March 21 2013
When the venerable Vacheron Constantin was awarded the Diplôme du Prestige de la France in 1972, “in recognition of its unique know-how”, it produced a svelte and daring men’s watch to mark the occasion. Forty years on, the model’s original design (in the interim it had evolved into a unisex design, then a ladies’ format) is in production again. The new 1972 Prestige (£28,820) is powered by the ultra-thin 1003 movement, which, at 1.64mm, is the world’s slimmest manual-winding calibre.
The 18ct white gold case (8.72mm thick) has an elongated shape that sets off its grey silvered wave dial and 18ct rose gold hands delightfully. It is deeply stylish, with a brown alligator strap.
As a move to simple, form-led watchcase design gathers pace (in some quarters), this piece heralds a new unisex mood not fashionable since the 1970s. Its back bears the Prestige de la France mark plus room for an engraving – “Hands off!” springs to mind.