Help me with my first Vacheron Constantin purchase!

Dear Loungers, I've finally decided to acquire my first Vacheron and I need your advice.

I've spent the last 6 moths reading magazines and websites, visiting shops and asking to friends, but I cannot make my choice!

First something about me:

- very small wrist measuring 160 mm / 6,3"
- young, in my thirties and it's gonna be the gift for an important celebration
- I dress formal for work, but I want a watch that can be wore also with jeans and a polo
- my everyday watch is a trustful Rolex datejust in iron, blue dial without numbers, that I also use for sport, swimming and (sic) sauna

My budget is max USD 20'000
I'm not a collector, yet and I consider this purchase as an investment, not to make money out of it, but in the sense that I want to keep it for many many years to come and leave it to my child
I want to wear it on a regular basis, mostly on weekdays for office and restaurants
I want it in white gold to be understated and young (even if I like rose gold a lot)
I prefer automatic and date on a practical point of view, but I don't mind it to be manual (actually I find exciting handwinding it...)

After a lot of reading (thanks Alex and the other loungers!), I'm considering these options from the Patrimony collection all in white gold, white dial, black strap:

1. contemporaine manual: + amazing minimal design, thin and light to wear - but what about my small wrist? if it was 38 mm it would have been perfect, but 40" looks a bit too big for my small wrist...  caliber is very small and cannot be seen from its back, only 40 hours of reserve, no seconds and date (but more beautiful because of it), I would have preferred a white dial instead of the yellow champagne one, it looks fragile, will I forget to handwind it everyday?

2. contemporaine automatique with date: same as manual + auto, date - even bigger than the manual (same diameter, but much thougher), more expensive

3. traditionelle manual: + great balance on the dial (contrary to the automatic, which look a bit uncomplete), amazing 4400 caliber! (a pleasure to handwind it), - less original design compared to the contemporaine, but looks more robust and better movement

4. traditionelle automatique: same as the manual + practical, - less balanced than the manual, but perhaps younger

5. ultrathin grande taille: + timeless, light, good size for my wrist - oldish, not for everyday, fragile, it reminds me a Piaget

I've worn all of them excepting the traditionelle manual, which has not been delivered to the boutique, yet

Can you help me to make a choice considering my small wrist and age?

Thank you for your precious help!

Re: Help me with my first Vacheron Constantin purchase!
05/18/2010 - 07:24

Hello, Based on your comments, IMHO the Traditionelle manual would be a good choice.  Although it may not have the convenience of the automatic, it is nicely sized and the dial design is better balanced than its automatic counterpart.   Out of those mentioned, I own a Contemporaine manual (black face/RG) and  its elegance (with flair).  However, a small wrist might be a problem.  On the other hand, aside from being able to see the cal. 4400, I would imagine it would be easier to dress-down the Traditionelle manual. Hope this helps and I do look forward to seeing you join the fold! All the best, Kazumi

Re: Help me with my first Vacheron Constantin purchase!
05/18/2010 - 16:14
I also have a RG Patrimony Contemporaine manual and I love it.  However in your case I thinh I would sugest the Patrimony Traditionelle manual wind or a discounted Malte Dual Time Regulator like Doc's in white gold.  IMHO white gold looks also amazing with light brown strap in case you want to dress it down or even refresh it without spending a lot of money. Hoping I helped you Good luck  George
Re: Re: Help me with my first Vacheron Constantin purchase!
05/18/2010 - 16:25
Some pictures that I admire.
Anybody wearing the Contemporaine with a small wrist?
05/18/2010 - 22:57
Anybody wearing the Contemporaine with a small wrist (6,3")? Actually I find the Contemporaine design much nicer than the Traditionelle, which reminds me a bit too much a high end version of my Datejust (I know it's not fair!). I'm very concerned about my small wrist and this is the main reason I hesitate to buy the Contemporaine. Thank you Kazumi for your helpful advise and George for the Malte Dual Time Regulator suggestion (I hope I can still find one!). As a note I live in Geneva (so lucky for watches!) and I've checked many shops and brands (let me know if I can be of any help), but the only other model that really thrills me in this category is the FP Journe Chronometre Souverain platine... Patek Philippe Calatrava simple watches, the one I was considering was 5127G, are a bit too boring for me.
My wrist is probably about 170+mm..
05/19/2010 - 16:29
Hi Edo, I don't know if these quick and dirty shots will help as my wrist is a little wider at 170+mm.  Here they are anyway. The best thing would be to try one on and see for yourself.  IMHO you should be fine as long as the watch, from lug to lug, does not overshoot the width of your wrist.  After that, its all a matter of getting used to the larger size (which does add more presence).  In my case, the black dial sort of makes the watch look smaller (compared to a cream dial). I think the Journe you mentioned is also very nice but agree that the simple Pateks in general (except for the Chronometro Gondolo) are a little too bland (good if you want a new watch that looks just like your grandfather's - but you have antiques for that). The Contemporaine EP that Radek mentioned is probably the best of the bunch but it might be hard to find one and the price is a little on the steep side.  I am still waiting for Radek to get tired of his EP. Best regards, Kazumi
Re: My wrist is probably about 170+mm..
05/20/2010 - 01:06
Thank you Kazumi for your pic and precious advice! I will do the lug test and if I pass it I will go for the Contemporaine (manual or automatic), otherwise for the Traditionelle manual. In the meantime I can still hope that some crazy guy will sell his EP on Antiquorum...
Patrimony Contemporaine EP...
05/19/2010 - 00:55
With the budget you mentioned you should try and go for the limited edition Patrimony Contemporaine Excellence Platine 150pcs made... Yes, it is equipped with the manual inhouse 1400 caliber which is, in a way, inferior to the newer 4400 cal... Yes, it is 40 mm in size... but it sits very well on the wrist since it is quite flat Yes, it is hard to come by... but trust me it is worth the trouble to search high and low for it... that platinum sand-blasted dial is simply to die for it's definitely one of a kind
Re: Patrimony Contemporaine EP...
05/20/2010 - 00:55
It really looks AMAZING! no more understatement, but who cares? Major issue is price (should be around 30K ) and availability, but in Geneva I could start my chase... Anyway I see you are all in love with the Contemporaine Manual... On a rational point of view trationelle manual could be better for me, but it's not a story! I will wait to see both on my wrist to make my choice and I will let you know. Thank you!
Re: Re: Patrimony Contemporaine EP...
05/21/2010 - 00:34
13-15k EUR is more like it if we are talking pre-owned. I know of a US dealer who's got a brand new one but won't let go of it for less than 30k USD which basically is around a retail price... and believe me it isw no flashy watch once you see it, still understated
This one and no other
05/21/2010 - 13:12
Hi, the VC i will look for when retiring. I will not be jalous if some others fellows wear the same .. NB : this photo is not mine !!!. I found it in the Hour Lounge Forum. Apology for the real owner that i believe i don't spoil. Best regards. Patrice.
ahhh so many choices, let me add another: grey dialed
05/21/2010 - 13:25
Patrimony Contemporaine. It is manual wind and no date but then again with the slate grey dial it becomes really versatile and would look as good with a suit as with more casual attire. Lucky being in Geneva gives you direct access to the boutique, so you can try everything out. If you're interested in visiting the manuc^factory let me know