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Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle Calibre 2755
I left my heart in ........Geneva
The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle Calibre 2755 is the product of numerous hours of skilled toil and patience. Angus Davies reveals why this watch had such a profound effect on his pscyhe.
Tony Bennett sang about losing his heart in the Californian city by the bay. As I listen to the song I am inspired to bellow my affection for San Francisco in my car’s rear view mirror as fellow grid-locked commuters bemusedly look on.
My crooning is best reserved for my sole listening pleasure. I am a legend in my own deluded mind. But, sadly no gold disks beckon nor Grammy Awards await.
Mr Bennett sang about the picturesque city, with its hilly vista and eloquently expressed fondness for a place which harnesses many qualities, but ultimately is home. For some, thoughts of home will transpose them to happy memories and feeling a sense of belonging.
Some people love nature. A blooming flower or a newborn animal can engender emotional manifestations. A small pet can elicit tears of joy as they nuzzle their owners caring hand. Conversely poignant thoughts can result from an animal's sad passing.
I must confess my obsession for the most beautiful watches has a similar effect. Some will question my psyche when I fervidly fall for the comely allure of an inanimate object which ticks. A psychologist would possibly look at the cause of my fixation with timepieces. The question some may ask, “Is my behaviour learned or innate?”
At what point does my love of horology cross the line from hobby to compulsive fixation? I would suggest when I am truly in the company of a wonderful piece of horological art, I can experience a tremble in my voice, a wobble of my chin and dewy eyed periods of reflection.
As I write this text I am conscious my acute adoration for watches could well reserve my place relaxing on a couch chatting to a man wearing corduroy trousers and a white coat. There is no artistic licence being practiced here. I genuinely do feel these physical symptoms of profound love for a sublime timepiece.
Recently I have been filming watch reviews. I have been observing the videos without sound. My non-verbal behaviour immediately betrays my genuine affection for a particular watch. I think I would prove a worthy subject for any psychologist's academic research. Is this reaction normal? Disciples of Sigmund Freud would probably suggest looking at my childhood experiences.
I have tried to rationalise my obsession. I say it is because the finest expression of horological craftsmanship is beyond my own abilities. I neither possess the patience nor deft motor skills to create a masterly made watch. I think this is certainly part of the reason for stalking watches.
I also think it is possibly the creation of something so beautiful it confers a purity and innocence which I would compare to a fair flower or adorable animal. Some may think this errs on blasphemous. Others may think this is a clear indication of madness. However, to me when holding something in the palm of my hand which embodies numerous facets, flawlessly presented and equipped with forms so fetching, there is rationale for my unrequited love.
I did not have a deprived childhood. But, then it was hardly an upbringing of abandoned indulgence. I was always aware that money was a scarce resource. Compromises were learned at a young age. Haute horology at its most rarefied level does not compromise. Perfection is absolute. Integrity and excellence are the promises fulfilled. It could be Freud had a point.
I reserve writing about watches I like. There must be merit for me to want to put pen to paper. The opportunity cost of writing about something I don’t like is too high. I can devote time to enthusing about the best and experience a greater sense of accomplishment. This does not mean that I have to like every aspect of every watch I write about, but overall they must have virtue to encourage industrious digit tapping of a keyboard.
There is an invisible line where a watch traverses from meritorious horology to the focus of my OCD. Whilst visiting the architectural vision which is the Vacheron Constantin, manufacture de Haute Horlogerie, on the outskirts of Geneva adjacent verdant pastures, my horological fetishism was aroused.
A department devoted to complicated timepieces was the location of my latest episode. The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle Calibre 2755 cradled in my gloved hands caused a grown man to nearly cry. The aforementioned chin wobble took place, a shiver traversed my spine and my paternal admiring gaze, normally reserved for prize giving evenings at my children’s school, was evident to all in my company. But, this is a watch we are talking about. What are the drivers for my obsessive reaction to this particular timepiece?
A silver opaline dial provides a wonderful canvas for displaying the numerous functions of the watch. The legibility of the dial is peerless, yet imparts information with the artistic expression of a great master.
Pink gold dauphine shaped hands are used to depict hours and minutes. They are located slightly off-centre, biased slightly north of the middle.
A minute rail frames the dial but is again biased towards the upper aspect of the dial. Gold applied batons indicate the hours, save for 6 o’clock where an aperture for the tourbillon carriage is located.
This watch has three of the finest complications; a tourbillon, minute repeater and perpetual calendar. I will focus on the latter first.
The date is shown on the subdial at 2:30. The day is located on the subdial opposite, providing a wonderful symmetry and balance.
Below the twin batons at noon, a subdial conveys the month. Adjacent this is an aperture showing the leap year indication, expressed as number, one to four. This watch, assuming it is regularly wound, will only require adjustment every 100 years.
At 6 o’clock the tourbillon carriage proudly resides, a regal complication, majestically presented. A subsidiary seconds hand floats above the carriage, resembling a Maltese Cross.
A pink gold case warmly enhances the beautiful lines of this charming timepiece. Dappled light reflects off the curved lugs of the highly polished case and bestows a temperate hue.
The case diameter of 44 mm strikes a perfect balance between wearer comfort, absent from some of the most oversized, and excellent legibility, sometimes lacking with smaller watches.
Close examination reveals a stepped caseband. The upper step interfaces with the arching lugs. The lower step of the caseband interfacing with the caseback has a patterned edge, again toying with light with pleasing results.
Along the caseband, on the westerly aspect of the case, the third complication is presented. It is initiated with the slide of a lever, discreetly protruding from the caseband.
My face would have illuminated with joy, even in a darkened room, merely by turning the watch over. A sapphire crystal caseback indulges by horological voyeurism. The view bestowed via the dorsal fenestration is sublime. The outstanding finishing of the movement is wondrous to behold.
The manual wind movement oscillates with a frequency of 18,000 vph (2.5 Hertz).
Hand crafted Côtes de Genève motif is presented in arrow like straight lines. Their character bestows a character absent with the expedient outcome of a CNC machine.
Bevelling is expertly presented. The chamfering is uniform and consistent.
Interior angles are the most difficult to finish and the tourbillon bar presented on the dial side of the watch is the pinnacle of exemplary watchmaking craft.
A power reserve indicator is located on the movement. It is visible, once the watch is removed from the wrist, pleasingly presented on the bridge spanning the centre of the movement.
My host, slid the lever on the side of the case and a centripetal wheel industriously spun, powering the chimes of this tuneful timepiece.
The watch is marked with the Poinçon de Genève further distinguishing the watch as a matchless offering. The scrutiny of independent inspection ensures that all 12 criteria of the Hallmark of Geneva are observed.
The calibre 2755 is the collaboration of 602 parts working in pleasing concert. It ably demonstrates the craftsmanship ubiquitously exemplified within the specialist department responsible for its creation.
Several watches engender my affection but only a select few cause my obsessive personality to make itself known.
I am not typical of many lovers of horology and my reaction to this watch does not conform to the norm. However, this is no ordinary watch. This watch is probably the most complicated watch made by Vacheron Constantin.
This watch represents the culmination of years of training to become a watchmaker, acquiring skills and knowledge. The artisans responsible for its realisation have climbed the hierarchy of horological craft reaching this rarefied altitude.
My love will never be reciprocated as I lack the financial resources to make acquisition a reality. My lust will remain unsated. One fateful day, I left my heart in Geneva. This timepiece will forever call to me.
- Model: Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle Calibre 2755
- Reference: 80172/000R-9300
- Case: 18-carat pink gold; diameter 44.00 mm; sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; seconds on tourbillon; Minute repeater; Perpetual calendar (Day, Date, Month, Leap year indication; Power reserve on the back.
- Movement: Calibre 2755, manual wind; frequency 18,000 vph (2.5 Hz); 40 jewels; power reserve 58 hours; 602 individual parts.
- Strap: Brown hand-stitched alligator leather strap on 18-carat pink gold deployant.