retrograde large automatic (nb: wider subject than what title suggest)

Hello Alex

I just visited the Vacheron dealer over here in Amsterdam and had a look at the new retro extra large in red with the new

automatic inhouse movement

I was very much impressed by its elegant beatty

I think I saw a picture of it from you but I cannot find it

Also I cannot find it in the online Vacheron catalogue

I hope I was not dreaming



05/10/2007 - 20:34
not a dream but the beautiful Patrimony Day/Date Bi-Retrograde
05/10/2007 - 19:47

here's a photo and I'll post a full presentation soon

Re: not a dream but the beautiful Patrimony Day/Date Bi-Retrograde
05/10/2007 - 20:01

Dear alex

Thank you very much

but, how can it be that it is not on the Vacheron internet catalogue



Good question! I know that the whole team at VC responsible for the
05/10/2007 - 20:12

site are almost working full time for The Hour Lounge currently and the web site has somehow been left aside but I don't know why the web catalogue was not updated back in January when the watch was launched!!

Anybody knows the retail price of this watch?
05/10/2007 - 20:29

I was very lucky to see it in London around New Year, but don't remember the price. Do you know the US retail price?

I live in a Vacheron AD "exclusion zone" (nearest retailer is several hundred miles away)...

US$ 31,400 (nt)
05/10/2007 - 20:34


Re: Good question! I know that the whole team at VC responsible for the
05/10/2007 - 21:00

Dear Alex

thank you for your prompt and honest answer.

I agree with you that it should have been on the web cataligue already.

Again I feel this old frustration with Vacheron, how can they make such incredible beautiful high end watches

and forget about the other very important small details.

To be honest I think it is these small details which make you number one or not


Victor K.

Number 1 !!!
05/10/2007 - 21:56

To me, VC is good but not good enough to be number one.  They need to be consistent and more organised.  IMHO, they have not done to their level best.  I wonder why?

That said, I still like VC very much.



Ling, I whole heartedly agree with you. VC has not been
05/11/2007 - 00:29

consistent in terms of products in the past years but what you saw this year with the 2007 novelties and the creation of the different concepts at the maison (vintage watches, bespoke pieces) are proof that they are not only on the right track but also way in front of their competition in many fields. The future is bright..believe me

You have been humble and truthful, Alex.
05/11/2007 - 05:40

I believe VC is working towards the right direction.  They certainly has a lot of brilliant ideas but when they work with independent enemallor or engraver for limited edition pieces, they have to be extra careful of their quality control.  Customer expects something very special and high quality of the piece for the price they are going to pay.  I have visited VC factory in Geneva recently, I am impressed with the organisation set up.

In fact, VC is already a No.1 brand in China.  Title/crown is meaningless, substance is important.  I hope one day, I can proudly say that in terms of quality, VC is number 1.



Ling if I recall correctly you had had a
05/11/2007 - 11:46

problem with a Grands Explorateur' dial not being exactly as in the certificate photo? Am I correct?

How did that work out?

I agree with you that quality control is extremely important but since its men and women who work on our miniature marvels and not machines errors can happen. What is even more important than QC in my opinion is the way the brand tries to resolve the issue.

Grands Explorateur dial
05/11/2007 - 13:51

Yes Alex, you have very good memory.

Initially, I did not receive any help from anyone.  I was quite upset.  As a result, I decided to post my problem in the Purists forum.  Then, I received phone calls and e-mails.  Finally, with the help of David Heng and his team, VC replaced the dial for me.  The watch posted by Jacky here recently is the controversial piece.  To show its good gesture, VC invited me to SIHH, their factory and Maison. They paid for everything.  Before my trip to Geneva, I was arranged to meet Mr. Torres in Singapore for an introduction.  To me, the issue has been resolved.  Thanks VC.

I totally agree with you that human makes error.  It is important how the brand tries to solve the issue.  In fact, I met you in SIHH while you were having conversation with Kok Choon.  Probably you can't recall.

Hope to see you again and we can exchange some views.



Of course! I remeber but at the time the name did not click with
05/11/2007 - 14:31

you on The Hour Lounge  sorry about that one.

I'm glad things worked well, errare humanum est and VC dealth with it in a gentelmanly manner.

In any event you have one hell of a gorgeous watch :-)

their web site may not be up to date buy how many brands do you know
05/11/2007 - 00:25

that have their own in house discussion forum where the tone and discussions are 100% free and not only for the glorification of the brand?

My dear Alex, why be so humble?
05/11/2007 - 01:13

Name me one brand that have a really good web site!

I haven't found anyone.

There are some high tech looking ones, like mobile phones sites,

and I wouldn't say that either GP, AP, JLC or PP have better sies !

Try to figure out Omega's, that must be the worst of them all,

in my opinion.

You get a amateuristic feeling of all these sites.  No, to make watches are their profession, and most of them does it well.

To create/understand web sites isn't a tradition in this kind of artistic business,

which are building on just tradition, which we so appreciate!

Even advertisement from most brands are quite embarrssing !

Vacheron Constantin, on the other hand does the most stunning watches,

and that's fair enough for me :-)

I wouldn't oppose a nicer site, but I prefer they put all energy,

as they really seems to do nowadays, in creating marvellous watches :-)

And we VC aficionados has this, our own Hour Lounge,

isn't that a good compensation?


Re: My dear Alex, why be so humble?
05/11/2007 - 12:47

Hello Doc

I am sorry but I do not agree with you

What I mean is ,How can it be that a brand like Vacheron with their historie and superb high end quality

is  not as strong in the market as I think they should be

Or to put it otherwise , why is it that Patek is still the top in the market at least for the vintages [always estimated about 30% higher than Vacheron for the more or less same models]

the difference is not in the quality of the watches

But in the way they presented  theirselves  through the history

let me give you two examples

There are several very good catalogues about vintage Pateks with all the information about

references, calibres and auction results

Vacheron has about two or three catalogues with lots of beautiful pictures but hardly any

relevant info about calibres ref. numbers etc.

We all know the system Patek has with the "exrtact of the archives"

it is very simple and not very expensive

Vacheron on the other hand says

You have to send us the watch and the cost will be at least €550 [how to scare your potential clients away]

Also I think that this Vacheron lounge we have now is most of all is more the works of

Alex [who deserves a big aplausse ] then of Vacheron

Making top quality products is just not good enough

you have to present it with the same standard  you use in your products

There is indeed a lot going on at this moment at Vacheron and I am much to impatient

but it was a real dissapointment to me that the watch i just saw at the Jeweler was not on the

Vacheron catalogue

and I do not care if other brands do even worse, Vacheron is the one to prove themselves now.


Victor K.

Vacheron, Patek and market perception
05/11/2007 - 16:15

Dear Victor I agree on many (almost all) that you said but you sound a bit like a lover whose mistress is not looked at as much as she should be

why is it that Patek is still the top in the market at least for the vintages [always estimated about 30% higher than Vacheron for the more or less same models]

I agree with you that in the vintage market (and even in certain preowned models) Pateks often sell for a higher price than their equivalent made by Vacheron Constantin even though the quality of the products are the same. That's because Patek had a headstart. In 1989, during the revival of the mechanical wrist watch, Antiquorum organised its first ever thematic auction dedicated to Patek Philippe. This auction shone the light on the brand and an awarness to its wristwatches grew among the new collectors who were more into wrist watches than pocket watches. Patek Philippe also seized the occasion in buying its own watches for its museum and then communication on the high prices. Meanwhile we had to wait 5 years until 1994 for the first thematic Vacheron Constantin auction. Unfortunately at the time the heads of VC did not think it necessary to do the same thing. An explanation may be that at the time VC was owned by Cheik Yammani who supposedly was more interested in VC's real estate than its watchmaking.

It is only since a few years prior to the 2005 Quarter Millenium that Vacheron prices have been regularly increasing but Patek has had a 20 year head start! However if you look at recent prices you will see that the Tour de l'Ile is the most expensive modern watch sold at auction and the Fouad watch is among the top 5 most expensive pocket watches. The Jubile 1755 on the secondary and auction markets has been selling for list price or higher!

We all know the system Patek has with the "exrtact of the archives" it is very simple and not very expensive

True that with VC you need to send the watch in for inspection. It may seem a hassle but today you have more and more fake vintage models (and some are extremely well done), what to these fakers do? Take an auction catalogue and engrave the movment number on the right place and the case number on the right place. If VC accepted to give certificates without seeing the watch you could well end up with a certificate of authenticity for a fake watch just because the case and movement numbers are the ones of a real watch but placed on fake model! As for price I've asked for an explanation but it could well have to do with the manual inspection which takes time rather than just depending on case and movement numbers.Also I think that this Vacheron lounge we have now is most of all is more the works of Alex [who deserves a big aplausse ] then of Vacheron  Even though I would love to take all the credit, the Hour Lounge is a true team work with the folks at Vacheron, they set this place up, supply the tech material give first hand information (for latest example look at the Chronometer movements thread of yesterday). Also kuddos should be given to VC for actually wanting The Hour Lounge to be open to criticisme and negative comments.

The main problem with Vacheron was that they made exceptional products but the products were to speak for themselves. They were excellent in watchmaking but didn't do an extremely good job on the marketing front. In today's market you have to be good but also let people know how good you are. Vacheron Constantin is consious of this and things are changing..but these things take time. When we are passionate about someone we often look at what doesn't please us: sure their web site is not up to date and vintage watches are not as expensive at Pateks but look at the other side which brand sells vintage watches? which brand has a bespoke department? which brand has its own internet discussion forum with full freedom of speech? ....None

Re: Vacheron, Patek and market perception
05/11/2007 - 19:58

Dear Alex

Thank you for answer

it is very well founded and full of interesting facts

a good summary in watch brand history

I was indeed ,as I said a bit frustrated when I wrote my words

not only because my beautiful mistress was not looked upon enough but also because I thought

she could have looked a lot better today.

And as you know frustration tends to narrow the mind a bit.

But what is most important to me at this moment is the fact that we can have a good discussion about Vacheron on this forum and that was I think one of the main reasons for you and Vacheron to start it up.

So many thanks to you and Vacheron for creating this forum and I still think you deserve  lots of credit



This thread has taken an interesting turn Curious about others opinion
05/11/2007 - 20:54

so don't be shy

I'm not shy:-)
05/12/2007 - 10:27

 Alex captured it so precisely, with the kickoff at 1989.

PP just did a smart move, building their "museum",

which in a way is an open vault, by buying back many of their own watches,

to exceptional high prices, and in that way started the whole wristwatch boom.

AP, VC and now even Omega(!) has tried the same,

but it's only one that comes first,

and the and in this case it was PP who got the idea first!

In a way it's been the smartest advertising ever,

buing your own watches, and still creating a "hystreia" about the brand.

Before that specific auction, everything was more normal,

and in no way the difference in prices.

PP even use the words from one VC catalogue in their,

present advertising serie.

VC wrote already 1950 (!), in the brochure about their watches:

"Their true title of nobility is obtained from that love of perfection which is handed down from grandsire to father to son".

That's the original message from Vacheron&Constantin 1950 !


one should not forget that even though these brands are global and
05/12/2007 - 14:30

present all over the world they are stil tiny companies. There are about 370 employees at VC of which over 200 are watchmakers!

05/12/2007 - 21:33

Patek is the current king for many reasons.  Although their designs may be a bit bland to some, I believe they have been, for the most part, very consistent with QC and in coming up with designs that reflect the brand image.  They have also been very aggressive with promoting their brand and products, be it through advertising or through institutionalized efforts such as their museum and tie-ups with Antiquorum.  One does not become, or remain number one by resting on one's laurels.

On the other hand, VC is on the right track but needs a more balanced effort to reclaim its rightful position (the watch business not being only about watches).  This means living up to its long and proud heritage, being consistent and, at the same time, setting (not following) new trends.  For example, the bi-retrograde (IMHO) has a very sound, "very VC" concept, but why the ovesized case?!  VC has again fouled out on what could have been another homerun (or at least a better design) by following the oversized watch craze (and like most followers, overdoing it).  Let's leave the oversized watches to sister-company Panerai.

Also, after winning the Webby Award, one would think that VC would be a bit more conscious about its website.  Setting up its own forum is commendable, but neglecting its official website is simply not acceptable (Patek's site already shows the 2007 novelties).  As Victor said, its the attention to details that separate a good brand from a great one.  How hard or expensive can maintaining a website be (like ebauches, this service can be outsourced too)?  It is all a matter of having the desire to satisfy your customers, and be better than what you are now - today, instead of tomorrow. 



I hope Alex, Doc, and all the VC afficionados (and VC) will forgive me for giving out harsh remarks.  I only do so out of my love and passion for VC, and it is my fervent hope that VC will become an even better brand, truly befitting the respect and affection we all have for it.



Nothing to excuse yourself about. Without the right to criticize
05/12/2007 - 22:21

ther would be no worthy praise as Beaumarchais wrote.

Kazumi, you could also say,
05/13/2007 - 01:20

"we chastise those whom we love"  :-)


I only get emotional with VC, and that is because
05/13/2007 - 03:43

there is something with VC's watches (and its afficionados) that stir up the emotions and touch the soul. 

As Doc says, "we only chastise those whom we love" and, when I do, it also hurts me just as much to talk harshly about the brand I love (as it also hurts a father to spank his child).

Let us hope for the best.  Thanks guys.


Re: This thread has taken an interesting turn Curious about others opinion
05/13/2007 - 19:19

I believe that over time VC will take the necessary steps to be number one in the minds of collectors worldwide. The few steps taken by VC recently (i.e. this website) demonstrates their desire to enhance their image.

Re: Good question! I know that the whole team at VC responsible for the
05/11/2007 - 01:02
I noticed that earlier in the year also - no mention of the Patrimony Contemporaine automatics