The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde

Previously launched in both white and pink gold versions, this is the latest incarnation of Vacheron Constantin's Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date, and it is now part of their limited edition and boutique-only Collection Excellence Platine. With a 950 platinum case and a matching dial, the Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date even features strap stitching using thread in both platinum and silk. When VC wants to do special, you know they don't mess around.

Limited to just 50 numbered units for the Collection Excellence Platine, the Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date joins a rare group of watches that have been promoted to this platinum-themed collection since the concept was introduced 2006. Sizing is the same as the other two versions of the Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date at 42.5mm wide and 9.7mm thick. The function set – a large retrograde date display along the northern radius of the dial and a rather subtle moon phase and moon age display (showing the day in the moon's cycle) at six o'clock – is both cleanly symmetrical and visually interesting with lovely details on the moon phase and a centrally-mounted blue hand for the pointer date.

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Apply all of this on a lovely matte sandblasted platinum dial, and you have a brand new look that feels at once traditional in form and contemporary in execution. Just like the previous versions, the platinum Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date uses the 2460 R31L, an in-house automatic movement from Vacheron Constantin that ticks at 4 Hz while offering a 40-hour power reserve and a design that allows all of the functions to be controlled via the crown alone.

While the existing Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date versions (those being in white or rose gold) retail for $40,100, each of the fifty platinum pieces being added to the Collection Excellence Platine will sell via VC boutiques for $67,000. With platinum forming everything from the case to the dial, and even the thread used for the strap, you kinda knew it was going to cost a pretty penny. That said, you get a very limited and lovely watch in return.

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While the Big Bang Unico GMT is not a chronograph, it does have some chronograph DNA, and it is the inclusion of chronograph-type functionality that makes it so easy and intuitive to operate. Simply unscrew and pull out the rubber-coated, H-branded crown and set all three main hands — hour, minute, and GMT hand — to the correct local time. When changing time zones — as I did, from New York (EST) to Basel (CET) — simply push the pedal-like chrono-style pushers to move the local-time hour hand in one-hour increments in either direction while the minute hand and seconds hand remain unaffected. Because the gears for the minutes and seconds are not driven, it is not necessary to synchronize all of the hands with every change of time zone. Longtime fans of the Hublot brand may note that the rectangular shape of the GMT pushers resembles those of early Big Bang chronographs, thus differentiating them from the more button-like rounded pushers of modern Big Bang Unico models. Hublot has built a safety device into the mechanism preventing simultaneous activation of the two pushers.

Brand: Vacheron Constantin

Model: Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date Collection Excellence Platine

Reference Number: 4010U/000P-B545

Diameter: 42.5mm

Thickness: 9.7mm

Case Material: 950 platinum

Dial Color: Sand-blasted 950 platinum

Indexes: 18k white gold, applied

Water Resistance: 30 meters

Strap/Bracelet: Dark blue alligator leather with platinum folding clasp