Availability: Spring 2019; 75-piece limited edition
Movement: Manually-wound 4400 AS; 65-hour power reserve; 4Hz
Case: 38mm wide x 7.77mm thick; 950 platinum
Water Resistance: 30m
Unique Features: Extensive use of platinum; thin, elegant profile; good legibility; Geneva Seal-certified movement
Upshot: If platinum is the operative characteristic of Vacheron Constantin’s new Traditionnelle watch, it is underpinned by the elegance of its design, execution, and dimensions. All of these elements contribute to the complete package and its pricing, but a movement made and finished completely in-house also adds tremendous value. Vacheron Constantin has spared no expense, but has exercised some welcome design restraint in this offering.
Who It’s For: The lucky few who buy one of the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Excellence Platine watches will be in a club of elite collectors. They may be be collectors dedicated specifically to Vacheron who appreciate the brand’s history, prestige, and watchmaking, or those who amass high-end watches from different brands. Because platinum, like white gold, looks a lot like steel, these watches will fly relatively under the radar, but the wearer and his watch-educated friends will know the brand on the dial as well as the meaning of “Pt950” inscribed between 4 and 5 o’clock (indicating a platinum purity of 95%). With only 75 pieces produced, the allure of exclusivity may also figure into the equation for some.
First Take: As if touched by King Midas’s platinum-obsessed mad brother, the new Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Excellence Platine watch appears almost completely composed of the precious metal. With the case, dial, crown, buckle, and even the strap’s stitching (interwoven platinum and silk thread) in platinum, it is interesting to note that the applied hour-markers and Maltese cross logo are made of white gold — which doesn’t look much different but is a less expensive material. That noted, the contrast between the highly polished hands and indices and the sandblasted dial finish go a long way in maintaining legibility and achieving an impression of elegance.
Insight: The Traditionnelle collection, as its name suggests, often features a conservative take on horology and is largely characterized by a shared case, hand, and dial design. “Excellence Platine” is a series with a platinum “theme” wthat is applied to models from various collections. (For about 2/3 the price of this Excellence Platine model, one can get an otherwise very similar model in white gold or pink gold). The movement inside is a relatively simple manually-wound model comprising 127 components and operating at 4Hz, with a healthy power reserve of around 65 hours — but it is finished to the high level required to achieve the Geneva Seal certification, visible through a exhibition case back.