Can falling deeply in love, like never before, with one watch cause us to fall out of love with our other watches?
Or even fall out of love with watches all together?
I’d have personally answered ‘no’ to both questions prior to buying my Vacheron Constantin reference 92239/000P-4. I absolutely love this watch. I love it far more than I’ve ever loved any other watch, and over the course of owning it I’ve fallen out of love with the other pieces in my collection.
Perhaps I never did love the others. Not really.
My fear in declaring this singular love is that I may be also admitting that I’m no longer a watch collector. That I’ve become a mere watch owner.
I don’t lust after the next watch purchase any longer. I hardly browse the seller sites and auction-house apps anymore. I’ve lost the thirst. I just enjoy my Vacheron Constantin. On most days it’s just me and this one watch, alone together, united against the world.
It’s not quite that I’ve lost interest in other watches, but I’ve lost my passion for them.
As a journalist, I think this unexpected shift has made me better at my job. A dispassionate attitude can ward off undue subjective bias. I seem to see the world of watches more clearly now. With interest and curiosity, but without the obscuring influence of transient lust.
I’ve said elsewhere that the moment I laid the Vacheron Constantin reference 92239/000P-4 on my wrist, it was love at first sight. It felt like I’d come back home. Like I’d found a missing part of myself. Like whoever designed this watch understood something ineffable about the human experience that I also understood but needed a brilliant watch designer to express in physical form.
Who designed this watch, anyways? I’d like to know.
Compare those feelings I have toward my Vacheron Constantin to my feelings toward the new iteration of some Seiko diver, or even Patek’s latest grand accomplishment, or whatever, and you might understand why my passion for watches more generally has cooled off. Why I’m driven by interest and curiosity now, and not lust.
I can still find many watches utterly amazing, but it’s unlikely, if not impossible, that any other watch will complete me like my Vacheron.
We’ve Heard This Before, Allen
The question I and others asked when I initially felt this way about my Vacheron was whether this feeling was indeed novel and whether it would last. These were valid questions.
Indeed, yes, I’d been in love with watches before. What is novel here is respect. I’m not sure that I ever really respected a watch before.
What does it mean to respect a watch? I’ve thought about this a lot, and I’ve concluded that respecting a watch comes down to never wanting to change anything about it. Not once, not even for a moment, have I looked down at this Vacheron Constantin and thought: If only….
Respect like this proves to me that it’s not about the prestige brand, or the fact that I finally owned a truly expensive and wonderful Swiss watch, or that it’s an ultra-thin platinum timepiece. I know that’s not it, because I find I want to change things about even the most wonderful perpetual calendars from Vacheron Constantin. I don’t entirely respect them, which reduces my love to affection.
As for whether this feeling will last, I can’t say. I have only felt my love and respect for this watch swell over time. Were I a betting man, I’d wager this one’s a keeper.
I’m not going to try to convince you that this is a great watch. I’m not even going to tell you why I think it’s a great watch. That’s an academic exercise I will reserve for those watches out there about which I will write professionally and keenly using my newly dispassionate eye.
What may be interesting, and perhaps informative, will be for me to note some of the formal features of the Vacheron Constantin reference 92239/000P-4 which I believe make this watch very special. It is a bit of an odd-ball.
Platinum is wonderful. It’s heavy, durable, bright, and luxurious without broadcasting its preciousness. I used to be in the recording business, and there’s a reason a platinum record far outweighs a gold one.
It amazes me how few watch companies focus on thin watches. Bulgari and Piaget are the modern masters of thinness, but Jaeger LeCoultre, Blancpain, Breguet, and Vacheron Constantin have been the traditional forerunners in the quest. My Vacheron is only 6mm tall, and it’s so damn wonderful to wear a truly thin dress watch. The leather band and the watch are nearly the same height. It hugs my wrist with an elegant, gentlemanly embrace.
In the realm of Vacheron Constantin, these lugs are fairly tame, but they’re masterworks of proportion and grace, as most Vacheron lugs are. These lugs forego the seamless contour that the Patke Philippe Calatrava made so popular in the 1930s, and I adore the added interest as the lugs and stepped bezel differentiate themselves.
To be clear: the lugs are formed from the same piece of platinum as the case, but appear to be welded on in the old-school manner. Ersatz, yes, but wonderfully so.
Applied Hour Markers in White Gold
I am amazed that a layout this lovely and legible could be so unique. Having markers at the cardinal points and numerals elsewhere is something more likely to appear on tool watch, but even there it’s rare. Most dress watches do the opposite: numerals at the cardinals, and markers elsewhere. To see this on a dress watch is quite special.
In my opinion, Caliber 1014 it’s not quite as special as some of the earlier Vacheron dress watch calibers that used more bridges and were, perhaps, more beautiful for it. But the 1014 is thin, gorgeously appointed, and it is exceptionally precise.
May Cooler Heads Prevail
You can see the folly in my trying to convince anyone that these elements add up to something I could put into words and convince you was great. I can’t do it. All I can say is that this watch has been an incredible gift. It has not only calmed my consumerist passions, freeing up much time, resources and headspace, but it has clarified my vision of watches more generally by cooling my passions.
I’m wearing it now, and I’ll wear it tomorrow, and chances are that if you were to bump into me I’d be wearing it then, too. I hope that happens some day.