Vacheron Constantin

Faye Y.

Do you know how much work is applied to produce a single ticking, time-telling piece of jewelry on your wrist? You really don’t have to, as Vacheron Constantin has already taken care of that on its end to give you something to flaunt.

Vacheron Constantin is among the most prestigious manufacturers of luxury watches around, even in a country abound with exciting and opulent labels. It is the world’s oldest in terms of continuous years of operation, overcoming the challenges posed not only by the arduous procedure of making watches and revolutions but also by the competition from the other side of the world that has already trampled lesser names. Today, it still stands firm on the ground, beaming proud of its timepieces’ precision, craftsmanship and beauty.

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A history of firsts

Of the many things that sets it apart from other Swiss brands, among the most notable and relevant to its history is the fact that Vacheron Constantin is recognized for its firsts, always trying to do better.

Founded in 1755 by Swiss horologist  Jean-Marc Vacheron, the company built the first watch to feature more than just the hours and minutes on its dial, or a complication, if we’re getting into horology terminology. While other watchmakers are still trying to get into this new development, Jean-Marc was already working on another. Nine years after the first complication, he was credited for the creation of engine-turned dials, another first.

Still known as a solely a Vacheron business then, the company survived the French revolution that lasted a decade. Jean-Marc was already succeeded by his son, and then eventually his grandson Jacques-Barthélemy, who was the first to think of exporting their goods to Italy and France. The endeavor proved taxing for Jacques-Barthélemy that he thought it would be wise to find a partner to take care of the traveling and opening to new markets. It is during this that he found and became an associate of François Constantin, and the company worked under the name Vacheron Constantin. Through François, Vacheron Constantin opened its doors to North America.

The firsts are not over, however. Closing in on its 100th year, the company hired Georges-Auguste Leschot. Although hired to oversee the manufacturing operations, Leschot was remembered more fondly for his inventions and creative streak. His inventions paved the way for the Swiss watchmaking industry to take the next step, as he is the point person for standardizing watch movements to Calibers. The Arts of Society of Geneva bestowed upon him a gold medal for another invention that changed the culture for the better: a pantographic device that can engrave small parts and dials on watches.

Long after the original founders have passed, the company is still making its marks in the rich Swiss tradition of watchmaking. In 1885, it created the first timepiece that can resist magnetic fields. If you’re familiar with the company motto, you’ll realize that it is a great way to summarize its history: “Do better if possible, and that is always possible.”

Vacheron Constantin Boutique in Geneva, Switzerland. 
Vacheron Constantin Boutique in Geneva, Switzerland. Martin Good

Nobody owns a Vacheron Constantin just by accident

Vacheron Constantin, already a time-tested force in watchmaking since its inception in the 16th century, is familiar and very much in touch with its customers.

Who is the ideal customer for the company, you ask? For years, it has been individuals who have a passionate interest in horology. Before stepping into a store, you are already familiar with the name, with its legacy needing no narration. A customer seeks the Swiss brand with already a watch in mind: opulent, beautiful, dependable, and worth the price. The 200 years and so history of the firm is proof of its durability and value, and the watch connoisseurs turned customers place great value in this.

Vacheron Constantin Celestia Astronomical Wristwatch
Vacheron Constantin Celestia Astronomical Wristwatch. Haute Time

Do better, and endure

The company motto, “Do better if possible, and that is always possible” was first uttered by François Constantin in a letter to Jacques-Barthélemy Vacheron. Two centuries later, it remains a guiding statement of the company, despite the changing landscape of the Swiss watch industry.

Despite the number of iconic watches under its wing, including the Overseas and the Patrimony, and even the awe-inducing Kallista, and its tradition of bringing back the most dependable watches of its past because of the insistence of its clientele, Vacheron Constantin still wants to be better. It does this not by finishing its timepieces faster and producing more than necessary; the very traditional firm still values quality over quantity.

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Vacheron Constantin store in Hongkong.
Vacheron Constantin store in Hongkong. TungCheung

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