The brilliance of Jean-Marc Vacheron and François Constantin augmented by the inventive genius of engineer Georges Auguste Leschot, Vacheron Constantin has enjoyed a watchmaking dynasty with an uninterrupted history of 267 years.
Inspired by the values of humility and transmission, the Maisonʼs craftsmen have blended the science of technical precision with the art of beauteous creation. What was once a practical necessity has escaped the confines of the mechanical sciences and elevated into a bona-fide art form.
From 16 October to 2 November at ArtScience Museum, we get to look behind the veil at how the master artisans at Vacheron Constantin ply their craft. Vacheron Constantin is presenting The Anatomy of Beauty experience, showcasing the alliance between decorative arts and watchmaking techniques from the 19th century to the present day.
Designed to convey the technical sophistication and aesthetic refinement of time measurement, Vacheron Constantin launched the Patrimony in 2004. Mechanical watchmaking was at an apex of a new golden age, heralding a slew of technical bravura, grandiose design and ever-growing volumes. The Maison however, ran against the grain, looking to two 1950s designs to launch the collection.
Expressing utmost elegance with classical sobriety, the Geneva manufacture heralded a counter-cultural moment with timepieces with exquisite round cases, slim bezels, short lugs, flat dials and an iconic “pearl” minute track.
A slightly convex dial swept over by leaf-shaped hands following its curves features subtle shades of deep blue for the white gold version, and blush pink for the pink gold version. The line’s signature spirit of purity has been preserved while its proportions have been revisited expressing restrained sophistication.
Similarly, the Traditionnelle is the supreme expression of the most demanding Geneva Haute Horlogerie traditions inherited from the 18th century. Featuring a stepped round case, a fine bezel, a fluted caseback, a railway minute-track, applied “Geneva baton” hour markers and dauphine shaped hands, it is quite simply one of the most refined additions to Vacheron Constantinʼs repertoire.
The Traditionnelle perpetual calendar ultra-thin equipped with in-house calibre 1120 QP, elegantly plays on the distinctive aspects of the Gregorian calendar. Reflecting the Maisonʼs lauded expertise in ultra-thin movement, exquisitely decorated with circular-grained plate on the dial side, mainplate and bridges adorned with a Côtes de Genève motif on the back, hand-bevelling, circular satin-finished holes and a going train with polished teeth.
Beauty Has Two Faces
From classic elegance and onward toward bold sophistication, Vacheron Constantin made its debut into the field of urban watches in the 1970s, a period marked by increasing competition from quartz watches, that timepieces combining the watchmaking worlds of sport and luxury appeared. Jorg Hysek designed one of the Maisonʼs most beloved creations, the 222.
In keeping with the spirit of the era, the 222 marked a break in the stylistic evolution of the Maison: the sportive codes of watchmaking amalgamated into a timepiece featuring taut lines and sharp angles, yet undeniably dignified.
Boasting exemplary thinness at 7mm, thanks to its ultra-thin movement measuring barely 3.05 mm, the Maison introduced new design language into the genre with a monobloc case, which required the movement to be cased-up from above.
Water-resistant to 120 metres by way of a screw-down bezel, the 222 exemplified functional architecture with its flat base topped by a prominent fluted bezel. With its baton-type hands and straight hour markers similar to the 1963 reference 6782 Turnograph watch, its poised civility joins robustness ‒ thanks to its bracelet screwed to the case middle and featuring large hexagonal central links.
All the features of the legendary 222 have been respected in 2022ʼs contemporary re-edition. From the simplest to the most complicated, these models pay tribute to craftsmanship and know-how passed on from generation to generation while the meticulous attention to detail illustrates the Vacheron Constantin theme of the year, “The Anatomy of Beauty”.
Catch these modern legends as well as a historic Tour de l’Île high complication celebrating the brand’s 250th anniversary at The Anatomy of Beauty exhibition. From 16 October to 2 November 2022 at ArtScience Museum, Level 4. Open to public
(Images: Vacheron Constantin)