Not content to wow us with an exceptionally assured and complex SIHH collection, Vacheron Constantin have just announced their latest, highly limited (like, 10 pieces limited) version of the Traditionnelle World Time, originally shown in 2011. First of all, this 42.5mm Traditionelle is cased in platinum. Most of the time that’s special enough, but in this instance the heavy metal pales in comparison to the enamel dial. Comprised of three overlapping discs, the dial of the World Time is already a complex beast, but it’s elevated even more through the use of opaque and grisaille enamel techniques. At the centre of the dial is a golden map of the northern hemisphere, hand-painted in a scale so minute as to require the use of extra-fine brushes and even pins. Set in a sea of the richest blue, the cloud-like landmasses are surrounded by the names of the cities which themselves are also hand-painted – adding up to a dial that necessitates a huge amount of work. We’re talking 20 hours of handcrafting, and 10 painstakingly precise hand firings to achieve the most perfect of finishes. Don’t be fooled by the pretty face though, as there’s plenty going on behind the dial. The Geneva… Read More
Vacheron Constantin bucked the trend this year at SIHH. While many of their fellow exhibitors played it safe, bringing out crowd-pleasing steel models and revisiting their greatest hits, Vacheron Constantin walked another path, with a collection focused at the very highest end of horology. Not only did they offer mind-numbingly complex astronomical grand complication and a grand sonnerie model, they also offered some sculptural (yet still super complex) Métiers d’Art options. Oh, and they threw in some handsome new takes on existing models for good measure. Definitely not playing it safe.
The cool and elegant Vacheron Constantin booth at SIHH was packed with highly complicated pieces (including the most complicated piece), and their top-line SIHH releases were a mass of brain-bending masterpieces, heavy on the sonneries, sidereal time and celestial maps. But amid all this mechanical splendour I found myself coming back to a simpler – but by no means simple – option: the Patrimony Perpetual Calendar, in a pink gold case with a new, slate grey dial. The colour combination is all that’s changed, but sometimes a fresh new look is all you need to fall in love all over again with an old favourite. Until now this distinguished 41mm watch (which is quite slender at 8.96mm) was available in pink gold with a silver opaline dial, or in platinum everything as a special Excellence Platine edition. Both watches were exceedingly formal takes on a traditional complication. Very Vacheron Constantin. This version, though, is much more contemporary in look and feel – you might almost say it’s trendy. The contrast between the warm gold case and the cool grey domed dial is to die for, and the way light plays across the myriad of polished surfaces is more than a little… Read More
As you climb higher and higher up the horological Christmas tree – which, by the way we don’t advise in real life, unless this happens – the stars at the top start to thin out, leaving, at least in days of yore, Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet shining brightly as Swiss watchmaking’s ‘big three’. Between them they make some of the finest watches on the planet. But, until now, VC’s main sports collection hasn’t quite stacked up against the iconic Nautilus or the mighty Royal Oak. This year’s SIHH changed all that, with the release of the lauded new Vacheron Constantin Overseas Collection. Who should you buy this for: The horophile who will know that they’ve just received one of the most extraordinary in-house chronograph movements of recent times. What’s the damage: Under $44,000. Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph Australian pricing Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph, $43,200.
We gave a glimpse of our 48 hours in paradise with the Vacheron Constantin Overseas collection a month ago, but now, with the watches officially revealed and reviewed, it’s time to turn up the envy to unforeseen levels. In addition to mouthwatering shots of the collection, hands-down one of the best in the steel sports category this year, we’re also showing here just how spectacular Lord Howe Island is. From the volcanic peaks, to the friendly schools of fish that mill around your ankles in the shallows, to the outlook from the luxury Capella Lodge where my room had, just months before, been home to Blake Lively during the shooting of shark-as-villain thriller The Shallows. It’s all here, as well as our rationale for why we chose this place to explore the Overseas collection.
I remember the first Vacheron Constantin I ever laid eyes on. It was in a magazine for an Australian retailer. It was an Overseas model and it was a chronograph, but thanks to an interesting take on the bezel, it didn’t strike me as ‘just sporty’ like chronos can be. It had an edge to it. Literally. The Maltese cross tips cut out of the polished bezel made it dressy and daring. The backstory told in a full page ad opposite the watch – of a brand founded on an island in the middle of Lake Geneva that’s been in continuous production since 1755 – only added another layer of intrigue. It was almost Da Vinci Code-like in its imagery and storytelling. I was fascinated. Fast forward to 2016 and several of the elements that first introduced me to the brand are in play. I’m on an island. Lord Howe Island. I’m in possession of the brand new Overseas range in its entirety, including all the interchangeable strap options. All that’s missing is a conspiracy theory, and Audrey Tatou, which is a shame. Over the 48 hours we spent on the island my wrist was exclusively dressed by Vacheron Constantin…. Read More
Was it really necessary? To take a journey involving two flights (one of them aboard a very small plane) to a tropical island somewhere between Sydney and New Zealand that, at any given time, has a maximum of 750 people on it to test out the new Vacheron Constantin Overseas Collection? I would argue that, because Lord Howe Island occupies the very special timezone of UTC +10:30, and is one of the 37 timezones displayed on the gorgeous dial of the World Time, that it wasn’t just necessary… it was meant to be. The beauty of the location – aside from its outrageous natural beauty, good Lord! – was that it provided us the perfect testing ground to put all three new Overseas models, and their conveniently interchangeable strap options, through their paces. Fine dining and fruity cocktails in the restaurant of Capella Lodge, tick – hello tuxedo. A completely deserted beach, our very large outdoor gym for a chronograph session. And a glorious ex-volcano / mountain was our chance to get on top of the world for a view of the World Time. Before you say it, let me jump in, yes it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it, right?
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