Help with understanding Patrimony and Traditionnelle collections

Dear all,

I recently inherited a Vacheron Constantin, a 6399 from the 1950's, and now I am interested in potentially getting a newer watch. I spent some time looking at the VC website and I am having some trouble understanding the differences between the Patrimony and Traditionelle collections. What I have gathered so far is:

- Patrimony, also called "Patrimony Contemporaine" by VC and elsewhere. Are these supposed to be the more contemporary watches?

- Traditionelle, also called "Patrimony Traditionelle" by VC and others is meant to be the more traditional watches?

However I see the Traditionelle collection contains some much more modern watches with a plethora of complications, while the Patrimony with two exceptions are more classic dress watches. Even when I compare two equivalent watches such as (Patrimony) Traditionnelle 43076 and Patrimony (Contemporaine) 81180  I see that the Traditionnelle is bigger with an automatic movement, while the Patrimony is smaller and manual. The dial and hands of the Traditionnelle also look more modern to me, but here I could be wrong as I am definitely not an expert.

So what am I missing what makes the Traditionelle traditional, and the Patrimony contemporary?

thank you



I will answer this for you: Until a few months to a year ago, there was
02/15/2015 - 16:00

one collection called Patrimony, which included the Patrimony Contemporaine and Patrimony Traditionelle models.  The Contemporaine is supposed to be VC's signature design, similar to what the Calatrava is to PP or Royal Oak is to AP.

The Traditionelle range was introduced in 2007. The look of the Traditionelle is supposed to pay respect to VC models from the 1940's / 50's (I think); but was now introduced as a modern range, and also with the intention of being able to house complications / grand complications.  

So VC had the Patrimony range with the 'signature' Patrimony Contemporaine' models and the newer 'Patrimony Traditionelle' models.

However, last year VC decided to split this into two lines. The name Contemporaine got dropped from Patrimony, and Patrimony stayed on as one line; and the name Patrimony got dropped from Traditionelle, and Traditionelle stayed on as one line.

Why they did this I do not know, but it probably makes sense, as both have their own distinct look and each line can be used differently in terms of housing different set of complications.

For example; the Patrimony line has the ultra-thin 1731 Minute Repeater; whereas the Traditionelle line has the Caliber 2755 / 2253 / 2260.  These last three are not ultra-thin and go with the Traditionelle look.

My description aside above, I bought my Traditionelle when it was still a Patrimony, so essentially it is a Patrimony Traditionelle with the old Geneva Seal. Maybe because of this, it will be a rarity in years to come. 


Re: I will answer this for you: Until a few months to a year ago, there was
02/15/2015 - 18:43

Thank you very much kk for the detailed explanation of how the two collections came to be and what they represent. It is beginning to make more sense now.


Excellent thread
02/16/2015 - 21:13

Nice explanations of the recent name shuffle, which will cause some confusion for a time I'm sure (same with Harmony) yes.  Love the side-by-side photo, which could double as a psychological test!  Which design one prefers may also reflect similar tastes in art, architecture, automobiles, etc.  They are so different yet so unmistakably VC heart.

And THIS says it all, in my opinion.
02/16/2015 - 21:55

"They are so different yet so unmistakably VC."

It is that kind of identity that makes a watch really special, or a brand.

I will add to the excellent explanation above
02/15/2015 - 16:30

Hi Constantine, while I am far from an expert, let me offer my thoughts on this.  First, I think the 81180 is maybe better compard to the 82172, as they are both manual wind.  I happen to have a picture of both side by side, which may facilitate the comparison.

I will add to the excellent explanation above

A few things to note here, that I think contribute to the attribution of the two to their respective lines.

The biggest thing is the proportion and sense of overall style.  Here are a few styling details that I think make the difference.

1. The indices: note that the traditoinelle indices are thicker and take up more visual space, while the patrimony uses daggers but also very lightweight lines, rather than bars (using non-technical terms here, to exmphasize the differences)

2. The mintes track: again, notice how much more visual space the railroad minute track of the traditionelle takes up, vs. the gold dots of the Patrimony

3, The hands: the dauphine hands of the traditionelle are more visually imposong than the simple batons of the patrinony (by now, I think a pattern is emerging).

4. The case design itself: while you cannot see it here (and I will add pictures below) the taditionelle has a "fuller" case design, most notable in the side-on veiw.  See below.


The Patrimony 81180

I will add to the excellent explanation above

The Traditionelle 82172

I will add to the excellent explanation above

All in all, I think it is the "minimalism" or simplicity of the patrimony that makes it more contemporary feeling in its design (to me, at least).

It is a testament to VC and the timelessness of their designs that their traditonally styled watch still feels very contemporary.

Re: I will add to the excellent explanation above
02/15/2015 - 18:51

Thank you too jtodd for the additional explanation and the photographs. The side photos in particular make it much more clear what the "traditional" elements of the Traditionnelle are.


Excellent post, thank you! (n/t)
02/20/2015 - 10:40