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“Classic with a Twist” in Hong Kong SAR, China: an event to showcase horological audacity through the Years

Vacheron Constantin hosts “Classic with a Twist” event to showcase horological audacity through the Years

 

  • Vacheron Constantin took guests on a time-travelling journey to explore the Maison’s bold audacity in watchmaking and style, between conventional and atypical
  • In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the iconic American 1921 model, the Maison pays tribute to its avant-garde spirit with 3 new timepieces
  • Transcending through the time tunnel, guests were transported from 1921 to 2021 to explore the 2 new Overseas “Everest” limited editions, first launched in Asia


Hong Kong SAR, China, September 23rd, 2021 – To celebrate its watchmaking legacy, Vacheron Constantin has chosen the dawn of the 20th Century as the beginning of a 100-year timespan that marks a period of high-level creativity and design innovation, commemorated with an event in Hong Kong SAR, China , “Classic with a Twist”. With highlights on the centennial anniversary of the iconic American 1921, and on the much-anticipated launch of Overseas “Everest” limited editions, the showcase looked back at the Maison’s watchmaking heritage, and how unexpected designs and complex mechanisms had been reimagined to evolve into the present-day pieces.

The “Classic with a Twist” event was attended by the foremost watch connoisseurs, collectors, art and music lovers, and tastemakers. The venue chosen for this special occasion was the Fringe Club – now a Grade-I heritage building, the famed historical architecture was built in 1892, and was then renovated at the turn of the 20th Century. This period was close to the start of the Roaring Twenties when the Maison seized the avant-garde momentum to create the now iconic timepiece American 1921, dedicated at that time to the American market in a very limited number of pieces.

Inspired by the Roaring Twenties’ overarching sense of novelty combined with modernity and a break with tradition, the event took guests through a time-travelling journey that began in a modernized speakeasy with a touch of boldness revealed in the smallest details: watch displays with augmented reality storytelling, 45° tilted photo booth to echo to American 1921’s audacious dial design, a selection of prohibition-era themed “bottails” with a twist – guests were able to sample these tasty, bottled cocktails against the aural backdrop of a live saxophonist, pianist and DJ that performed 1921 swing music gradually transitioning to 2021 electro-swing, a suitable twist to the soundtrack for this trek through time.


HISTORIQUES AMERICAN 1921
100 Years of Boldness with a Playful Twist

The 1920s was an era marked by unbridled exuberance, not least with early wristwatches showcasing a remarkable miniaturization of movements, but it was also during this time that watchmakers demonstrated incredible creativity in creating a large variety of audacious shapes. Vacheron Constantin’s “Tonneau” or barrel-shaped, lozenge, rectangle and cushion-shaped watches born during this period perfectly exemplified this highly creative era.

Exactly 100 years ago, Vacheron Constantin created the American 1921 model, a signature that is still an emblem of the Manufacture’s style, inspiring the re-design of the current Historiques models and remaining representative of the Maison’s aesthetics. The initial versions produced with their “classic with a twist” design were notably appreciated by driving enthusiasts who could thus read the time at a glance without having to take their hands from the steering wheel, but they were also adopted by elegant and avant-garde circles.


GUEST JOURNEY WITH A TWIST
Time-travelling from the Roaring Twenties to the Modern World

Transcending through the time tunnel, guests were then transported to the Himalayas and the Alps, where they would explore new heights of elegance and robustness with the much sought-after Overseas timepieces radiating in a resolutely sporting temperament. In front of the mountainous range of LED-screen montage honouring American explorer and photographer Cory Richards’ daring adventures and self-surpassing spirit are Vacheron Constantin’s sportiest collection opening up to new aesthetic horizons: Overseas Chronograph “Everest” and Overseas Dual Time “Everest”, two new 150-piece numbered limited editions. On display in the exhibition hall were also the evolution of the Overseas collection, as well as this year’s Watches and Wonders novelties, Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-thin Skeleton and Overseas Tourbillon.

 

OVERSEAS CHRONOGRAPH “EVEREST”
OVERSEAS DUAL TIME “EVEREST”
Unveiling First in Asia the Two New 150-piece Numbered Limited Editions

A watch for sports enthusiasts and adventurers, Overseas is reaching new heights and exploring new aesthetic territories, as the collection welcomes two 150-piece limited editions: Overseas Chronograph “Everest” and Overseas Dual Time “Everest”. Inspired by a prototype developed by Vacheron Constantin in 2019 to accompany Cory Richards on his third expedition to the “roof of the world”, they are distinguished by a powerful and bold design. Available in a diameter of 42.5 mm for the chronograph version and 41 mm for the dual time interpretation, the case combines the lightness and robustness of titanium with the shimmering gleam of stainless steel. This sophisticated look brimming with contrasts is paired with a self-interchangeable rubber or Cordura® strap lined with nubuck calfskin.

On the technical side, the chronograph model is equipped with self-winding Calibre 5200/2, while the dual time model opts for self-winding Calibre 5110 DT/2. These two in-house movements feature an extremely contemporary anthracite grey NAC treatment. Setting a signature touch, their 22K pink gold oscillating weight is adorned with an engraving of Mount Everest inspired by a photograph taken by Cory Richards.

 

CLASSIC WITH A TWIST
Injecting a twist of Audacity in Watchmaking Technicality and Style, Between Conventional and Atypical

Vacheron Constantin’s creativity has always remained closely attuned to its time while evoking its memories. Poised at the intersection between technical virtuosity and aesthetic refinement, the enduring allure of their timepieces makes its way unscathed through passing eras, and because timelessness cannot be achieved merely by complying with the canons of traditional watchmaking, each creation is tinged with a touch of boldness revealed in the smallest details. The result is a very personal field of expression where technique and style converge in a subtle harmony between the conventional and the atypical – indeed, truly a Classic with a twist.

“Exploring the Space Between”: New Exhibition in Vacheron Constantin New York Flagship

  • An exhibition dedicated to the art of exploration, Sept. 23 - Nov. 15, at 28 E. 57th Street in Vacheron Constantin’s New York Flagship
  • 14 photographs from the American explorer and photographer Cory Richards
  • A rare assortment of pocket and sport watches from Vacheron Constantin’s heritage collection


September 23rd 2021, New York – Vacheron Constantin puts a spotlight on the art of exploration as the Maison unveils American photographer Cory Richards’ art exhibition, “Exploring the Space Between”, at the newly opened North American Flagship boutique in the heart of New York City. A rare assortment of heritage pocket and sport watches from Vacheron Constantin’s private collection completes the show to create a captivating perspective on the concept of exploration and adventure. The photographs and timepieces will be on display until November 15, 2021.


In 2018, driven by passion, the pursuit of innovation and beauty, and the same openness to the world, Cory Richards joined the select group of personalities chosen by Vacheron Constantin to embody its "One of Not Many" communications campaign.

Expressing an exceptional universe, One of Not Many embodies the Maison’s creative collaborations with artistic talents acknowledged for their expertise and their steadfast quest for excellence in their respective fields of pursuit.


A Unique Perspective

For Cory Richards, professional photographer and long-distance explorer, the world is brimming with beauty. Among his many journeys, the Himalayas occupy a special place in the heart of this experienced mountaineer, who in 2019 chose a Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time prototype watch on an Everest expedition, enabling him to keep track of the time in Nepal and at home in the United States. In honor of the mutual admiration, Vacheron Constantin created an oscillating weight on the back of the prototype watch engraved with one of Cory Richard’s Everest photographs. The prototype was later auctioned off for charity in support of a project close to Cory Richard’s heart.


“Exploring the Space Between”

Cory Richard’s “Exploring the Space Between”, is comprised of fourteen carefully curated photographs spanning twenty years of the photographer’s expeditions around the globe. At times stunning and raw, the exhibit’s awe-inspiring mountain shots in Switzerland, Pakistan and Antarctica take us inside an alpinist’s journey, while portraitures from Nepal, India, Abu Dhabi, Peru and the U.S.A. bring a powerful message of shared humanity to the surface. The show turns the expected notion of exploration on its head. In the spirit of the Maison’s dedication to openness to the world, the photographs on display were selected by the artist to capture moments and people from his expeditions across the world’s seven continents, as well as the emotion, experience, and subtlety that exists in the minutes between those expeditions that change our perspective on the world.


Artistic Exploration

Upon stepping through the doors of the New York City Flagship boutique, oversized images transport viewers to another time and space. Two images, both striking, take over the double height atrium with a hint at the journey to be taken. One above, captured by Cory Richards in 2014, shows two Khoisan Tribesmen in a dry desert scene in Botswana, while the image below features an indescribably blue ocean with an 80-year-old spear fisherman, seemingly still in movement, photographed during a trip to Wakatobi, Indonesia. A few steps further and visitors are met with breathtaking Alpinist scenes taken by Cory Richards from around the world. One central photograph taken in Antarctica features a climber seemingly floating in a sea of moving clouds, the artwork celebrates risk and physical exploration in the most traditional of terms and the photograph sits adjacent a display of watches selected by Vacheron Constantin to illustrate the Maison’s heritage in precision timekeeping for exploration.


A Heritage in Timekeeping Exploration

As part of the New York Flagship exhibition, Vacheron Constantin identified four historical pocket watches and five wristwatches to share the Maison’s history in timekeeping for clientele seeking highly precise instruments for world travel and discovery. These hand-selected timepieces on loan from the Maison’s private collection shine a light on Vacheron Constantin’s long held expertise in durable, technically demanding watchmaking.


Technical Innovation - A Foundation for Exploration

At the turn of the 19th century, Vacheron Constantin produced remarkable breakthroughs in terms of anti-magnetism and water-resistance. Indeed, in the 1880s, the company incorporated palladium into its watch production to resist magnetic disturbances. The protection of watch movements against infiltration (dust and humidity) has always been a challenge for watchmakers.

Technical improvements to the watch cases allowed, from the late 19th century on, to describe certain pieces as “hermetic” or “impervious”. The Vacheron Constantin archives mention manufacturing hermetic steel watches since 1895.

It was in the early 20th century, with the development of the wristwatch, which was often subjected to extreme conditions, that the term water-resistant was used to describe watches impervious to all water infiltration. By the late 1920s, the improvements of techniques and materials allowed watches to be submerged and subjected to pressures that increase significantly with depth. The 4190 water-resistant model of Vacheron Constantin, with its stainless steel case and bracelet, was presented to the public in 1941, while the first water-resistant chronograph of the Maison, model 4305, also in steel, was created in 1943.

Many models were created in the years that followed, including the “222”, which was water resistant to a depth of 120 meters, and the “Overseas” in 1996, which is available in several versions, all of which are submersible to 150 meters.

1912 - 18K Gold Chronometer Pocket Watch, "Agénor Parmelin"
An early 1900s Vacheron Constantin pocket watch offered to the aviator Agénor Parmelin, the first man to fly over Mont Blanc, is shown for the exhibit as an early example of the Maison’s ties to exploration. The pocket watch was offered to Parmelin in 1914 to immortalize the successful flight and was given by the political authorities of the city of Geneva with an engraving at back.

“222” and Overseas Sport Watches
The mass production of steel, an alloy of iron and carbon, started in 1855.

Its mechanical properties and its strong resistance to shock allowed for important structures (the Eiffel Tower, the Brooklyn Bridge, railroads, ships, etc.). The need for robustness and the imposition of high taxes on precious metals in Europe and then in the United States, led to the use of steel on watch cases beginning in the late 1870s. In 1913, “rustless” steel, which would become “stainless” steel, was developed. This ferrous alloy containing chromium and carbon is impervious to corrosion.

Starting in the 1930’s Vacheron Constantin began to design steel “form” watches distinguished by screwed-down bezels and casebacks, as well as unbreakable sapphire crystal. The technical attributes and the sporty appearance of these timepieces combined a “form” case with a 10-sided case topped by a round disc. This trend was reinterpreted decades later by the famous “222” on display as part of the exhibition, originally presented in 1977 to mark the 222nd anniversary of Vacheron Constantin. The 222 sport watch is fitted with a screwed-down bezel and caseback guaranteeing water-resistance to 120 meters. Designed to suit an active lifestyle, it inspired the 1996 creation of the first Overseas model, a reference from 1999 is on display, powered by the spirit of travel and openness to the world. The Overseas has become an iconic sport watch for the Maison and is the collection chosen by Cory Richards for his third expedition of Everest in 2019.

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Sum-up

From September 23 to November 15, Vacheron Constantin will host “Exploring the Space Between” at the newly opened North American Flagship boutique in the heart of New York City. This exhibition dedicated to the beauty of risk, the unexpected, and even the seemingly mundane moments during and between achievements features the art of exploration through the eye of the American photographer Cory Richards as well as a rare assortment of heritage watches from the Maison’s private collection. The show shines light onto the critical and functional elements that timekeeping has held in the world of exploration for centuries, and the ties that bind all of us as we explore the space in between humanity’s never-ending quest for discovery, beauty and love.

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Cory Richards' pictures x Captions:

IMAGE 1 - 2014 – Khoisan Tribesmen, Botswana

IMAGE 2 - 2012 – Bajau spear fisherman, Wakatobi Indoneasia

IMAGE 3 - 2010 – Goat herder, Mustang, between Nepal and Tibet

IMAGE 4 - 2018 – Portrait of Pashmina herder, Kashmir

IMAGE 5 - 2006 - Portrait of young Quecha girl, Santa Cruz Valley, Cordillera Blanca, Peru

IMAGE 6 - 2020 - Portrait of rancher, American West, United States

IMAGE 7 - 2015 – Portrait of poet and artist, Colorado, United States

IMAGE 8 - 2020 – Loba women, Tibet

IMAGE 9 - 1999 – French Alps above Chamonix, France

IMAGE 10 - 2011 – Alpinist at a distance, Gasherbrum II Karakoram Himalaya, Pakistan

IMAGE 11 - 2013 – Alpinist, Antarctica

IMAGE 12 - 2017 – Man on street, Abu Dhabi

IMAGE 13 - 2011- Cory Richards, self-portrait, Pakistan

IMAGE 14 - 2019 – Relative of the Bride, Ladakh, Northern India

High Watchmaking: Chronographs and precision

• The chronograph was invented in the early 19th century and subsequently enriched with a split-seconds function, a noble version of short-time measurement.
• Short-time measurement has held a special place for Vacheron Constantin since 1874, when it introduced a hunter-type chronograph watch with a minutes counter
• The Manufacture's current collections include chronograph and split-seconds movements, sometimes combined with other major complications.

Geneva, September 2021 – Short-time measurement provided by watches’ chronograph function is one of the most demanding horological complications to achieve because of the indispensable precision and reliability of these mechanisms. The chronograph first appeared in the early 19th century as a compteur de tierces, and was subsequently enriched with numerous innovations, notably including the split-seconds function introduced in 1838 and serving to calculate intermediate (split) times. Vacheron Constantin played a strong part in this development and its first known chronograph appeared in 1874. Since then, the Maison has distinguished itself as much by its chronographs as by its Grand Complication watches incorporating this function that is closely bound up with the pioneering spirit of watchmaking.


The chronograph function encapsulates the very essence of Haute Horlogerie. Since the function of these watches is to measure short time periods, they require impeccable precision, unfailing reliability and resistance in often hostile environments. These are all qualities that chronographs have progressively acquired and improved upon, becoming the indispensable characteristics of the instrument-watches that Vacheron Constantin has made its speciality. 
On a technical level, chronographs require considerable mastery in terms of energy management as well as in the configuration of a mechanism that must be as smooth in its progress as it is rigorous in its operation. Decisive iterations were progressively introduced as the calculation of time became a crucial, even vital component within the context of sporting feats and scientific discoveries.


The chronograph, an early 19th century invention 
The birth and evolution of time measurement cannot be properly understood without the astronomical studies that preceded it. The same is true of the chronograph, one of the most recent horological inventions. It was the Parisian scientist Louis Moinet who invented the compteur de tierces in 1816. This instrument, developed for astronomical observations, was rediscovered at an auction in 2013 and is now considered the first chronograph in history. Beating at the rate of 216,000 vibrations per hour (30 Hz), this pocket stopwatch displays 1/60ths of a second by means of a central hand, seconds and minutes on two separate dials and hours on a 24-hour dial. In 1821, the work of the Frenchman Nicolas Rieussec, watchmaker by appointment to King Louis XVIII, resulted in a device capable of measuring finishing race times at equestrian events. Accurate to 1/5th of a second, it placed a drop of ink – at the beginning and end of the measurement – on a rotating enamel dial housed in a wooden case. Since then, constant progress and innovations have been made in the field of the chronograph, in terms of both miniaturisation and chronometry. As early as 1822, it became a pocket stopwatch and, by the middle of the century, was endowed with three functions: start, stop and zero-resetting.

The split-seconds chronograph for measuring intermediate times was invented in 1831, when the Austrian Joseph-Thaddeus Winnerl presented the first system with a single split-seconds hand that could be stopped before instantly catching up with elapsed time when restarted. This mechanism was improved in 1838 with the introduction of an additional hand. It was not until the 1910s that the first wrist chronographs appeared. Like pocket watches, they were initially equipped with a single pusher for the three functions, generally embedded in the crown. A second pusher for zero-resetting became increasingly common from 1934 onwards. At about the same time, the first split-seconds mechanisms were offered to a clientele increasingly interested in adventure, speed and sports competitions. Meanwhile, research on high frequencies continued, progressively enabling mechanical chronographs to measure times to the nearest 10th, 100th, and even 1000th of a second, making this an essential complication in the watchmaking world.


A complex mechanism
The invention of the chronograph owes much to technical developments preceding its creation, starting with the deadbeat seconds mechanism perfected in the 1750s and highlighted in this pocket watch with independent deadbeat seconds and quarter repeater, the very first of its kind preserved by the Maison and dating from 1819. This first interpretation of a watch equipped with a mechanism enabling the seconds hand to be stopped and restarted without interfering with the time indications prefigured future achievements within a Manufacture that was to forge a reputation for producing chronographs that were as reliable as they were accurate.
On a mechanical watch, the number of jumps made by the seconds hand to complete a full rotation in one minute depends on the oscillation speed of its balance-spring. Thus, on a timepiece beating at 18,000 vibrations per hour, the seconds hand advances at a rate of five "steps" per second. Obtaining one jump per second so as to be able to count them accurately implied storing these impulses by means of a mechanism that releases this force all at once and named "deadbeat seconds". By rendering it independent thanks to an additional gear train, watchmakers developed what is considered the ancestor of the chronograph, since it was now possible to stop and restart the seconds hand without affecting the running of the hours and minutes hands. The appearance of a dedicated seconds hand, minutes and even hours counters, followed by one and then two pushers on wristwatches, gave the chronograph the appearance we now know today.

From a technical standpoint, chronograph mechanisms can be built in two ways. The first, nobler yet more complex option consists of integrating this function into the design of the watch calibre itself, while the second involves adding a module or plate to an existing base movement. Although these architectures vary in terms of construction, the operating principle remains the same. A system of pushers activating a control wheel manages a clutch that engages and disengages the chronograph with or from the gear train. The clutch can be either horizontal or vertical. The control system is generally of two kinds: a cam in the most common constructions or a column wheel for the more sophisticated mechanisms. Zero-resetting is achieved by hammers acting on the axes of the chronograph hands.
Split-seconds chronographs are distinguished by two central seconds hands. At the start of the measurement, they move in perfect synchronisation until a first press on the split-seconds pusher stops the eponymous hand in order to calculate a split time. A second press gives this additional hand the impetus required to catch up with the first which has continued running. The operation can be repeated as many times as necessary, while stopping the split-seconds hand and then the first hand will give two definitive times. Mechanically, this function is a far more complex watchmaking complication than a simple chronograph. With the split-seconds hand, it is indeed equipped with a second disengagement system equipped with clamps to bring into contact or to separate the chronograph wheel and pinion from the split-seconds wheel and pinion. The split-seconds hand is repositioned by means of a spring wound by the chronograph.
 

Two centuries of chronographs at Vacheron Constantin
Vacheron Constantin has been fully involved in these developments since its origins in 1755. As a watchmaker renowned for the quality of its short-time measurements, it has made its timepieces creations that are known for their impeccable functionality and their complicated movements. Among them, short-time measurement has occupied a special place since the very first developments in this field, while consistently displaying Vacheron Constantin’s characteristic elegance, as shown by this 1874 hunter-type watch, the oldest chronograph with minutes counter in its collections.

At the turn of the century, Vacheron Constantin began converting its models into wristwatches. The oldest known wrist chronograph in its production, a single-pusher gold model with a minutes counter, dates from 1917. From then on, the Maison maintained an undiminished reputation in the field of timekeeping with the advent of "miniature" timepieces, whose practicality and functionality paved the way for the instrument watches of the first half of the 20th century. Vacheron Constantin kept step with this trend through its single-pusher chronographs of the 1930s and 1940s, prized for their reliability in robust stamped steel cases that were still in production in the 1970s. Stylistic research nevertheless remained an important preoccupation for the Manufacture, which presented its first water-resistant and antimagnetic chronograph, named Cornes de Vache, in 1955.

In technical terms, Vacheron Constantin's reputation among collectors was already well established. Its Calibres 1141 and 1142 are among the essential hand-wound chronograph movements. This same 1141 movement with column wheel and lateral clutch has also equipped the chronographs in the company's Malte, Patrimony and Traditionnelle collections and continues to drive a perpetual calendar version in the Traditionnelle collection. In 2015, Vacheron Constantin presented the Overseas chronograph equipped with the Hallmark of Geneva-certified self-winding in-house Calibre 5200 Manufacture movement, the result of five years of research and development. This chronograph returned in 2021 in a 150-piece limited edition: the Overseas Everest Chronograph is available with a titanium case housing NAC-treated Calibre 5200 featuring an Everest-engraved oscillating weight.
 

Split-seconds chronograph

A key player in the field of chronographs, Vacheron Constantin is also active in the realm of split-seconds mechanisms. Witness an 1889 order placed for a split-seconds chronograph, which was sent to Buenos Aires at the request of a horse racing enthusiast who had expressly asked that the back of the oxidised silver case be adorned with an enamelled jockey. At the time, the Vacheron Constantin name was already widely known beyond Switzerland's borders, and associated with products embodying great expertise and exemplary finishing. In the United States in particular, John Magnin, the company's official representative in North America, opened an establishment in 1831. From then on, the Manufacture's mechanisms conquered the hearts of Americans, including artists, financiers and others. In 1904, industrialist John Davison Rockefeller acquired three Vacheron Constantin complicated pocket watches, all equipped with a chronograph: two of them had a gold split-seconds mechanism and one also featured a minute repeater.

This expertise in complicated and ultra-complicated watches is such that, since the beginning of the last century, the Manufacture has repeatedly been asked to produce exceptional models. Within this context, it is important to recall that Grand Complication models must incorporate a mechanism for calculating short times, especially in its noble split-seconds chronograph version. Such was notably the case of the timepiece presented to His Majesty Fouad 1 in 1929 by the Swiss expatriate community in Egypt, embodying a major technical feat. The same is true of the one crafted 17 years later by Vacheron Constantin for his son King Farouk, combining 14 complications including a split-seconds chronograph.

The Reference 57260 watch, created for the 260th anniversary of the Maison in 2015, is the ultimate achievement of this approach. Its 57 complications include a split-seconds chronograph with a double retrograde display, a visually fascinating watch industry first featuring two second hands sweeping over separate counters.

Vacheron Constantin's expertise in complication watches is not limited to the creation of one-of-a-kind models. The integration of split-seconds chronograph movements, a highly sophisticated mechanism, can also be seen in the Manufacture's current collections. Such is notably the case with Calibre 3500, a technical masterpiece which for the first time powered a model in the Harmony collection launched in 2015 to mark the 260th anniversary of the Maison. The same Calibre 3500 is to be found in the Traditionnelle ultra-thin split-seconds chronograph presented in 2021. Its special design with a peripheral oscillating weight mounted on ball bearings makes this ultra-thin selfwinding movement one of the thinnest for this type of complication (5.20 mm), enabling an overall watch thickness of just 10.72 mm. Designed in the grand watchmaking tradition with its clamps and two column wheels, this movement has nonetheless been endowed with the latest technical developments of the Manufacture, notably ensuring smooth chronograph activation and short-time readings via a dragging minutes hand. The world of watchmaking according to Vacheron Constantin is one that thrives on research and innovation.

This expertise is also illustrated by Les Cabinotiers Grande complication split-seconds chronograph - Tempo presented in 2020, which combines the split-seconds chronograph with other grand complications such as a perpetual calendar, several astronomical functions, a tourbillon and a minute repeater. The most complicated doubled-sided wristwatch ever made by Vacheron Constantin, it is a true mechanical tour de force orchestrated by a remarkable movement with 24 complications and 1,163 components.

 

Vacheron Constantin and famous orders
Vacheron Constantin's order books between 1900 and 1950 clearly reflect the rise of the American economy and its captains of industry, such as John Davison Rockefeller, who were always on the lookout for prestigious European objects, among which watches held a prominent place. However, they also reflect the infatuation of a certain international intellectual aristocracy for timepieces embodying expertise and tradition. When passing through Switzerland, one of these individuals took advantage of the proximity of the watch manufacturers to enquire about these watches that nurtured the collector's incessant quest: in 1928, Henry Graves acquired a Vacheron Constantin tourbillon chronometer that had won first prize in a competition organised by the Geneva Observatory. Edgar Wallace had seized a similar opportunity several years earlier, in 1922.

Born in 1875, Richard Horacio Edgar Freeman was a leading light of the Grande Époque, a brilliant jack-of-all-trades who always knew how to exercise his charm in order to bounce back. By turns journalist, reporter, writer, scriptwriter and director, he is probably one of the most prolific Anglo-Saxon authors, with more than 170 works to his credit, written in less than 30 years under the pseudonym Edgar Wallace. He ended his career in Hollywood, where he became famous for his film adaptation of Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles and for his participation in the screenplay for King Kong. In residence during the winter of 1922 at the Hôtel Caux-Palace on the heights of Montreux in Switzerland, Edgar Wallace was presented by the manager with a series of Vacheron Constantin watches. As a true connoisseur, he chose a polished 18K gold bassine-type model, a split-seconds chronograph.


Selected watches

1. Rose gold pocket watch with quarter repeater and independent deadbeat seconds (Ref. Inv. 12085) –1819 
From the beginning of the 19th century onwards, the Manufacture began developing its first pocket watches equipped with an independent deadbeat seconds hand, like this 1819 model which also has a quarter repeater. Signed Vacheron Chossat & Co on its enamel dial, this timepiece is equipped with a mechanism allowing the central seconds hand to be stopped and restarted without interfering with the flow of the minutes and hours displayed by serpentine hands. This type of timepiece is considered the ancestor of the chronograph.

2. Two-tone silver and rose gold split-seconds chronograph pocket watch (Ref. Inv. 11092) –1889
Les chronographes de poche monopoussoirs simple ou à totalisateur 30 minutes, les plus sophistiqués avec rattrapante, évaluent le cinquième ou le dixième de seconde, parfois le centième pour répondre aux attentes des éleveurs de chevaux et de certains industriels. Au 19e siècle, un client argentin amateur de sport hippique passe commande de ce chronographe à rattrapante avec petite seconde dont le fond personnalisé arbore un jockey en émail. Il s’agit du plus ancien modèle bicolore de la collection privée de Vacheron Constantin.

3. 18K yellow gold chronometer, split-seconds pocket chronograph (Ref. Inv. 11528) - 1913
Progress in astronomy and medicine, as well as the evolution of everyday life in parallel with the development of sports and transport accompanied – and in some cases drove – improvements in watchmaking, including the need for precision in time-measuring instruments. Vacheron Constantin responded to this need, notably with this split-seconds chronograph pocket watch complete with 30-minute totalizer and small seconds hand. This chronometer-certified model was awarded Class A rating certificates from the Geneva and Teddington Observatories and won Third Prize at the Geneva Observatory Competition, as indiciated by the engraving on the back of the watch. Produced in 1913, this model was sold to the Maharajah of Patiala in 1921.

4. Harmony split-seconds chronograph in 950 platinum, 260th anniversary edition (Ref. 5400S/000P-B057) - 2016
To celebrate its 260th anniversary, Vacheron Constantin launched a collection called Harmony in 2015. These cushion-shaped models were inspired by one of the company's first wrist chronographs dating from 1928. The flagship piece of the new range, the Ultra-Thin Grande Complication Calibre 3500 Chronograph, is distinguished by the slenderness of its selfwinding movement, measuring barely 5.20 mm thick and stemming from seven years of research and development. Housed in a 950 platinum case, it drives a split-seconds chronograph with a 60-minute counter, complemented by a small seconds display and endowed with a 51-hour power reserve. Alongside its classic construction, Calibre 3500 is endowed with the latest technical advances from the Manufacture.

 

 

Overseas Limited Editions “Everest”: A sleek design for a casual chic look

Overseas Limited Editions “Everest”
Chronograph and dual time models issued in two 150-piece limited series

 

  • A chronograph watch and a dual time model equipped with in-house self-made movements.
  • Two numbered 150-piece limited series.
  • Creations inspired by the prototype worn by American explorer and photographer Cory Richards during his ascent of Mount Everest in 2019.
  • A titanium and stainless steel case cut out for adventure, equipped with the self-interchangeable strap system.

 

Geneva, 22 September 2021 – Vacheron Constantin’s sportiest collections is opening up to new aesthetic horizons with two new variations: Overseas chronograph “Everest” and Overseas dual time “Everest”. These two numbered 150-piece limited editions are ideal for everyday wear as well as for the most daring feats, as testified by American explorer and photographer Cory Richards who wears the dual time version and shot the chronograph model in Colorado.

 

A symbol of discovery and openness to the world, the Overseas collection explores new heights of elegance and robustness with two models radiating a resolutely sporting temperament. Inspired by the world's highest peak, the Overseas chronograph “Everest” and Overseas dual time “Everest” watches celebrate adventure and self-surpassing. This mindset is personified by the American explorer and photographer Cory Richards, one of the talents chosen by Vacheron Constantin to embody its One of not many communications campaign. In 2019, this seasoned mountaineer undertook his third ascent of the ‘roof of the world’ via the North-East Ridge – considered the most difficult and perilous route – with an Overseas dual time prototype specially developed by Vacheron Constantin on his wrist. This unique watch now lends its aesthetic codes to the two new Overseas Limited Editions “Everest”, photographed for the occasion by Cory Richards himself.


The new models, all of which are recognisable by the famous six-sided bezel evoking the Maltese cross, are distinguished by a powerful and distinctive style expressed through a skilful combination of materials, alternating between titanium and steel. The case, the bezel, the pushers and pusher guards are made of titanium, a light, robust and corrosion-resistant metal. The only differences are the finishes: satin-brushed and polished for the case; polished for the pushers; bead blasted for the bezel, crown and pusher guards, reflecting the grained dial finish. The anthracite grey tones contrast with the shimmering gleam of the stainless-steel bezel ring. On the dial side, these watches opt for an elegantly grained finish punctuated by bright orange accents, a dynamic colour matching the shade of the stitching on the Cordura® strap with nubuck calfskin lining, providing a blend of sturdiness and softness on the wrist. To ensure their versatile elegance, both models are equipped with Overseas collection’s self-interchangeable strap system. This ingenious concept enables tool-free swaps between the the Cordura® and rubber straps supplied with the watches, thereby adjusting the styles in step with the mood and the occasion.


Overseas chronograph “Everest”

The light and versatile Overseas “Everest” watch opts for the horological complication much appreciated by sports enthusiasts and outdoor activity lovers by offering chronograph functions. Equally suited to adventure and everyday challenges, this 150-piece limited edition is at home in every situation. Its 42.5 mm case features a contrasting combination of titanium and stainless steel, while its harmoniously dial composition ensures optimal legibility of the chronograph indications, particularly thanks to the bright orange colour of its central chronograph hand.

Steadily beating time behind the scenes if self-winding Calibre 5200/2. This twin-barrel in-house movement is fitted with a column wheel orchestrating the chronograph function’s start, stop and reset operations. This accurate and reliable mechanism also features a vertical clutch to prevent any potential hand stuttering when the chronograph is started. Technical performance is complemented by a particularly contemporary aesthetic. The NAC treatment on the baseplate echoes the anthracite grey shades of this model, while the 22K pink gold oscillating weight bears an engraving of Mount “Everest” based on a photograph taken by Cory Richards during one of his expeditions to the Himalayan summit.


Overseas dual time – “Everest”

At the exact intersection between performance and style, the Overseas dual time “Everest” watch is an open travel invitation. Directly inspired by the prototype built to accompany Cory Richards on his latest ascent of the ‘roof of the world’, this timepiece issued in a 150-piece limited edition provides all the functions useful to globetrotters and experienced explorers.

At the heart of its 41 mm case, carved from a combination of titanium and stainless steel, the Overseas dual time “Everest” watch opts for the in-house self-winding 5110 DT/2 movement enabling simultaneous reading of two time zones. In addition to the classic local-time indications, an arrow-tipped fourth orange hand displays the original (home) time, coupled with a matching-coloured day/night indicator. The pointer-type date display at 6 o'clock is synchronised with local time, which can be adjusted by a dedicated pusher. The two time zones at 12 o'clock can be corrected by turning the crown in either direction. Visible through the sapphire crystal caseback, the anthracite grey NAC treatment on the baseplate gives the movement a decidedly contemporary character. Setting the signature touch to this model, the 22K pink gold oscillating weight is adorned with an engraving of Mount Everest inspired by a photograph taken by Cory Richards.

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Interview with Cory Richards

What do you think of these watches?

For me, these watches are an expression of years of refinement and effort. They are the manifestation of the reduction of the superfluous in the pursuit of the essential...and the essence of craftsmanship. All of my endeavors have mirrored this journey...be them in art and photography or exploration. For me, the ultimate expression of any craft is best understood through what we are able to strip away and shed as we drive towards perfection. I see this in the details...what is included and why. I'm reminded of the sweat and blood and tears and joy that all greatness requires. And in the movements I see the countless hours of dedication required to bring any goal to life. I see the time given. I see my life reflected back at me through minutes and seconds and I am reminded that there is still a road ahead and an unfolding of countless journeys yet to come.


How did you approach the shoot?

I wanted our shoot to reflect countless hours spent over a lifetime pursuing exploration. The late nights spent in the dark, hovering above the expanse of the world below. When we leave behind the comfort of our everyday lives and willfully exchange it for discomfort, we are invited into a space of our own evolution and we discover what we are capable of. In the mountains or on the ocean, time dilates and minutes can be experienced as hours, and days remembered as mere seconds. Oftentimes, our success or failure is tied to how we optimize our time...when we wake, how quickly we move, how much we sleep...it is all a measure of time. Speed equates to safety and can literally mean the difference between life and death. Can we beat the sun before the ice melts and rocks begin to rain down? Can we cross a slope before the snow becomes too unstable to traverse, warmed by the heat of the day? Can we beat a storm or must we retreat? It is all a measure of time. I wanted to tell that story of a day moving through an environment, optimized and by attention to detail and efficiency through the awareness of time. It is a story of goals and willingness to observe and respect what is necessary to achieve them, measured out to the last second.


How do you feel about wearing an Overseas Limited Edition “Everest”?

Wearing an Overseas “Everest”, I'm reminded of everything from my childhood and everything that brought me to this moment in time...the trials, the seemingly endless learning through trial and error. The failures balanced against the successes. I'm actually emotional when I stop and contemplate what this watch actually says...about my life and what it can mean to others who wear it. To share such an enormous piece of me condensed into something so refined and beautiful is a humbling honor beyond the words I have. I guess what I feel most is gratitude. Gratitude for the time spent in the company of countless mentors and friends. Gratitude for the places seen and the effort given. And gratitude for everyone who has worked so hard to express all of that in a timepiece that encapsulates it all with such articulation, beauty, and thoughtfulness. I've always loved watches, but this is much more than that.


What parallels could you draw between this Overseas “Everest” model and our collaboration with One of not many concepts as your personality?

It's hard to accept myself as one of not many because I believe that we are all truly extraordinary in our own expressions. But I also work to celebrate the pieces of me that have brought this to life and appreciate that path. In very real terms, every Overseas “Everest” is truly one of not many and that limited nature only acts to amplify everything that has been accomplished and expressed in the watch itself. Much like a timepiece, we are greater than the sum of our parts. Each of us is made of our own collection of movements and gearing, the machinations of the lives we've lived...and the outward expression of that is unique. I see this collaboration as a continued expression of that concept. The movements in me are echoed in the craftsmanship I look to countless times everyday, leading me further into an exploration of self, art, and the planet. For that, I can't be more humbled and grateful.

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Summary

A watch for sports enthusiasts and adventurers, Overseas is reaching new heights and exploring new aesthetic territories, as the collection welcomes two 150-piece limited editions: Overseas chronograph “Everest” and Overseas dual time “Everest”. Inspired by a prototype developed by Vacheron Constantin in 2019 to accompany Cory Richards on his third expedition to the ‘roof of the world’, they are distinguished by a powerful and bold design. Available in a diameter of 42.5 mm for the chronograph version and 41 mm for the dual time interpretation, the case combines the lightness and robustness of titanium with the shimmering gleam of stainless steel. This sophisticated look brimming with contrasts is paired with a self-interchangeable rubber or Cordura® strap lined with nubuck calfskin. On the technical side, the chronograph model is equipped with self-winding Calibre 5200/2, while the dual time model opts for self-winding Calibre 5110 DT/2. These two in-house movements feature an extremely contemporary anthracite grey NAC treatment. Setting a signature touch, their 22K pink gold oscillating weight is adorned with an engraving of Mount Everest inspired by a photograph taken by Cory Richards.

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TECHNICAL DATA

Overseas dual time “Everest”

Reference
7910V/000T-B922

Calibre
5110 DT/2
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
Mechanical, self-winding
NAC treatment
22K pink gold Overseas oscillating weight with Everest engraving
30.6 mm (13¼’’’) diameter, 6 mm thick
Approximately 60 hours of power reserve
4 Hz (28,800 vibrations/hour)
234 components
37 jewels
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece

Indications
Hours and minutes
Central seconds
Second timezone, set by the crown
Day/night (AM/PM) indication at 9 o’clock, synchronised with home time
Date at 6 o’clock, synchronized with local time, set by pusher

Case
Titanium and stainless steel
41 mm diameter, 12.8 mm thick
Bezel, crown, pusher guards and pushers in titanium
Bezel-ring in stainless steel
Screwed-down crown and quarter-turn screw-lock pushers
Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
Water-resistant tested at a pressure of 15 bar (approx. 150 meters)

Dial
Grey-blue grained dial
18K gold applied hour-markers
18K gold hours, minutes, seconds and counters hands
Orange dual time hands
Hours-markers and hours & minutes hands highlighted with blue Super-LumiNova®

Straps
Grey Cordura® fabric with Orange stitching, featuring a black nubuck leather lining
Delivered with a second strap in grey rubber


Clasp
Titanium/Stainless steel folding clasp

Limited and numbered edition of 150 pieces
Available exclusively from Vacheron Constantin boutiques

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Overseas chronograph “Everest”

Reference
5510-000T-B923

Caliber
5200/2
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
Mechanical, self-winding
22K pink gold Overseas oscillating weight
30.6 mm (13¼’’’) diameter, 6.6 mm thick
Approximately 52 hours of power reserve
4 Hz (28,800 vibrations/hour)
263 components
54 jewels
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece

Indications
Hours and minutes
Small seconds at 9 o’clock
Date
Column-wheel chronograph (30-minute and 12-hour counters)

Case
Titanium and stainless steel
42.5 mm diameter, 13.7 mm thick
Bezel, crown, pusher guards and pushers in titanium
Bezel-ring in stainless steel
Screwed-down crown and quarter-turn screw-lock pushers
Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
Water-resistant tested at a pressure of 15 bar (approx. 150 metres)

Dial
Grey-blue grained dial
18K gold applied hour-markers
18K gold hours, minutes, seconds and counters hands
Orange chronograph hands
Hour-markers and hours & minutes hands highlighted with blue Super-LumiNova®

Straps
Grey Cordura® fabric with Orange stitching, featuring a black nubuck leather lining
Delivered with a second strap in grey rubber

Clasp
Titanium/Stainless steel folding clasp

Limited and numbered edition of 150 pieces
Available exclusively from Vacheron Constantin boutiques

New York flagship event opening

New York, September 8th 2021 - luxury Swiss Watchmaker Vacheron Constantin opened NYFW with a star-studded fete celebrating a striking new Flagship Boutique, ushering in a new era for the brand in the United States. “It was a magical evening celebrating Vacheron Constantin’s new Flagship in New York” said Alexander Schmiedt, President of the Americas for Vacheron Constantin. “We kicked off the latest chapter in a centuries-old love story with the city, where our guests went on a surreal journey to 1921 and back again to 2021, in honor of our iconic watch, the American 1921- relaunched this year in white gold.” 

The night began at Vacheron Constantin’s two story, over 4500 sq feet Flagship at 28 E. 57th street off Madison Avenue. The new boutique’s incredible 2 floor glass façade glowed from the inside with white lights twinkling from a 12 foot tall brass cityscape art installation in the atrium created in collaboration with the American artist Chris Burden Estate especially for the Grand Opening. In front of the city scape art installation an electric musical performance from supermodel Karen Elson left fashionable guests eager for more. Elson debuted her new song Lightning Strikes – the first time she’s performed a song from her new album launching this week. But that was just the start of a journey at the new store, which carries powerful symbolism for the Maison as they unveil the 100th Anniversary of the American 1921 timepiece.

The watch Maison’s incredible heritage met modern day as partygoers were transported via vintage 1920s automobiles and the new luxurious Rolls-Royce Ghost car to a secret penthouse speakeasy at the penthouse at Steinway Hall. High above the city streets on the 21st floor, they were treated to 1920s flapper dancers and an offering of 1921 and 2021 cocktails under the stars, followed by an elegant multicourse dinner with artistic plates featuring maltese crosses – the emblem of the iconic Swiss watchmaker and a special custom touch to the night. Guests including Katie HolmesNico Tortorella and Michelle Hicks were then surprised by a powerful Cabaret 1920’s themed performance from Tony Award winner Alan Cumming, including a mash-up of Broadway songs which concluded with a standing ovation for Is that all there Is

The fashionable crowd also included Chanel ImanChristian SirianoKelly Bensimon, Dorinda Medley and so many others.

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Pictures captions:

IMAGE 1 – Vintage & Modern Cars Escorted Guests from the Flagship boutique to an offsite speakeasy penthouse for dinner and a surprise performance

IMAGE 2 – Alex Lundqvist Attends Flagship Grand Opening wearing the Overseas Self-Winding

IMAGE 3 – Eric Rutherford Attends Flagship Grand Opening wearing the Overseas Chronograph

IMAGE 4 – Actress and Designer Katie Holmes Attends Flagship Grand Opening wearing the Egerie Diamond Pave timepeice

IMAGE 5 - Supermodel & Musician Karen Elson Wears the American 1921 36.5mm in White Gold with Red Patent Strap

IMAGE 6 – Nico Tortorella attends the Vacheron Constantin Grand Opening in New York City

IMAGE 7 – Model Chanel Iman stuns in a leather outfit as she helps celebrate Vacheron Constantin’s new Flagship

IMAGE 8 – Alan Cumming performs a surprise Cabaret-style show during the Grand Opening dinner, ending with a standing ovation

IMAGE 9 - Supermodel & Musician Karen Elson performs live from her new Album. She sings in front of the cityscape art installation collaboration between Vacheron Constantin and the Chris Burden Estate, created specailly for the Flagship.

IMAGE 10 - Supermodel & Musician Karen Elson and Vacheron Constantin President of the Americas, Alexander Schmiedt

IMAGE 11 - Alan Cumming performs a surprise Cabaret-style show over dinner

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“Technical Achievements” exhibition in Shanghai: from Sept. 5th to Oct. 28th, 2021

“Technical Achievements” exhibition
Discover the watchmaking genius of the Maison and its mastery of mechanical complications in the 20th century

 

  • The “Technical Achievements” exhibition highlights the inner workings of Vacheron Constantin’s watchmaking genius.
  • Retrograde displays, split-seconds chronographs, perpetual calendars, minute repeaters and Grande Sonnerie models: a selection of eight masterpieces of mechanical complications from the heritage of the Maison.
  • Location: Shanghai Mansion Boutique, 796 Huaihai Mid Road, Shanghai, China
    Exhibition date: Sept. 5th to Oct. 28th, 2021
    Time: 10:00-22:00

 

Shanghai, September 6th, 2021 - Since its founding in 1755, Vacheron Constantin has perpetuated watchmaking expertise drawing upon the mastery of the most advanced knowledge and technology. This demanding know-how, which the Manufacture has continually enriched throughout its history and continues to explore, is illustrated through a wide range of horological complications. From the split-seconds chronograph to the perpetual calendar, from the minute repeater to Grand Complication combinations, the “Technical Achievements” exhibition brings together a selection of eight 20th century masterpieces.


“To do better if possible, and that is always possible”: these words written by François Constantin in 1819 sum up the visionary spirit and quest for excellence of the Vacheron Constantin artisans. From the first watches made in 1755 to the present day, the Manufacture’s heritage is replete with creations testifying to consistent daring and a taste for innovation. A journey through the archives of the Maison demonstrates the true scope of the skills passed down through several generations of passionate and curious master-watchmakers, as well as the progress of science and watchmaking genius. 


Through a selection of eight historical models, “Technical Achievements” pays tribute to the mechanical feats achieved in Vacheron Constantin’s workshops during the 20th century. Retrograde displays, split-second chronographs, perpetual calendars, minute repeater, Grande Sonnerie models and watches with multiple complications are brought together in this exhibition. From pocket watches to the art of wearing time on the wrist, they reflect the wealth of Vacheron Constantin’s technical repertoire and the desire to continually nurture the expertise accumulated over the centuries. The exhibition is also a reminder of the extent to which the Manufacture has always endeavoured to place technique at the service of style. Thanks to the miniaturisation of calibres and their constant technical evolution, Vacheron Constantin has demonstrated tremendous artistic creativity. The result is a signature touch in which a taste for innovation meets a keen sense of elegance.

 

Retrograde displays
The design and adjustment of a movement with retrograde indications requires great technical virtuosity. First and foremost, the development of such a mechanism implies mastery of the considerable forces brought into play by the instantaneous return of the hands over an almost 180° arc in a mere fraction of a second. It also implies perfect energy management in order to enable the sudden movement of the hand. This technical tour de force enables time to be displayed in an original way while maintaining the inherent precision requirements of Haute Horlogerie timepieces. 


Watchmaking history reveals that retrograde displays already appeared in pocket watches during the late 17th century. These featured an hour hand that travelled across an arc for half the day before returning to its starting point to begin all over again. Vacheron Constantin has been incorporating retrograde displays into its creations since the end of the 18th century. The originality of this complication enabled it to give free rein to its technical creativity.


Among the most famous models is a ‘bras en l’air’ (‘arms in the air’) movement presented in 1930 in a pocket watch case bearing the signature of Verger Frères. Subsequently, Vacheron Constantin produced other original interpretations depicting a fakir or a Chinese magician whose arms replaced the retrograde hands to indicate the hours and minutes. Over the following decades, these ‘arms in the air’ models inspired multiple contemporary variations of the retrograde display, such as the Mercator and Saltarello wristwatches created in the 1990s. These are among the most striking examples of Vacheron Constantin’s technical and aesthetic daring – a heritage that the Manufacture continues to enrich through highly sophisticated models added to its current collections, such as the Patrimony moon phase retrograde date watch - Collection Excellence Platine unveiled in 2020. The one-of-a-kind Les Cabinotiers Armillary tourbillon perpetual calendar - Planeteria presented in 2021 also presents an innovative interpretation of this complication by integrating a triple retrograde indication for the date, months and days.

 

Chronographs and split-seconds chronographs
The chronograph is one of the most recent horological complications: it was not until the early 19th century that watchmakers achieved a sufficient level of precision to develop a system for measuring short times by means of a mechanism enabling a hand to be stopped and restarted without hindering the movement. This invention was quickly followed by another equally brilliant one designed to measure several events simultaneously by means of a double hand system. Invented in 1838, the split-seconds chronograph remains one of the most sophisticated mechanical developments and is greatly appreciated by watch enthusiasts.


As functional as it is technically ingenious, this mechanism serves to time actions starting at the same time but of different durations. When the watch is activated, the chronograph hand and the split-second hand are superimposed. When the pusher is pressed, the split-second hand stops while the chronograph hand continues its progression. After memorising an initial time, a further press releases the split-seconds hand, which then synchronises instantly with the chronograph seconds hand that is still running. This operation can be repeated as many times as necessary to carry out several successive timing operations.


Vacheron Constantin joined the fray at an early stage by incorporating the chronograph complication into elegant pocket watches that were particularly sought after at turn of the 20th century, in an era when the world was becoming fascinated by sports competitions and horse races. Thanks to the progress made in the miniaturisation of its movements, the Manufacture was also quick to adopt the complex column-wheel chronograph mechanism in elegant watches from 1917 onwards.


A number of historical models well-known to collectors for their bold design and unfailing reliability testify to this tendency. Among them is a 1942 chronograph, Reference 4083, which stands out both for its legibility and for the design of its double-cylinder lugs. Another example is the prestigious Reference 4072, a chronograph produced by Vacheron Constantin between the 1930s and the early 1970s, which owes its exceptional longevity to its timeless design and the exceptional quality of its movements.


Faithfully cultivated throughout the last century, the expertise of the Manufacture’s artisans in the field of chronographs is alive and well, as demonstrated by ingenious interpretations such as the Traditionnelle split-seconds chronograph ultra-thin - Collection Excellence Platine. Introduced in April 2021, this timepiece is powered by the prestigious self-winding Calibre 3500, one of the finest to date for this type of complication.

 

The perpetual calendar
The perpetual calendar is one of the trickiest horological complications to develop. Considered a masterpiece of horological genius, this mechanism takes into account the variations of the Gregorian calendar so as to automatically adjust to months of 30 and 31 days or 28 and 29 days in February, without requiring any correction until 2100. To do this, the movement must have a mechanical memory whose sequences are repeated every 48 months. The solution is a cam, a component consisting of notches of varying depths. The deeper the notch, the shorter the month. This information from the cam is transmitted via a feeler spindle to a large lever that operates the various displays. It represents a technical solution to an astronomical and mathematical problem that Vacheron Constantin addressed by presenting its first perpetual calendar watch in 1884.


For almost a century, the Manufacture used this technical prowess exclusively in pocket watches. Thanks to progress in movement miniaturisation and the trend towards increasingly large wristwatch diameters, the 1980s marked a turning point with the 1983 creation of the first perpetual calendar to be fitted in an ultra-thin wristwatch (Reference 43031). Its movement, the prestigious Calibre 1120 QP, constitutes a technical challenge and is still majestically enthroned in the most demanding creations of the Manufacture, such as the Overseas perpetual calendar ultra-thin. Its latest skeletonised variation, presented in 2021 in a white gold case, enables viewers to admire – both on the dial side and through the sapphire crystal caseback – the components of Calibre 1120 QPSQ/1, delicately hollowed out, finished and decorated in the finest traditions so as to enhance the functional beauty of the mechanism.


Engaged in a continuous quest for innovation, Vacheron Constantin also expanded its technical repertoire with the Traditionnelle Twin Beat perpetual calendar watch presented in 2019. The 3610 QP calibre powering this timepiece is endowed with a dual frequency, enabling its owner to reduce the watch’s energy consumption when it is not on the wrist. This action serves to extend the power reserve to at least 65 days – a technical advance that gives real meaning to the term “perpetual”and opens up new perspectives for traditional watchmaking.

 

Minute repeaters and Grande Sonnerie models
Born of the need to tell the time in the dark at a time when people were still reliant on candlelight, chiming watches have been one of Vacheron Constantin’s great specialities for more than two centuries and are available in various forms. The Manufacture’s watchmakers have repeatedly distinguished themselves through strike-on-demand, minute repeater (striking the hours, quarters and minutes on demand, Petite Sonnerie (striking the hours and quarters without repeating the hours at each quarter) and Grande Sonnerie (striking the hours and quarters with a repetition of the hours at each quarter) complications. Among these, the sophisticated Grande Sonnerie mechanism is considered by connoisseurs as the pinnacle of musical watches. Few watchmakers are capable of mastering the demands involved in its design and construction: the synchronisation of the components must not only be perfect in order to set the time to music, but also to ensure the reliable operation of the movement, as any interference between the different functions is likely to damage the mechanism. The issue of energy management is also crucial, given that the movement orchestrates 912 hammer strikes on the gongs every 24 hours. Not to mention the harmonic tone and acoustic power that make the creation of such a model an exercise reserved for the most experienced watchmakers.


The Manufacture’s archives attest to the first chiming timepiece created in 1806 by the founder’s grandson, Jacques Barthélemi Vacheron. The first watch with a Grande Sonnerie mechanism signed Vacheron Constantin dates back to 1827. Since then, the Manufacture has consistently cultivated and enriched this heritage, to the point of becoming a benchmark for the most illustrious collectors such as the Maharajah of Patiala, who commissioned a pocket watch with chronograph, alarm, date and moon phases in 1909; as well as American car manufacturer James Ward Packard, for whom Vacheron Constantin created a pocket watch equipped with a chronograph, a quarter and half-quarter repeater, and a Grande Sonnerie in 1918. Over the course of the century, orders poured in from all over the world for Vacheron Constantin’s repeater watches and Grande and Petite Sonnerie complications, combining virtuoso mechanics with impeccable acoustic resonance. The Manufacture continues to perpetuate this expertise today, notably through one-off models such as the Les Cabinotiers minute repeater tourbillon sky chart – Leo constellation Jewellery watch, whose Calibre 2755 TMRCC combines a minute repeater with a tourbillon and drives a rotating map of the celestial vault.

 

Grand Complication combinations
As early as 1900, Vacheron Constantin set up a workshop exclusively dedicated to watches with complications. It is here, where the most seasoned watchmakers rub shoulders, that high-flying watches are born.


Housed in elegantly sculpted gold cases, several extremely complex mechanisms are combined. Two examples reflect the technical mastery of Vacheron Constantin’s artisans in the creation of Grand Complications, whose golden age reached its peak between the 1920s and 1930s: a triple complication from 1901 combining a minute repeater, a chronograph with a tachymeter scale and an astronomical perpetual calendar; as well as a 1910 hunter-type watch featuring a perpetual calendar, a quarter repeater and a moon-phase indication. 


Nearly a century later, the Manufacture is continuing its epic technical saga by combining the traditional principles of watchmaking with the latest mechanical advances. In 2015, after eight years of research, Vacheron Constantin unveiled Reference 57260, the most complicated timepiece ever made. This double-dial pocket watch features 57 complications, including multiple calendars and a split-seconds chronograph with double retrograde display.


This unique expertise in the field of Grand Complications is also illustrated through wristwatches showcasing a resolutely 21st century style. Presented in 2020, the one-of-a-kind Les Cabinotiers split-seconds chronograph - Tempo is the most complicated wristwatch ever made by Vacheron Constantin. On its two sides, it displays a split-seconds chronograph, a perpetual calendar, several astronomical functions, a tourbillon and a minute repeater. This mechanical tour de force is orchestrated by an exceptional calibre featuring 24 complications and 1,163 components.

 

Watches exhibited
Round ‘arm in the air’ Chinese magician pocket watch, Ref. Inv. 11060 - 1930
Between the 1920s and the 1930s, Vacheron Constantin unabashedly displayed its creative daring on pocket watches with retrograde displays. This is particularly evident in this 1930 two-tone yellow and white gold watch: an engraved and enamelled gold Chinese magician on its satin-brushed silver-toned dial shows the hours with his right arm and points to the minutes with his left arm.

 “Mercator” wristwatch with map of Europe, Asia & Africa, Ref. Inv. 12130 - 1996
Created to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of the father of cartography, Gérard Mercator, this 18K yellow gold wristwatch is distinguished not only by the refinement of its hand-engraved dial representing Mercator’s map of Europe, Asia and Africa, but also by the originality of its retrograde display. The compass-shaped hands respectively indicate the retrograde hours and minutes on two sectors placed on the lower part of the dial.

Saltarello wristwatch, Ref. Inv. 11000 - 1998
Over the years, Vacheron Constantin has developed the retrograde display complication in numerous stylistic variations. At the heart of the cushion-shaped yellow gold case of the Saltarello model, Vacheron Constantin has opted for a refined design: the jumping hours are indicated through an aperture, while the retrograde minute hand sweeps majestically across the centre of the sunburst silver-toned dial.

Split-seconds pocket chronograph, Ref. Inv. 11288 - 1939
The split-seconds chronograph is undoubtedly one of the most sophisticated mechanical developments in terms of its design and the sophistication of its settings. In 1939, Vacheron Constantin combined it with a base 1000 tachymeter scale in this 18K yellow gold pocket watch. Alongside its technical performance, the watch’s legibility is also of the utmost importance: the 30-minute counters and the small seconds hand are harmoniously arranged on the silver-toned dial swept over by two split-seconds hands.

Wrist chronograph, Ref. Inv. 11017 - 1942
The particularly close ties woven in the late 19th century with the Parisian case manufacturer Verger Frères influenced the aesthetics of the timepieces produced by Vacheron Constantin. These were combined with various technical developments in the 1920s, highlighted by ever more audacious designs. This style signature can be seen on this famous 18K red gold chronograph produced in 1942, whose 33mm case features particularly original cylinder-type lugs.

Perpetual calendar wristwatch, Ref. Inv. 10736 - 1988
In 1984, Vacheron Constantin fitted a wristwatch with a perpetual calendar movement for the very first time. Hailed for its precision and reliability, this prestigious Calibre 1120 QP, which can still be found in the Manufacture’s contemporary collections, equipped this platinum watch from 1988 onwards. The understated and particularly legible dial displays the perpetual calendar and moon-phase indications.

Minute repeater pocket watch, Ref. Inv. 10607 - 1908
A true feat of miniaturisation and acoustic quality, this round pocket watch produced in 1908 houses minute repeater and Grande Sonnerie mechanisms within its 18K red gold case. Its enamelled dial is punctuated by a small seconds counter at 6 o’clock. On the back, the case is decorated with a polychrome enamel crest topped by a crown.

Perpetual calendar pocket watch, quarter repeater, moon phases, Ref. Inv. 10722 - 1910
As early as 1900, Vacheron Constantin set up a workshop specially dedicated to the assembly of watches with grand complications, such as this 18K yellow gold hunter-type pocket watch combining a quarter-repeater, a 48-month astronomical perpetual calendar, moon phases and a small seconds-hand. This prestigious model is distinguished by the perfect legibility of the indications harmoniously arranged on a white enamel dial.

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Sum-up
True to François Constantin’s motto, “Do better if possible, and that is always possible”, Vacheron Constantin has always been committed to transmitting and enriching its mechanical and aesthetic expertise. Paying tribute to the horological feats of its artisans throughout the 20th century, the “Technical Achievements” exhibition brings together eight masterpieces of technical sophistication from its heritage. Retrograde displays, split-seconds chronograph, perpetual calendars, minute repeater, Grande Sonnerie and Grand Complications watches bear witness to the full scope of the skills passed on across several generations of passionate and curious master watchmakers, as well as to the advancement of science and to the evolution of watchmaking engineering. The exhibition also paints a picture of an innovative and daring Manufacture, firmly rooted in the progress of its time.

High Watchmaking: The Tourbillon in the service of precision

  • The start of the 19th century witnessed the emergence of the tourbillon, a complex and fascinating mechanism designed to counter the effects of gravity on watch mechanisms.
  • This horological complication representing an integral part of Vacheron Constantin's history since 1901 has played a major role in the quest for precision within the Manufacture
  • In its most accomplished version, the tourbillon is a watchmaking masterpiece that is indispensable in Grand Complications watches and a Vacheron Constantin speciality found in current collections as well as the heart of many one-of-a-kind Les Cabinotiers models.

 

Geneva, September 1st - Invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet at the beginning of the 19th century, the tourbillon's primary function is to counteract the effects of gravity on watch mechanisms. This device is a symbol of technical mastery and craftsmanship. The first known traces of its commercialization found in Vacheron Constantin’s archives date back to 1901. Since then, this complication has become part of the Maison’s watchmaking heritage, integrated into pocket watches, then wristwatches from the early 1990s, as well as into exceptional pieces intended for connoisseurs and collectors.


The history of tourbillons

The tourbillon is often considered a masterpiece of the watchmaking art. And while it is not strictly speaking considered a horological complication, since it does not offer an additional function alongside the time indications, it is nonetheless a mechanical system as complex as it is fascinating. Developed in 1795 and patented in 1801 by Abraham-Louis Breguet, it was designed to eliminate the errors in rate caused by the Earth’s gravity.

Few watchmakers tried their hand at the tourbillon during the 19th century and the quantities produced remained extremely modest. As a regulating organ, however, this mechanism proved itself sufficiently well for it to be taken into consideration not only for so-called chronometry watches, in search of absolute precision, but also as the component of choice for Grand Complication models. Vacheron Constantin has distinguished itself in both these fields with its perfect mastery of this complex watchmaking mechanism.

The invention of the tourbillon is intimately bound up with sartorial habits as well as the horological knowledge and practices of the late 18th century. The pocket watches of that era suffered from several mechanical defects, due in particular to the artisanal component production. They were tricky to poise and tended to endure excessive friction, only partially mitigated by the lubricants then available which tended to congeal. In addition, wearing the watch in a waistcoat pocket meant it mostly remained in a static and vertical position. The watch calibre, and particularly its regulating organ forming the link with the escapement, was thus adversely affected by the Earth’s gravity, which perturbed the isochronism of the balance-spring, synonymous with deviations in rate and therefore a loss of precision.

The solution therefore called for a new mobile system. In a traditional mechanical movement, the escapement and the balance-and-spring assembly are affixed to the mainplate in such a way that they mesh by pivoting on their axis. With the tourbillon, these same components are combined in a rotating carriage, suspended between its two pivot points. This carriage functions as a fourth wheel and pinion, driven by the third wheel, causing the balance-spring to successively adopt all the vertical positions, even though the watch remains stationary within the waistcoat pocket. The combination of positions therefore serves to compensate for variations in order to achieve an average rate, a factor conducive to enhanced precision.

For a century and a half, the tourbillon changed very little, immutably based on the same principle of a rotating carriage. The only significant variation was the karussel, a mechanism patented by the Danish watchmaker Bahne Bonniksen in 1892. This mechanism also aims to improve the precision of the watch by embedding the escapement and the regulator within a rotating module. It differs from the tourbillon in that it is driven by two distinct forces: one for cage and the other for the escapement. With the advent of wristwatches, which are by definition in constant motion, the usefulness of the tourbillon became a recurring issue within the watchmaking community, as did that of “plat-pendu” in the world of pocket watches, i.e. the difference in rate observed in the same timepiece in respective horizontal and vertical positions where the amplitude is smaller. While no definitive answer has been found, recent research and innovative features added to the tourbillon can be considered the best existing solution.


Vacheron Constantin and tourbillons

The first mention of a tourbillon pocket watch in the Vacheron Constantin archives dates back to 1901. A letter addressed to the Maison relates to an order placed by a Parisian client for a timepiece with a tourbillon escapement, double chronograph, Grande and Petite Sonnerie, minute repeater, perpetual calendar with moon phases and power reserve. In other words, an exceptional timepiece that must also be submitted to the Geneva Observatory in order to obtain its chronometry (precision timekeeping certificate). Since its founding in 1755, Vacheron Constantin had already had the opportunity to demonstrate its expertise in the field of watch complications.

At the turn of the 20th century, this technical mastery took on a new dimension with the creation of ultra-complicated watches, some of which included a tourbillon, such as a 1917 pocket watch acquired by the Maharajah of Patiala, a great collector of timepieces. Until the 1950s, the Maison distinguished itself by creating highly technical pocket watches that have become part of watchmaking history. The now famous Reference 57260 , a pocket watch presented in 2015 to mark the 260th anniversary of Vacheron Constantin, is also a tribute to these creations. Its 57 complications notably include a very rare triple-axis tourbillon with a spherical balance spring that regulates the effects of gravity so that the time is in no way affected by random changes in the position of the wearer. In 2019, Vacheron Constantin once again demonstrated its technical mastery by welcoming the tourbillon to the Overseas collection. Calibre 2160, an ultra-thin selfwinding movement, appeared one year later at the heart of the Overseas tourbillon in an all 18K gold 5N version with a blue lacquered dial.


A tradition of precision

This quest for precision is a constant at Vacheron Constantin, whose desire has always been to produce robust, reliable and accurate watches radiating pure elegance. From 1872 onwards, the Manufacture regularly entered the various precision competitions organised by the Geneva and Neuchâtel Observatories, as well as those in England and the United States, and its watches regularly won gold medals or first prizes. Thanks to the reliability of Vacheron Constantin's calibres, the Maison’s adjusters worked wonders during these watchmaking contests – to the point where one of them, Edmond Oliver, went down in history as the talent behind these chronometric feats. Several pocket models that he entered in the Geneva Observatory competition excelled in terms of precision. He notably trained the adjuster Hélène Jaccard, herself the holder of numerous records.

Vacheron Constantin made this chronometric performance one of its primary qualities and the Chronomètre Royal significantly contributed to this reputation. This pocket watch presented in 1907 perpetuated this tradition of precision, ensuring its international success throughout the century. Yet this quest for precision also involved more advanced research into movement architecture and tourbillon regulation systems. As early as the 1900s, Vacheron Constantin offered pocket watches incorporating a tourbillon as the only "complication” – regarded as an additional guarantee of accuracy in time measurement. These watches were logically also subjected to Observatory tests, including this 1907 model of which the movement blank was developed by Albert Pellaton, a brilliant watchmaker hired in the Manufacture's R&D department as soon as he left school. There was no lack of success, as over the next four decades, Vacheron Constantin's tourbillon pocket chronometers won a series of distinctions in various chronometry competitions, including three first-class certificates and six referenced first prizes.


A starring role in wristwatches

The appearance of tourbillons in Vacheron Constantin wristwatches reflects this same concern for precision. It also came at a time when the Maison was clearly demonstrating its desire to restore the mechanical watch to its former glory, despite the threat posed by the quartz crisis. At the end of the 1980s, Vacheron Constantin launched two projects to develop new calibres for wristwatches incorporating the legendary complications of the tourbillon and minute repeater. A first piece was produced in 1992, with the 30050 model. The tone was set: from then on, Vacheron Constantin would serve the cause of complicated watches with models in which the tourbillon played an essential role.

This regulating mechanism was thus gradually incorporated into the Maison’s various collections, either in a refined chronometric version or accompanied by other horological functions, and in some instances as part of Grand Complication models. This evolution was further reinforced by the establishment in 1998 of the Manufacture in the Vallée de Joux, with workshops dedicated to complex watch movements. Their first project was the development of a tourbillon calibre for the barrel-shaped movement of the Malte collection.

Over the years, this technical mastery of rotating regulators has found several remarkable applications, including the tourbillon presented on the occasion of the company's 250th anniversary with the Saint-Gervais perpetual calendar timepiece boasting an exceptional 250-hour power reserve thanks to its four barrels (Calibre 2250); the dual-axis tourbillon with cylindrical balance spring (Calibre 1990); and the first self-winding in-house tourbillon with peripheral rotor (Calibre 2160). At the heart of all these achievements lies a fascinating mechanism raising horological science to an art form.


Henry Graves Jr. and Vacheron Constantin

The fact that American banker Henry Graves Jr. (1868-1953) became a household name in the watchmaking world is mainly due to the "duel" between him and industrialist James Ward Packard during the 1920s and 1930s, as the two passionate fine watchmaking collectors vied with each other to determine which of them would own the world’s most complicated watch. Henry Graves was an avid collector of multi-functional timepieces, but also nurtured a passion for precision chronometers, which is how he crossed paths with Vacheron Constantin in 1928.

That year, he learned that a Vacheron Constantin tourbillon watch had won a precision record at the Geneva Observatory. For the banker, this model had to be part of his collection. The correspondence between Henry Graves and Vacheron Constantin dates from this period. It shows his desire to acquire this watch, engraved with the following inscription: "Awarded First Prize (866 Points) Geneva Astronomical Observatory Timing Contest 1927-28 - No. 401562 - Henry Graves Jr. - New York - by Vacheron & Constantin, Geneva, Switzerland". The relationship between Henry Graves and Vacheron Constantin did not end there, continuing in step with the proposals the Maison House submitted to the great collector – as evidenced by letters preserved in the Vacheron Constantin archives.

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Watch selection

Yellow gold one-minute tourbillon pocket watch - 1943 (Ref. Inv. 10811)

The quest for chronometric precision resulted in pocket watch models equipped with a tourbillon. These models often took part in chronometry competitions organised by various astronomical observatories, winning numerous distinctions. This yellow gold model with a one-minute tourbillon, bearing a small seconds hand on its shaft and featuring a white enamel dial and railway-type minute track, won First Prize at the Geneva Observatory in 1931, 1933 and 1941.

Yellow gold one-minute tourbillon pocket watch - 1945 (Ref. Inv. 11968)

With its 22’’’ movement, this yellow gold one-minute tourbillon pocket watch with small seconds is strikingly elegant. The silver-toned dial, punctuated by enamelled Roman numerals and a railway-type minute track, is swept over by slender open-tipped hands. The same concern for discreet elegance can be found on the back of the watch revealing a movement partially covered with a 2/3 plate adorned with the Côtes de Genève motif. This structure highlights the tourbillon whose balance with inertia blocks enables extremely fine chronometric adjustment. This observatory watch was designed as a precision chronometer.

White gold “Les Complications" tourbillon pocket watch - 1990 (Ref. Inv. 11927)

This pocket watch, produced in a limited edition, was commissioned by Asprey London, which has its headquarters in New Bond Street. To satisfy collectors nostalgic for precision chronometers in the early 1990s, Vacheron Constantin created this white gold model with a guilloché dial featuring a "basketweave” motif. Its 22’’’ movement was chosen accordingly. A tried and tested calibre with a one-minute tourbillon designed in the early 1940s, it took part in 19 chronometry competitions until the 1990s. The 6 o'clock dial aperture allows the full subtlety of the regulator to be admired.

Platinum tourbillon wristwatch with power-reserve display, model 30050 - 1993 (ref. Inv. 11984)

This timepiece is part of the first series of tourbillon wristwatches made by Vacheron Constantin. Produced in a limited edition of 300 in yellow gold and platinum, it is equipped with a calibre featuring two barrels, visible through the sapphire caseback. At 6 o’clock, the matt grained dial with three Roman numerals and six hour-markers reveals the ballet of the one-minute tourbillon carrying the small seconds. The power-reserve display is symmetrically located just opposite at 12 o'clock. Through the back of the model one can admire the quality of the fine watchmaking finishing featuring bevelled bridges and a mainplate adorned with Côtes de Genève motif.

Pink gold Malte collection tonneau wristwatch with tourbillon, date and power-reserve display - 2003 (Ref. Inv. 11498)

This pink gold tonneau-shaped model from the Malte collection radiates beautiful visual balance with its sunburst guilloché outer dial and silver-toned grained dial centre graced with nine applied hour-markers. The off-centre hour indications bearing sword-shaped hands, flanked by the power reserve and date, leave considerable space for the one-minute tourbillon, which carries the small seconds on its shaft. This ‘form’ (non-round) model is equipped with a special-shaped calibre – perfectly following the contours of the water-resistant case – that can be admired through the sapphire caseback.

Platinum “Saint-Gervais" tourbillon wristwatch with perpetual calendar and power-reserve display - 2005 (Ref. Inv. 11475)

While the celebration of its quarter-millennium was an opportunity for Vacheron Constantin to pay tribute to its past, it also served to highlight its capacity for technical innovation, as perfectly embodied in the Saint-Gervais model. This timepiece with its hand-guilloché platinum dial served to advance the complex field of the power reserve. Endowed with 250 hours of autonomy guaranteed by four barrels coupled with a tourbillon regulator and a perpetual calendar mechanism, the Saint-Gervais model set a new milestone in the world of Grand Complication watches.

"Les Collectionneurs" exhibition in Hong Kong SAR, China: August 23rd to September 27th, 2021

  • A representative selection of vintage watches covering the entire 20th century
  • Models “hunted down” by Vacheron Constantin's experts, then restored and delivered with a certificate of authenticity and a two-year guarantee
  • August 23 to September 10 at Vacheron Constantin Landmark Prince's Boutique, Hong Kong SAR, China
  • September 11 to 27 at Vacheron Constantin Ocean Terminal Boutique, Hong Kong SAR, China

 

Hong Kong SAR, China, August 2021 - Chosen with patience and talent by the Maison’s heritage department specialists, vintage watches covering the entire 20th century are now part of the aptly named “Les Collectionneurs” collection. The latter continues to evolve over time and is regularly offered for sale to brand aficionados at dedicated events organised in Vacheron Constantin boutiques around the world. “Les Collectionneurs” models all come with a certificate of authenticity and a two-year guarantee – an offer unmatched in the watchmaking world.


When vintage is second nature

The notion of vintage is second nature to Vacheron Constantin. It is expressed through a strong attachment to everything relating to its heritage. In more than 260 years of existence, the Maison has accumulated a unique set of archives in the field of time measurement. Engaged in uninterrupted production since its origins, the Manufacture is also able to take care of – and restore if necessary – any watch from its workshops, whatever its age. A closer look at its archives and its private collection of more than 1,500 timepieces offers an excellent insight into this historical depth and the means used to nurture it. From the watchmakers and craftsmen of its restoration workshop to the historians of the Style & Heritage team, the experts at Vacheron Constantin possess all the necessary skills to best serve this vintage watchmaking that now enjoys such an excellent reputation.

“Les Collectionneurs”

Vacheron Constantin quickly felt the need to unite connoisseurs and aficionados of the Maison around this same passion, leading to the creation of “Les Collectionneurs”: an approach consisting in using the Manufacture’s considerable resources to gather and restore a series of historical Vacheron Constantin pieces, subsequently offered for sale at dedicated events in Vacheron Constantin boutiques around the world.

"Les Collectionneurs” represents another facet of Vacheron Constantin," comments Christian Selmoni, Style & Heritage Director. “The collection perpetuates this precious link between past and present, enabling our clientele of connoisseurs and collectors to acquire restored vintage pieces directly through the Maison, which is a real guarantee. As for the events organised around the world to unveil these pieces, they attract both seasoned collectors and young generations eager to delve more deeply into watchmaking history.”

Watches ready for a new life

The Vacheron Constantin Heritage team works to bring together these vintage watches, whether pocket or wristwatches. The objective is to create a representative range of timepieces offered by Vacheron Constantin over the years. All kinds of channels are used in order to locate them: auction rooms, personal contacts with private individuals – bearing in mind that an expert eye is decisive in the choice of these timepieces, be they simple or striking models, calendars or chronographs... Pocket watches mainly covering the years 1910 to 1930 and wristwatches prior to 1970 – with a preference for the period from 1940 to 1960 – are then subjected to a dual appraisal. First of all, a historical evaluation is undertaken in order to authenticate the piece with reference to the in-house archives, which have been listing cases and movements by serial number for a century and a half. Then comes the technical assessment aimed at determining which interventions may be necessary, from simply cleaning the watch to its restoration – the objective being to preserve these timepieces in a state as close as possible to that of their origins. If necessary, they are restored to working order using period components, of which Vacheron Constantin maintains a large stock, or else reproduced the old-fashioned way and in identical form within the Manufacture. Once the process is complete, each timepiece is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity and a two-year guarantee, the latter being the same as that delivered with all models within the Maison’s standard collections.

Models unveiled at dedicated events

Throughout the year, Vacheron Constantin organises special events or exhibitions of historical models from its private collection in its boutiques. These are all special experiences that give connoisseurs an opportunity to discover this “Les Collectionneurs” collection; and Vacheron Constantin's experts a chance to share the history related to the "experience" of these models. Thanks to its extremely well documented archives, the Maison can retrace the destiny of these timepieces that have survived through the ages as testimony to their time and to its watchmaking expertise. Rare and doubtless unique for those who cherish them, these Vacheron Constantin watches bearing the patina of age as a badge of honour are thus ready for a new life.

Watches highlight

18K Two-Tone Gold "Tonneau" Shape Wristwatch, 1927
Tonneau-shaped 18K white and yellow gold wristwatch. Silvered dial with 12 Arabic numerals in gold, external minute-track.

Inspired by the proportions and straight geometry lines from Art Deco era, watch designs from late 1920's to 1940's combined precision, functionality, discretion and ergonomics. To consolidate the aesthetic break with conventions, watch cases with flat and/or arched shapes to match with the curve of the wrist were introduced in square or rectangular versions. These watches were stylistic feats that also demonstrated technical watchmaking prowess, since they provided long-awaited proof of success in miniaturizing calibres and understanding the new constraints involved in wrist wear such as shocks, movements, temperature and humidity.

Case: 18K two-tone gold, 25 x 37mm

Dial: Silvered dial, twelve Arabic numerals in gold applied, external railway minute circle enamelled

Hands: Gold “Cathedral” type hours and minutes hands

Movement: Calibre 9" 15/12, manual-winding, 18 jewels, 40-hour power reserve

Craftsmanship: Cut bimetallic balance, balance-spring with terminal curve, rhodium-plated German silver movement with satin and graining finish


18K Pink Gold Wristwatch - Model 4334, 1947
18K pink gold wristwatch. Silvered dial, 5 Arabic numerals and 6 cabochon indexes in pink gold, small seconds at 6 o'clock, externe minute-track.

The Reference 4334 bears an original design thanks to its so-called "claw" lugs. Such distinctive lugs were characteristics from the Maison's creations of 1940's and 1950's. It demonstrates the innovative and creative spirit of Vacheron Constantin, combining the finest watchmaking with design excellence. The dial of Reference 4334 is an example of classicism, with gold applied pointed markers and "baton"-shaped hands, crafted in gold.

Case: 18K pink gold, diameter 34mm

Dial: Silvered dial, gold Arabic numerals applied

Hands: Pointed baton shaped hands in gold

Movement: Calibre 12" 1/2 453/3C, manual-winding, 17 jewels, 40-hour power reserve

Craftsmanship: Rhodium-plated brass movement, annular beryllium balance, hairspring with a terminal curve, “Côtes de Genève” and circular graining decoration


18K Yellow Gold Wristwatch - Model 4050, 1942
18K yellow gold wristwatch. Silvered vertical satined dial, 5 Roman numerals and indexes in gold, black enameled external "railroad" minute-track, small seconds at 6 o'clock.

Elegance and refined designs during 1940's and 1950's are perfectly shown with this Reference 4050 timepiece, with its taught lines and clean dial displaying five classical Roman numerals in yellow gold. The reference houses the calibre 453, considered as one of the best designs of this period.

Case: 18K yellow gold, diameter 33mm

Dial: Silvered dial with five Roman numerals in gold and 6 straight baton markers applied

Hands: Gold pointed baton type hands

Movement: Calibre 12" 1/2 453, manual-winding, 17 jewels, 40-hour power reserve

Craftsmanship: Rhodium-plated brass movement, annular beryllium balance, hairspring with a terminal curve, “Côtes de Genève” and circular graining decoration


18K Yellow Gold Jubile 1935 Model, 1935
18k yellow gold wristwatch. Silver dial, small seconds at 6 o'clock. Crown at 12 o'clock.

One of the two models created for the 150th anniversary of Vacheron Constantin, which, back then, was believed to have been established in 1785. Only decades later that a letter showing Jean-Marc Vacheron had hired an apprentice in his workshops enabled the brand to date its founding to 1755. This 18K yellow gold timepiece is fitted with a 11-ligne Lepine-type pocket watch movement: the crown and the second sub dial are on the same axis. The 12 o'clock crown confers to the "Jubile" model with a unique character and aesthetics.

Case: 18K yellow gold, diameter 30mm

Dial: Silvered vertical satin-finished, “Sandwich” type dial

Hands: Sword-shaped gold hands

Movement: Calibre RA 11" 62N, manual-winding, 15 jewels, 40-hour power reserve

Craftsmanship: Gilt brass movement, bimetallic balance and hairspring with terminal curve

 

“Technical Achievements” exhibition in Taipei: 23rd August to 20th September 2021

“Technical Achievements” exhibition
Discover the watchmaking genius of the Maison and its mastery of mechanical complications in the 20th century 

 

• The "Technical Achievements" exhibition highlights the inner workings of Vacheron Constantin's watchmaking genius.
• Retrograde displays, split-seconds chronographs, perpetual calendar, minute repeaters models: a selection of eight masterpieces of mechanical complications from the heritage of the Maison.
• Exhibition will be held in Vacheron Constantin Taipei 101 Boutique from 23 August to 20 September 2021.


August, 2021, Taipei - Since its founding in 1755, Vacheron Constantin has perpetuated watchmaking expertise drawing upon the mastery of the most advanced knowledge and technology. This demanding know-how, which the Manufacture has continually enriched throughout its history and continues to explore, is illustrated through a wide range of horological complications. From the split-seconds chronograph to the perpetual calendar, from the minute repeater to Grand Complication combinations, the "Technical Achievements" exhibition brings together a selection of eight 20th century masterpieces.


“To do better if possible, and that is always possible”: these words written by François Constantin in 1819 sum up the visionary spirit and quest for excellence of the Vacheron Constantin artisans. From the first watches made in 1755 to the present day, the Manufacture's heritage is replete with creations testifying to consistent daring and a taste for innovation. A journey through the archives of the Maison demonstrates the true scope of the skills passed down through several generations of passionate and curious master-watchmakers, as well as the progress of science and watchmaking genius. 
Through a selection of eight historical models, "Technical Achievements" pays tribute to the mechanical feats achieved in Vacheron Constantin’s workshops during the 20th century. Retrograde displays, split-second chronographs, perpetual calendar, minute repeaters, and watch with multiple complications are brought together in this exhibition. From pocket watches to the art of wearing time on the wrist, they reflect the wealth of Vacheron Constantin's technical repertoire and the desire to continually nurture the expertise accumulated over the centuries. The exhibition is also a reminder of the extent to which the Manufacture has always endeavoured to place technique at the service of style. Thanks to the miniaturisation of calibres and their constant technical evolution, Vacheron Constantin has demonstrated tremendous artistic creativity. The result is a signature touch in which a taste for innovation meets a keen sense of elegance.

 

Retrograde displays
The design and adjustment of a movement with retrograde indications requires great technical virtuosity. First and foremost, the development of such a mechanism implies mastery of the considerable forces brought into play by the instantaneous return of the hands over an almost 180° arc in a mere fraction of a second. It also implies perfect energy management in order to enable the sudden movement of the hand. This technical tour de force enables time to be displayed in an original way while maintaining the inherent precision requirements of Haute Horlogerie timepieces. 

Watchmaking history reveals that retrograde displays already appeared in pocket watches during the late 17th century. These featured an hour hand that travelled across an arc for half the day before returning to its starting point to begin all over again. Vacheron Constantin has been incorporating retrograde displays into its creations since the end of the 18th century. The originality of this complication enabled it to give free rein to its technical creativity.

Among the most famous models is a ‘bras en l’air’ (‘arms in the air’) movement presented in 1930 in a pocket watch case bearing the signature of Verger Frères. Subsequently, Vacheron Constantin produced other original interpretations depicting a fakir or a Chinese magician whose arms replaced the retrograde hands to indicate the hours and minutes. Over the following decades, these ‘arms in the air’ models inspired multiple contemporary variations of the retrograde display, such as the Mercator and Saltarello wristwatches created in the 1990s. These are among the most striking examples of Vacheron Constantin's technical and aesthetic daring – a heritage that the Manufacture continues to enrich through highly sophisticated models added to its current collections, such as the Patrimony moon phase retrograde date watch - Collection Excellence Platine unveiled in 2020. The one-of-a-kind Les Cabinotiers Armillary tourbillon perpetual calendar - Planeteria presented in 2021 also presents an innovative interpretation of this complication by integrating a triple retrograde indication for the date, months and days.

 

Chronographs and split-seconds chronographs
The chronograph is one of the most recent horological complications: it was not until the early 19th century that watchmakers achieved a sufficient level of precision to develop a system for measuring short times by means of a mechanism enabling a hand to be stopped and restarted without hindering the movement. This invention was quickly followed by another equally brilliant one designed to measure several events simultaneously by means of a double hand system. Invented in 1838, the split-seconds chronograph remains one of the most sophisticated mechanical developments and is greatly appreciated by watch enthusiasts.

As functional as it is technically ingenious, this mechanism serves to time actions starting at the same time but of different durations. When the watch is activated, the chronograph hand and the split-second hand are superimposed. When the pusher is pressed, the split-second hand stops while the chronograph hand continues its progression. After memorising an initial time, a further press releases the split-seconds hand, which then synchronises instantly with the chronograph seconds hand that is still running. This operation can be repeated as many times as necessary to carry out several successive timing operations.

Vacheron Constantin joined the fray at an early stage by incorporating the chronograph complication into elegant pocket watches that were particularly sought after at turn of the 20th century, in an era when the world was becoming fascinated by sports competitions and horse races. Thanks to the progress made in the miniaturisation of its movements, the Manufacture was also quick to adopt the complex column-wheel chronograph mechanism in elegant watches from 1917 onwards.

A number of historical models well-known to collectors for their bold design and unfailing reliability testify to this tendency. Among them is a 1942 chronograph, Reference 4083, which stands out both for its legibility and for the design of its double-cylinder lugs. Another example is the prestigious Reference 4072, a chronograph produced by Vacheron Constantin between the 1930s and the early 1970s, which owes its exceptional longevity to its timeless design and the exceptional quality of its movements.

Faithfully cultivated throughout the last century, the expertise of the Manufacture's artisans in the field of chronographs is alive and well, as demonstrated by ingenious interpretations such as the Traditionnelle split-seconds chronograph ultra-thin - Collection Excellence Platine. Introduced in April 2021, this timepiece is powered by the prestigious self-winding Calibre 3500, one of the finest to date for this type of complication.

 

The perpetual calendar
The perpetual calendar is one of the trickiest horological complications to develop. Considered a masterpiece of horological genius, this mechanism takes into account the variations of the Gregorian calendar so as to automatically adjust to months of 30 and 31 days or 28 and 29 days in February, without requiring any correction until 2100. To do this, the movement must have a mechanical memory whose sequences are repeated every 48 months. The solution is a cam, a component consisting of notches of varying depths. The deeper the notch, the shorter the month. This information from the cam is transmitted via a feeler spindle to a large lever that operates the various displays. It represents a technical solution to an astronomical and mathematical problem that Vacheron Constantin addressed by presenting its first perpetual calendar watch in 1884.

For almost a century, the Manufacture used this technical prowess exclusively in pocket watches. Thanks to progress in movement miniaturisation and the trend towards increasingly large wristwatch diameters, the 1980s marked a turning point with the 1983 creation of the first perpetual calendar to be fitted in an ultra-thin wristwatch (Reference 43031). Its movement, the prestigious Calibre 1120 QP, constitutes a technical challenge and is still majestically enthroned in the most demanding creations of the Manufacture, such as the Overseas perpetual calendar ultra-thin. Its latest skeletonised variation, presented in 2021 in a white gold case, enables viewers to admire – both on the dial side and through the sapphire crystal caseback – the components of Calibre 1120 QPSQ/1, delicately hollowed out, finished and decorated in the finest traditions so as to enhance the functional beauty of the mechanism.

Engaged in a continuous quest for innovation, Vacheron Constantin also expanded its technical repertoire with the Traditionnelle Twin Beat perpetual calendar watch presented in 2019. The 3610 QP calibre powering this timepiece is endowed with a dual frequency, enabling its owner to reduce the watch's energy consumption when it is not on the wrist. This action serves to extend the power reserve to at least 65 days – a technical advance that gives real meaning to the term "perpetual" and opens up new perspectives for traditional watchmaking.

 

Minute repeaters and Grande Sonnerie models
Born of the need to tell the time in the dark at a time when people were still reliant on candlelight, chiming watches have been one of Vacheron Constantin's great specialities for more than two centuries and are available in various forms. The Manufacture's watchmakers have repeatedly distinguished themselves through strike-on-demand, minute repeater (striking the hours, quarters and minutes on demand, Petite Sonnerie (striking the hours and quarters without repeating the hours at each quarter) and Grande Sonnerie (striking the hours and quarters with a repetition of the hours at each quarter) complications. Among these, the sophisticated Grande Sonnerie mechanism is considered by connoisseurs as the pinnacle of musical watches. Few watchmakers are capable of mastering the demands involved in its design and construction: the synchronisation of the components must not only be perfect in order to set the time to music, but also to ensure the reliable operation of the movement, as any interference between the different functions is likely to damage the mechanism. The issue of energy management is also crucial, given that the movement orchestrates 912 hammer strikes on the gongs every 24 hours. Not to mention the harmonic tone and acoustic power that make the creation of such a model an exercise reserved for the most experienced watchmakers.

The Manufacture's archives attest to the first chiming timepiece created in 1806 by the founder's grandson, Jacques Barthélemi Vacheron. The first watch with a Grande Sonnerie mechanism signed Vacheron Constantin dates back to 1827. Since then, the Manufacture has consistently cultivated and enriched this heritage, to the point of becoming a benchmark for the most illustrious collectors such as the Maharajah of Patiala, who commissioned a pocket watch with chronograph, alarm, date and moon phases in 1909; as well as American car manufacturer James Ward Packard, for whom Vacheron Constantin created a pocket watch equipped with a chronograph, a quarter and half-quarter repeater, and a Grande Sonnerie in 1918 . Over the course of the century, orders poured in from all over the world for Vacheron Constantin's repeater watches and Grande and Petite Sonnerie complications, combining virtuoso mechanics with impeccable acoustic resonance. The Manufacture continues to perpetuate this expertise today, notably through one-off models such as the Les Cabinotiers minute repeater tourbillon sky chart – Leo constellation Jewellery watch, whose Calibre 2755 TMRCC combines a minute repeater with a tourbillon and drives a rotating map of the celestial vault.

 

Grand Complication combinations
As early as 1900, Vacheron Constantin set up a workshop exclusively dedicated to watches with complications. It is here, where the most seasoned watchmakers rub shoulders, that high-flying watches are born.

Housed in elegantly sculpted gold cases, several extremely complex mechanisms are combined. Two examples reflect the technical mastery of Vacheron Constantin's artisans in the creation of Grand Complications, whose golden age reached its peak between the 1920s and 1930s: a triple complication from 1901 combining a minute repeater, a chronograph with a tachymeter scale and an astronomical perpetual calendar; as well as a 1910 hunter-type watch featuring a perpetual calendar, a quarter repeater and a moon-phase indication. 

Nearly a century later, the Manufacture is continuing its epic technical saga by combining the traditional principles of watchmaking with the latest mechanical advances. In 2015, after eight years of research, Vacheron Constantin unveiled Reference 57260, the most complicated timepiece ever made. This double-dial pocket watch features 57 complications, including multiple calendars and a split-seconds chronograph with double retrograde display.

This unique expertise in the field of Grand Complications is also illustrated through wristwatches showcasing a resolutely 21st century style. Presented in 2020, the one-of-a-kind Les Cabinotiers split-seconds chronograph - Tempo is the most complicated wristwatch ever made by Vacheron Constantin. On its two sides, it displays a split-seconds chronograph, a perpetual calendar, several astronomical functions, a tourbillon and a minute repeater. This mechanical tour de force is orchestrated by an exceptional calibre featuring 24 complications and 1,163 components.

 

Watches exhibited

Round "Joueurs de volants" (shuttlecock players) pocket watch, Ref. Inv. 10667 - 1960
Between the 1920s and the 1930s, Vacheron Constantin unrestrainedly displayed its creative daring in the form of pocket watches with retrograde ‘arms in the air” displays. This 18K yellow gold "Joueurs de volants" model is directly inspired by this trend. Engraved in yellow, white and pink gold, the young man points to the hours with his right arm, while his partner indicates the minutes.

“Mercator" wristwatch, map of the Americas, Ref. Inv. 12055 - 1996
Created on the occasion of the 400thanniversary of the death of the father of cartography, Gérard Mercator, this 18K yellow gold wristwatch is distinguished not only by the refinement of its hand-engraved dial representing Mercator's map of the Americas, but also by the originality of its retrograde display. The compass-shaped hands indicate respectively the retrograde hours and minutes on two sectors placed on the lower part of the dial.

“Saltarello” wristwatch, Ref. Inv. 10740 - 2000
Over successive eras, Vacheron Constantin has developed the retrograde display complication in numerous stylistic variations. At the heart of the cushion-shaped 18K pink gold case of the Saltarello model, Vacheron Constantin opted for simplicity: the jumping hours are indicated in an aperture, while the retrograde minutes hand sweeps majestically across the centre of the pink gold dial.

Round pocket chronograph and stopwatch, Ref. Inv. 11091 - 1914 
The split-seconds chronograph is certainly one of the most sophisticated mechanical developments in terms of its design and the sophistication of its settings. In 1914, Vacheron Constantin incorporated it into this yellow gold "Lépine" type pocket stopwatch. Its sleek and beautifully balanced white enamel dial features a 30-minute counter at 12 o'clock and a small seconds hand at 6 o'clock.

Wrist chronograph, Ref. Inv. 12049 - 1967
This 18K yellow gold wristwatch is one of the most popular chronographs among collectors and watch connoisseurs. Vacheron Constantin produced this model between the late 1930s and the early 1970s. Powered by a chronograph calibre incorporating a column-wheel system, it features a satin-brushed silver-toned dial on which the 30-minute and small seconds counters are harmoniously arranged, complemented by telemeter and tachymeter scales.

Perpetual calendar wristwatch, Ref. Inv. 12122 - 1994
In 1984, Vacheron Constantin fitted a wristwatch with a perpetual calendar movement for the very first time. Hailed for its precision and reliability, this prestigious calibre, which can still be found in the Manufacture's contemporary collections, equips this 1994 platinum watch. Skeletonised and engraved by hand, all its components have been hollowed out and carefully decorated to highlight the beauty of this mechanism with its moon phase.

Minute repeater pocket watch, Ref. Inv. 10652 - 1938
A true feat of miniaturisation and acoustic quality, this round pocket watch produced in 1938 houses a minute repeater mechanism within its platinum case. Its silver-toned dial is punctuated by a small seconds counter at 6 o'clock, while the caseback is soberly engraved with the monogram "E.G.R.".

Minute repeater pocket chronograph with tachymeter scale and astronomical perpetual calendar, Ref. Inv. 10536 - 1901 As early as 1900, Vacheron Constantin set up a workshop specially dedicated to the assembly of Grand Complication watches, such as this 18K red gold hunter-type pocket watch combining a minute repeater, a single-pusher chronograph with a tachymeter scale and an astronomical perpetual calendar. From an aesthetic standpoint, this prestigious model is distinguished by the perfect legibility of the indications harmoniously arranged on its white enamel dial.

 

“Classic with a Twist”: an exhibition in Singapore from 8 to 26 August

 

  • This year, Vacheron Constantin is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the American 1921 watch, a timepiece that has become a much-loved icon among collectors.
  • The "Classic with a twist" exhibition pays tribute to a spirit in which technique and style converse in subtle harmony between the conventional and the atypical.
  • Exhibition will be held in Vacheron Constantin ION Orchard Boutique from 8 to 26 August 2021. 
  • In addition, Vacheron Constantin Singapore is offering a complimentary client care service to all owners of the American 1921 residing in Singapore.

 

August 2021, Singapore - On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the American 1921 watch, the "Classic with a twist" exhibition celebrates the creative freedom of Vacheron Constantin at the dawn of the 20th century. From the 1910s to the 1930s, Vacheron Constantin was particularly renowned for its extraordinary artistic effervescence. The wide range of different-shaped ‘form’ cases and special displays on show in this exhibition reflects an exciting chapter in the history of Vacheron Constantin.


"Classic with a twist" is first and foremost a story of freedom, the tale of a singular style that emerged in the context of the Roaring Twenties and the Art Deco movement through a daring variety of shapes, designs and geometrical figures: atypical shapes, strict squares and surprising lozenges, elegant cushions, as well as a few examples of special displays and off-centre indications. The "Classic with a twist" exhibition bears witness to the creative energy expended by Vacheron Constantin between 1910 and the end of the 1930s: an exhilarating period conducive to making daring moves, flouting convention and opening up to all kinds of stylistic fancies. 


Considered an exclusively feminine accessory at the end of the 19th century, it was at the turn of the 20th century that the wristwatch began to conquer the hearts of men, won over by the functionality and comfort of keeping track of time on their wrists. True to its pioneering spirit, Vacheron Constantin showed an early awareness of the evolution in the art of wearing a watch by creating – in 1889 already – a ladies' model on a bangle-type bracelet, probably the oldest wristwatch in the company's heritage known to date. Thanks to the considerable progress made in the miniaturisation of its movements, Vacheron Constantin freely expanded its field of creative expression through an incredible variety of avant-garde designs. Tonneau (barrel), lozenge, rectangle, cushion, oval, curved or cambered silhouettes: through the choice of pieces on display, "Classic with a twist" reminds us that all the iconic case shapes we know today were created between the 1910s and 1920s.


Quintessence of an era
The stylistic abundance of the "Classic with a twist" exhibition illustrates Vacheron Constantin's ability to capture the spirit of the times and the customs of its era. Above and beyond watchmaking, the exhibition reflects a way of life, the societal changes taking place at the dawn of the 20th century, as well as the evolving tastes and trends in clothing. It tells the story of the Roaring Twenties, the new-found sense of freedom and lightness, the artistic effervescence, the good life and the ebullient cultural world. It also traces the rise of the Art Deco movement and the appeal of a geometrical aesthetic that emerged in architecture as well as in art and watchmaking. Finally, it evokes the new spirit taking hold of Europe and the United States, a market in which Vacheron Constantin had developed strong ties from the outset, having been present there since 1832.

It was within this euphoric context that the Manufacture was one of the first to adopt the cushion shape. Between 1919 and 1921, it produced a few models intended exclusively for the American market. With its avant-garde design consisting of a cushion-shaped case, an atypical diagonal display and an offset crown, this rare timepiece particularly sought-after among collectors is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Unveiled on the occasion of the "Classic with a twist" exhibition, this original model is one of the most striking examples of the creative energy that the Manufacture has demonstrated throughout its existence. 


An American legend
Adopted by dandy drivers probably drawn to the possibility of reading the time diagonally without having to let go of the typically large steering wheel of 1920s cars, this legendary watch was also much appreciated by progressive personalities of the time. Among them was Reverend Samuel Parkes-Cadman. A clergyman and newspaper writer renowned for his fight for racial equality and against anti-Semitism, he was also one of the first to use radio to broadcast his sermons to millions of listeners. While on holiday in Montreux, he acquired two of the watches produced at the time, one with luminescent numerals and the other with black enamelled Arabic numerals. This original model is displayed in the "Classic with a twist" exhibition and is one of the most striking examples of the creative energy that the Maison has demonstrated throughout its existence, particularly at the dawn of the 20th century.
 

Watches in details

Barrel-shaped watch in 18K yellow gold, white enamelled bezel with Grecian frieze motif, Ref. 10347 - 1913
At the turn of the century, the wristwatch gradually became an everyday accessory, potentially a piece of jewellery. The tonneau (barrel) shape naturally made its appearance thanks to its seamlessly integrated strap lugs and case. In 1913, Vacheron Constantin interpreted it with an 18K yellow gold case topped by a bezel adorned with a Grecian frieze motif in white enamel. The finely-grained silver-toned dial of this reference is punctuated by 12 elegant black enamelled Arabic numerals

Barrel-shaped watch in 18K yellow gold, welded “spider” lugs, Ref. 11445 - 1925
In 1925, at the heart of the Roaring Twenties, Vacheron Constantin explored the tonneau (barrel) shape with singular boldness. The wrist was adorned with fanciful touches, as shown in this 18K yellow gold barrel watch flowing into welded "spider" lugs. An atypical style picked up on the silver-toned dial featuring black enamelled Arabic numerals and blued steel "œil de perdrix " hands.

Barrel-shaped watch in 18K yellow gold, gilded champagne-coloured dial, Ref. 10838 - 1928
Accuracy, functionality, discretion and ergonomics are all at the heart of this tonneau-shaped watch produced in 1928. The elegant 18K yellow gold case frames a gilded champagne-coloured dial rimmed by a minute track. The caseback is finely engraved with the inscription: "Presented to C.P. Jarden by The Shervin-Williams Co. in commemoration of twenty five years faithful service 1903-1928".

Lozenge-type barrel-shaped watch in 14K yellow gold, Ref. 11551 - 1918
In the early 1910s, Vacheron Constantin produced this sophisticated “lozenge” watch shape. Its new creative boldness is illustrated by this 1918 model in 18K yellow gold, featuring a silver-toned dial adorned with stylised blue enamel Roman numerals stretching to follow the lines of the case. Vacheron Constantin chose blued steel Art Deco hands to indicate the hours and minutes.

Cushion-shaped watch in silver, Ref. 10479 - 1920
True to its pioneering spirit, Vacheron Constantin was one of the first watchmakers to dare to shake up conventions by devising a multitude of case shapes adapted to the art of wearing a watch on the wrist. The cushion shape appeared in the Manufacture's production as early as 1919 and is interpreted with understated elegance in this 1920 silver watch featuring a white enamelled dial embellished with black Arabic numerals.

“La Vogue” cushion-shaped watch in 18K yellow gold, Ref. 10754 - 1926
Based on a bold cushion-shaped case in 18K yellow gold, Vacheron Constantin allowed itself an additional fanciful touch. This 1926 watch, known as "La Vogue", is distinguished by its delicately domed flanks – an eccentric feature contrasting with the classic finely grained silver-toned dial graced by a minute track and black enamelled Arabic numerals.

Cushion-shaped watch in 18K yellow gold, crown between 1 and 2 o’clock, Ref. 12070 - 1919
Between 1919 and 1921, Vacheron Constantin produced two series of six cushion-shaped watches with diagonally off-centred dials and offset crowns. These now iconic watches feature a number of aesthetic differences depending on their production year: luminescent or black enamel Arabic numerals, screw-on or soldered lugs, as well as a crown positioned on the right or left. On this 1919 yellow gold timepiece powered by the RA’’’11 Nouveau Amérique calibre, the crown is positioned on the right, aligned with the top of the dial.

Pocket watch in 18K white gold, black enamel and crystal, Ref. 11131 - 1926
During the 1920s, Vacheron Constantin also expressed the scope of its creativity through special displays that showcased watchmaking sophistication. In 1924, the Manufacture launched its first skeleton pocket watch, a design that was in keeping with the Art Deco trend, as shown by this pocket watch made in 1926. Housed in an 18K white gold, black enamel and crystal case, the ultra-thin 17’’’ skeletonised calibre is revealed in all its splendour.

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Sum-up
Marking the 100th anniversary of the Historiques American 1921 watch, the "Classic with a twist" exhibition celebrates the creativity and boldness of Vacheron Constantin at the dawn of the 20th century. Through a selection of avant-garde historical pieces, from special-shaped ‘form’ watches to original displays, this exhibition mirrors an era marked by the carefree spirit of the Roaring Twenties and the aesthetic influence of the Art Deco movement. From the 1910s to the 1930s, from Geneva to the United States, it recounts the tastes of the time and the evolution in the art of wearing a watch. A pivotal period that Vacheron Constantin was able to accompany by developing an unexpected aesthetic vocabulary in which technique and style converse in subtle harmony between the conventional and the atypical.

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CLASSIC WITH A TWIST EXHIBITION
Date 8 - 26 August 2021
Hours 10:30 AM - 9.30 PM Daily 
Address Vacheron Constantin ION Orchard Boutique, 2 Orchard Turn #02-07 Singapore 238801

“Classic with a Twist” in New-York: An exhibition celebrating Vacheron Constantin’s creativity and boldness at the dawn of the 20th century

  • This year, Vacheron Constantin is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the American 1921 watch, a timepiece that has become a much-loved icon among collectors.
  • The "Classic with a twist" exhibition pays tribute to a spirit in which technique and style converse in subtle harmony between the conventional and the atypical.
  • July to November 2021, Vacheron Constantin North American Flagship 28 East 57 Street New York, NY


July 2021, New York - On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the American 1921 watch, the "Classic with a twist" exhibition celebrates the creative freedom of Vacheron Constantin at the dawn of the 20th century. From the 1910s to the 1930s, Vacheron Constantin was particularly renowned for its extraordinary artistic effervescence. The wide range of different-shaped ‘form’ cases and special displays on show in this exhibition reflects an exciting chapter in the history of Vacheron Constantin.

"Classic with a twist" is first and foremost a story of freedom, the tale of a singular style that emerged in the context of the Roaring Twenties and the Art Deco movement through a daring variety of shapes, designs and geometrical figures: atypical shapes, strict squares and surprising lozenges, elegant cushions, as well as a few examples of special displays and off-centre indications. The "Classic with a twist" exhibition bears witness to the creative energy expended by Vacheron Constantin between 1910 and the end of the 1930s: an exhilarating period conducive to making daring moves, flouting convention and opening up to all kinds of stylistic fancies.

Considered an exclusively feminine accessory at the end of the 19th century, it was at the turn of the 20th century that the wristwatch began to conquer the hearts of men, won over by the functionality and comfort of keeping track of time on their wrists. True to its pioneering spirit, Vacheron Constantin showed an early awareness of the evolution in the art of wearing a watch by creating – in 1889 already – a ladies' model on a bangle-type bracelet, probably the oldest wristwatch in the company's heritage known to date. Thanks to the considerable progress made in the miniaturisation of its movements, Vacheron Constantin freely expanded its field of creative expression through an incredible variety of avant-garde designs. Tonneau (barrel), lozenge, rectangle, cushion, oval, curved or cambered silhouettes: through the choice of pieces on display, "Classic with a twist" reminds us that all the iconic case shapes we know today were created between the 1910s and 1920s.

 

Quintessence of an era

The stylistic abundance of the "Classic with a twist" exhibition illustrates Vacheron Constantin's ability to capture the spirit of the times and the customs of its era. Above and beyond watchmaking, the exhibition reflects a way of life, the societal changes taking place at the dawn of the 20th century, as well as the evolving tastes and trends in clothing. It tells the story of the Roaring Twenties, the new-found sense of freedom and lightness, the artistic effervescence, the good life and the ebullient cultural world. It also traces the rise of the Art Deco movement and the appeal of a geometrical aesthetic that emerged in architecture as well as in art and watchmaking. Finally, it evokes the new spirit taking hold of Europe and the United States, a market in which Vacheron Constantin had developed strong ties from the outset, having been present there since 1832.

It was within this euphoric context that the Manufacture was one of the first to adopt the cushion shape. Between 1919 and 1921, it produced a few models intended exclusively for the American market. With its avant-garde design consisting of a cushion-shaped case, an atypical diagonal display and an offset crown, this rare timepiece particularly sought-after among collectors is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Unveiled on the occasion of the "Classic with a twist" exhibition, this original model is one of the most striking examples of the creative energy that the Manufacture has demonstrated throughout its existence.

 

An American legend

Adopted by dandy drivers probably drawn to the possibility of reading the time diagonally without having to let go of the typically large steering wheel of 1920s cars, this legendary watch was also much appreciated by progressive personalities of the time. Among them was Reverend Samuel Parkes-Cadman. A clergyman and newspaper writer renowned for his fight for racial equality and against anti-Semitism, he was also one of the first to use radio to broadcast his sermons to millions of listeners. While on holiday in Montreux, he acquired two of the watches produced at the time, one with luminescent numerals and the other with black enamelled Arabic numerals. This original model is displayed in the "Classic with a twist" exhibition and is one of the most striking examples of the creative energy that the Maison has demonstrated throughout its existence, particularly at the dawn of the 20th century.

 

 

Exhibited timepieces:

Elongated barrel-shaped watch in 18K yellow gold, Ref. 10144 – 1915
At the turn of the century, the wristwatch gradually became an everyday accessory, potentially a piece of jewellery. The tonneau (barrel) shape naturally made its appearance thanks to its seamlessly integrated strap lugs and case. In 1915, Vacheron Constantin interpreted it in an elongated shape made of 18K yellow gold. The matt silver-toned dial of this reference is swept over by blued steel “oeil de perdrix” hands and punctuated by 12 elegant black enamelled Arabic numerals and an inner minute track.

 

Barrel-shaped watch in 18K yellow gold, Ref. 10594 - 1915
In the 1910s, Vacheron Constantin expended considerable effort on miniaturising its calibres and endowing its creations with the finesse and elegance required for wearing time on the wrist. Accuracy, functionality, discretion and ergonomics are at the heart of this barrel-shaped watch produced in 1915. An elegant 18K yellow gold case frames a silver-toned dial rimmed by a minute track and graced with black enamelled Arabic numerals and “oeil de perdrix” hands.

 

Wide special-shaped wristwatch in 18K yellow gold, Ref. 10970 - 1917
Neither rectangular nor oval, this 1917 timepiece bears witness to Vacheron Constantin's creative boldness at the dawn of the Roaring Twenties through its generously curved 18K yellow gold case. This inventiveness is also reflected in the design of the matt silver-toned dial highlighted by black enamelled Arabic numerals of various sizes, while an outer minute track and “oeil de perdrix” hands strike a more traditional note.

 

Cushion-shaped watch in 18K yellow gold, crown at 11 o’clock, Ref. 11677 - 1919
Between 1919 and 1921, Vacheron Constantin produced two series of six cushion-shaped watches with offset dials and offset crowns. Two of these were sold in 1928 to the famous American clergyman and newspaper writer, Reverend Samuel Parkes-Cadman, including this 1919 model in 18K yellow gold with a crown at 11 o'clock and a white enamel dial bearing enamelled Arabic numerals and a small seconds hand between 4 and 5 o’clock

 

Cushion-shaped single-pusher chronograph wristwatch in 18K yellow gold, Ref. 11059 - 1928
Horological complications were also progressively miniaturised to fit smaller cases, thus enhancing elegance and comfort on the wrist. This ever-greater technical sophistication is exemplified in this 18K yellow gold cushion-shaped single-pusher chronograph produced in 1928. As far as indications are concerned, there is a clear focus on legibility with a dial punctuated by 10 painted Arabic numerals, a graduated pulsometer scale for 30 beats and gold "leaf-type" hands.

 

Cushion-shaped minute repeater wristwatch in white and pink gold, Ref. 11243 - 1930
From the 1920s onwards, the minute repeater mechanism became the third type of complication sufficiently miniaturised to be incorporated into a wristwatch case. In 1930, Vacheron Constantin chose to house this sophisticated mechanism in a cushion-shaped case in white and pink gold. Its refined style extends onto the vertical brushed silver-toned dial, swept over by pink gold “oeil de perdrix” hands.

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Sum-up

Marking the 100th anniversary of the Historiques American 1921 watch, the "Classic with a twist" exhibition celebrates the creativity and boldness of Vacheron Constantin at the dawn of the 20th century. Through a selection of avant-garde historical pieces, from special-shaped ‘form’ watches to original displays, this exhibition mirrors an era marked by the carefree spirit of the Roaring Twenties and the aesthetic influence of the Art Deco movement. From the 1910s to the 1930s, from Geneva to the United States, it recounts the tastes of the time and the evolution in the art of wearing a watch. A pivotal period that Vacheron Constantin was able to accompany by developing an unexpected aesthetic vocabulary in which technique and style converse in subtle harmony between the conventional and the atypical.

Vacheron Constantin announces new flagship in Ginza, Tokyo

Tokyo, July 2021 - Vacheron Constantin, the world’s oldest High Watchmaking Maison with 266-year uninterrupted history, announces the opening of its new flagship in Tokyo in December 2021. The boutique will be located in the very heart of Ginza, on Harumi Avenue. 


Elegantly integrated within the all-new Tenshodo building, this flagship will have a unique façade inspired by the Maison’s emblem, the Maltese cross. The space will span across two floors, combining the Maison’s refinement with its commitment to exceptional retail experience and best-in-class service from an in-house master watchmaker. The new flagship will showcase a collection of men and women’s timepieces ranging from simple models to high complications, in addition to exclusive boutique limited editions.

Says Vincent Gouget, Vacheron Constantin Japan Managing Director: “Highly visible and situated at a very prime location in Ginza, this flagship will embody Vacheron Constantin's ‘One of not many’ spirit in Japan. It will also epitomize the Maison’s long-standing relationship and deep commitment to its Japanese clients. Our ambition: to make it the favorite destination in Tokyo for discerning Vacheron Constantin connoisseurs as well as aspiring watch collectors.” 

Vacheron Constantin has 5 boutiques in Tokyo and Osaka. The existing boutique located in Ginza’s Chuo avenue will continue to serve clients after the opening of the new flagship.

Traditionnelle manual-winding, China Limited Edition

  • A numbered and engraved 100-piece limited edition dedicated to Mainland China in celebration of the Chinese Valentine’s Day.
  • An opal purple glints colored mother-of-pearl dial, plum purple alligator leather strap, Mississippiensis 18K 5N pink gold case set with 54 brillant-cut diamonds on the bezel.
  • A manual-winding in-house movement, Calibre 1400, symbolizes Vacheron Constantin’s watchmaking excellence, this time dedicated to sophisticated Chinese female connoisseurs.

[Shanghai, July 15th, 2021] Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer Vacheron Constantin is unveiling the Traditionnelle manual-winding, China limited edition as a tribute to the romantic season. Limited in 100 pieces for Mainland China, this creation is launched exclusively for the China Valentine’s Day, Qixi. This slender and elegant timepiece is dressed in pink gold with an opal purple glints colored mother-of-pearl dial worn on a plum purple alligator leather strap.


“Qixi Festival”
Originated from the ancient Chinese mythology, the “Qixi Festival (Chinese Valentine’s Day)” celebrates the annual rendez-vous of the legendary couple, Cowherd and Weaving Maiden, on the Magpie Bridge. At the romantic time being, the hydrangeas are in full bloom in different shades of purple, therefore the festival is also known as "Purple Valentine's Day" in China. Weaving Maiden possesses marvelous weaving skills, that she weaved the clouds into a rainbow. Purple, being the last color of the rainbow, represents not only the longing of two lovers to reunite, but also the eternal commitment towards each other as it extends into infinity. The color Purple is also a synonym for nobility and elegance in Chinese culture. In celebration of this year’s Chinese Valentine’s Day, Vacheron Constantin has dedicated its watchmaking expertise of 266 years to the new Traditionnelle manual-winding China Limited Edition, which manifests the craftsmanship of timeless classic with yet a poetic allure.
 

Traditionnelle manual-winding
The texture of the mother-of-pearl dial takes on a subtle purple glow, reminiscent of ripples felt in lovers’ hearts at the sight of each other. The 54 brillant-cut diamonds on the bezel shine bright, surrounding the dial seamlessly which symbolizes the lovers’ care and companionship. The round-shaped case represents a perfect circle, which signifies reunion and completeness in Chinese. Every little detail of this timepiece relays the best wishes to the loved ones during the romantic festival.

Among Vacheron Constantin's collections, Traditionnelle perpetuates the elegant and refined style of the Maison while remaining true to its technical vocation as a watchmaker. These timepieces pay tribute to the history of a Manufacture that has established itself in the field of High Watchmaking with watches featuring an assertive and perfectly mastered classicism. Round cases, fine lines, subtly harmonious displays and high-quali-ty finishing are just some of the characteristics of this collection recalling the finest hours of Geneva's Haute Horlogerie.
 

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Summary

The new Traditionnelle manual-winding, China limited edition pays tribute to the romantic season and is perfect-ly in tune with the spirit of the collection. Faithful to the origins of Vacheron Constantin, and designed for Chinese women enamored of beautifully crafted watches that are both understated and distinguished. Issued in a 100-piece limited series exclusively for Mainland China, it asserts its style in subtle shades of purple: from the elegant opal purple of its mother-of-pearl dial to the plum purple of its alligator leather strap with 18K 5N pink gold buckle. By contrast, the 54 round-cut diamonds (approx. 0.87 ct) finely set on the bezel make the 18K 5N pink gold case the guardian of a fleeting and wonderful vision of time. Powered by the in-house manual-winding Calibre 1400, this Traditionnelle watch is equipped with hours and minutes display delivering precision and reliability in all circumstances.

The new Traditionnelle manual-winding, China Limited Edition, will be available for pre-order at Vacheron Constantin's T-mall Flagship Store and also through its phone sales service (+86 400-623-1289) starting from July 15th, and will be available in the boutiques from August 7th.


TMALL Tao Link ¥Y93SXi9geAQ¥

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Technical data:

Traditionnelle manual-winding, China Limited Edition

Reference
81590/000R-B963

Calibre
1400
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
Mechanical, manual-winding
20.65 mm (9’’’) diameter, 2.6 mm thick
Approximately 40 hours of power reserve
4 Hz (28,800 vibrations per hour)
98 components
20 jewels
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece

Indications
Hours, minutes

Case
18K 5N pink gold
33 mm, 7.70 mm thick
Diamond-set bezel (54 brillant-cut diamonds, approx. 0.87 ct)
Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
Water-resistance tested at a pressure of 3 bar (approx. 30 meters)

Dial
Opal purple mother-of-pearl
18K 5N pink gold applied hour-markers

Strap
Plum purple Mississippiensis alligator leather strap with calf inner shell, stitched-tip, square scales

Buckle
18K 5N pink gold pin buckle
Polished half Maltese cross-shaped

Limited edition of 100 pieces, individually numbered

Vacheron Constantin announces the opening of a boutique at the Samaritaine in the very heart of Paris

Paris, July 2021 – Vacheron Constantin, the world's oldest watch manufacturer in continuous operation for 265 years, is proud to announce the opening of a boutique at the Samaritaine Paris Pont-Neuf, which is once again welcoming visitors after being closed for 16 years and an extraordinary renovation project.
 

From now on, Vacheron Constantin will host collectors and clients on the second floor of this Art Nouveau and Art Deco architectural gem, offering both the former an opportunity to browse its entire range of collections – from the simplest watches to the most complicated – as well as models developed exclusively for the boutiques.

The design of this elegant 42 m2 setting highlights the Maison’s profound attachment to heritage and artistic crafts, expressed through walls adorned with blue straw marquetry artwork masterfully carried out by the artisans of the Ateliers Lison de Caunes; a mosaic floor representing a nod to the Vacheron Constantin boutique on Rue de la Paix; a central counter with rounded Art Deco-inspired lines specially created for the occasion... The décor features a wealth of aesthetic details conducive to instilling a warm and welcoming atmosphere within the prestigious department store. This is an exclusive space ideally designed for private meetings, within which collectors and watch enthusiasts are sure to enjoy discovering the latest creations from the Maison.

 

Vacheron Constantin Boutique - La Samaritaine Paris Pont Neuf
9 Rue de la Monnaie, 75001 Paris
Telephone: 01 88 88 60 00
Open Monday to Sunday from 10am to 8pm

Client-First Service Expansion to Singapore and Australia

• Vacheron Constantin meets client expectations in Hong Kong SAR, China, Singapore and Australia with the launch of customer advisor supported phone sales, starting July 2021.
• This comes after successful launches in the United States, Europe, Japan and China.


Geneva, July 2021 – Vacheron Constantin, the world’s longest continuously operating watch manufacture will now offer phone sales service to APAC region starting July 2021.


Clients from Hong Kong SAR, China, Singapore and Australia will now have the opportunity to select and purchase their timepiece of choice from those styles currently available on Vacheron Constantin's website, www.vacheron-constantin.com. In a centralized effort, timepieces on the Maison’s website are available for sale over the phone, with a specific tab indicating the number to call to place orders.
Service-first customer advisors are now available to guide clients in their choices, answer questions, and facilitate a comfortable and easy purchasing journey. Once the phone order has been confirmed, c lients c an choose to pick up at a nearby boutique or complimentary shipping with turnaround times ranging between one and three days for Hong Kong and Singapore, and four to eight days for Australia.
Ever-focused on providing clients the services they deserve, Vacheron Constantin will also propose express delivery to clients in Singapore and Hong Kong. If the phone order is confirmed before noon on a weekday, the delivery will be scheduled on the same day, during the afternoon. 

“It is part of Vacheron Constantin’s mission to offer a superior service to its clientele of connoisseurs, thanks to our concierge team and boutique sales associates who are now available over the phone or in-person. We are therefore delighted to be introducing new ways to purchase a Vacheron Constantin timepiece to APAC region”, says Laurent Perves, Vacheron Constantin Chief Marketing Officer.

Client-First Service Expansion to Hong Kong SAR, China

  • Vacheron Constantin meets client expectations in Hong Kong SAR, China, Singapore and Australia with the launch of customer advisor supported phone sales starting July 2021.
  • This comes after successful launches in the United States, Europe, Japan and China.

 

Geneva, July 2021 – Vacheron Constantin, the world’s longest continuously operating watch manufacture will now offer phone sales service to APAC region starting July 2021.

Clients from Hong Kong SAR, China, Singapore and Australia will now have the opportunity to select and purchase their timepiece of choice from those styles currently available on Vacheron Constantin's website, www.vacheron-constantin.com. In a centralized effort, timepieces on the Maison’s website are available for sale over the phone, with a specific tab indicating the number to call to place orders.

Service-first customer advisors are now available to guide clients in their choices, answer questions, and facilitate a comfortable and easy purchasing journey. Once the phone order has been confirmed, c lients c an choose to pick up at a nearby boutique or complimentary shipping with turnaround times ranging between one and three days for Hong Kong and Singapore, and four to eight days for Australia. 
Ever-focused on providing clients the services they deserve, Vacheron Constantin will also propose express delivery to clients in Singapore and Hong Kong. If the phone order is confirmed before noon on a weekday, the delivery will be scheduled on the same day, during the afternoon. 

“It is part of Vacheron Constantin’s mission to offer a superior service to its clientele of connoisseurs, thanks to our concierge team and boutique sales associates who are now available over the phone or in-person. We are therefore delighted to be introducing new ways to purchase a Vacheron Constantin timepiece to APAC region”, says Laurent Perves, Vacheron Constantin Chief Marketing Officer.

“Les Collectionneurs” in Taipei, from 1st July to 10th August 2021

  • A representative selection of vintage watches covering the entire 20th century;
  • Taipei, from 1st July to 10th August, at Vacheron Constantin Taipei 101 boutique
  • Models “hunted down” by Vacheron Constantin's experts, then restored and delivered with a certificate of authenticity and a two-year guarantee.

 

Taipei, June 2021 - Chosen with patience and talent by the Maison’s heritage department specialists, vintage watches covering the entire 20th century are now part of the aptly named “Les Collectionneurs” collection. The latter continues to evolve over time and is regularly offered for sale to brand aficionados at dedicated events organised in Vacheron Constantin boutiques around the world. “Les Collectionneurs” models all come with a certificate of authenticity and a two-year guarantee – an offer unmatched in the watchmaking world.


When vintage is second nature

The notion of vintage is second nature to Vacheron Constantin. It is expressed through a strong attachment to everything relating to its heritage. In more than 260 years of existence, the Maison has accumulated a unique set of archives in the field of time measurement. Engaged in uninterrupted production since its origins, the Manufacture is also able to take care of – and restore if necessary – any watch from its workshops, whatever its age. A closer look at its archives and its private collection of more than 1,500 timepieces offers an excellent insight into this historical depth and the means used to nurture it. From the watchmakers and craftsmen of its restoration workshop to the historians of the Style & Heritage team, the experts at Vacheron Constantin possess all the necessary skills to best serve this vintage watchmaking that now enjoys such an excellent reputation.


“Les Collectionneurs”

Vacheron Constantin quickly felt the need to unite connoisseurs and aficionados of the Maison around this same passion, leading to the creation of “Les Collectionneurs”: an approach consisting in using the Manufacture’s considerable resources to gather and restore a series of historical Vacheron Constantin pieces, subsequently offered for sale at dedicated events in Vacheron Constantin boutiques around the world.

"Les Collectionneurs” represents another facet of Vacheron Constantin," comments Christian Selmoni, Style & Heritage Director. “The collection perpetuates this precious link between past and present, enabling our clientele of connoisseurs and collectors to acquire restored vintage pieces directly through the Maison, which is a real guarantee. As for the events organised around the world to unveil these pieces, they attract both seasoned collectors and young generations eager to delve more deeply into watchmaking history.”


Watches ready for a new life

The Vacheron Constantin Heritage team works to bring together these vintage watches, whether pocket or wristwatches. The objective is to create a representative range of timepieces offered by Vacheron Constantin over the years. All kinds of channels are used in order to locate them: auction rooms, personal contacts with private individuals – bearing in mind that an expert eye is decisive in the choice of these timepieces, be they simple or striking models, calendars or chronographs... Pocket watches mainly covering the years 1910 to 1930 and wristwatches prior to 1970 – with a preference for the period from 1940 to 1960 – are then subjected to a dual appraisal. First of all, a historical evaluation is undertaken in order to authenticate the piece with reference to the in-house archives, which have been listing cases and movements by serial number for a century and a half. Then comes the technical assessment aimed at determining which interventions may be necessary, from simply cleaning the watch to its restoration – the objective being to preserve these timepieces in a state as close as possible to that of their origins. If necessary, they are restored to working order using period components, of which Vacheron Constantin maintains a large stock, or else reproduced the old-fashioned way and in identical form within the Manufacture. Once the process is complete, each timepiece is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity and a two-year guarantee, the latter being the same as that delivered with all models within the Maison’s standard collections.


Models unveiled at dedicated events

Throughout the year, Vacheron Constantin organises special events or exhibitions of historical models from its private collection in its boutiques. These are all special experiences that give connoisseurs an opportunity to discover this “Les Collectionneurs” collection; and Vacheron Constantin's experts a chance to share the history related to the "experience" of these models. Thanks to its extremely well documented archives, the Maison can retrace the destiny of these timepieces that have survived through the ages as testimony to their time and to its watchmaking expertise. Rare and doubtless unique for those who cherish them, these Vacheron Constantin watches bearing the patina of age as a badge of honour are thus ready for a new life.


Watches highlight

18K Two-tone Gold “Tonneau” Shape Wristwatch (Ref. Inv. 11531) – 1927

Silvered dial, twelve Arabic numerals in gold applied, external railway minute circle enamelled. Gold “Cathedral” type hours and minutes hands.

It was within the framework of structural research that tonneau-shaped, trapezium-shaped, tortoise-shaped wristwatches made their appearance. It represented an obvious way of integrating lugs into a case.​ Straight bars on a circular-shaped case proved to be a hybrid and unattractive solution. Vacheron Constantin borrowed proportions and straight geometric lines from Art Deco in the design of its pieces from late 1920's until the 1940s. At that time, they combined precision, functionality, discretion and ergonomics.​ To consolidate the aesthetic break with conventions, watch cases with flat and/or arched shapes to match the curve of the wrist were introduced in square or rectangular versions.

These watches were stylistic feats that also demonstrated technical watchmaking prowess, since they provided long-awaited proof of success in miniaturizing calibres and understanding the new constraints involved in wrist wear such as shocks, movements, temperature and humidity. A wristwatch could thus be just as accurate as a pocket watch.


18K Yellow Gold Wristwatch (Ref. Inv. 10102) – 1942

Silvered dial with five Roman numerals in gold, black enameled external "railroad" minute-track, small seconds at 6 o'clock and 6 straight baton markers applied

As a purely Genevan brand, Vacheron Constantin shown elegant and refined designs during 1940’s and 1950’s as this reference 4050.

A perfect example with taught lines and elegant dial displaying five classical Roman numerals in yellow gold.The Reference 4050 houses the calibre 453, considered as one of the best designs of this period.

In that case, calibre 12’’ ½ 453 version distinguishes itself with a non-fixed end stone plate, non-fixed escapement wheel end stone plate and a swan’s neck micrometric regulator.


18K Yellow Gold Gentleman’s Wristwatch (Ref. Inv. 12086) – 1973

Silvered sunray satin finished dial with twelve gold markers applied, gold baton type hands with black lacquered highlight.

This fine 7595Q tonneau-shape wristwatch (quite sporty design) houses an early ultra-thin self-winding calibre with date indication. Thanks to its design, this mechanical achievement make this watch considered as an ultra-thin one.

The quest of thinness started at our Maison in the 1950’s. It reached the automatic calibres in 1967 with the first use of the ultra-thin calibre 1120, being only 2.45mm thick. The same calibre was improved the following year by adding the date indication and it became calibre 1121 with 3.05mm thinness.

Watch stamped by the Hallmark of Geneva: proof of fine mastering, finishing and precision.

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Schedule

Vacheron Constantin Taipei 101 Boutique
Date:1 Jul - 10 Aug, 2021
Address: No. 45, Shifu Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City
Tel: +886 (02) 8101 8658

Special Collaboration: Vacheron Constantin x Oak Room
Date: 13 Jul – 24 Jul, 2021
Address: No.10, Lane 42, Sec. 2, Zhongshan N. Rd., Zhongshan Dist., Taipei City
Tel: +886 (02) 2567 7089

Business days and hours may change depending on circumstances.

Sports watches exhibition: Tokyo and Osaka from July 5 to August 23

  • Vacheron Constantin presents an exhibition devoted to the world of its sports watches and the precision instruments that preceded them.
  • The exhibition will take place in Tokyo (Isetan Shinjuku Boutique: July 5-20, Ginza Boutique: July 23-August 8, Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi Boutique: August 18-23) and Osaka (Daimaru Shinsaibashi Boutique August 11-15)
  • From the 1930s onwards, the Maison developed landmark chronographs for scientists and sportsmen and women.
  • In 1977, Vacheron Constantin celebrated its 222nd anniversary with the "222", a symbol of the sporting elegance that would inspire the Overseas collection 20 years later.


Tokyo, June 2021 - Renowned for its mastery of the horological grand complications, Vacheron Constantin has also distinguished itself in the field of chronometry and precision instruments. This expertise has made the Maison’s timepieces – and particularly its chronographs – firm favourites among scientists, explorers and athletes alike. In 1977, Vacheron Constantin celebrated its 222nd anniversary with a new watch that would firmly establish presence in the world of sports watches: the "222", whose sleek elegance inspired the Overseas collection. The exhibition offers a reflection of this epic saga.


Sports watches are both instrument featuring impeccable precision timekeeping and models capable of withstanding the challenges of an active lifestyle. For Vacheron Constantin, this duality has always been expressed through timepieces in which technical imperatives are matched by superbly elegant aesthetics. Known from the time of its founding for its mastery of the most sophisticated watchmaking complications, the Maison distinguished itself at an early stage by developing timepieces perfectly suited to the requirements of scientists and explorers. These pocket watches, produced from the 1850s to the beginning of the 20th century, were greatly appreciated for their reliability and precision. Honoured by numerous prizes awarded in chronometry competitions, they were naturally of interest to various military corps as accurate and extremely robust time-measuring instruments. 


The advent of the wristwatch at the beginning of the 20th century enabled Vacheron Constantin to demonstrate its technical know-how in the production of chronographs, which were to become benchmarks in sporting circles. Over the decades, these timepieces dedicated to short-time measurements have consistently proved capable of adapting to the demands of contemporary life – in which sport and travel occupy an ever-growing place – while losing nothing of their inherent elegance. Witness the Turnograph Reference 6782 model from the 1950s, which is widely regarded as the first sports watch from a prestigious watchmaker.


The “222” watch:

From the 1970s onwards, watchmaking underwent a phase of profound transformation, not only due to the new quartz movements, but also in response to customers’ aspirations towards a more audacious and almost irreverent approach to watchmaking in this decade of emancipation. Sturdy watches, crafted in stainless steel with an integrated bracelet and highly legible dial, created a whole new segment of sporty chic products corresponding to the lifestyles of this era. In 1977, the year of its 222nd anniversary, Vacheron Constantin presented its own interpretation of this new trend: the "222” watch born from the imagination of the youthful designer Jörg Hysek. Classic in its terms of its “motorisation” – since it was equipped with an ultra-thin self-winding movement – it nonetheless broke all the rules with its slender yet robust silhouette, enhanced by a finely notched bezel and integrated bracelet. Considered the first emblematic sports model from the Maison, the 222 subsequently inspired another watch destined for greatness. In 1996, Overseas came to embody the Manufacture’s take on the world of sports. This line dedicated to travel and discovery embodies the pioneering spirit of Vacheron Constantin.

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Exhibited watches:

To illustrate this tradition of precision watches and sports models produced by Vacheron Constantin since the 1940s, the Maison has drawn on its rich heritage of some 1,300 timepieces to select those particularly representative of different periods and trends. These watches exhibited in Tokyo and Osaka testify to technical expertise serving the cause of elegance.


Pocket chronometer in 18K yellow gold, silver-toned dial with small seconds and power-reserve indicator –1947

The development of timepieces for professionals combining precision and technical sophistication reflects the pioneering spirit of Vacheron Constantin. In order to meet the requirements of scientists, explorers, sportsmen and astronomical observatories, the Maison has been offering reliable and accurate pocket watches since the 19th century, earning it numerous distinctions in chronometry competitions. This 1947 manual-winding gold model with small seconds and power-reserve indication is a perfect illustration of this know-how.


Pulsimeter chronograph Reference 4072 in gold and steel, silver-toned dial with small seconds and 30-minute chronograph counter –1944

Thanks to the miniaturisation of movements at the beginning of the 20th century, chronographs became wristworn instruments. For Vacheron Constantin, this was an opportunity to demonstrate its technical mastery through the development of high-performance calibres that were unanimously acclaimed within the sporting and scientific communities. Among the brand's especially acclaimed chronographs, Reference 4072 was to enjoy a remarkable longevity. Initially launched during the 1930s in a single-pusher version, it wound up its career in the early 1970s with two pushers, as exemplified in this two-tone model from 1944.


“222" stainless steel watch with integrated bracelet, black dial and date –1978

To celebrate its 222nd anniversary in 1977, Vacheron Constantin presented the "222", a steel timepiece with an integrated bracelet, featuring an edgy profile and meticulous attention to detail, including the Maltese cross stamped on the caseband. Powered by ultra-thin manual-winding Calibre 1121, the watch was graced with a pure and elegant profile created by youthful designer Jörg Hysek. Produced until 1985 in various sizes and –- including this original 37 mm steel "Jumbo" version –this model is regarded as the first iconic sports watch from Vacheron Constantin.


Phidias GMT World Time watch in gold and stainless steel, white dial with central seconds and date, diamond hour-markers –1995

At the end of the 1980s, four years after the "222" was discontinued, Vacheron Constantin decided to return to the segment of sporty and elegant watches with "Phidias", a model designed by Dino Modolo. Very much in keeping with the style of that decade, this watch with its integrated two-tone curving bracelet has a profile that is more elegant than sporty. Nevertheless, the "Phidias" collection was thoughtfully built so as to integrate various complications, such as the world time function appearing on this model via the rotating bezel engraved with cities representing the different time zones. A timepiece entirely in tune with the prevailing democratisation of air travel.


Overseas steel self-winding chronograph watch, silver-toned dial with 30-minute and 12-hour chronograph counters, small seconds and date –1999

The Overseas watch, also designed by Dino Modolo, is a direct descendant of the "222". In this respect, 1996 – when the model was presented – was a pivotal year for Vacheron Constantin, which thereby asserted its presence in the world of sporty and elegant watches. The year proved all the more important in that this watch – marking the start of a brand-new collection – enjoyed immediate success. Inspired by the notion of travel, the Overseas was first presented in three sizes with self-winding calibres, before appearing in various interpretations, including this stainless steel chronograph model epitomising its immediately recognisable blend of sport, elegance and classicism.


Overseas II self-winding watch in stainless steel and titanium, anthracite dial with central seconds and date –2010

The success of the first Overseas watches is confirmed by their longevity and the second generation of the model was indeed only introduced in 2004. On this occasion, its design underwent a notable evolution in order to make the watch sportier and more daring, particularly in terms of the integrated bracelet whose links are inspired by the Maltese cross, the emblem of Vacheron Constantin. The size was also adapted to the standards of the 2000s, with the new Overseas watch adopting a 42 mm diameter, both for the chronograph and for the simple model presented here in a 2010 stainless steel and titanium version.

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Exhibitions dates :

Isetan Shinjuku Boutique (Tokyo)
July 5-20

Ginza Boutique (Tokyo)
July23-August8

Daimaru Shinsaibashi Boutique (Osaka)
August11-15

Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi Boutique (Tokyo)
August18-23

New Flagship in New York City

  • Vacheron Constantin opens North American Flagship in New York City
  • The new two-story Boutique celebrates the long-standing relationship between the Maison and America since 1831
  • Client-first experiences include in-house watchmaker, strap customization, interactive digital archives, rotating exhibition space, and the first ever permanent “Les Collectionneurs” vintage offer.


New York, June 2021 – Vacheron Constantin, the luxury Swiss watchmaking Maison with over two hundred and sixty-five years of expertise, is delighted to announce the opening of its North American Flagship in the heart of New York City, at 28 East 57th Street. The boutique pays tribute to the Maison’s deep roots in the United States and commitment to outstanding client service.

The new Vacheron Constantin Flagship in North America celebrates the relationship between our Maison and America that has existed since 1831. Engaging with the creative spirit of America and its many diverse cultures, Vacheron Constantin is ready to make 28 E 57th Street its new North American home. This Flagship exemplifies Vacheron Constantin’s dedication to excellence and our motto, Do Better if Possible, and That is Always Possible.” – Louis Ferla, Chief Executive Officer, Vacheron Constantin


A 190 year love story with New York

The selection of New York for the location of Vacheron Constantin’s North American Flagship carries powerful symbolism for the Maison. In 1831, Jacques Barthélémi Vacheron wrote a letter stating his intent to expand business to the United States, and in 1832 the company established its first agent in New York. By the twentieth century, Vacheron Constantin timepieces could be found on the wrists of eminent Americans from members of the Rockefeller family, Henry and William James, automobile manufacture James Ward Packard, and actors Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor to name a few. Of the many innovative and historically important Vacheron Constantin timepieces, special references inspired by American clients include one of the first large wristwatches for aviators, a series of pocket watches for the U.S. Corps of Engineers during WWI, and just a few years later, the cushion-shaped “American 1921”, a classic yet daring tilted-dial design created for the American market. This iconic timepiece celebrates its 100th Anniversary in 2021 and is the focus of the New York Flagship opening exhibition.


Immersive experience

Located between Madison and Park Avenue, the new Vacheron Constantin Flagship spans over 4,500 square feet and covers two floors. A distinctive glass façade opens directly onto 57th Street and features a sleek brass-toned design in the shape of the Maison’s emblem, the Maltese Cross. The transparent glass invites collectors and visitors into a discovery of the Maison’s creativity and fine craftsmanship in a harmonious old-meets-new environment fitting the spirit of Vacheron Constantin’s contemporary watchmaking.

Upon entering, visitors are greeted by an atrium filled with natural light and a double floor height. A striking blue straw marquetry wall with Maltese cross motif creates a focal point that conveys Vacheron Constantin’s dedication to high watchmaking artistry. To the left, an open discovery table welcomes watch collectors and visitors alike to discover beautiful crafts and techniques amongst an assortment of Métiers d’art timepieces.

A large eye-catching screen offers an immersive tour through the history of Vacheron Constantin in the United States via an exclusive interactive experience: the “Chronogram”. Developed in partnership with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), Chronogram is an innovative tool that uses emerging technologies to digitize Vacheron Constantin’s exceptional body of archives accumulated since 1755, shared with the public for live exploration of the Maison’s heritage.


In-house watchmaker, rotating exhibitions and family-friendly accommodations

A dedicated area within the first floor displays the restoration capabilities of the Maison and rotating exhibitions of historic timepieces from the Vacheron Constantin private heritage collection in Geneva. In a striking design, visitors are met with a sweeping staircase animated with bronze vertical columns inspired by 19th century architecture. As a demonstration of the Maison’s commitment to client-centered service, the second floor opens to an expansive watchmaking bench intended to encourage interaction with an in-house watchmaker as well as a custom strap station presenting both engraving and embossing customization options. A VIP Lounge encourages lingering and a family-friendly bar upstairs is equipped with games and refreshments that truly embody Vacheron Constantin’s dedication to clients.


A window into Vacheron Constantin’s collections

The new Flagship houses the complete Vacheron Constantin timepiece collection from simple to high complications, as well as boutique exclusive models, the first permanent “Les Collectionneurs” vintage watch offering, and a rotating Les Cabinotiers assortment. The newly unveiled American 1921 Pièce Unique re-creation timepiece will also be presented for the occasion of the Flagship opening.


“Les Collectionneurs”

Chosen with patience and talent by the Maison’s heritage department specialists, “Les Collectionneurs” curated collection of vintage Vacheron Constantin watches from the 20th century have been restored and are offered with the same warranty given to contemporary collections. Previously only available at dedicated annual events in Vacheron Constantin boutiques around the world, a rare assortment will be featured in the North American Flagship as the world’s first “Les Collectionneurs” permanent boutique offering.


Les Cabinotiers

Les Cabinotiers, Vacheron Constantin’s approach to single-piece editions, showcases the Maison’s amazing wealth of creative and engineering talent. The department of Les Cabinotiers combines excellence and dedication with a group of master watchmaking professionals who use their wide-ranging scientific knowledge in the latest technical breakthroughs and 18th century watchmaking crafts to perpetuate Vacheron Constantin’s tradition of innovation. Creating both bespoke timepieces on demand from clients as well as timepieces conceived by Vacheron Constantin master watchmakers, Les Cabinotiers translate dreams into reality in mechanical and artistic terms and consistently push the boundaries of what is possible in watchmaking today.


A One of a Kind American 1921

To mark the 100th anniversary of the American 1921 watch, Vacheron Constantin has delved into its archives and its horological expertise to offer a faithful reproduction of the American 1921 original timepiece, emblematic of an era. Stemming from an impressive technical feat and epic human saga pushing the limits of fine craftsmanship, the creation of the American 1921 Pièce Unique watch mobilizes the remarkable expertise of the Maison’s Restoration workshop and Heritage department for an entire year. This approach might be a first in the watch industry, reflecting Vacheron Constantin’s commitment to the conservation, transmission and continuous enrichment of its heritage and skills.


Inspiration from American Art

In homage to great American art, display windows on 57th Street and the boutique’s first floor exhibition area will be fully encompassed during the opening by a dream-like bronze city including a car and track installation inspired by the masterpiece, Metropolis II (2010), by American artist Chris Burden (1946-2015). From his action-based works in the 1970s that focused on his own body and the relationship of the viewer to it, to the technical feats of his later sculptures that intervened in spaces, artist Chris Burden consistently challenged limitations. By doing so, he reflected on the surreal realities of contemporary life and invited the viewer to join in these contemplations. Vacheron Constantin and Chris Burden’s work share a commitment to craft, and an exploration of the beauty found in scientific exploration. The installation on view pays tribute to a cosmopolitan love of movement and “the idea of a city”. This is the Chris Burden Estate’s historic first ever brand collaboration.

 

Boutique Address:
Vacheron Constantin
28 East 57th Street
New York, NY 10022

Hours:
Monday – Saturday: 10am to 6pm
Sunday: 12 to 6pm

Vacheron Constantin Celebrates the Finale of the First-Ever ‘One of Not Many’ Mentorship Program

Dubai, June 8th 2021 – Vacheron Constantin invited the ‘One of Not Many’ Mentorship Program Mentors, Mentees and distinguished guests for a final gathering to celebrate the end of their unique six-month journey, at the Etihad museum in Dubai. This educational initiative was launched in October 2020 in collaboration with Zayed University and aimed at empowering the next generation of Emirati Women. 



Opening Ceremony
The ceremony was opened by an inspirational speech of Her Excellency Noura Bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth & President of Zayed University, stating “The ‘One of Not Many’ Mentorship Program is a clear illustration of the dedication of Emirati women towards the development of their nation, it is extremely admirable, as it not only bestows and expresses an all-inclusive hands-on training to the students, but also offers them the opportunity to excel as future leaders of tomorrow. The leadership of the UAE recognizes the key role of women as partners in state-building and in achieving inclusive and sustainable development. It is through the consistent and meaningful empowerment of women in a range of key decision-making roles that the UAE expects to achieve real progress, aligned with the implementation of our national objectives.”


Mentorship Program
The Vacheron Constantin ‘One of Not Many’ Mentorship Program gave six young Emirati women the opportunity to be mentored by six successful Emirati entrepreneurs, providing them with a tailor-made program based on their career aspirations. 
Throughout the six-month learning experience, the Mentees explored a range of topics and creative fields in hopes of starting their own professional projects. Maitha Al Khazraji was guided by restaurant entrepreneur Salama Al Shamsi to open up her own bakery. Maha Almehairbi worked with Emirati couture designer Rafia Helal Bin Drai to design her homegrown clothing line. Dana Al Dhaen was inspired by artist and author Alia Al Shamsi to showcase her macro photography of nature. Hind Al Khoory paired with fashion designer Latifa Al Gurg to create her own athletic line. Fatima Al Katheeri was given the opportunity to develop her marketing and communication skills with the help of jewellery designer Noora Shawqi. Lastly, Ghalaa Abulohom got to apply and further develop her interior design skills into corporate events through the daily guidance of Hala Al Gergawi, CEO and founder of Tea Before Noon. In addition to being a mentor, Hala Al Gergawi proudly facilitated the launch of ‘One of Not Many’ Mentorship Program, stating “It was such an honor for Tea Before Noon to bridge between Zayed University talented students and Vacheron Constantin, and I wish continuity and growth for this unique program year on year to keep empowering and shaping the young generation's career goals while maintaining their cultural values".


The Program Finale
During the Program Finale, each Mentee had the opportunity to share her own experience and achievements in front of a large audience including H.E. Noura Bint Mohammed Al Kaabi and guests from Zayed University, Etihad Airways, key regional journalists, Richemont group and the Vacheron Constantin team. They each stated in their own words that throughout the course of the mentorship, they grew increasingly more confident in defining their ambitions, jumpstarting their careers, and fine-tuning their entrepreneurship skills. Provided with the right tools and guidance, coupled with real-world experience in their fields, the students were given the keys to forging their own paths to success. “I used to believe that having my own business was out of my reach. Now I know it is possible,” commented Mentee Maha Almehairbi.

As an inspiring and accomplished Emirati woman, Dr Nadia Bastaki, Etihad Airways’ Vice President Medical Services & CSR, was invited to share her personal experience with the students, stating “Vacheron Constantin has engaged with the community to create a wonderful platform for women empowerment. Today we can see that they have gone extra mile to give the Maison a competitive edge showcasing their true brand value.”
To conclude the ceremony, Vacheron Constantin awarded the Mentees a ‘One of Not Many’ Mentorship Program Completion Certificate as a symbol of their dedication and commitment. The guests were then invited to discover the Mentees’ projects, showcased through an exhibition at the Etihad Museum.


The Future is Now
The experience does not end here for the Mentees. The journey continues at the Vacheron Constantin Maison and Richemont Group where each of them will be offered a six-month internship opportunity to further develop their skills and knowledge in the corporate world. Of the six Mentees, Fatima Alkatheeri was the first to begin her internship at Vacheron Constantin in April 2021. “Interning at Vacheron Constantin is an opportunity unlike any other. I’ve been able to contribute to an array of inspiring marketing projects, allowing me to put my skills into practice and to develop my experience in the luxury industry. This internship has further solidified my passion for marketing and allowed me to define my career goals for the future,” stated Fatima.
The first edition of the Vacheron Constantin ‘One of Not Many’ Mentorship Program was an overall success, allowing real opportunities and career openings for the young Emirati women entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Alexander Schmiedt, Vacheron Constantin Regional Brand Director for the Middle East commented, “Vacheron Constantin’s ‘One of Not Many’ Mentorship Program vastly exceeded our initial expectations; the amount of inspiration, creativity, and close bonds that were created as a result have further proven the need for such educational initiatives in the region and beyond. We are infinitely proud to be leading the way for women to share, invent, create and innovate together in a space encouraging women empowerment and entrepreneurship. We look forward to welcoming these young women to the Vacheron Constantin and Richemont teams through the form of invaluable internships, as we look towards the younger generation as the talents of our future. The success of the first edition of ‘One of Not Many’ Mentorship Program in the UAE has inspired us to bring the initiative across borders, with Saudi Arabia planned for the next chapter in September.”

 

“Les Collectionneurs” London, 8th June - 8th August, 2021

  • Eleven vintage watches spanning the 20th century; 
  • London, from 8th June to 8th August 2021
  • Models sourced by Vacheron Constantin's experts, then restored and delivered with a digital certification of authenticity with Blockchain technology and a two-year guarantee.

 

Chosen with patience and talent by the Maison’s heritage department specialists, vintage watches covering the 20th century are now part of the aptly named “Les Collectionneurs” collection. The latter continues to evolve over time and is regularly offered for sale to brand aficionados at dedicated events organised in Vacheron Constantin boutiques around the world. “Les Collectionneurs” models all come with a digital certification of authenticity with Blockchain technology and a two-year guarantee – an offer unmatched in the watchmaking world.


When vintage is second nature
The notion of vintage is second nature to Vacheron Constantin. It is expressed through a strong attachment to everything relating to its heritage. In more than 265 years of existence, the Maison has accumulated a unique set of archives in the field of time measurement. Engaged in uninterrupted production since its origins, the Manufacture is also able to take care of – and restore if necessary – any timepiece from its workshops, whatever its age. A closer look at its archives and its private collection of more than 1,500 timepieces offers an excellent insight into this historical depth and the means used to nurture it. From the watchmakers and craftspeople of its restoration workshop to the historians of the Style & Heritage team, the experts at Vacheron Constantin possess all the necessary skills to best honour this vintage watchmaking service that now enjoys such an excellent reputation.

 

“Les Collectionneurs”
Vacheron Constantin wanted to unite connoisseurs and aficionados of the Maison around their passion for vintage timepieces, leading to the creation of “Les Collectionneurs”: an approach consisting in using the Manufacture’s considerable resources to gather and restore a series of historical Vacheron Constantin pieces, subsequently offered for sale at dedicated events in Vacheron Constantin boutiques around the world.

"Les Collectionneurs” represents another facet of Vacheron Constantin," comments Christian Selmoni, Style & Heritage Director. “The collection perpetuates this precious link between past and present, enabling our clientele of connoisseurs and collectors to acquire restored vintage pieces directly through the Maison, which is a real guarantee. As for the events organised around the world to unveil these pieces, they attract both seasoned collectors and young generations eager to delve more deeply into watchmaking history.”

 

Watches ready for a new life
The Vacheron Constantin Heritage team works to bring together these vintage watches, whether pocket or wristwatches. The objective is to create a representative range of timepieces offered by Vacheron Constantin over the years. All kinds of channels are used in order to locate them: auction rooms, personal contacts with private individuals – bearing in mind that an expert eye is decisive in the choice of these timepieces, be they simple or striking models, calendars or chronographs... Pocket watches mainly covering the years 1910 to 1930 and wristwatches prior to 1970 – with a preference for the period from 1940 to 1960 – are then subjected to a dual appraisal. First of all, a historical evaluation is undertaken in order to authenticate the piece with reference to the in-house archives, which have been listing cases and movements by serial number for a century and a half. Then comes the technical assessment aimed at determining which interventions may be necessary, from simply cleaning the timepiece, to its restoration – the objective being to preserve these timepieces in a state as close as possible to that of their origins. If necessary, they are restored to working order using period components, of which Vacheron Constantin maintains a large stock, or else reproduced the old-fashioned way and in identical form within the Manufacture. Once the process is complete, each timepiece is accompanied by a digital certificate of authenticity and a two-year guarantee, the latter being the same as that delivered with all models within the Maison’s standard collections.


Models unveiled at dedicated events 
Throughout the year, Vacheron Constantin organises special events or exhibitions of historical models from its private collection in its boutiques. These are all special experiences that give connoisseurs an opportunity to discover this “Les Collectionneurs” collection; and Vacheron Constantin's experts a chance to share the history related to the "experience" of these models. Thanks to its extremely well documented archives, the Maison can retrace the destiny of these timepieces that have survived through the ages as testimony to their time and to its watchmaking expertise. Rare and doubtless unique for those who cherish them, these Vacheron Constantin timepieces bearing the patina of age as a badge of honour are thus ready for a new life.

 

Watches highlight
18K yellow gold minute-repeater gentleman’s wristwatch (Inv. ref 11761) – 1951
Tear-drop lugs soldered to the middle. Silvered dial, circular guilloché hour-circle, 4/4 Roman numerals and 8 lapidated and pointed indexes, external pearled minute-circle. Yellow gold pointed baton hands.An exception grand complication, the reference 4261 combines an impressive thinness and superb aesthetics.The minute repeater mechanism was the third type of complication to be miniaturised enough to fit into the space of a wristwatch after the calendar and the chronograph mechanisms. It has been developed around 1930.The model 4261 was the first ultra-thin minute repeater produced by Vacheron Constantin. When it was launched in 1943 it was considered as one of the thinnest minute repeaters ever made. Less than 40 pieces were produced between 1944-1951, in yellow gold, pink gold and platinum. This watch is one of the last pieces produced.The reference 4261 is most probably the most sought-after Vacheron Constantin timepieces, from the collector’s perspective.

 

18K yellow gold open-face worldtime pocket watch (Inv. Ref 10394) – 1949
Silvered dial made in 3 parts. 24 hours disk divided in two zones, dark blue zone for the night hours and silvered for the daylight hours. external fixed disk graduated with the name of 41 cities and placesIn 1932 the Vacheron Constantin first World Time pocket watch displays the Cottier system capable of displaying the 24 time zones on the same dial, rotating with the movement. The Maison assigns model ref 3372 to this brand new watch. Watches indicating 24 time-zones were progressively named “Universal time, “international time” (ref. Vacheron Constantin archives) and then “World time” for most contemporary watches. In 1936 seeking to show that the complication was worth perfecting. Vacheron Constantin presented two new version of its international time model whose featured 31 international cities for reference 3650. In 1946 Vacheron Constantin assigned reference 4414 to the world time model with a dial comprising 41 cities. This reference was ordered by famous watches collectors as well as the Agnelli family in 1941. King Farouk of Egypt in 1946 or 52nd United States secretary of States John Foster Dulles who received a world time 4414 model from dramatist and diplomat Mrs Clare Booth Luce in 1955.Vacheron Constantin Worldtime watches are not indexed on political/state time zones but under the Meridian for each of 24 time zones (a kind of geographic hour). Following this concept, each time zone is spaced by 15° longitude.

 

 

American 1921 Pièce unique: The iconic American 1921 watch faithfully recreated as if in 1921

  • To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the American 1921, Vacheron Constantin has faithfully created this emblematic model from the Roaring Twenties while safeguarding its original attributes.
  • This exceptional one-of-a-kind creation symbolises the Manufacture's commitment to the transmission and enhancement of traditional skills.


Geneva, May 25th 2021 – To mark the 100th anniversary of the American 1921 watch, Vacheron Constantin has delved into its archives and its horological expertise to offer a faithful reproduction of the timepiece emblematic of an era. Stemming from an impressive technical and human epic saga pushing the limits of fine craftsmanship excellence, the creation of the American 1921 Pièce unique watch mobilised the remarkable expertises of the Maison’s Restoration workshop and the Heritage department for an entire year. This approach might be a first in the watch industry, reflecting Vacheron Constantin’s commitment to the conservation, transmission and continuous enrichment of its heritage and of traditional skills.


Only 24 pieces of the reference dated 1921 were originally manufactured. Today only one of them is part of Vacheron Constantin’s private collection, making it an extremely rare and sought-after timepiece for collectors and watch connoisseurs. Some watches tell stories, inviting us to travel back in time, to retrace origins and immerse oneself in bygone eras. Faithfully recreated as if in 1921, the American 1921 Pièce unique watch presented this year is a case in point, offering a journey into the creativity of the Roaring Twenties and reviving the beauty of artisanal skills as practiced a century ago. More than a jubilee watch, it is the fruit of a fascinating odyssey into the heart of the artisanal know-how cultivated by Vacheron Constantin for over 265 years.


Heritage and Restoration departments’ commitment to perpetuate the art of high watchmaking

When the idea of faithfully recreating an American 1921 model from the Vacheron Constantin private collection first took shape, the project looked set to be both exciting and ambitious.

A bridge between the past and future of the Maison, the Vacheron Constantin Heritage department has a place of its own within the Manufacture. Spanning an exceptional timeline that began in 1755, and overseeing a unique collection, it is anything but a dusty museum. The research and expertise of the teams working there on a daily basis are an inexhaustible source of inspiration for the creation of new collections and a masterful reference for the Restoration workshop. The department preserves 800 machine tools, workbenches and sets of watchmaking tools, along with substantial documentary and iconographic archives. No less than 420 linear metres are taken up by an infinite wealth of production and accounting registers comprising foreign sales, correspondence between associates, suppliers and clients, various documents and photographs. All contribute to shedding both historical and artistic light on Vacheron Constantin’s activity through the years and centuries. They represent a sum of written instruments serving to ensure the traceability of a creation since its origins, given that all the models produced are systematically referenced in the production registers. This unprecedent heritage helped retrace the history of the creation of the American 1921 and provided a solid basis for the Restoration workshop teams. The latter thus took up the authentic challenge of reviving some forgotten skills and combining today's techniques with yesterday's know-how.

Few Manufactures are able to restore all the watches that have come out of their workshops for centuries. That is why Vacheron Constantin makes it a point of honor to pass on this watchmaking know-how and to ensure that the great history of each of its timepieces continues. The skill and style of the Restoration artisans thus consists in showing respect for ethical considerations in their work. To achieve this, they can draw upon a substantial stock of components, adjust component blanks or entirely remake them – the latter being the most delicate task of all and calling for particularly complex size calculations. Experts in the art of maintaining Vacheron Constantin's oldest timepieces without altering their nature, the Restoration workshop’s seasoned watchmakers are thus accustomed to combining a historian’s perspective with scientific analysis, but until now they had never undertaken to reproduce an antique watch in its entirety. This unprecedented work of reconstitution, respectful of ethics because it is faithful and precise down to the smallest detail, called upon the multiple competencies of these artisans, who pursued an empirical approach throughout this year-long project.

Several months of research in the Manufacture's archives, weeks of reflection and observation, numerous experiments, as well as unsuccessful attempts and successful trials were necessary to produce such a work. The American 1921 Pièce unique will be in the spotlight throughout 2021 through prolonged exposure in Vacheron Constantin boutiques around the world.


Antique machines and tools

In order to reproduce the hand-crafted operations performed back in the day, artisans had to work with some historical tools from Vacheron Constantin’s Heritage. A late 19th century facing lathe enabled them to faithfully recreate the elements composing the case; a rounding-up (topping) tool from the latter half of the 19th century served to modify the profile of wheel teeth and to adjust their diameter. Watchmakers used an 18th century upright drilling accessory to drill through the movement’s mainplate. To drive the jewels into their settings, they resorted to an early 20th century staking tool.

These vintage machines were complemented by tools specially made for this project, such as custom-made milling-cutters and riveting tools in line with those of the early 20th century, enabling the artisans to work in a manner attuned to that period and closely reproducing the operations and development techniques of the time. The result of this remarkable stylistic exercise is an exceptional collector's item symbolising Vacheron Constantin's unwavering commitment to the transmission, enhancement and continuous enrichment of its production skills.


Rebirth of a vintage movement

While the watchmakers in Vacheron Constantin's Restoration workshop fully master the art of bringing back to life the most exceptional timepieces produced by the Manufacture in the course of its long history, never before had they been called upon to rebuild a vintage calibre from scratch.

They began by disassembling and examining every single component of the original 11-ligne Calibre Nouveau powering the original model. Apart from the bridges and mainplate which had to be recreated, the Restoration workshop's stocks proved to be a goldmine for the artisans who thereby had access to all the necessary blank parts. This involved extremely laborious research, since a vintage case could contain an infinite number of components, all different in terms of size and shape. In order to identify them one by one, the first stage consisted in taking the measurements and dimensions of each of the 115 components of the original movement. This meticulous work of observation and comparison subsequently led watchmakers to make plans and mock-ups of the calibre, a particularly delicate task requiring extremely complex sizing calculations.

At this stage, the archive documents safeguarded by the Heritage department proved extremely valuable, notably in recreating the bridges and the mainplate according to the specificities of this vintage movement. How could each component be adjusted and calibrated prior to assembly? How should the vintage machines be regulated? How could the jewels be set on the movement, whereas they are now generally driven in? How could the exact colour of the gilding on the wheels be achieved? At what distance and at which height should they be placed in order to be faithful to the original calibre? These were all issues that the watchmakers had to resolve by assembling the components one by one, as any potential error could jeopardise the entire project.

Setting the jewels on the movement was also a real tour de force. Since the 1940s, it has been customary to drive in the jewels, and while the watchmakers in Vacheron Constantin's Restoration workshop are accustomed to replacing damaged jewels on very old timepieces, until now they had never had the opportunity to make the settings themselves. Successfully hollowing out the metal to the exact depth required to fit the stones to the nearest hundredth required multiple trials. Not to mention the patient research work required to develop the system for reproducing the unique ribbed pattern which, alongside various manual engravings, adorns the movement in the same way as was done at the time.


A dial and case distinguished by sophisticated craftsmanship

Accurately reproducing the exterior of the American 1921 also represented a real feat of manual workmanship. Here again, Vacheron Constantin's watchmakers had to provide answers to numerous technical questions by observing the 1921 timepiece in minute detail, while comparing it with archive documents, and then individually crafting each element of the case and dial.

Some period components were available in the stocks of the Restoration workshop, such as rough blanks of the crown and hands. Others had to be entirely recreated, starting with the 31.5 mm case, according to the dimensions of the original American 1921. It was crafted by a Restoration workshop goldsmith from the specific gold alloy used for the historical model (18K 3N yellow gold), identified with the help of a spectrometer in order to reproduce its exact colour. Only a laser engraving applied to the case back, for customs purposes, distinguishes the American 1921 Pièce unique watch from its ancestor.

The creation of the dial also called for highly specialised expertise on the part of the artisan responsible for restoring the grain and unique beauty of the original dial. Crafted in Grand Feu enamel, an ancestral technique considered to be one of the most delicate in the field of watchmaking ornamentation, it required numerous firings in the kiln at a temperature of over 800°C. It features vintage numerals and logo, along with slender open-tipped hands that have been hand-blued by the Restoration workshop using the production techniques of the time.

And since no detail is left to chance, the exercise in style has continued right the way through to the end of the strap, whose pin buckle in 18K 3N yellow gold (the same alloy as the original model) was also produced in the Vacheron Constantin workshop.


A tribute to the art of wearing a watch in 1921

Because it retains all the original properties of the original American 1921, this unique, identically recreated timepiece reflects a historian's approach.

It subtly mirrors the social and cultural context of the 1920s, the effervescence and the wind of freedom blowing across the United States and Europe at the dawn of the Roaring Twenties. Its distinctive design illustrates the stylistic creativity of Vacheron Constantin which revelled in expressing its “classic with a twist” style through multiple case shapes.

It also tells the story of the early days when the wristwatch began to become more widespread. At that time, men's wristwatches were only just beginning to take precedence over pocket watches, until then regarded as more robust and accurate. Despite the considerable progress made by watch manufacturers in terms of movements’ resistance, reliability and miniaturisation, water-resistance requirements as we understand them today were not yet a reality. Choosing to wear time on the wrist thus meant exposing the watch to more risks in terms of shocks and external aggressions such as dust, humidity or water. In order to avoid any possible damage, watch owners took numerous precautions, notably including placing their wristwatch on the edge of the washbasin when they washed their hands. The watch was regarded as a life companion that was taken care of and had to be wound every day by hand.

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Sum-up

Enriched by a heritage based on the transmission of watchmaking expertise and stylistic research through generations of master artisans, Vacheron Constantin continues to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the American 1921 by recreating this emblematic model from scratch. From the 11-ligne Calibre Nouveau to the gold case along with the decorations and exterior components, the American 1921 Pièce unique watch reproduces the original properties of its ancestor created a century ago. This highly complex and unprecedented process involved the most experienced watchmakers in the Restoration workshop and the Vacheron Constantin Heritage team, who spent a year reviving old tools and forgotten know-how in the course of a passionately exciting human and technical adventure. The result is an exceptional one-of-a-kind timepiece, a symbol of the Maison’s attachment to its heritage and to the continuous enrichment of traditional know-how.

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TECHNICAL DATA

American 1921 Pièce unique

Reference 1921H/000J-B949

Calibre
1921
Developed and crafted by Vacheron Constantin Mechanical, manual-winding
24.8 mm (11‘’’) diameter, 4.31 mm thick
Approximately 30 hours of power reserve
2.5 Hz (18,000 vibrations/hour)
115 components
16 jewels

Indications
Hours, minutes
Small seconds

Case
18K 3N yellow gold, same alloy as the 1921 original timepiece
Hand-crafted in the Vacheron Constantin restoration workshop
31 mm in diameter, 8.75 mm thick

Dial
White, Grand Feu enamel
Blued steel open-tipped hands – blued in our workshops

Strap
Brown calf leather, hand-sewn, tone-to-tone stitching, Calf lining

Buckle
18K 3N yellow gold pin buckle, same alloy as the 1921 original timepiece

Hand-crafted in the Vacheron Constantin restoration workshop

Vacheron Constantin announces the opening of its first boutique in Monaco

Paris, May 12th, 2021 - Vacheron Constantin, the world’s oldest watch Manufacture in continuous production for over 265 years, announces the opening of its first boutique in Monaco, on May 12th, 2021. 

The boutique will be located on Allée François Blanc in downtown Monaco, within the historical Opera buildings of the principality. This prime location is recognized as one of Monaco’s most desirable luxury retail addresses with a direct access to Place du Casino, at the heart of the Carré d’Or of Monte Carlo. Intimate space of 45sqm with a private lounge, the boutique will carry the Maison’s entire range of timepieces, as well as exclusive models. It will feature the new Vacheron Constantin boutique design concept, which focuses on private bespoke appointments whilst also creating a warm and welcoming space for watch enthusiasts and collectors alike.

“We are delighted to announce the opening of the first Vacheron Constantin Boutique in Monaco” , says Matthieu Ferry, General Manager Vacheron Constantin France and Belux. “With this new location we seek to offer our clients the best space for exclusive services and share our Maison’s commitment to Belle Haute Horlogerie.”

Founded in 1755, Vacheron Constantin is built upon a legacy of innovation and a constant quest for excellence. Each Vacheron Constantin timepiece is crafted in Geneva, Switzerland with care and passion by the finest watchmakers and craftsmen.

“Classic with a Twist” in Shanghai: An exhibition celebrating Vacheron Constantin’s creativity and boldness at the dawn of the 20th century

  • This year, Vacheron Constantin is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the American 1921 watch, a timepiece that has become a much-loved icon among collectors.
  • The "Classic with a twist" exhibition pays tribute to a spirit in which technique and style converse in subtle harmony between the conventional and the atypical.
  • Exhibition dates: May 8th – Jun 16th, 2021
  • Venue: Vacheron Constantin Mansion, No. 796 Huai Hai Road Middle, Shanghai


May 8th, Shanghai - On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the American 1921 watch, the "Classic with a twist" exhibition celebrates the creative freedom of Vacheron Constantin at the dawn of the 20th century. From the 1910s to the 1930s, Vacheron Constantin was particularly renowned for its extraordinary artistic effervescence. The wide range of different-shaped ‘form’ cases and special displays on show in this exhibition reflects an exciting chapter in the history of Vacheron Constantin.

 

"Classic with a twist" is first and foremost a story of freedom, the tale of a singular style that emerged in the context of the Roaring Twenties and the Art Deco movement through a daring variety of shapes, designs and geometrical figures: atypical shapes, strict squares and surprising lozenges, elegant cushions, as well as a few examples of special displays and off-centre indications. The "Classic with a twist" exhibition bears witness to the creative energy expended by Vacheron Constantin between 1910 and the end of the 1930s: an exhilarating period conducive to making daring moves, flouting convention and opening up to all kinds of stylistic fancies.

 

Considered an exclusively feminine accessory at the end of the 19th century, it was at the turn of the 20th century that the wristwatch began to conquer the hearts of men, won over by the functionality and comfort of keeping track of time on their wrists. True to its pioneering spirit, Vacheron Constantin showed an early awareness of the evolution in the art of wearing a watch by creating – in 1889 already – a ladies' model on a bangle-type bracelet, probably the oldest wristwatch in the company's heritage known to date. Thanks to the considerable progress made in the miniaturisation of its movements, Vacheron Constantin freely expanded its field of creative expression through an incredible variety of avant-garde designs. Tonneau (barrel), lozenge, rectangle, cushion, oval, curved or cambered silhouettes: through the choice of pieces on display, "Classic with a twist" reminds us that all the iconic case shapes we know today were created between the 1910s and 1920s.

 

Quintessence of an era

The stylistic abundance of the "Classic with a twist" exhibition illustrates Vacheron Constantin's ability to capture the spirit of the times and the customs of its era. Above and beyond watchmaking, the exhibition reflects a way of life, the societal changes taking place at the dawn of the 20th century, as well as the evolving tastes and trends in clothing. It tells the story of the Roaring Twenties, the new-found sense of freedom and lightness, the artistic effervescence, the good life and the ebullient cultural world. It also traces the rise of the Art Deco movement and the appeal of a geometrical aesthetic that emerged in architecture as well as in art and watchmaking. Finally, it evokes the new spirit taking hold of Europe and the United States, a market in which Vacheron Constantin had developed strong ties from the outset, having been present there since 1832.

It was within this euphoric context that the Manufacture was one of the first to adopt the cushion shape. Between 1919 and 1921, it produced a few models intended exclusively for the American market. With its avant-garde design consisting of a cushion-shaped case, an atypical diagonal display and an offset crown, this rare timepiece particularly sought-after among collectors is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Unveiled on the occasion of the "Classic with a twist" exhibition, this original model is one of the most striking examples of the creative energy that the Manufacture has demonstrated throughout its existence.

 

An American legend

Adopted by dandy drivers probably drawn to the possibility of reading the time diagonally without having to let go of the typically large steering wheel of 1920s cars, this legendary watch was also much appreciated by progressive personalities of the time. Among them was Reverend Samuel Parkes-Cadman. A clergyman and newspaper writer renowned for his fight for racial equality and against anti-Semitism, he was also one of the first to use radio to broadcast his sermons to millions of listeners. While on holiday in Montreux, he acquired two of the watches produced at the time, one with luminescent numerals and the other with black enamel Arabic numerals. This original model is displayed in the "Classic with a twist" exhibition and is one of the most striking examples of the creative energy that the Maison has demonstrated throughout its existence, particularly at the dawn of the 20th century.

 

Exhibited timepieces

Cushion-shaped watch in in 18K yellow gold, finely grained satin-brushed silver-toned dial, Ref. 11521 – 1919
True to its pioneering spirit, Vacheron Constantin was one of the first watchmakers to dare to shake up convention by devising a multitude of case shapes suited to the art of wearing a watch on the wrist. The cushion shape appeared in the Manufacture's production as early as 1919, as shown by this elegantly understated model featuring a cushion-shaped case in 18K yellow gold framing a vertical satin-brushed silver-toned dial. The classic Arabic numerals and outer minute track are in black enamel.

 

Cushion-shaped watch in 18K yellow gold, white enamel dial, Ref. 10983 – 1921
Based on a daring cushion-shaped case in 18K yellow gold, Vacheron Constantin enjoyed the freedom of exploring a wealth of stylistic variations designed to make a perfect match with the curves of both women's and men's wrists. Produced in 1921, this 18K yellow gold watch framing a white enamel dial takes on a jewel-like appearance, extended by a flowing yellow gold bracelet.

 

Cushion-shaped watch in 18K yellow gold, gilded champagne-coloured dial, Ref. 11625 – 1928
Neither square, nor rectangular, nor round, the cushion-type case derives its atypical shape from all these geometric figures and appears with its curved lines, that Vacheron Constantin began interpreting in many different ways from 1919 onwards. In 1928, the Manufacture reinterpreted it in through this 18K yellow gold model, featuring a gilded champagne-coloured dial, black enamelled Arabic numerals and blued steel "œil de perdrix" hands.

 

Cushion-shaped watch in 18K yellow gold, crown between 1 and 2 o’clock, Ref. 11032 – 1919
Between 1919 and 1921, Vacheron Constantin produced two series of six cushion-shaped watches with diagonally offset dials and offset crowns. These now iconic watches feature a number of aesthetic differences depending on production year: luminescent or black enamel Arabic numerals, screw-on or soldered lugs, and a crown positioned on the right or left. On this 1919 yellow gold timepiece powered by the RA’’’11 Nouveau Amérique calibre, the crown is positioned on the right, in line with the upper part of the dial punctuated by wide luminescent numerals.

 

Tortoise-shaped wristwatch in 18K yellow gold, Ref. 10583 – 1926
The Vacheron Constantin archives reveal that the "Tortoise" shape appeared circa 1925. This refined, modern and elegant shape proved an immediate success. “Tortoise” watches generally feature the characteristic aesthetic codes of the Manufacture, such as the semi-circular signature and the flame-blued hands, as illustrated by this 1926 model in 18K yellow gold.

 

Square-shaped watch in 18K yellow and white gold, Ref. 10087 – 1927
In the 1910s, the aesthetic break with the traditional round pocket watch was illustrated by the development of the square or rectangular wristwatch. This emergence of this new geometry was not accidental, since the fields of industry, art and architecture were all already using this innovative shape. Produced in 1927, this square watch in 18K yellow and white gold with a vertical satin-brushed silver-toned dial perfectly reflects this trend.

 

Round two-tone pocket watch in 18K yellow and white gold, Ref. 11194 – 1929
During the 1920s, Vacheron Constantin also expressed the scope of its creativity through special displays that showcase the encounter between aesthetics and horological sophistication. This 1929 Art Deco pocket watch is distinguished by the use of an "in-line" date display with apertures at 9 and 3 o'clock. To adorn this "American calendar", Vacheron Constantin chose a two-tone case in 18K yellow and white gold, whose modern styling makes a striking contrast with the codes of the previous century.

 

Round two-tone pocket watch in 18K yellow and white gold, Ref. 11626 – 1929
This two-tone pocket watch in 18K yellow and white gold that once belonged to the Serbian royal family is characterised by a pure, restrained design. Produced in 1929, this model is distinguished primarily by the originality of its display, with the black enamelled hours appearing in a central aperture while the minutes move past a semi-circular opening.

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Sum-up

Marking the 100th anniversary of the Historiques American 1921 watch, the "Classic with a twist" exhibition celebrates the creativity and boldness of Vacheron Constantin at the dawn of the 20th century. Through a selection of avant-garde historical pieces, from special-shaped ‘form’ watches to original displays, this exhibition mirrors an era marked by the carefree spirit of the Roaring Twenties and the aesthetic influence of the Art Deco movement. From the 1910s to the 1930s, from Geneva to the United States, it recounts the tastes of the time and the evolution in the art of wearing a watch. A pivotal period that Vacheron Constantin was able to accompany by developing an unexpected aesthetic vocabulary in which technique and style converse in subtle harmony between the conventional and the atypical.

“Les Collectionneurs” in Tokyo and Osaka - May 2021

  • A representative selection of vintage watches covering the entire 20th century;
  • Tokyo and Osaka, 3rd May to 24th May, at Vacheron Constantin boutiques
  • Models “hunted down” by Vacheron Constantin's experts, then restored and delivered with a certificate of authenticity and a two-year guarantee.

 

Tokyo, May 2021 - Chosen with patience and talent by the Maison’s heritage department specialists, vintage watches covering the entire 20th century are now part of the aptly named “Les Collectionneurs” collection. The latter continues to evolve over time and is regularly offered for sale to brand aficionados at dedicated events organised in Vacheron Constantin boutiques around the world. “Les Collectionneurs” models all come with a certificate of authenticity and a two-year guarantee – an offer unmatched in the watchmaking world.

 

When vintage is second nature

The notion of vintage is second nature to Vacheron Constantin. It is expressed through a strong attachment to everything relating to its heritage. In more than 260 years of existence, the Maison has accumulated a unique set of archives in the field of time measurement. Engaged in uninterrupted production since its origins, the Manufacture is also able to take care of – and restore if necessary – any watch from its workshops, whatever its age. A closer look at its archives and its private collection of more than 1,500 timepieces offers an excellent insight into this historical depth and the means used to nurture it. From the watchmakers and craftsmen of its restoration workshop to the historians of the Style & Heritage team, the experts at Vacheron Constantin possess all the necessary skills to best serve this vintage watchmaking that now enjoys such an excellent reputation.

 

“Les Collectionneurs”

Vacheron Constantin quickly felt the need to unite connoisseurs and aficionados of the Maison around this same passion, leading to the creation of “Les Collectionneurs”: an approach consisting in using the Manufacture’s considerable resources to gather and restore a series of historical Vacheron Constantin pieces, subsequently offered for sale at dedicated events in Vacheron Constantin boutiques around the world.

"Les Collectionneurs” represents another facet of Vacheron Constantin," comments Christian Selmoni, Style & Heritage Director. “The collection perpetuates this precious link between past and present, enabling our clientele of connoisseurs and collectors to acquire restored vintage pieces directly through the Maison, which is a real guarantee. As for the events organised around the world to unveil these pieces, they attract both seasoned collectors and young generations eager to delve more deeply into watchmaking history.”

 

Watches ready for a new life

The Vacheron Constantin Heritage team works to bring together these vintage watches, whether pocket or wristwatches. The objective is to create a representative range of timepieces offered by Vacheron Constantin over the years. All kinds of channels are used in order to locate them: auction rooms, personal contacts with private individuals – bearing in mind that an expert eye is decisive in the choice of these timepieces, be they simple or striking models, calendars or chronographs... Pocket watches mainly covering the years 1910 to 1930 and wristwatches prior to 1970 – with a preference for the period from 1940 to 1960 – are then subjected to a dual appraisal. First of all, a historical evaluation is undertaken in order to authenticate the piece with reference to the in-house archives, which have been listing cases and movements by serial number for a century and a half. Then comes the technical assessment aimed at determining which interventions may be necessary, from simply cleaning the watch to its restoration – the objective being to preserve these timepieces in a state as close as possible to that of their origins. If necessary, they are restored to working order using period components, of which Vacheron Constantin maintains a large stock, or else reproduced the old-fashioned way and in identical form within the Manufacture. Once the process is complete, each timepiece is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity and a two-year guarantee, the latter being the same as that delivered with all models within the Maison’s standard collections.

 

Models unveiled at dedicated events

Throughout the year, Vacheron Constantin organises special events or exhibitions of historical models from its private collection in its boutiques. These are all special experiences that give connoisseurs an opportunity to discover this “Les Collectionneurs” collection; and Vacheron Constantin's experts a chance to share the history related to the "experience" of these models. Thanks to its extremely well documented archives, the Maison can retrace the destiny of these timepieces that have survived through the ages as testimony to their time and to its watchmaking expertise. Rare and doubtless unique for those who cherish them, these Vacheron Constantin watches bearing the patina of age as a badge of honour are thus ready for a new life.

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Watches highlight

Stainless steel 30-minute counter chronograph wristwatch (ref 10428) – 1943
Two-tone silvered dial, 30 -minute counter at 3 o'clock, small seconds at 9 o'clock, pulsometric scale.

 

18K yellow gold wristwatch (ref 10102) – 1942
Silvered vertical satined dial, 5 Roman numerals and indexes in gold, black enameled external "railroad" minute-track, small seconds at 6 o'clock.