Two different watches from two haute horlogerie power houses. Vacheron Constantin celebrated its 260th anniversary last year and Patek Philippe was founded in 1839. Vacheron is part of the Richemont Group, and in good company with other Richemont-brands like A. Lange & Söhne, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and so on. Patek Philippe is still an independent brand, and is led by the Stern family since 1935.
In this series of articles, we always try to select to opposites. In this case, the brands are in the same league, but the watches are at miles distance. Patek’s fine Grand Complication collection consist of many interesting models, but we selected this perpetual calendar reference 5327 for this instalment of Watch Pairs. Vacheron’s Overseas collection once started in the 1970s as ‘222’, but is now a vast part of their collection of watches. This Worldtime reference is one of their novelties for the Overseas collection, with a complication indicating 37 different time zones in the world.
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5327
The Patek Philippe reference 5327 reminds a lot about the iconic reference 3940. The 3940 was introduced in 1985 and in production until 2006. It was succeeded by the 5140, which was just slightly larger. The Perpetual Calendar 5327 we have selected for today’s article, is the successor of the 5140. The new model still uses that very same movement as the 3940 of 1985, caliber 240 Q. As we all know, watch manufactures never stand still so their might have been a couple of small adjustments under the hood in all those years.
The 5327 grew a bit more, to 39mm. This seems to be today’s acceptable size for dress watches, without being pompous and without being too small. It will fit most men. Although the movement remained the same, the case and dial changed. The Patek 5327 is available with a stunning royal blue sunburst dial with gold applied Breguet numerals or the more classic option an ivory laquered dail. The case has become a tad bit larger, the lugs wider and the case a bit rounder.
All for the good? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we applaud Patek Philippe for offering this watch in a more modern size though. And luckily, the reliable and impressive caliber 240 Q is still there. Never change a winning team.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Worldtime 7700V/110A-B172
Where the Patek Philippe 5327 is a dress watch pur sang, this Overseas is Vacheron’s interpretation of a luxury sports watch in stainless steel. Although the Overseas collection is relatively wide, starting from a two hand model to those with complications like a chronograph or this Worldtimer, they are all clearly sharing the same design code. A design that is often being mistaken for that of Gérald Genta, but in fact it was Hysek that designed the original ‘222’.
Other than the Nautilus of Patek or the Royal Oak of Audemars Piguet for example, the Overseas went through some more ‘optical’ changes over the years. Most recently they modified the cases and – especially – bracelets a bit. In fact, the bracelet on the Overseas Worldtime can be swapped for a leather strap or even rubber strap in just a blink of the eyes. But there’s more in case of the Vacheron Worldtime we have here. As its model name suggests, it bears the complication of showing different time zones. In fact, this watch is capable of indicating 37 different time zones, by indicating cities in each of these zones.
Vacheron Constantin’s calibre 2460 WT movement, consisting of over 250 components, is able to indicate other time zones and can be set by just using the crown. No extra pushers or crowns are needed to correct the time. This watch enables the owner to keep track of time in all these different time zones, by just using the winding & setting crown.
Other than the dress watch we picked, this Overseas is slightly over-sized with its 43.5mm diameter. It is all relative of course, some watch brands don’t even offer a watch this small. Due to the complication, the watch is 12.6mm thick. For those who prefer a smaller and thinner Overseas, there is the Overseas Ultra-Thin of just 7.5mm thick (no complications though) or the Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar (8.1mm thick).
Both brands belong to the top of Swiss watchmaking, and those who are fortunate enough will have a powerful duo with these two opposites. These watches and their houses respected by connoisseurs all over the world and will make great conversations among like-minded enthusiasts.