Hello TheHourLoungers!

I actually posted in another thread: http://www.thehourlounge.com/en/vacheron-constantin-discussions/inquirie...

but was suggested on creating a whole new topic in order to have more answers, so here it is! :)


Original message:

"Hello all,

am pretty excited as this is my very first post on the forum... I don't own a VC yet, but am on the edge of deciding on acquiring my first high-end time-keeper, and I hope THL will help me with my choice. Hopefully it will also be a VC! ;)

Anyway, my first question on the forum would then be regarding the architecture of the 2450 caliber: why did not they keep the free-sprung balance if they took inspiration from the wonderful 1120? I get (from my current poor timepieces knowledge) that it would have made this caliber even more high-end and desirable, isn't it? Could that be related to a patent issue of some sort? Could it be adapted in anyway afterwards? (Am thinking about an adaptation through "les cabinotiers" for instance)

PS: yes, my avatar is a trial with a Patrimony... Am already a little biased I think... :D"


Just to add a little bit about my current thoughts, I tested several watches from different brands lately (I'll post wrist shots later for you to have a better idea on my tastes) and my ideal winner would be a mix of this (for the case size and colors):

Patrimony black

with this (for the caliber and its finishing through a sapphire glass):

Hello TheHourLoungers!

with hands from the 85180... (I usually love having a center seconds also, but know that it is unfortunately not possible with the 1120 caliber...)

11/13/2015 - 10:59
11/13/2015 - 12:19
11/18/2015 - 13:46
12/03/2015 - 22:52
To continue our conversation from the older post...
11/13/2015 - 12:19

Hi Bibz,  I do not consider free-sprung balances to be the highest end or form of balance.  So I do not necessarily consider them better than ones with a fine micro-regulating system.  As Tick-Talk quoted, VC chose to use a classical swiss design and execute it to the best that technology has to offer...it is not worse or lower tech than a free-sprung balance.  

Please don't get me wrong, I really like the gyromax balance and my vintage collection has three VC movements that use this free-sprung design. (Cal. 1001/2, Cal. 1072/1, and Cal. 1120).  I like them because VC rarely used gyromax, and therefore are more interesting to me as a collector in terms of rarity.  I'm also a mechanical engineer that is stronger on theory vs. experimental, so the free-sprung design concept is fundamentally very attractive to me.  But I also recognize free-sprung is not necessarily better when put in practice compared to a finely adjustable micro-regulating system (which actually has more components and is tougher to make correctly vs. a free-sprung design).

I could say that all VCs and high-end brands should use tourbillons because that is the higher end technology.  Technically a tourbillon is not even a complication because it does not add another function to basic time telling.  

Other high-end brands also use newer synthetic materials and VC tests these materials as well.  But VC has decided not to use them so far due  to various practical, technical and long-term reasons.  They are the most classical, old school, manufacturer of all the big Brands and this is part of their DNA.

The Cabinitoirs Ateliers can certainly create a bespoke movement for you with a Cal. 2450 base movement and free sprung balance if you wish to have one commissioned.  Not too long ago they took 5 vintage pocket watch base movements and created 5 very high-end balance and escapement combinations for a very discerning collector that had this work commissioned.  In fact VC did convert the cal. 1071 into a free-spring Gyromax with Cal. 1072/1 in the late 1960s/early 1970s.  I am sure if VC wants to use a new free-sprung balance, they will design it on their own instead of using Gyromax.

Just like with Ref. 57260, VC has shown there is not much they cannot design and create, and the only limitation is what one can imagine.

I can undrestand the appeal of free-sprung, and while some people do consider it to be better, I personally do not place it above other balance designs.

Best Regards, Dan

By The Way, there are still new VC watches that use cal. 1120 with gyromax if you are interested in one of them.  :-)

Re: To continue our conversation from the older post...
11/13/2015 - 12:44

Thanks again Dan for your thoughtful answers.

I noticed one could currently have 1120 in a Traditionnelle, but could not quite have the same emotion towards it when I tried it than when trying the Patrimony... The Patrimony look (with specific hands and hour markers) just speaks to me, especially in black and red gold.

Regarding the shape of the case (not the diameter), what are the differences between Traditionnelle and Patrimony? Hard for me to tell exactly...


Re: Re: To continue our conversation from the older post...
11/13/2015 - 13:09

And is it me or is the 1120 SQ not free sprung as well?

There have been two versions of the Cal 1120 that I know of
11/14/2015 - 06:19

It was originally designed and introduced with a gyromax balance.  For a few years, VC made this movement with a different balance that was not free-sprung.

While I like the original version more, many of VC's most iconic watches use the second version of Cal. 1120.

Today, the simple Cal. 1120 uses gyromax again.  But I'm not sure if all the skeletonized movements and complicated variations of cal. 1120 today use which balance.  Looking at the movement pictures on VC's website, it does appear that the skeletonized variations do not use gyromax.  But I would want to look at a real movement first just to make sure.  (At times, web and press release photos can be deceiving).


I do not know the exact differences between the case shapes
11/14/2015 - 06:07

that differentiate Patrimony and Traditionelle.  I don't really care either because when I try the watch on my wrist and like it...it doesn't matter what the name is.  smiley

Cal. 1120 is also used in the Historiques 1968, if you like a square case.

BR, Dan

Re: I do not know the exact differences between the case shapes
11/14/2015 - 10:52

Actually I am asking this because am thinking about maybe going through Les Cabinotiers for asking a custom watch based on both... If cases are similary shaped, that would make things even easier (and surely cheaper).

As for Historiques 1968, am not very fond of it... :(

Re: Re: I do not know the exact differences between the case shapes
11/14/2015 - 14:12

By the way, how do the Cabinotiers orders work exactly? Did someone from the forum get through it yet?

I believe you can contact them through the VC website
11/14/2015 - 14:26

i imagine you will eventually get in touch with Dominique Bernaz, the man in charge of the Bespoke Dept., Cabinitoirs Ateliers.

VC will discuss and work with you on the design based on your desires, deterimine a price and lead-time, then see if you approve the procject.  That's how it starts.

A few Loungers have successfully gone through the entire process and now are owners of unique, bespoke, VC beauties that they can trulu call their own.  If you do this as well, I hope you will share the results with us!

BR, Dan

Re: I believe you can contact them through the VC website
11/14/2015 - 18:27

I sure will if I do! ;) will mostly depend on the pricing though... Eh eh

Re: Re: I believe you can contact them through the VC website
11/27/2015 - 18:25

I actually placed an enquiry with the Cabinotiers through a VC shop... Wait and see... :)

There are actually some quite notable (and noticeable) differences
11/17/2015 - 04:54

At the risk of sounding like a smart aleck, the Patrimony has a more modern aesthtic - all about the dial, where as the Traditionelle has a more - ahem - traditional aesthetic - about classic elements like bezel, lugs, and proportions.


Some photos to illustrate the point.

Here is an 81180 Patrimony (40mm) next to the 82172 Traditionelle (38mm).  I can see how, from this angle, the differences aren't apparent.  You will notice that the bezel is more pronounced on the trasditionelle, as is the crown.  While it does not look like much from here, I feel that the lugs are definitely more prominent on the traditionelle as well.  The REAL difference is yet to come though.

There are actually some rather notable differences 

The side on view of the Patrimony shows its modern aesthetic.  This is the 81180 again, but the 85180 (auto w/date) is not much thicker and bears the same tapered style.

There are actually some rather notable differences

Here, on the traditionelle, you have a far fuller case.  You can also see the detailing on the caseback - the coin edging - as well as the more pronounced crown.  A thoroughly more traditional style.

There are actually some rather notable differences

And on the wrist (here my 85180) - a very modern appeal - sleek and all about the dial.

There are actually some rather notable differences

On the wrist, the bezel and lugs really stand out to my eye.

 To continue our conversation from the older post...


Hope this helps.  The traditionelle is really truly lovely to my mind.

Thanks a lot for the detailed comparison
11/18/2015 - 13:38

Indeed, the case shape is very different when see from the side, and the recessed bezel from the Contemporaine looks really good to me.

Hard to see the difference on the lungs though...

In your opinion, any chance one can still find the limited edition of the Patrimony (Contemporaine) in platinum with the 1120 caliber anywhere? That definitely looks like the closest to what am looking for so far... Still have to ask the Cabinotiers if they could do the same with RG and black dial... Am just afraid of the price tag...

You will notice the lugs difference...
11/18/2015 - 21:46

If you look at the end.  The very end of the lug on the Traditionelle ends up parllel to the wrist - ie. the lug makes an almost 90 degree turn.  And it maintains it's thickness throughout.  It is shaped a bit like a bathtub spout (sorry to all the amazing people who design these - it was the best analogy I could think of).  The Patrimony lug never completes that turn and the "end" is more tapered and seems to terminate with an angle nearer to 45 degrees from the wrist.  It is very subtle, but those subtleties - those things that your eye sees but your brain doesn't quite define - are where much of the magic happens. 

Regarding finding that particular watch, I wish I could help you.  Unfortunately, I know little about the secondary market.  That is for another phase of my collecting.

Happy hunting!  Keep us posted.

Re: You will notice the lugs difference...
11/19/2015 - 16:23

Oh ok thanks. Now I see what you are talking about! Will have to go and see both by myself very closely in order to decide which one fits me the most on my wrist... Depend on the dial size also though, and Traditionelles and Patrimonies don't have same sizes in the current range... Won't be a perfect comparison then. But that should do :)

thanks again

Dan thank you for this post. The VC website does not state which
11/18/2015 - 06:19

movements have free-sprung and which do not. Do you know which VC movements use free-sprung balance?

I like your technical analysis.

I thinkwhen VC designs movements, it keeps in mind the need to service these movements over a 50-100 year plus plus period.

I am sure they can have all or most movements with free-sprung balance but choose not to do so. Also, VC still does not use Silicon in their movements because as far as I know / have read - VC is still not 100% sure about its long term benefits etc. Maybe this is untrue, considering PP, Breguet, Omega have become silicon pioneers.

But there is something charming about VC remaining old-school nd traditional. 

What one should look forward to is how the complications / innovations in the 57260 pocket watch trickle down to regular collection? 

You're exactly right
11/19/2015 - 08:04

VC does consider the long-term (50-100 years from now) implications of service for their watches.  While various silicone and other composites have been tested and used by other brands (as well as VC internally), the true long-term viability, dependibility AND reproducibility are factors this Grand Dame of Watchmakers thinks about when introducing new materials and technologies into their products.

Many brands do not guarantee repair and restoration of every time piece they have made throughout their history.  Rolex, Omega, and even one of my favorites (Grand Seiko).  Recently I've become dis-enchanted with Grand Seiko because they could not service two of my watches from 1969.  They are a very vertically integrated manufacture, but after 45 years they cannot provide parts (I know, for the price and "lifetime" of a watch like this is quite different from VC).  I was even willing to have them scavenge the two movements for the necessary parts in order to provide me one good watch (one movement needed a new Center Wheel, the other watch needed a new mainspring).  I will have an indepedent watchmaker do this work for me.

To your question: VC generally does not like to talk about these details, but I believe the only current VC movements that use a free-sprung balance are Cal. 1120 (at least in its basic form) and Cal. 1142.

A non-exhaustive list of free-sprung VC movements that I know of are:

1001/2 & 1002/2


1120 & 1121 (some, not all)

1072/1 ( a rare cal 1071 or 1072 may also have a gyromax balance during the transition phase)


Only the last one, Cal. 1142, uses a free-sprung balance that is not of the Gyromax design.  The others are all vintage movements that used a Gyromax under license from PP.

Ansd finally, I can't wait to see what new movements and complications VC will derive from the technology and learning gained from creating Ref. 57260!

Re: Hello TheHourLoungers!
11/13/2015 - 12:19

On a side note, why is the forum working this way and not putting more recently updated subjects on top instead of more recently created in the list of discussions?

11/13/2015 - 19:44

This format is more suited to the twittersphere frown

Definitely prefer the "threads with new on top" format
11/17/2015 - 06:07

This was, funny enough, the very first thing I noticed. I suspect there are discussions which have been revived that I never noticed. I could subscribe, but sometimes you don't know you are interested in something until... well, until you become serendipitously interested in it. The second thing I noticed is that you cannot edit your posts. The reason for this was explained to me and I quite like it now (even if I am more prone to immortalize typographical and, indeed, factual errors than some others here.)

I'm an old guy and never paid much attention to this
11/14/2015 - 06:26

The major watch forums I visit have always been like this, with newest threads on top.  Replies to threads not causing that thread to bump up top. 

I've seen other forums (photography related) that work the way you and Dean would prefer.  I have no preference either way.

Dean, I've never used Twitter, so I'm not familiar with the Twittersphere (something I'm actually a little proud of cool)

I guess it will depend on if enough Loungers want it that way, I don't imagine it is a technical challenge, but will have to check with Alex.

Re: I'm an old guy and never paid much attention to this
11/14/2015 - 10:56

What would be of interest by changing the way the forum is currently working is: if anybody is asking something on an old thread, everybody would be able to notice it and then aswer to it. That would avoid people to send messages that would never get any answer, and make them think that the forum is quiet dead...

Let us know what Alex thinks.

Re: I'm an old guy and never paid much attention to this
11/14/2015 - 13:28

I'm with you , Dan, about Twitter, never touch the stuff :-)

Although fortunately we are not relegated to a "Haiku-length" post here  :-)

I personally like the newest at the top format but a relatively minor change such as a scrolling side bar with previous headers could serve those who want to access previous threads more rapidly.

Just my 2 cents worth


I notice the newest posts when I see the bottom of the THL homepage
11/14/2015 - 14:30

That's when I see an old thread pop up because a new post was made under it, but I can only see 1-2 threads that way.  This only works if you live on THL, which I apparently do most of the time :-)

Re: I notice the newest posts when I see the bottom of the THL homepage
11/17/2015 - 12:04

Should I open a new thread specifically for this? Alex might be able to see it and answer more easily, don't you think?

Re: Hello TheHourLoungers!
11/18/2015 - 13:46

Just to illustrate a few of my currently trials:

(But am almost sold on the Lux of Patrimony look and Vacheron's history... :p

Still need to have a look at Calatravas though, I think...)

 Hello TheHourLoungers! 

Re: Re: Hello TheHourLoungers!
11/18/2015 - 13:48

 Hello TheHourLoungers!

Re: Re: Re: Hello TheHourLoungers!
11/18/2015 - 13:49

 Hello TheHourLoungers!

A very nice collection!
11/19/2015 - 08:08

And either a Patrimony or Traditionelle would fit in very well with what you already have wink

By the way, you can add more than one image to a post.  But you have to go back the "+ Add image" tab and click insert to put the pictures where you want them in your post.

Re: A very nice collection!
11/19/2015 - 16:19

Ah ah that is not my personnalise collection (yet? :D)... Those are the watches I am currently looking at.


Regarding the pictures insertion, I actually tried but it seemed not working at the time, that's why I had to post them separately... Maybe because I was posting from my smartphone.

Bibz, I have been following your posts on your original thread and this new
11/20/2015 - 08:04

long one.

- Your idea of merging the Patrimony with caliber 1120 sounds cool. On this thread, I put up a post about free-sprung balance vc. traditional micro-regulating balance and Dan gave an excellent reply. I do not think lesser of movements without free-sprung balance. VC does not share these details on their website. Also, I love the caliber 1120, but I love it because of its historical importance. I am sure someone has a link to further details on it here.

Interesting choices of watches. To my eyes, the VC Patrimony and Traditionelle are a lot nicer than the ones in your pic. I should not criticize about other brands on this forum, but I feel the first brand has completely neglected its dress watches, and has become a slave to only one range. The second and third brands are awesome, but not those specific models you are looking at. Those two brands have other models which are (in my eyes) more iconic for them. As for the other famous Genevan brand, they say it gets really good the higher up you go. 

I do not know what is in your collection, but I would go for a Patrimony (either manual wind caliber 1400 or automatic with date) or Traditionelle (manual wind caliber 4400) or Traditionelle with caliber 1120 with my eyes closed. The last one is a bit more expensive due to the 1120. 

I already own a PG Traditionelle and would not mind complementing this with a PG Patrimony with date. I tried that and fell in love. 

Both the Traditionelle and Patrimony are everything you need and nothing you dont.


Re: Bibz, I have been following your posts on your original thread and this new
11/27/2015 - 18:29

I will also look for the Patrimony Automatic Excellence Platine limited edition through the manufacture... They should know whether one is still available somewhere around the globe... Eh eh

Re: Hello TheHourLoungers!
12/03/2015 - 22:52