Gentlemen, one of the main issues we, as watch aficionados, face nowadays is that we often find our watches strapped on lovely feminine wrists rather than on our own. And despite the fact that we intrinsically love it (but will never admit it), there has to be a solution that works for both our beloved ladies and ourselves. What if finally, we have found a watch that we, men, could steal from our wives? Or simply a watch made for both genders and that brings back this simple pleasure of having a small (relatively speaking) watch on the wrist. The new Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Small Model 36mm might be this solution.
No so long ago, a dress watch had to be 34mm / 36mm. It used to be a rule, a certain sense of elegance, a respect for natural proportions, which seems to have been rather forgotten. It is not so unusual these days to see dress watches (and by that I mean in their purest essence) with cases of 40mm or more. I have personally come to the point where I can objectively write that a 38mm dress watch is small… This situation might be one of the multiple reasons for the success of vintage watches these days. How can you not like a 1960s Oversized Longines with a 36mm case – yes, back in the day, a 36mm watch was referred to as ‘oversized’. Even Vacheron Constantin (and many more), a respected manufacture with quite a sense for style and distinction, can proudly sell time-only or time-and-date dress watches with a 40mm case (or greater).
While this might be what the market is (or maybe was) looking for, this market can also be encouraged from time to time to change its habits. And surprisingly, it seems that this is exactly what’s occurred over the past year or two, with a comeback of smaller watches, which brands call unisex, and that we call here, at Monochrome, perfect all-rounders – see for example the 40mm IWC Mark XVIII, the 36mm Tudor Black Bay, the Omega Seamaster PO 39.5mm, just to name a few. Today, a new contender jumps into the ring, Vacheron Constantin, with a redefined version of the time-and-date Patrimony, now in a small version, for both men and women.
Left: The new 36mm Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Small Model – Right: the existing 40mm version of the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony ref. 85180
There are many advantages to wearing a smaller watch. First of all is the comfort. Simple as it is, a smaller watch will be perfectly positioned on top of the wrist, and the lugs won’t overlap. Then, it will allow the watch to easily fit under a cuff, an important detail when it comes to dress watches. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it is all about discretion. Elegance, style and refinement are about details and small touches. Thus, a 36mm watch will easily blend into an outfit, when a 40+ watch will certainly overlap the rest of your attire. Proportions and details, gentlemen.
There are other advantages too, right on the watch itself. Of course, smaller watch means less gold (always good for the wallet). The main positive aspect I can spot here however, with this new Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Small Model, concerns the position of the date window. While cases have grown drastically in 15 years, the trend didn’t always follow on movements. This was easily visible on the 40mm version of the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony, as its 26.2mm movement required it to have a date window closer to the center of the dial. This is now solved with the 36mm version, where the date is elegantly positioned on the periphery. Small detail again, but one that plays on the overall look.
The calibre 2450 Q6 of the 36mm Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Small Model (and also of the 40mm version), a nicely decorated movement, with gold rotor, Geneva stripes, perlage and beveled angles. This in-house produced automatic calibre indicates the time as well as the date, ticks at 4Hz and boasts 40h of power reserve. it is certified by the Hallmark of Geneva.
The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Small Model 36mm is presented as a unisex model, which can be worn by both genders, thanks to different strap options, from a classical dark brown alligator strap, to a purple-colored version for ladies. In any case, the watch is crafted in 18k pink gold, with a silvered opaline dial, with a design that is traditional to the brand.
So what do we have after all? Well, with the point of view of a man, this new Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Small Model 36mm is the perfect occasion to re-enjoy the benefit of a small watch, with a great elegance (thanks also to its slim profile, at 8.1mm), with the usual superb horological content of Vacheron Constantin. As a lady, it is a superb, not too girly watch with a jump into haute horlogerie. For both, it seems a perfect watch to be shared. Price: EUR 21,500. More details on www.vacheron-constantin.com.
Technical Specifications – Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Small Model 36mm
- Case: 36mm diameter x 8.1mm thick – 18k pink gold, polished – sapphire crystal on both sides – 30m water resistant
- Movement: Calibre 2450 Q6, in-house, Hallmark of Geneva – automatic – 4Hz frequency – 40h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds, date
- Strap: Dark brown Mississippiensis alligator or Purple Mississippiensis alligator shiny leather – 18k pink gold buckle
- Reference: 4100U/000R-B180 (brown strap) – 4100U/001R-B180 (purple strap)