Two-handed. Yellow gold. Hand wound. The Swiss watch royalty of VC. And crazy-thin. Re-meet the Patrimony.
When you start talking about the thinest watch in the world, you quickly get to a point where calipers and millimeters are the rule of the day. And a 40mm watch that is only 6.8mm at its thickest point is going to need some pretty sharp measurement instruments to accurately compare it to others. And if I decide to polish it at some point, will it get even more measurably thinner?
I got this watch back in 2018 – looking for a very thin dress watch in gold. At the time (and I still believe today), I did not have a yellow gold dress watch (other than my lovely Seiko Premier Kinetic Direct Drive Moonphase, but that is gold-plated and rose gold).
Like everything in my collection, the watch is second-hand and purchased from a big dealer from the northeast US. While I had fallen in love with it in pictures, I fell more in love with it on my wrist. If it were in stainless steel and a bit lighter, I do believe the leather and clasp would be heavier than the case. This is a very light, very thin watch that you forget you are even wearing.
And that is one thing that I like about it. Once the leather strap softened up (I don’t think this light strap is original, but it is a real OEM VC strap). I would forget that I had it on and catch myself pulling out my phone when I wanted to glance at the time.
The other thing that I find so beautiful about this watch is the dial – and especially its curvature. The egg-shell satin dial with the thin hands (that also seemed curved) with the simple stick hour indicators and the applied VC cross – it’s just so simple and elegant.
Under the hood (which sadly you can’t see with the solid caseback), there is the Vacheron 1400 manual movement, which is said to be only 2.6mm thick by itself. Still, the hand-wound 1400 can keep the two-handed party going for over 40 hours, so an evening rest on the bedside table isn’t going to slow it down.
When I got this watch, I also still had my Patek Calatrava. And while these are two entirely different watches (the 5296 has a date), I would end up trading the Patek for another watch and keeping the Vacheron. Maybe this had something to do with decent resale value (Patek – yes, Vacheron – nope). Maybe it had to do with the uniqueness of the Patrimony (have never seen it on anyone else’s wrist). But I like to think it was because I just liked this watch better. And isn’t what this is all about?