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Friday, February 18, 2011

SIHH 2011: Vacheron Constantin

Vacheron Constantin is one of the three Grande Dames of watchmaking...the othe two being Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet. Interestingly, it is currently the only one which is within a large group, in this case Groupe Richemont, which count amongst the members of its stable luminaries like A. Lange & Sohne, IWC, Jaeger LeCoultre, Cartier, and recently and paritally Greubel-Forsey.

But within the Richemont brands, there seem to be an ability for the DNA to survive. Credit is certainly due to Richemont managment for allowing this. And this is no different for VC. The brand DNA is strong in the brand, especially one which has the ability to draw from a few hundred years of rich experience and examples in watchmaking.

I start with the customizable Quai d'Lille. This one with a transparent date ring. Quite fetching.

Vacheron Constantin Quail d'Lille


Vacheron Constantin Quai de Lille Day Date Power Reserve, Self winding

The concept is simple enough. The customer is presented with options along the way to customize his watch. He is able to chose from a variety of 3 base models...one with date, self winding as shown above, one with day-date and power reserve, and one with retrograde annual calendar, self winding. Within each base model, he is able to customize the case style, the bezel, flanks, crown, dial style strap, buckles, engravings he wants on his watch. Submits this either via his dealer or VC Boutique or online, and waits for the delivery of his personalized timepiece. Quite clever. VC prevents uninformed customers from creating monsters by providing only options which are aligned to the VC brand DNA, and the customers benefit from having a watch different from another. Quite brilliant.

Vacheron Constantin Quai d'Lille Annual Calendar


The Quai d'Lille is also available as an Annual Calendar. This version, I find particularly attractive as shown.

Vacheron Constantin Quai de Lille Annual Calendar

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionale World Time


The watch which is quite interesting to me, and to be fair, most catching and beautiful to the eye is the new Patrimony Traditionalde World Time.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony World Time

The watch shows the times around the world with the cities marked up to 15 minute increments to show all 37 timezones. This allows the local timezone to indicate places like India and Nepal.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony World Time movement

The graphical world displayed on the subdial is also very interesting. It is made of a sapphire dial with day/night shading, and a metal sub-dial bearing the map and a metal chapter ring. The sapphire dial rotates with the hands. Interesting design and quite mesmerising to look at.

See also Jason Pitsch's coverage of this beautiful timepiece at Professional Watches.

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