One of the best known Swiss luxury watchmakers around the globe is Vacheron Constantin. The brand holds a very impressive bragging right of being the oldest continuously operating timepiece manufacturer that has roots extending back to the 16th century. Famous for ornate and exquisite detailing techniques on their timepieces, the brand creates breathtaking watches that capture attention.
Some of the techniques the brand embraces are enameling, engraving, and intricate machined metalwork known as guilloche, gem-setting and all unique in how they are utilized by the brand. The techniques have been incorporated in movements, as well as exterior components and the artisanal heritage that has been used are essential in capturing the essence this brand is known for. As a trailblazer in the watch industry the style that the brand creates with these lush and intricate designs is their signature mark.
Vacheron Constantin was the first to move away from the traditional and tired round watch cases and introduce us to various shapes, such as tonneau, square and angled freeform cases, they launched trends that would continue even today. The brand started in 1755 in Geneva by Jean-Marc Vacheron and was built through the centuries with hard work, rich talent and exceptional horological knowledge. As Protestants were fleeing religious persecution they sought refuge in Geneva and with those immigrants from Germany, Italy, France and England came skilled craftsman who found their roles in the local culture, traditions and industry. The watchmakers and jewelers provided and produced pieces that were works of art, and many of these immigrants found careers and training that would bring devotion and pride in perfecting a craft that drew admiration and excellence.
Jean-Marc was quite accomplished in his profession by his early twenties and opened his own shop, and produced clocks and pocket watches as did most of the other companies in that era. In 1755 Vacheron produced a very stylish silver pocket watch that was signed by him and is believed to be his earliest timepiece. His workshop was respected for quality timepieces, exceptional beauty and craftsmanship in each piece. Jean-Marc’s son Abraham became quite adept in the business and took leadership in 1785 helping the company through difficult years of the French Revolution.
The family business continued with Abraham’s son Jacques-Barthelemy as they worked to continue tradition that also inspired passion for their work. They developed many key complications through the decade and with the leadership again passing to the son the brand expanded outside of the Swiss borders. This expansion propelled the brand and brought influential clients. At the same time Jacques believed that bringing on a trusted partner could provide even further growth and benefits. Francois Constantin, a very shrewd businessman who also had a clear deep passion for fine watches seemed the perfect fit. The Vacheron Constantin brand was born and the brand expanded to new markets, and by the 1830’s they were opening offices around the globe.
The constant striving for perfection was embedded in the heart of these men and the company and what drove them to always work toward constant improvement. This philosophy, became their motto, “Do better if possible and that is always possible.” The brand was always being recognized for technical merit, but their style and decorative artistry did not go unnoticed. Working to improve production methods, and instruments that would further revolutionize the industry were top on their minds, and when they invented the pantograph, the machine enabled watchmakers to precisely reproduce watch part designs they gained further respect in an industry that admired and honored them. The company had awards for precision and reliability and maintained talent that drove innovation and engineering to even higher levels. The Maltese cross symbol was chosen as the logo for the brand as a symbol for their continued quest for precision.
Vacheron Constantin has continued to impress watch connoisseurs around the globe not only with technical expertise and innovative style, but also with no fear of change, and taking chances. The collections of the brand continues to grow with stylish excellence and continued quality. The hardest part of choosing this brand would be making a decision on what timepiece captures your personality and style.