I have recently embraced a period of nostalgia. I can’t help reflecting on my youth. A recent bereavement has made me revisit childhood memories and travel an undulating route through a period of melancholia and euphoria.
It was whilst I travelled along this road of recollection, that I remembered the Ladybird books of my nonage. My mother would regularly purchase one of the illustrated books, approximately A5 in size, from our local newsagent. It was a treat which I gutsily devoured.
I would embrace the fanciful fun of exciting tales. As I thumbed each page, I enjoyed the serendipitous joy of discovering new characters and enlarging my vocabulary.
“The Enormous Turnip”, “The Elves and the Shoemaker” and “Cinderella” were three of many books which formed a skyscraper in the corner of my bedroom. Indeed, it was the last book that readily sprung to mind as I stared at this latest horological offering from the Genevan brand, Vacheron Constantin.
This should not be perceived as flippant or irreverent. I hold the work from the maison in the highest of esteem. There is nothing frivilous about the exceptional craftsmanship and artistry practised in the atelier in Plan-les-Ouates, near Geneva.
The reason Cinderella springs to mind is the elegance portrayed in my dog-eared book, of the young lady attending the ball, dressed in lavish gown and shod with glass slippers. The concept of crystal pumps adorning perfectly presented petite feet sounds magical and surreal.
An ethereal quality, shared with said slippers, is conferred by Vacheron Constantin with their Patrimony Traditionnelle High Jewellery timepiece, recently launched at SIHH 2013.
I have looked at this watch repeatedly and marvelled at its magnificent form. It barely seems real and defies belief with its peerless beauty. However, this is no fictional concept, nor hallucinatory image. This is spellbinding glamour beautifully presented in horological splendour.The dial
Gem-setting is one of several trades mastered by Vacheron Constantin. This particular watch beautifully demonstrates the adroit skill of the artisans employed at the atelier.
Each diamond appears to have been uniformly cast. However, this is evidently not the case and stands testament to the sublime skill required to size each stone, providing consistent presentation.
The 35mm diameter case version features 16.2 carats of diamonds. A larger 40mm version of the watch is available. However, I prefer the smaller variant, it somehow feels made to suit a more diminutive and demure wrist. The dial itself features 156 baguette-cut diamonds, approximately 6.00 carats.
The diamonds are arranged in concentric circles, emanating from the centre of the dial. Lines are perfectly presented, nothing seems out of sync.
Hours and minutes are conveyed with 18-carat white gold, faceted hands. They beautifully confer with the wearer in a restrained hushed tone, avoiding undue volume which would overwhelm the adjacent ensemble of stones presented.
Applied white gold batons are located on the quarter hours. They each emulate one of the four constituent parts which form the brand’s logo, the Maltese Cross.
The brand’s nomen and place of origin sit beneath noon, presented on the inside of the sapphire crystal, floating above the sea of diamonds presented.The case
The 18-carat white gold case isn’t visible courtesy of the numerous flawless diamonds. There are a further 140 baguette diamonds adorning the case, totalling approximately 9.50 carats.
Examine the case in close quarters and you will succumb to its mesmerising form. The diamonds shine with sumptuous brilliance. The eyes are drawn into their infinitely deep radiating allure. No words can adequately convey the spectacle of this haute joaillerie timepiece.
The caseband, lugs and crown all feature pure, shimmering stones.
The crown features a white gold Maltese Cross on its vertical flank.
A black satin strap completes the luxurious creation. It is fitted with a 18-carat white gold diamond-set buckle. The buckle is adorned with 12 baguette-cut diamonds, totalling approximately 0.74 carats.The movement
Beneath the pulchritudinous beauty is a brilliant mind. The calibre 1400, visible via the sapphire caseback, may be familiar to ESCAPEMENT readers. We have commented on it in a previous review of the Patrimony Contemporaine.
The manual wind, calibre 1400 is a worthy movement for this most majestic of timepieces. It is developed and crafted by Vacheron Constantin and is finished to an exceptionally high standard.
Bridges are decorated with Côtes de Genève motif. Circular graining is evidenced on the barrel cover and the visible faces of the gear train.
Examining the balance spring, you will note a sliding stud cap with round head, a prerequisite for seeking the highly respected Hallmark of Geneva. Indeed, this timepiece does have the Poinçon de Genève, something it shares with some of the finest timepieces in existence.
The screws visible on the movement are perfect. They are polished and bevelled on their slots and rims.
The mainplate is beautifully adorned with perlage. Everything is pleasingly presented.
This truly is a magnificent movement worthy of the aforementioned case and dial.Conclusion
I have been fortunate enough to visit the Manufacture and have seen first hand the many trades employed in the creation of the brand’s amazing watches. Enamelling, guilloché and gem setting are just a few of the artistic crafts which take place at the atelier.
I can think of few haute joaillerie timepieces which can usurp the incredible spectacle of the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle High Jewellery. It is awe-inspiring when you view its bewitching form.
If Cinderella went to the ball again, she would do well to wear this enchanting horological delight.Technical Specification
- Model: Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle High Jewellery
- Reference: 81760/000G-9862
- Case: 18-carat white gold; diameter 35.00 mm; height 8.34 mm ; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes.
- Movement: Calibre 1400, manual-winding; frequency 28,800vph (4Hz); 20 jewels; power reserve 40 hours.
- Strap: Black satin strap with 18-carat white gold diamond-set buckle.