This article is part of our Watches & Wonders 2021 coverage. To see all articles in this series, click here.
Without doubt, Vacheron Constantin has an unrivalled history in watchmaking having continuously been in operation for over 260 years. Founded in Geneva in 1755, the Maison embodies a quest for distinction combined with a passion for fine craftsmanship that has led to it manufacturing some of the world’s finest horological complications. Each watch has a unique technical signature and aesthetic that tells a story whilst reflecting the deep-rooted values of exceptionally fine craftsmanship and excellence found within the Maison’s DNA.
As a luxury watchmaking company that leads with the motto “Do better if possible, and that is always possible”, the introduction of a new collection or timepiece is always a sight to behold. With Watches & Wonders Geneva now upon us, we had the privilege of speaking with Laurent Perves, Chief Marketing Officer at Vacheron Constantin. Laurent tells us more about the depth of the Vacheron Constantin offering as well as the exciting new novelties adding to the Historiques, Overseas and Égérie collections, launched at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2021.
Delighted to be speaking with you today and thank you so much for agreeing to take part in this interview. Please can you tell our readers a bit more about yourself and the role you play at the brand?
My name is Laurent Perves and I am the Chief Marketing Officer of Vacheron Constantin since 2016. My role is essentially to make sure that our entire offer, from our timepieces down to our services, physical or online, is at the level of excellence expected from our clients and collectors. As such, I have the chance to work on topics as varied as watch design and innovation, communication and creation, heritage and patrimony conservation, client services and experiences, digital and so on.
How would you introduce Vacheron Constantin as a brand, and describe the collections to a new watch collector?
Vacheron Constantin is the oldest watchmaking manufacturer in continuous activity since 1755. For its 266 years of existence, our Maison perpetuated the art of high watchmaking with a unique vision: combine the best of high complications and technical excellence with the most refined aesthetics and crafts. This singular convergence between mechanical perfection and beauty is at the core of our values and at the origin of the emotions we strive to create among our audience and collectors. Our collections, built on our heritage and history, are covering all the facets of high watchmaking: classical and understated dress watches, contemporary and sports chic, retro and vintage, jewellery and high jewellery, and of course high and “Grandes” complications. We are also one of the (very) few Maisons to design and create unique pieces made to measure from the most complex requests of our demanding clientele, through our autonomous Les Cabinotiers workshop.
In your opinion, what sets Vacheron Constantin apart from other timepiece brands?
I think Vacheron Constantin has built its success on two very important axis.
First, its strong and universal values. We relentlessly worked on the basis of excellence, sophistication, exclusivity, cultural anchorage and very importantly openness to the world. These fundamentals, directly inherited from our founders, have guided the Maison and its creations for more than two centuries.
Secondly, its originality and commitment to design and aesthetics. Several venerable Maisons are able to produce high quality watches and master high complications, but Vacheron Constantin has a unique sense of beauty and originality, a “twist”, which makes all the difference when it comes to creating emotions. We pride ourselves every time we innovate and push further the boundaries of high watchmaking, but our real aim is to create timepieces that will trigger goosebumps and accelerate our clients’ heartbeats.
In your opinion which is the most significant collection or piece from Vacheron Constantin and why?
I honestly cannot answer this question because it would be disrespectful to our unique history and legacy. How could one summarize 266 years of excellence and creation into one single watch? I would, on the contrary, talk about the richness of our offer and the fact that we are one of the few manufacturers known as much for its dress watches, such as the Patrimony, as for its elegant sport timepieces from the Overseas collection, or its Grandes Complications, whether from Les Cabinotiers or more recently the introduction of the Traditionnelle Twin Beat perpetual calendar.
Which is your favourite ever piece from Vacheron Constantin, and why?
Again, very difficult… Can I choose several? Let’s say I can!
I would choose first the Patrimony Double Retrograde Day/Date (rose gold and blue dial), a timepiece that encompasses all Vacheron Constantin’s design cues, from slim dress watch aesthetics to the iconic retrograde display. I would complete with a vintage Royal Chronometer 6694 featuring “Batman” lugs from the early 60’s, and to conclude I would top it with the Overseas Ultra-thin Perpetual Calendar (in rose gold) because for me it’s the epitome of sports chic and a remarkably slim and easy to wear watch.
Which piece or pieces, would you recommend to our audience in order to start building their Vacheron Constantin collection?
You can start a collection from any collection or timepiece, as long as you like it! Some of our clients start right at the top with a Grande Complication or a bespoke order from Les Cabinotiers! It’s all about your personal take and emotion on a timepiece. Now from my own standpoint, I find that Les Historiques collection is a great way to start as you can own an iconic design and the entire history it represents, all at once. As such, the Historiques Triple Calendrier 1942 or the Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 are great choices based on emblematic complications!
As Watches & Wonders Geneva is upon us, can you tell us a little more about your new launches at the fair? Which piece is a personal favourite, and why?
This year we look at our new timepieces under the angle of the “Twist” that I mentioned earlier as all our novelties are inspired from our Maison’s very own “Classic with a Twist”.
This unique character is perfectly embodied by the American 1921, an icon of the Maison that celebrates its 100th anniversary. To celebrate this centenary, we introduce three new iterations of this legendary timepiece: two new white gold versions with silver grained dial, in 40mm and 36.5mm, and for the first time in the Historiques collection, a Collection Excellence Platine version of the 40mm. Based on the now famous “all platinum concept” and displaying a unique monochromatic and “stealth” design, this watch is the ultimate collector’s grail and comes in a limited and numbered edition of 100 pieces, to commemorate the 100 years of the American 1921.
We are also introducing new references as part of the Overseas collection, bringing more high complications and materials with two new ultra-thin perpetual calendars on white gold case, including a skeleton version, and a new automatic tourbillon in pink gold. These three references are adorned by the Overseas exclusive blue dial colour.
Loyal to our devotion to high complications, we are also reintroducing the outstanding caliber 3500 in the new Traditionnelle Split-second chronograph ultra-thin Collection Excellence Platine. This is an exclusive timepiece as only 15 pieces will be produced, and a smart twist on the single pusher design, a tribute to the first chronographs of the early 20th century.
We get even more exclusive with Les Cabinotiers and particularly the “Planetaria”, a new Grande Complication featuring a double-axis Armillary tourbillon as well as a triple jumping retrograde perpetual calendar complemented by a three-dimensional representation of the two hemispheres designed to provide 24-hour and day/night indications, thanks to the brand new caliber 1991.
The Vacheron Constantin twist also lives in the asymmetry of our design and dials, as portrayed by our Égérie Collection. Following its successful launch a year ago, the collection enriches itself with two new diamond-set versions of its pink gold automatic iteration.
Finally, and to finish with my personal choice for 2021, we are introducing a new chapter in our Métiers d’Art “Tribute to Great Explorers” with three timepieces dedicated to the legendary Portuguese Navigators. Based on historical maps and the fantastic journeys of these sea adventurers, these original watches perfectly combine a high level of technicity, via a satellite based time display and a two layers dial, with the most refined and exceptional level of craftsmanship achieved via miniature enameling.
As you can see, a very rich, promising and “Classic with a Twist” year for Vacheron Constantin!
Finally, looking even more toward the future, what are you most excited about for Vacheron Constantin in 2021?
The fact that the Maison is still here after 266 years and will be there for much more!
Being allowed to participate in such a timeless and meaningful journey is a daily privilege and honour, making every day more exciting than the previous one.
For more information on the new launches at Watches & Wonders and to register your interest, please visit our websites
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