The Patrimony Contemporaine Excellence Platine (42mm)

I have to be honest with you: I was very afraid by this Patrimony Contemporaine Excellence Platine when I read the Press release. 42mm!!! For a watch with a thin bzel, without a second hand... I found the Vacheron decision to propose a version with an enlarged case of this Patrimony Contemporaine quite surprising. I was expecting to see a watch with the famous "fried egg" syndrome, you know, when a watch has a large diameter and a thin height...

And when I wore it, it was a relief. Don't expect from me to tell you that this watch is the most balanced one around. In fact, there is something funny with it: at the same time, the Vacheron team decided to enlarge the case and the designer started to work to reduce the feeling of size!

The Patrimony Contemporaine Excellence Platine (42mm)

They managed to do it and it was not an easy task.

The reasons of this achievement are:

- the size of the indexes: they are long and thin and they contribute a lot in the reduction of the perceived size.
- the sand-blasted dial: a smoother dial would have been a mistake here. Sand-blasting "breaks" the uniformity of the dial. It is far from being monotonous.
- the shape of the dial by itself: it is not flat, it has downward curves close to the bezel.
- the shape of the lugs: they are short and curved making the strap very close to the case improving the feeling of "density" of the watch.
- the shape of the case: it is not straight and its complexity makes it very appealing.
- the case is thin but not than thin and absolutely not ultra-thin (7,3mm) so the ratio (diameter/height) is still acceptable.

The Patrimony Contemporaine Excellence Platine (42mm)

So when I put the watch on my wrist, I was very surprised: I almost had the same feeling than with the 40mm. Yes, you feel the difference but no, the watch doesn't seem to be less unbalanced.

The hands seem to be very simple but they aren't. First of all, they are efficient: you read the time very easily. Secondly, they both have two facets creating a nice light effect on the dial.

But... there is always a "but" in this kind of story, I found the 1120 movement a bit too small for the case size. Obviously, as this Patrimony Contemporaine is not a small second watch, you don't feel it dial side which is good news. The bad idea IHMO comes from Vacheron decision to put a see-through caseback.

Of course, maybe it would have been a pity not to see the very refined work on the 1120. I'm a fan of the Vacheron touch: the finishings are flawless and discret at the same time. Nothing too eye-catching, nothing similar to a X-Mas Tree, you always stay in this elegant style with the quality criteria of the Geneva Seal. The work on the rotor is beautiful... and useful: its hollowed finishings make the movement more visible and give the opportunity to enjoy a big Maltese cross.

The Patrimony Contemporaine Excellence Platine (42mm)

But in the context of this 42mm watch, I would have prefered a solid caseback with, for example, a nice engraving. The movement is not that small with a 28,40mm diameter... but it is for a 42mm watch.

We find again the classic performances of the 1120 with its unusual frequency (2,75hz), its 40 hours of power reserve (maybe a bit short now in the 2011 context).

Now, let's talk about the famous hallmark on the dial: the "PT950". Good idea or not? I don't have a clear answer about it. I find it far from the Vacheron way of thinking. Vacheron is not a brand which plays in the "show off" area. So why putting this hallmark on the dial? On the other side, it adds a detail on the dial which breaks its symmetry. So why not after all? It remains quite shy on the dial.

The Patrimony Contemporaine Excellence Platine (42mm)

With this Patrimony Contemporaine Self-Winding Excellence Platine (Vacheron won the contest of the largest watch name !!!), Vacheron managed to enlarge the size of the case without disturbing the overall balance. The watch looks smaller than it is actually despite a thin bezel. This LE of 150 watches is slender, elegant and more complex than it appears at first glance. But I would have prefered a solid caseback even if the 1120 is well finished.

I would like to thank a lot the Vacheron France team.

09/16/2011 - 07:06
thanks for sharing your views FX and itrs true that the
09/15/2011 - 11:02
watch is fantastically beautiful but I still don't understand VC's need to offer a 42mm dress watch considering that VC's sports watch category the Overseas is at 42mm!
They should consult with the voice of the people...that's you Alex
09/15/2011 - 13:11
First of all, thanks to FX for his views and wonderful photos of this EP model.  I trust FX's judgment and believe that the designers at VC must have done a great job in making the 42mm look and wear smaller than it really is.  However, regardless of how un-big it may look, 42mm is 42mm and small wrists are small wrists so there will be quite a few out there who will have to look somewhere else. I also agree completely with our Jefe's remark.  Just because it fits the wrist doesn't necessarily means it is okay.  Granted that most VC afficionados are conservative (watches would still be 35-36mm if VC listened to some avid collectors) and the design team does need to push the envelope once in a while, I think things have to be done in perspective (after all, it is a dress watch). I wonder if the design team ever toyed with (prepared models or prototypes of) a 40mm model.  It would be interesting to find out how it would have looked...(I say this while admiring the beautiful Patrimony manual Boutique model on my wrist right now) Best regards, Kazumi
a 40mm automatic Patrimony Contemporaine already
09/15/2011 - 13:33
exists!!!! That's why I can't understand having a bigger one with a different movement!
I think you answered your own question....
09/16/2011 - 08:28
"because it is bigger and different!" I would be offended if they made a 40 mm EP Contemporaine with the auto movement because it would be too much like the original EP Contemporaine! I think an American 1921 EP would be killer, but it might not philosophically mesh the "Historiques" concept. Bill
Fantastic review on an achingly beautiful timepiece...
09/15/2011 - 12:00
Very detailed and interesting report. Great pictures, too. I do share a lot of your opinons on this marvel. Had I not had an original EP Patrimony as well as Cortina Bi-Retro at 42,5mm I would've certainly considered a purchase. I'm smacking my lips over the droolwink OMG, this PT strap stitching is such an awesome detailheart
Good news Radek is that if you want that strap for your
09/15/2011 - 14:00
Patrimony Contemporaine EP, you can order it from VC. I did it for my 47212, and the price was pretty much the same as a standard strap... Cheers, Francois
WOW! That really is a great piece of new. Thanks, Francois ;-) (nt)
09/15/2011 - 16:31
The platinum stiching does look pretty good with the PC EP... (nt)
09/15/2011 - 16:39
Sorry to rain on the parade.....
09/16/2011 - 04:24
I asked VC about getting a platinum stitched strap for the EP 81180 and was given this quote: $1032. If platinum stitching is the way it origianlly came, or can can be shared with a model that exists, then cost is the same as a regular croc strap. Bill
Yup, you're making it pour...
09/16/2011 - 19:46
...sorrry Radek for the misleading info...sad
what a beautiful watch! Thank you
09/15/2011 - 13:32
Re: The Patrimony Contemporaine Excellence Platine (42mm)
09/15/2011 - 13:34
I have to say this is a wonderful watch.  For the simple watches I really do like VC compared to Calatravas.   I also love the JLC Master Thin.    Forvesta thanks for sharing your thoughts.  Is that strap standard?  It goes really well with this watch.  Its simple, stunning and the contrasting threads brings a slightly modern and yet still understated elegance.
Justin good to see you here :-) The strap with the platinum
09/15/2011 - 13:36
stitching (!) is standard for the Excellence Platine models
Thanks FX for the great report
09/15/2011 - 14:12
As always, great photography!yesyes Interesting observations - I'm happy to hear that VC has been able to maintain 'respectable' proportions for the watch and that it doens't look like a flat omelette... I agree with you that it would have been better to have a solid back. And I agree with Alex that really, VC didn't need to expand the case to 42mm. But I guess they wanted to make sure that this model would be different from the other EP versions of the PC. I'll sound like a broken record, but that's exactly my beef with VC on this watch - there are too many versions of the same watch. Yes, one is a pocket watch, and yes, the other is bigger and automatic, but since the launch of the EP collection, VC has released what, 10 EP models (2 models per year for the last 5 years)? Why do 3 have to look almost the same? VC has so many other beautiful watches, why not make an EP version of those and have a bit more diversity in the EP line? A few suggestions: YOu get the picture???wink Again, FX, thank you for the report, I really enjoyed reading it. CHeers, Francois
I'd say almost four indentical watches in the EP line-up, Francois...
09/15/2011 - 16:41
according to Christian Selmoni - Artistic Director the choice of the
09/15/2011 - 17:03
Patrmony Contemporaine for the Excellence Platine collection results from the fact that the very open dial space "perfectly highlights the monochromatic and post industrial aspect of the sand blasted platinum dial and consequently we leave behind the purely terrestrial  and human aspect of the watch to get closer to the divine" 
Creative, very creative... (nt)
09/15/2011 - 21:44
If I want to get closer to the divine....
09/16/2011 - 08:33
I think I'll go pray with my fellow congregants. If I want a great watch, I don't think I could do much better than an EP Contemporaine. ;-)
in any event you'll need to do a lot of praying to win the lottery to
09/16/2011 - 11:49
be able to afford the watch cheeky
What, exactly
09/16/2011 - 13:07
Had he been smoking!
;-) (nt)
09/16/2011 - 19:50
Tell Christian that
09/16/2011 - 19:54
when he decides to retire from VC (hopefully never!), he should consider being a writer/poet... This is better than Shakespearewink I get his point, but I also feel  'closer to the divine' when I look at my 47212... By the way, I love you cigar-smoking smiley face....
Maybe just because ...
09/15/2011 - 17:27
the "simple" Patrimony Contemporaine pieces are one of their top-sellers wink
09/16/2011 - 13:08
I know, but then
09/16/2011 - 19:50
they should have done a bigger limited edition of 500, as opposed to resell the same watch in a slightly different format everytime... Move on the next model! The approach could be qualified of 'hubloesque'...blush
Truly a beautiful watch!
09/16/2011 - 07:06
Pure dial... and in platinum!
Unbeatable, could kill for it!
09/16/2011 - 15:13
Cheers Doc
Thank you all for your comments !
09/17/2011 - 22:18
I appreciate them. Best regards from Paris. Fx
Re: The Patrimony Contemporaine Excellence Platine (42mm)
09/19/2011 - 10:21
What a wonderful review and outstanding photos. In regards to proportions, what size wrist do you have? Thanks for the post. Wear it in good health! Gary