1972 Prestige: A Week on the Wrist Review

1972 Prestige

1972 was obviously  a fantastic year, Coppola released one of all times greatest films : the Godfather (which by the way is the only time in cinematographic history where a film and its sequel received the Oscar for best film), David Bowie created Ziggy Stardust, Atari launched its 1st video game and Vacheron Constantin receives the Prestige de la France award and goes on creating a watch in its honor.

1972 Prestige: A Week on the Wrist Review

It was a Friday afternoon in the salons of the Ritz Hotel, on Place Vendome that Jacques Ketter received on June 23 1972 the Diplome du Prestige de la France from the hands of the president of the Comité de Prestige et de Propagande Nationale (Committee of national prestige and propaganda) you have to love the name – for its technical excellence - being the first watch firm to receive this honor.

It is however rather blurry as to know if Vacheron Constantin created a specific timepiece to celebrate this diploma or had a piece in the pipeline that it called Prestige de la France, in any event we know that the reference 35202 was designed by the brand’s Paris team which can explain such an original and zanzy design in a period where the VC production design wise was on the verge of a flat encephalogram!

This model stayed more or less the same until 1999 when it was redesigned, retaining its asymmetrical case but less elongated. With time the 1972 evolved into a ladies watch hitting an amazing high in 2002 celebrating its 30th anniversary with a set of unique models whose straps were made by embroider extraordinaire François Lessage.

For its 41st birthday (why 41 and not 40 may you ask – and I have no answer) Vacheron Constantin launches a redesigned version of the 1972 dubbed 1972 Prestige,  finally available once again to men and I had the pleasure of wearing it for a week for this review.

With a 25mm x 47mm case the new 1972 Prestige is extremely close to the original model with a slighter width, says Vincent Kauffmann design Director “We wanted to have a nice curve on the case as well as an elegant and sleek line, the bigger size also is due to the fact that we wanted it to be more in line with today’s tastes and masculine size while retaining its sophistication.”

1972 Prestige

1972 Prestige


At first glance the case my look simple with the major interest being its asymmetrical case but the lines, angles and steps give it an amazing form when looked closely and reflect the light in an extremely complex yet  interesting manner with a succession of light and shadows. This also comes from the fact that the dial opening takes up all the width of the case but leaves a lot of metal at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock.

1972 Prestige: A Week on the Wrist Review


1972 Prestige


1972 Prestige

1972 Prestige

1972 Prestige

1972 Prestige

Another superb feature is the grey dial with a subtle blue herringbone motif. Says Vincent Kaufmann: “we wanted to create a dial bare of ornamentation yet with some type of pattern. Considering that the timepiece is a true dandy’s timepiece we wanted to recreate a fabric patter found in men’s apparel and the herringbone was the perfect pattern”. The choice of rose gold hands and Maltese Cross is in my honest opinion a winning choice and give a hint of warmth where monochromatic silver hands would have left the dial cold.

1972 Prestige

Movement wise, the newly launched  extra slim Cal 1003 in gold is the engine of the 1972 Prestige.
As the new Geneva Seal now applies to the whole watch and therefore and even greater attention needs to be taken in the attachment of the movement to the case and a very elegant and aesthetic movement holder has been created to encase the cal 1003 to the case.

1972 Prestige

1972 Prestige

So what’s my take after a week on the wrist?

God this watch is beautiful and it grew on me more and more each day, depending on the angle of the wrist the reflections were completely different and I had the impression of having a different watch each time. The slightly cambered case makes the watch sit perfectly on the wrist and thanks to the strap which is screwed into the case the fit is perfect.

The original 1972 on the wrist
1972 Prestige: A Week on the Wrist Review

1972 Prestige
1972 Prestige

1972 Prestige

The 1972 Prestige is a true dandy’s watch, it will look as good with a bespoke Anderson & Sheppard suit or with a dash of Neaopolitan spezzatura from Rubinacci but definitely not on more casual wear.

The only question I may have on the 1972 Prestige is linked directly to its design will this design which is really bold and audacious become rapidly outdated or will it stand the test of time and become one of those designs which will be lauded in fine art schools? I tend to think the latter because the harmony of the proportions is just perfect. More often than not when I see a watch I always find something which could have been bettered to suite my tastes but with the 1972 I find no flaws!!

To quote Doc: “For once the replica beats the original”

1972 Prestige
 

side by side comparaison: 1972 Prestige and the 1972 Prestige 40 piece limited edition
1972 Prestige
 
 1972 Prestige
 
02/18/2013 - 14:11
02/18/2013 - 17:39
4Js
02/18/2013 - 17:15
02/18/2013 - 20:21
02/18/2013 - 19:48
02/18/2013 - 20:23
Dje
02/19/2013 - 00:02
02/20/2013 - 10:34
02/19/2013 - 10:43
02/19/2013 - 22:30
02/20/2013 - 19:22
A great review
02/18/2013 - 14:11
Thanks Alex.
thank you Hamish
02/18/2013 - 17:39
nt
Re: 1972 Prestige: A Week on the Wrist Review
02/18/2013 - 15:43
Thanks for the excellent review, Alex. I certainly agree with your sentiments The photos are great as well. It's a wonderful watch and sure to be a winner for VC. It works well with either a dark brown or black strap. BTW, It looks great on your wrist! Best wishes, Joseph
glad you liked the read and the photos Joseph
02/18/2013 - 17:40
nt
A fantastic Post
02/18/2013 - 17:15
Alex, thanks.  This post shows both pieces together, to really help crazy people like me!  Your previous wrist photo of the boutique edition was just a fantastic picture. One question, the strap you showed on the non boutique version has stitches, but the launch photos showed both watches with the non stitiched strap.  The brown stitiched strap color looks different than the other brown one.  In fact it looks like my 1921 strap.  Can you clarify? Do you know when the boutique edition will hit NYC boutique?  Will all 40 be shipped out at once, or is there time to see the piece and then place an order? Best, Joe
Thanks Joe :-) the correct strap is of the one in my live
02/18/2013 - 17:43
photos but of you prefer another strap of course there is no problem changing. In terms of color the American 1921 strap is darker. As for the boutique edition it will be available 1st only at the Paris boutique and I don't have any information yet on when it will be available in the other boutiques. I would guess that the 40 pieces will trickle into the boutiques so you will have time to make up your mind.
Thanks for this excellent review
02/18/2013 - 17:16
...and for the terrific photos.  It is so interesting to see the movement holder.  I appreciate your including a couple of photos of this.  The cal. 1003 looks beautiful in this watch.  I am really glad that the cal 1003 has a new opportunity to live in this model.  When I think about this 1972 Prestige and the Ultra-fine 1955, they could not be two more different watches sharing the same exquisite movement.  One point of clarification: will only the Boutique version have the Prestige de la France laurel engraved on the case back?  I am not ready yet to quote Doc regarding the new 1972 Prestige (“For once the replica beats the original” was a good observation regarding the American 1921), but I may be ready once I see this one on my my wrist.  ;-) Best, Robert
uh oh Robert you're on a dangerous path here ;-) Both watches will
02/18/2013 - 17:47
have the Prestige de France laurels engraved on the back
Thanks for the movement pics Alex! nt
02/18/2013 - 18:08
nt
My pleasure Dean
02/18/2013 - 20:21
M
Thanks for your thoughts, Alex!
02/18/2013 - 19:32
Now that I look at both pieces side by side I think the grey dial of the regular model is more appealing to me. They are both gorgeous time pieces and have an amazing flair of elegance to them. I do believe the design will stand the test of time. Time will tell ;-)
Like you I prefer the regular production
02/18/2013 - 20:22
.
Love the Herringbone Dial
02/18/2013 - 19:48
Both are very beautiful, but that herringbone dial is scrumptious. Looking forward to trying it on my wrist.
A real winner:-)
02/18/2013 - 20:23
,
Zanzy and Dandy keep running through my
02/18/2013 - 20:01
"watch head" after reading this excellent article. I was drawn to the piece at first for its pure artistic values and did not really consider it as a  watch for me. However, after seeing it a few times at SIHH and now taking a longer look (common practice for me) I really believe this will be a classic from a classic--hard to make it happen, but most successful in this model.  Bravo! Your article was particularly personal and your growing attachment is quite interesting as it develops to full watch lust. It must have been difficult to return to the keepers after such a great week of fun. Best to you all, Tim
I think the 1972 will be my next VC!
02/18/2013 - 20:24
,
A fitting tribute to Anderson & Sheppard...
02/18/2013 - 20:35
Alex - I must confess that I'm warming to this model. My reservations and doubts are being slowly blown away... Your review, couple with a nice selection of 'live' photographs, has added a dynamic that I had clearly overlooked. Strangely enough, reading your copy, I felt as though your perspective of the watch somewhat changed as the days slowly gathered pace. Am I right? Incidentally, your choice of tailor - Anderson & Sheppard (Est: 1906) is a befitting partner for the 1972 Prestige - a beautiful combination! A well chosen subject! With thanks Tony 
You are right Tony, I was at first reserved on the watch but by the
02/20/2013 - 10:33
end of the week it had fully grown on me. The 1972 is definitely a watch which need to be tried on and not bought just on photos
Gorgeous watch and review Alex
02/19/2013 - 00:02
Hi, I can just add I really love this watch and am as confident as you in its successful future (even if I don't care about its success, just about it ending up on my wrist)! Best Dje
thanks Jerome :-)
02/20/2013 - 10:34
e
Great Review and live pictures Alex, thanks!
02/19/2013 - 03:11
I too really like the regular production version. The movement the frame used to hold it are great!  As I'm sure you know, there is debate about VC not using form movements in their form watches. But given this shape and volume of space to work with (especially with a curved case) - I think the use of cal 1003 here was smartly done! I was a lilttle disappointed when I saw some previous pictures and the Prestige de la France Laurels were only on the back of the LE watch.  Very happy to know that it will be on the regular production piece as well.  (Yes, it is a small thing...but it floats my boat smiley) One question:  I read somewhere that the original 1972 watch was designed with proportions according to the "Golden Ratio".  WIth this new version and it's being wider (in order to fit the cal 1003 and look more manly IMO), I would guess the "Golden Ratio" is out?  (Given the design choice, I would have done the same thing - as the dimensions of the new 1972 still look fantastic). BR, Dan
according to VC litterature the current model is designed using
02/20/2013 - 10:41
the golden ratio. Not sure the original model was designed as such
Thanks for clearing that up for me Alex, I got them mixed up
02/21/2013 - 10:00
in terms of which one followed the golden ratio.  BR, Dan
Re: A great VC collector
02/19/2013 - 10:43
Thanks Alex for this interesting article. The new release looks even better than the original with its chevron design but my small wrist likes the older size better. What a good use of the fantastic and so much reliable 1003 calibre (still running perfectly in my Ultra fine 1955). Love this post !
good to see you back Bernard!
02/20/2013 - 10:43
.
Very désirable but
02/19/2013 - 22:30
I am still embarrassed with asymétrical watch. Wearing it on my right arm this 1972 will be positionned wrongway. The "arm" direction will be stopped by the larger side of the watch. I do not have this feeling on your pictures, Alexandre, in which, everything go into the direction (arm>wristwatch>hand). I have the same feeling with the 1921. Darn, or a visit to the cabinotiers is necessary.
oh well another form watch coming this year so maybe
02/20/2013 - 10:46
it will be to your taste devil
Alexandre,
02/20/2013 - 18:56
you, devil :),  raised my curiosity. Let's wait then angel.
Thanks Alex for a great review and sharing the photos
02/20/2013 - 00:09
It's certainly a design that's going to stay in books of fine art schools. I find the regular model more beautiful because of the pattern, hey your shirt perfectly illustrated the point ; ) And how considerate of the designers: the rose gold logo and hands do add warmth to the dial!
glad you like it KL :-)
02/20/2013 - 10:47
.
Thanks for this review
02/20/2013 - 19:22
As already said, "better than the original for once" A nice hommage, nicely different from the original but with keeping the elegant spirit. Another hit in the Historiques Collection. Along with the 1955 and the American., ultimately elegant. Thanks for sharing Alex.
Thanks François, in fact the 1972 Prestige is not part of the
02/20/2013 - 23:29
Historiques collection but part of the 1972 collection
Thanks for the precision, surprising though.
02/21/2013 - 16:29
nt
I guess it wouldn't make sense having a mens 1972 in the
02/21/2013 - 18:28
Historiques and the ladies in the regular 1972 collection
Re: 1972 Prestige: A Week on the Wrist Review
04/01/2014 - 20:59
Looks interesting, but for me a bit strange for VC...