Vacheron Constantin gets a little moonstruck with its latest addition to the limited Collection Excellence Platine with a Patrimony case and platinum dial.

As part of the Fratello team, I am subject to many press releases from PR representatives and directly from brands. Often, there is a sense of deja vu. Either I am living in The Matrix, or the new watch is presented with such a minor change that it hardly constitutes a dedicated write-up. Such releases tend to feature in our weekly round-up that is This Week In Watches.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony moon phase and retrograde date - Collection Excellence Platine

Slipping through the cracks

The Watches and Wonders 2020 announcements certainly filled many spaces in that column, but somehow the new Patrimony Retrograde Date with Moon Phase slipped through the cracks. As did the Piaget Polo S with gold hands and green dial. But, RJ can best explain why the Fratelli are not exactly taken with the Polo S here. However, we are big fans of Vacheron Constantin. My heartstrings were especially plucked by the new Overseas Perpetual Calendar with blue dial.

I thought this watch already existed 12 years ago…

I had no issue with this new addition to the Collection Excellence Platine limited series. The Patrimony is a stylish and classic piece with a traditional retrograde date display that arches left to right. But I thought it already existed. I could have bet decent money on seeing this watch before and even handling it. From there, I jotted it down as a casual mistake by the brand on re-releasing old press kits and continued my day.

It was only reading my copy of The Wristwatch Handbook by Ryan Schmidt that I realized my mistake. Within the Retrograde section of the book was the watch I was confusing this release with. The Ref. 86020 from 2008 had the day of the week as the secondary retrograde display, whereas the new Patrimony clearly has a moon phase complication. I have to fall on my sword on this occasion. But to compensate for my mistake, I owe the new Vacheron a dedicated article.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony moon phase and retrograde date - Collection Excellence Platine

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon Phase and Retrograde Date

The Retrograde date function uses the heat-treated blue hand to indicate the date and remains in place for 24-hours until the next day. The real show arrives at the end of each month when this hand sweeps back to the first day. This motion is what differentiates the Retrograde hand from the perpetually revolving date wheel and is worth staying up past your bedtime to witness. In addition to the arching date, there is a moon phase display above the 6 o’clock position.

The lunar cycle from new moon to full moon repeats on average every 29.53 days. Hence the inscription above the sub-dial of 0 to 29½. Watch-makers tend to round-down the phases of the moon to 29.5 days to produce a gear with 59 teeth. The problem is, the 0.03 difference equates to one-day inaccuracy every three years.Vacheron Constantin Patrimony moon phase and retrograde date - Collection Excellence Platine

For Vacheron, the strive for perfection results in a transmission system that accounts for the uneven cycle. This allows 122 years to pass before losing a single day. Since the length of time is beyond the average human life, the innovation removes the need to have a corrector push button on the 42.5mm case sides. All functions can be controlled via the crown embossed with the Maltese Cross.

The pattern on the disc simulates craters with five-pointed stars representing our night sky

The dial and moon disc are platinum with white gold markers and hands. The pattern on the moon disc simulates craters with five-pointed stars representing our night sky. Previous editions of this model, introduced in 2017, also had a blue wheel in the sub-dial. I cannot help but feel this watch could do with a flash of blue to complement the date hand. But since 2006, the Collection Excellence Platine is all about the celebration of platinum with the PT-950 symbol at the 4:30 position. Even the blue alligator strap has platinum and silk stitching.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony moon phase and retrograde date - Collection Excellence Platine

As with all watches in the Collection Excellence Platine, the Patrimony Moon Phase and Retrograde Date is only available from VC boutiques. Limited to 50 pieces, the watch retails for €72,000. You can find out more about this new Vacheron here.

Watch specifications

Patrimony moon phase retrograde date Collection Excellence Platine
950 platinum, sand-blasted
Case Material
950 platinum
Case Dimensions
42.5 mm diameter, 9.7 mm thick
Sapphire crystal
Case Back
Sapphire crystal
Caliber 2460 R31L. Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
Water Resistance
30 meters
Dark blue Mississippiensis alligator leather with alligator inner shell, hand-stitched with platinum 950 and silk, saddle-finish, large square scales
Hours, minutes, Retrograde date, precision moon phase, age of the moon