Insider: Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon Phase & Retrograde Date ref. 4010U. Hands-on with a Stunning Timepiece with a Very Interesting Complication.

When one thinks of Vacheron Constantin, some of the first watches that come to mind are complications like the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon Phase and Retrograde Date. Featuring a timelessly understated round case measuring 42.5 mm in diameter and available in either in 18K pink gold or 18K white gold, this timepiece takes its inspiration by the models created by the Vacheron Constantin in the 1950s. Fitted with a matte black hand-stitched alligator strap with half Maltese cross pin buckle in matching metal, the Patrimony Moon Phase and Retrograde Date is an extremely elegant and dressy watch. The watch we have here under review is the 18K white gold model.

The Dial

The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon Phase & Retrograde Date ref. 4010U features a silvered opaline dial with a slightly domed shape, tapered applied hour markers in pink or white gold —depending on the model— and a cabochon pearled minute track. With the retrograde date pointer indicator filling the upper half of the dial, the moon phase indicator —either with a pink or white gold disc, depending on the model— shines brightly against the silvered backdrop of the lower half of the dial.

The age of the moon —meaning the number of days that have elapsed since the last new moon— can be read off a graduated scale around the moon phase opening. This lyrical complication is displayed with extreme accuracy in accordance with the real lunar cycle around the Earth, which lasts exactly 29 days, 12 hours and 45 minutes.

Rounding out the elegant and timeless design of this timepiece, needle shaped hands complete the equation. While the minute hand is slightly curved at the tip following the curvature of the dial, the retrograde date pointer hand features black oxide and is tipped with an open worked arrow. This hand moves forward in one-day increments and once the month is completed, a retrograde system returns it instantly to its initial position on the 1 numeral to begin rerunning along the same path.

The Movement

Powered by the new 275-part in-house automatic calibre 2460 R31L, this 27-jewel movement provides a 40-hour power reserve while beating at a frequency of 28,800 vph —4 Hz. This newly designed movement, features a very easy setting mechanism where all three functions of the watch —date, time and moon phase— can be set via the winding crown. In its second position, the crown can be turned clockwise to set the date or counter-clockwise to adjust the moon phase, while the third and last position controls time setting. The movement is equipped with a gorgeous 22K gold oscillating weight featuring the Vacheron Constantin signature barleycorn 'guilloché' motif.

On the Wrist & Pricing

On the wrist, the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon Phase & Retrograde Date ref. 4010U wears true to its size and with impeccable wrist presence. A thin watch that is very well made and that is fueled by the rich history of this manufacture with an extremely functional and interesting looking complication. The watch is water resistant to 30 meters and certified with the Poinçon de Genève.

Sticker Price $39,900 USD for either model. For more info on Vacheron Constantin click here.