERON! If someone were to cover up the name I would likely guess this watch was from the house of Vacheron. The Traditionnelle skeleton also has the VACHERON factor. The scalloped decorative bridges of the venerable JLC movement are done better than anyone else. AP version often lacks a feeling of brand uniqueness which the Vacheron possess. This model is my favorite by far but the price and limited availability make it less accessible. Now the Chronographs......well here I am torn. I love the design of both the Patrimony Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Chronograph (PTPCC) and the Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph (PTC). The PTPCC has the fabulous golden moon phase which is astounding! But I wish it had more. The design is just too 5970 (been there done that). Yes I know it has the continued flavour of the Patrimony line but I would have liked to see something a little more. In the tradition of the VC's of yore I would love to see the day and date in red. Now that would be different, traditional and it would still yell VACHERON. The PTC is wonderful on its own but if I wish I did not see a 5070 every time I looked at it. I do not think VC needs to copy anyone else and they can lead with their own designs. The oversized case, square pushers with the Lemania manual wind chronograph and the tachymeter to fill in the empty space has been done and it belongs to someone else. Now if they would have incorporated a new in-house movement I think the tone of this post would be very different. I really want to clarify what I am saying about the Lemania based watches; they are wonderful on their own but I would have hoped for a little more. After the new Chronometer Royal, the QDI and finally the 1921 it is clear that Vacheron can still deliver the goods whether it is a modern interpretation of a classic or an entirely new concept. I think these chronographs will do very well but I fear they will not be the important watch that any of the Vacheron vintage chrono's are or even what is the Chronograph Historique. They missed the chance to leap frog ahead of Patek, instead they appear to be following. If Vacheron wishes to be thought of as the greatest watch making company they are going to need to do better, they have on other models. My neck is on the block. Please be swift and accurate. Mike Segal
I can see your points and its alway great to have a contrarian view.
01/28/2009 - 16:54
thanks for being open
Re: SIHH 2009: A Personal Journey
01/27/2009 - 05:43
Thank you very much for the wonderful photos, write-ups, AND opinions.  It is having your opinion which separates your reports from a mere press release, so keep 'em coming, Jefe! Although I also have some sizing/case balance issues, the in-the-metal photos provide so much more depth and really gives the watches a new perspective.  I am sure they will look even better in my hands. I love the Traditionelle automatic, Chrono, and Perpetual Calendar Chrono.  I would also love to see the Historiques 1921. Now I am really banging my head for not trying harder to join you guys at SIHH.  Anyway, I hope to see more in the coming days!! Thanks again and Cheers! Kazumi
don't bang your head too hard and start negotiation with the
01/28/2009 - 16:55
Boss for next year
Re: SIHH 2009: A Personal Journey
01/28/2009 - 03:38
Hi Alex, Great report. Love the timepieces. Just want to know whether the Patrimony Traditionelle manual wind will be available in white gold - I think this will be high on my list. Thanks. Syam
for the moment only in RG but WG will certainly follow (nt)
01/28/2009 - 16:56
Re: SIHH 2009: A Personal Journey
01/28/2009 - 05:03
Thanks for the fantastic overview of Vacheron's latest offerings.  I love the new line of Patrimony Traditionelle watches.  The perpetual calendar chronograph is absolutely stunning.  I live the engraving they do to make the phases of the moon disc!  I hope to catch a glimpse of one the next time I'm at one of the bigger VC dealers in NYC. Thanks again. Best regards, Dino
thanks Dean, looks like VC hit a home run with the Patrimony...
01/28/2009 - 16:57
Traditionnelle models this year.
Great Year for VC
01/28/2009 - 05:57
Thanks for the post Alex.  Indeed this was a great year for VC.  I loved seeing the energy devoted to the Patrimony Traditionelle line.   Jeff
thanks Jeff, good seeing you in Geneva (nt)
01/28/2009 - 16:58
Many thanks, Alex !
01/28/2009 - 09:27
Excellent overview and superb pictures that capture these stunning pieces very well ! I even must admit the jewellery pieces look stunning although I am not a huge fan of those....normally. However, THE piece for me is the Patrimony Traditionelle chronograph....what a stunning beauty ! Kind regards, Mark
thanks Mark (nt)
01/28/2009 - 16:59
thanks for the report. wonder if the new collection is available in ..
01/28/2009 - 11:41
different metals besides pink gold?
Hi Aaron, is there a particular model you are interested in? (nt)
01/28/2009 - 11:52
the traditionelle chrono will look good in white, however, is there a
01/29/2009 - 03:13
chance they will modify the dial, taking away the numerals under the indices in production? thanks for any insight. btw, gongxi fa cai !!! :)
As a white metal fan, I agree that the chrono...
01/29/2009 - 10:47
would look good in white gold.  I believe Alex has said that other materials will be available in the future but no  specific dates have been announced. Cannot guess if there will be dial changes but if there is a broad consensus for a change, then I believe that VC would consider it. Gong Xi Fa Cai to you and your family as well! Cheers, Duncan
I don't think there will be any change to the dials (nt)
01/29/2009 - 10:48
As a white metal fan, I agree that the chrono...
01/29/2009 - 10:48
would look good in white gold.  I believe Alex has said that other materials will be available in the future but no  specific dates have been announced. Cannot guess if there will be dial changes but if there is a broad consensus for a change, then I believe that VC would consider it. Gong Xi Fa Cai to you and your family as well! Cheers, Duncan
yes it is planned but don't know when (nt)
01/28/2009 - 16:59
Wonderful overview, Alex...
01/29/2009 - 04:26
Vacheron hit it out of the park this year with every one of their new Patrimony Traditionnelle models. I'm 100% sure you won't be raising goats...LOL! It was great to see you in Geneva - thanks so much for inviting us to the HL dinner Sunday night. Best, Paul
Paul, my friend, jak sie masz?
01/29/2009 - 10:10
It was great meeting you and learning about your wonderful family. Also you're an horological mine of knowledge and talking to you about watches was really awesome
Dzikuj, Radek!
01/30/2009 - 01:21
Really enjoyed meeting and talking with you...I told my wife all about you, and she'd love to meet you and your family.  Hopefully one day I will meet you in Poland.  You have superb taste in watches, and once again congrats on that magnificent watch you were wearing at dinner. If you're ever in NYC, please do contact me! Kind regards, Paul
will keep in touch, Paul! (nt)
01/31/2009 - 11:11
great having you with us Paul (nt)
01/29/2009 - 12:29
Thanks for the report Alex
01/29/2009 - 12:04

And I appreciate you being such a great host. Hope to have more time to catch up at SIHH next year. - SJX

Hi SJX and thank you, it was great meeting up (nt)
01/29/2009 - 12:29
VC's collection is one of the best I can remember but...
01/29/2009 - 15:19
I still think the crown of the Traditionelle QP-chrono is too small for such a large watch with big pushers. :-) - SJX
Thank you for all Alex!!! :)
01/29/2009 - 12:51
Thank you for your nice report!! And thank you for the show and your warm welcoming on VC stand!! In the flesh, I (relatively) changed my opinion on the novelties!! ... they are really really different from the press scans!! I will post my report and pics very soon with my impression MUST TELL YOU: During the show, Alex managed to make teasing LoooL! :D
you know me I can't resist giving out teasers especially to you (nt)
01/29/2009 - 12:58
Thanks Alex for the coverage
01/29/2009 - 17:19
The finishing of the new movement Caliber 4400 does not impress me.   Based on the picture, it appears that VC tries to cut cost by producing larger movement plates with relatively rough finishing.  My concluded assumption is subjected to closer scrutiny of other parts of the movements.  As of now, its quality is miles away when compared with Chronometer Royal LE.  Even though this comparison may sound a bit unfair, VC can do a better job in my honest opinion. Having said that, if I am not mistaken, this caliber 4400 has a power reserve of 65 hours.  This has impressed me in view of the fact that it is a "simple" movement. Amongst others, VC's skeleton is still the best.  The rests are "ordinary" in the sense that they don't bring surprises to me. Regards Ling
I also would have liked to have not one large plate but 2-3
01/29/2009 - 17:24
smaller bridges on the cal 4400. However not sure I agree on the finishing, you may have missed this article where Kari Voutilainen takes cal 4400 apart and comments on construction and finish: click here to see the post
Thanks for the great report, Alex
01/31/2009 - 09:33
A few thoughts: 1. Must have a 1921!  Now! 2. The new skeleton is a nice (larger) update on my Malte Squelette and will freshen its appeal to an audience now expecting larger watches.  Good news is that I already have my VC Squelette! 3. Not sure what you meant by "no gold OS DT other than the brown dial LE and the Beckham."  I'm wearing my YG bracelet version right now... 4. The American jeweler Michael Beaudry has had a beaautiful flame-cut diamond ring (5+ ct.) in his collection for a couple of years now -- don't know whether VC has an arrangement with him, or have developed a separate cutting scheme for a flame-cut diamond.  The idea is definitely not original with VC, though, to the best of my knowledge.  Still beautiful watches! Thanks again, Gary
to answer your points
01/31/2009 - 16:57
Hi Gary; you make some valid points and to answer you last two questions: - my mistake, I was referring to rose gold and have modified the articles accordingly. - the Flame cut is not new but its the very first time it has been used in watchmaking and for the moment VC has exclusivity on its use.
Re: SIHH 2009: A Personal Journey
02/01/2009 - 11:10
Such a beautifull new Patrimony Traditionnelle Manual Wind in every way. Thanks for the mail Alex.
glad you enjoyed it Jacob (nt)
02/02/2009 - 11:37
The Patrimony Traditionnelle Skeleton
02/03/2009 - 14:26
looks truly amazing!! It must be beautiful also in rose gold, any photo? Thank you for the wonderful report, surtout les photos!
Here is a link to Kazumi's report on the RG Patrimony Skeleton Japan
02/03/2009 - 18:54
Thank you both!
02/04/2009 - 17:46
The second last photo is a good shot because the light went through the watch  and shows the beauty right from a very well-engraved PTS.
Re: SIHH 2009: A Personal Journey
02/05/2009 - 22:58
excellent report, Alex. as ususal, i shall say - and highly appreciated as always. thank you!!
thanks for your kind words and congrats on your 1st post :-) (nt)
02/06/2009 - 10:34