It’s easy to imagine that the world of fine watchmaking is a bubble that begins and ends in Switzerland. And while it’s true that much of the heart and soul of watchmaking lies in the Swiss hills and valleys, from its earliest days travel has been an essential part of horology, and indeed accurate timekeeping has revolutionised how we move across the world. Though based in Geneva, Vacheron Constantin has long realised that they are in fact a global brand, and even in the eighteenth century they had a presence on four continents. From the very beginning they have been open to the world. This philosophical underpinning is epitomised in the third generation of their Overseas collection, which now has everything from time-only pieces to chronographs and world timers. It’s also why I’ve spent the last few days in Tokyo attending an exhibition of the Overseas Tour which features a series of images by famed photographer Steve McCurry. If you don’t recognise the name, there’s no doubt you’ll know his pictures, in particular his iconic and haunting 1984 portrait Afghan Girl. McCurry collaborated with Vacheron Constantin on the Overseas Tour, a photographic journey taken at 12 sites across the globe;… Read More
At the start of the year Vacheron Constantin announced a significant update to its luxury sports watch, the Overseas. A contemporary of Patek’s Nautilus and Audemars’ Royal Oak, for years the Overseas has been the little brother within the famous three, but all that’s set to change, thanks to the revamped new collection that has everything going for it: looks, peerless mechanicals and an impeccable pedigree. At SIHH, we saw time-only, chronograph and perpetual calendar models, and now a world time complication has been added to the mix. Vacheron Constantin’s Traditionnelle world timers are regarded as among the best in the business but, as the name suggests they’re a traditional take on the genre. This latest offering takes the same base, namely the Caliber 2460 WT, and puts it inside the angular steel Overseas case. But what makes this movement so special? Well, it’s the only world time complication that simultaneously displays all 37 time zones, most merely sticking with the regular 24, neglecting those locations where the time is offset by 15 or 30 minutes. Not so Vacheron Constantin. If you’re someone who regularly needs to know the exact time in Caracas (UTC-4:30), Nepal (UTC+5:45) or Adelaide (UTC+9:30) this watch has you covered…. Read More
Following on from a strong SIHH, where Vacheron Constantin premiered an updated Overseas collection, the prestigious maison has unexpectedly released an aggressively priced stainless steel watch in their curvaceous Quai De L’île collection. This surprise release matters not only because it’s another example of a high-end brand releasing an accessible steel model in response to the softening luxury market, but because it’s a marked departure from Vacheron Constantin’s classical aesthetic. Housed within a perfectly sized 41mm cushion case, the Quai de L’île features split-level lugs – a signature Vacheron Constantin touch. Combine this with the sporty dial (in either black or silver) and unusual date pointer and it all adds up to a watch made for everyday life. It looks perfectly at home on both the rubber and alligator deployant strap options. It’s not just the case that’s new either. VC have used a new manufacture movement in this model, the self-winding calibre 5100, with 60-hours of power reserve and a Geneva Seal to boot. Besides requiring that the watch being made in the Canton of Geneva, the Geneva Seal is primarily concerned with movement finishing. So it’s reassuring to know that the movement in this accessible steel watch is of… Read More
Vacheron Constantin is – along with Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet – part of Swiss watchmaking’s ‘big three’, making some of the finest watches on the planet. But until now their main sports collection hasn’t quite stacked up against the iconic Nautilus or the mighty Royal Oak. This year’s SIHH collection is set to change that, as 2016 is all about the Overseas, with it’s distinctive notched bezel and Maltese cross inspired bracelet. The entire range has been upgraded to feature Geneva Seal grade movements, and everything from simple three handers to chronographs and slim perpetual calendars are available in the range. The happy middle ground is the Overseas Chronograph, shown here with a rich blue dial. Powered by the Calibre 5200 column wheel chronograph movement, this is a massive step-up for the brand, bringing them into the same league as other major luxury sports watches. Each new model also features a wonderfully simple and intuitive interchangeable bracelet system, and every watch now comes with three strap options as standard – a smart, and contemporary, value add from VC.
One of the most elegant watches released at Watches & Wonders was the Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 from Vacheron Constantin. The distinguished maison had an impressive run of hits last year, starting with their Harmony collection and hitting a high note with the staggering Ref. 57260. But while these announcements showcase the brand’s innovations, this model speaks directly to the past – particularly Vacheron’s highly regarded chronographs. The Cornes de Vache 1955 is inspired by one of their most prized vintage models – a very limited watch (only 36 were made) dating from 1955. Vacheron Constantin have maintained the essence of the watch, with a manual winding two register chronograph and the distinctive ‘cow-horn’ shaped lugs that give the watch its name. And the best news is that this platinum beauty isn’t a limited edition, though its limited annual production and an RRP of $104,000 Aussie dollars means that it’s still a very exclusive watch.
On September 17 Vacheron Constantin celebrated their 260th birthday, making them the oldest continuously operating watch brand. They celebrated the day by unveiling (after months of teaser images) the Reference 57260 – the most complicated watch ever made. While this one-of-a-kind marvel is making horological headlines this week, we thought it was a perfect time to find out about Vacheron Constantin’s other significant release of 2015, the Harmony collection. Who better to tell us about this complicated, cushion shaped range than Vacheron Constantin’s impeccably dapper Creative Director Mr Christian Selmoni. Here’s what he had to tell us. T+T: I understand that along with Vacheron Constantin’s 260th birthday you’re celebrating your own milestone – 25 years with Vacheron Constantin – congratulations! What was it like back then? CS: I come from a watchmaking family. When I graduated in the late ’70s none of us chose to go into watchmaking, because we all thought it would be dead in a few years. That changed a decade later. A friend called and asked if I was interested in a watchmaking job. I thought, ‘Why not?’ I joined Vacheron Constantin on the 1st of February in 1990, and we were 68 people. Now we… Read More
To celebrate their 260th anniversary Vacheron Constantin have unveiled a true masterpiece of the watchmakers art. The one-of-a-kind reference 57260 (57 complications plus 260 years equals Reference 57260) is the most complicated watch ever made, and the latest in a long line of prestigious supercomplicated timepieces (like the recently sold Patek Philippe Henry Graves Jnr Supercomplication) dating back to Breguet himself. It’s a staggeringly impressive piece of engineering and art, and, to be honest it’s quite hard to comprehend the scale of the achievement. Beyond the challenge of understanding the functions of the watch, several of which are unique to this piece, there’s the bigger question of what this watch means for Vacheron Constantin, and the industry. It’s certainly one of the most important timepieces of the century. We’re really really hoping to see this watch at Watches & Wonders in Hong Kong – and give you a more complete rundown, but until then, here’s the vital statistics for the Reference 57260, along with every single one of the 57 complications. 1: The Vacheron Constantin 57260 is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece, made to order for a dedicated collector 3: Master watchmakers in the team that created the watch 8: Years of… Read More