Even when comparing one luxury watch brand with another, there can be huge differences between them because they cater to distinct preferences in style and focus on specific markets. But when you compare two of the brands that belong to the so-called Holy Trinity of Watches, expect the playing field to be nearly even. On that note, it would be interesting to see how Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin will fare against each other in a head-to-head comparison.
Vacheron Constantin was established in 1755, making them the oldest watchmaker in history that has been in business continuously since its foundation. Other manufacturers went underground or became silent during the World Wars and other global crises, but not Vacheron as they continued churning out watches for their loyal customers.
For more than two centuries, Vacheron Constantin has impressed highly affluent customers that include kings, sheiks, and other high-profile people. These clients just love how Vacheron watches fly below the radar yet holds incredible value for their impeccable quality and sophistication.
- Understated elegance that makes each watch more exclusive
- Incredibly high level of finishing and polishing
- Vintage designs, with some having contemporary twists
- Appreciates in value over time
- Excellent after-care services
- Expensive entry-level watches
- Resale value is not as high as Patek Philippe
- Not as popular as other brands
- Produced in limited quantities only, so they’re hard to get
Patek Philippe is one of the most respected and revered watchmakers in the horological industry, with more than 170 years of history under their belt. Aside from surviving the changing times, Patek has contributed numerous watchmaking innovations including the creation of some of the most complicated wristwatches ever made.
Patek is dubbed as the “Rolls Royce” of Swiss watches because of its prestige. The super high-end watches of the company have graced the wrists of royalties, C-Suite executives, Fortune 500 CEOs, dignitaries, and billionaires all around the world.
Patek Philippe is widely popular for its iconic Nautilus collection that features a distinct shape and sporty theme.
- Highly sophisticated watches
- Wide range of design
- Highly recognized watch brand
- Expensive entry-level watch
- Limited number of available watches every year
- Complications can sometimes hinder the watch’s legibility
Comparing Vacheron vs Patek Philippe
Here are the major points between Patek and Vacheron you should consider before making a purchase.
Movements and Quality
Patek Philippe has a range of manual and self-winding movements in their arsenal. Curiously, they also have a quartz movement which is rarely offered among luxury watches. These movements are responsible for giving Patek watches complications like the minute repeater, tourbillon, perpetual calendar, day-night indicator, moon phase, chronograph, and alarm.
Vacheron Constantin features both automatic and manual movements. Vacheron is known for developing sophisticated watches with various complications including chronograph, moon phase, tourbillon, small seconds, day-date, day-night, and perpetual calendar.
In terms of quality, Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe stand out even among luxury brands. But since they’re designed as formal watches, they’re not that suitable for rugged use.
Style and Variety
Patek has a wide variety of dress watch collections that present a range of vintage and modern styles.
The Grand Complication features Patek Philippe’s skill and artistry in creating extremely complicated watches with timeless looks; Complications collection features the commonly used extra functions of watches like dual time zone and world time displays; Calatrava collection is recognized for the simplicity and purity of the watch designs that exhibit supreme elegance, while the Gondolo is known for its unusual shape infused with modernity and heritage.
Vacheron Constantin watches look neither a Patek Philippe nor a Rolex.
Patrimony presents a minimalistic design exhibiting pure essentials; Traditionnelle is the epitome of horological craftsmanship; FiftySix presents a retro-contemporary cosmopolitan design; Overseas features chronograph functions the Vacheron way; Egerie is the classic women’s collection that features absolute femininity; Historiques features iconic models with a contemporary flavour, and Malte offers a fresh look with its unique hexagonal shape.
In terms of prestige, Patek Philippe is one of the most recognizable Swiss watch brands in the world. Only Rolex and Omega top Patek in terms of brand recognition and they’re not even mass-producing watches the same way the first two brands do.
Vacheron ranks 15th as the most recognizable Swiss watch brand in the world and that’s nowhere near Patek’s ranking. However, even though they’re not that popular to the layman as other watch brands, Vacheron remains to be one of the most respected manufacturers in the industry.
Patek belongs to the “Big Three” (aka the Holy Trinity of Watchmaking) in the industry, along with Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet.
Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin provide a two-year service warranty on all their watches. This doesn’t cover damages and defects caused by accidents or improper use. Normal wear and tear of components are also not included in the guarantee coverage.
The cheapest Vacheron Constantin watch costs at least $9,500. On the other hand, the least expensive Patek Philippe watch belongs to the Calatrava collection and it costs around $20,000.
Patek Philippe is advertised as a watch that you purchase to hand over to the next generation. The high resale value of their watches, especially those made in limited quantities, makes them excellent family heirlooms.
Vacheron Constantin watches also hold high resale value, but not as high as those fetched by Rolex or Patek. Although the watches are made with expert craftsmanship that’s on par or even better than what Patek exhibits, the lesser popularity of the brand reduces its resale value.
In terms of style, sophistication, craftsmanship, and quality, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin are almost at the same level. In terms of brand recognition, Patek holds the higher ground since it’s the 3rd most popular Swiss watch brand in the world. However, when it comes to price, Vacheron Constantin has a more affordable entry-level timepiece. The deciding factor will come down to your brand preference and budget.