Matching its formidable “Les Collectionneurs” vintage collection, Vacheron Constantin is the latest Richemont-owned brand to join forces with pre-owned reseller Watchfinder
When one considers the immense heritage of the world’s oldest continually operating watchmaker, it becomes immediately clear that the notion of vintage is second nature to Vacheron Constantin.
In more than 265 years of existence, the Maison has accumulated a unique set of archives in the field of time measurement and with such a legacy. Hence, given its responsibility to fans, aficionados, and newcomers to the hallowed grounds of horological appreciation, the Maison has dedicated heritage department specialists combing the world with its vintage models spanning the entire 20th century.
With archives and a private collection of more than 1,500 timepieces, Vacheron Constantin’s restoration specialists and historians have the wherewithal and skills to best serve this segment of rising vintage watchmaking that has driven a good deal of the pre-owned watch segment.
Second Chance At Time
“Les Collectionneurs” unites connoisseurs and aficionados of the Maison around this same passion, 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.
The Vacheron Constantin Heritage team works to create a representative range of timepieces offered during the 20th century with an eye from simple to striking models, and even calendars and chronographs with a preference for the period from 1940 to 1960.
That said, pocket watches covering the years 1910 to 1930 and wristwatches prior to 1970 are all taken into consideration with an expert eye, subjecting each objet d’art to a dual appraisal. First, a historical evaluation is undertaken in order to authenticate the piece.
Then, a technical assessment to determine the depth of necessary intervention: From a simple cleaning to its restoration; with the supreme objective of authentic preservation using the period’s components or replicating the parts the old-fashioned way and in identical form within the Manufacture.
For customers looking for similar assurance on Vacheron Constantin timepieces from the latter part of the 20th century, there’s always the Richemont Group owned Watchfinder. The conglomerate acquired Watchfinder & Co in 2018 and spent the next two years integrating the UK-based but international eCommerce reseller into the Group.
Vacheron Constantin joins sister brands A. Lange & Sohne, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, Piaget, Roger Dubuis and Montblanc. Reaping the benefits of both new and pre-owned watch business segments, customers can receive an instant quote on the value of their own watch against the purchase of a new watch.
According to Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Jon Cox, the pre-owned segment is already worth US$16 billion with business intelligence firms BCG and Bain & Company predicting a surge to an estimated US$21 to US$24 billion resulting from the suppressed sales of new luxury watches resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Diptyques” A History Of Collaborations
Seventeen timepieces from the Vacheron Constantin private Heritage collection pay tribute to the encounters that have punctuated the history of the Maison. They retrace the saga of these incredible collaborative endeavours resulting in technical and artistic breakthroughs that have in turn given life to exceptional horological creations and instruments, thereby writing significant chapters in the history of Fine Watchmaking.
The exhibition “Diptyques” A History Of Collaborations is all about personalities bound by a sense of kinship, mutually enriching visions and complementary skills — people such as Jacques-Barthélémy Vacheron, a technically gifted watchmaker who was the grandson of the Maison’s founder; and astute businessman and intrepid traveller François Constantin, who combined their talents in 1819.
This encounter, of which the bicentenary is being celebrated in 2019, gave rise to the signature of the Maison, a subtle balance between horological excellence and stylistic virtuosity, and to its motto: “Do better if possible, and that is always possible”. Diptyques tells the story of how the ensuing encounters in turn contributed to ever greater advancements.
From Emile Plantamour to Albert Pellaton, from Raymond Moretti to Michel Butor, intellectual and manual intelligence lies at the heart of this extraordinary watchmaking epic, driven by a taste for challenges and passion. Human beings are both the architects and artisans of these large-scale projects.
They embody this visionary, enlightened thought, as well as the expertise that is its logical extension. Hired by Vacheron Constantin in 1839 as a watchmaker specialising in mechanics and construction, Georges-Auguste Leschot invented the revolutionary pantograph, designed to standardise the production of watch movements and to enable industrial-scale component manufacture.
In 1932, Louis Cottier developed the world time display indicating the time zones by means of an ingenious rotating disc device. Ferdinand Verger, a renowned jeweller with a knowledge of watchmaking, made a Fabergé egg for the tsar in 1880 comprising a Vacheron Constantin movement.
His sons proved themselves worthy heirs by making watches with complications and richly decorated clocks until the 1930s. In 2010, Anita Porchet, an expert in the art of miniature enamelling, created a masterpiece for the Maison: A watch identically reproducing the ceiling of the Opéra Garnier as painted by Marc Chagall.Vacheron Constantin thereby highlights these numerous synergies.
Each is a challenge, a bold move, a wild dream come true through the genius of these watchmakers and artisans. Each is a unique brick in the Haute Horlogerie edifice to which Vacheron Constantin contributes, as a trailblazing pioneer and inveterate builder.
“Diptyques” A History Of Collaborations takes place at the Vacheron Constantin boutique, Marina Bay Sands and is ongoing until 31 March from 11am to 10pm daily.
(Images: Vacheron Constantin)