Vacheron Cult Classics

As mentioned in WatchTime, British writer Micahel Balfour's new book, Cult Watches: The World's Enduring Classics, names two Vacheron Contantin models as having cult status.  Both the Patrimony extra-flat and Toledo were the Vacheron nominees among thirty of the writer's picks.

According to Merrell Publishers, Cult Watches is a lavishly illustrated account of the world’s most popular classic timepieces that have achieved cult status.  Personally, I'd extend the Toledo family to include the original Cioccolatone and perhaps include the Patrimony Contemporaine with the extra-flat, at least on a visual design level.  

I wonder how much the Patrimony's nomination as one of the top designs of the century influenced his choice?  It might also be that he didn't realize the contemporary Toledo was a different model than the "little chocolate", which is the real cult classic IMHO.

12/08/2008 - 22:42
I hate it when that happens! So a book was written about classic watches over the last 100 years and the author cites the modern re-issues, not the classics themselves? I don't think of the patimony as a cult classic, it's a basic watch that has had many variations, and the name has not been in use that long. The toledo, sure, but the original, not the re-issue version.
If its the Patrimony Extra flat with cal 1003 then I agree, on the
12/09/2008 - 10:49
other hand the Toledo 1952 is not a cult classic IMHO but its vintage countrepart is. The current Toledo and the vintage model are exactly the same size Dean, there was a smaller version launched in the 90s in the Historique model range but which was anything but cult A vintage chrono with tear drop lugs ref 4178 is also missing.
12/09/2008 - 10:50
If your are intersted in design in general, and icons especially, these are the books PHAIDON DESIGN CLASSICS  Came about two years ago and are about the 999, classic and outstanding designs, from the 20th century. One is, It contains this icon : But it's about all breaking classic designs, like for instance, So, if you are intersted in design, buy these books, they are amazing   My vote is declared! Cheers Doc
Agree with Alex, Doc & Phaidon!
12/10/2008 - 22:48
The calibre 1003 extra-flat in a simple time-only case is understated elegance and a true classic.
Why can't modern watches be considered as cult classics? Just have a
12/09/2008 - 13:21
look at the Lange 1 or the Datograph or the Journe Resonance. All these watches are 10-15 years of age and are classics.
The big issue with VC could be that there are no models easily
12/09/2008 - 13:27
identifiable as being from the brand. I have not seen the book but there can be a general consensus for example on a Rolex Submariner, Omega Speedmaster or an AP Royal Oak it will be really difficult to reach a general agreement on VC du to the variety of designs.
You are right, but also wrong !
12/09/2008 - 23:09
I have had this one, for +20 years before my son got it. And I have this. As you I think they are icons, BUT none of them are in the books mentioned above. Only Rolex 1935 and no Omega On the other hand I think that's part of VC's mystique, not having a watch that everyone recognize, even if they don't know anything at all about watches. That's the true magic with Vacheron&Constantin Cheers Doc
Re: Vacheron Cult Classics
12/09/2008 - 16:49
I think it really depends on what the author means when he describes something as a cult classic.  A classic is something that I think of as easily reconizeable to a brand and which has always been strong seller, for Patek its the Calatrava, for Rolex the Submariner, for AP the Royal Oak, for VC I suppose its something with tear drop shaped lugs or perhaps the Patrimony Extra Plat with cal. 1003. But what does he mean by a "cult classic", is it something that was not a big seller when originally release but which caught on at a later date?  Perhaps then it would describe watches such as the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, or the IWC Jumbo SL Ingenuier (sp?)?  Maybe for VC it would be the 222, but even today the 222 still does not seem as highly sought after as a manual wind Daytona, Jumbo SL, or original AP RO Jumbo. I've seen the book you mentioned and I just do not know what the author was striving for.  There are some nice pictures of some great watches but I'm just not sure how he chose them for his book.   Best regards, Dino Best regards, Dino
here are my VC choices:
12/09/2008 - 23:56
- Chronomètre Royal - Chronograph ref 4178 or newer Les Historiques ref 47101 - Cioccolatone or Ciocolatone Les Historiques to come someday with a chocolate color fial ??? cheers to my fellow loungers, Berny
Re: Vacheron Cult Classics
12/10/2008 - 03:50
There are a number of VC watches which I would consider "classics" but none that would be preceded by the term "cult". To a significant degree, I believe, the term applies to something for which interest and a following is usually developed by advertising hype but also by word of mouth, often for an unknown and perhaps unknowable reason. Thus, you have the 1957 Chevy and certain model Corvettes. There is an element of mythologized romanticism involved as well as vicarious pleasure and often a factor of the overall design and performance. Thus you have the P-51 Mustang and the DC-3. There is a great deal of subjectivity to it. Certain recordings have gained this status as well.....etc., etc. In terms of VC, I can only think of a movement rather than a watch which might qualify and that is the 1003. It was the thinnest for a long time; many cases were built around it and it was used as a model by a number of other manufacturers in their designs. My 2 cents worth Regards, Joseph
my lists of classics.... :)
12/11/2008 - 10:45
Cult Classic Defined
12/12/2008 - 04:05
As Dino observed, other book reviewers also failed to understand the author's criteria.  So let's make our own!  Here is what Wikipedia says:Cult followings are often dedicated enough that many people of similar interest are familiar with one another due to convention gatherings, concerts, message boards, Internet chat rooms, word of mouth, or shops featuring related items. These dedicated followings are usually relatively small and pertain to items that don't have broad mainstream appeal. Cult followings establish their own canons and cherish the notion of cult classics, which are individual items with cult followings. Cult followings are usually generated through a film or television show having targeted a particular genre, such as fantasy, sci-fi, comedy or horror, but other types of films or TV series can produce a cult following as well. If we accept this definition as reasonable, then a cult classic does NOT appeal to the mainstream watch fan.  When Rolex first appeared in James Bond, it developed a cult following.  When that connection became common knowledge through marketing, the later versions did not inherit that cult status.  I'd suggest the same occured with Omega's Moonwatch when they inscribed First Watch Worn On The Moon on it's backside!  In other words, popularity moves a product away from it's niche market into the mainstream, whereupon it no longer has cult status. For me, examples of Vacheron cult classics (small but dedicated following, not generally known by mainstream watch fans) are the 4178 chronograph, 6694 Chronometre Royal, 222 auto with calibre 1120, Cioccolatone, 6087 Cornes de Vache, anything from Verger Freres, 4240 Triple Date with Moon Phases, anything with cloisonne dial, and many I've missed...please fill out my list! 
if I follow your definition then the Mercator is definately a cult
12/12/2008 - 11:05
Right on Alex.....
12/12/2008 - 17:57
an original cult classic!  I would also add the 6782 "Thunderbird" to my list (note use of nickname that creates instant recognition among those in the know - proof of cult status).  Same with the original 4764 "Cioccolatone" day/date/moonphases but NOT the Toledo re-edition, which was intended to take advantage of the original's cult status.  The term "cioccolatone" was also an unofficial nickname adopted by it's fans. I would still agree that a time-only calibre 1003 in an ultra-thin case is a cult classic, more for the movement itself (similar cult status for the 1120/21 and 1070/71/72 automatics).  So I guess my vote would have to be 50/50 .