Vacheron Constantin Celebrates its Roots

Posted by Carol Besler on Oct 7, 2013 4:30:49 AM

Vacheron Constantin celebrates its roots by expanding on its heritage as one of the original maisons that set the standards of excellence in watchmaking.

The Patrimony Traditionelle Lady High Jewelry features 308 baguette-cut diamonds set in 18k white gold. It is powered by a manually-wound movement and has received the Hallmark of Geneva.

When it comes to high watchmaking, Vacheron Constantin not only meets the standards, but has had a lot to do with setting the high water mark. It has the distinction of being the oldest watch brand in the world, with more than 250 years’ worth of innovation and expertise accumulated under its roof. Vacheron Constantin is a master of the classic dress watch as well as the ladies’ jewelry watch, and has at the same time developed prestigious calibers, including a new hand-wound tourbillon, in its own manufacture.

From its beginnings, Vacheron Constantin embodied the hallmarks of traditional watchmaking, with classic styling and pure, refined lines, reinforced by the highest standards of watchmaking technology. Remarkably, the brand recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of one of its signature case shapes—the tonneau. In 1912, eager to make an avant-garde break from the traditional round shape of pocket watches, Vacheron Constantin became one of the first watch manufacturers to adopt the barrel-shaped case. It would eventually become the signature case shape of the brand’s Malte collection, which was recently commemorated with four new models. The new Malte Tourbillon, Malte Small Seconds, Malte Lady and the Anniversary Malte watch, issued in a 100-piece limited series, all embody the brand’s classic spirit, with an infusion of contemporary styling.

The Malte Lady, in 18k white gold, with a bezel set with 50 round diamonds, on an elegant blue alligator strap

A new tonneau-shaped movement was developed for the tourbillon, Caliber 2795, moulded to the shape of the case. Entirely developed and crafted in-house, it displays the brand’s proven mastery of the world of horological complications. The tourbillon carriage is inspired by the brand’s signature Maltese cross, and showcases the exceptional level of finishing of each movement part, including a number of hand-bevelled interior angles. The Malte Tourbillon, as well as the Malte Small Seconds and Malte 100th Anniversary Edition are all officially approved as meeting the new criteria of the Hallmark of Geneva—an independent certification of origin as well as a guarantee of high craftsmanship, durability and expertise. The Hallmark standards require both the movement and the outside of the watch to be expertly finished. Just the rounding off of the tourbillon bar, which represents a significant technical challenge, calls for over 11 hours of manual work. The process involves filing each end of the arms in order to give them a conical or semi-cylindrical shape, while respecting the limits of the center and the heels. To finalize this operation, the craftsmen rub it down with stones, buffs, wooden pegs and finishing pastes in order to achieve a perfectly polished effect.

The Malte Tourbillon has a curving 18k pink gold case measuring 38 x 48.2 mm, and is fitted with a brown alligator leather strap with a Maltese cross-shaped rose gold folding clasp

Vacheron Constantin has also been a champion of the ladies’ timepiece throughout its history. The brand was one of the first to understand the potential of the ladies’ wristwatch, and began producing watches almost from the beginning that were designed to symbolize the status of their owners. As early as 1810 it produced a quarter repeater for ladies. In the 1870s, the company was controlled for a time by two widows of the Vacheron family: Catherine Barthelemy Vacheron and Louise César Vacheron, who ran the company together with Jean-Francois Constantin, a great-nephew of the founding member of the Constantin family. The two women made a tremendous contribution to the development of the firm by establishing the arts of miniaturization and decoration in the manufacture, nurturing skills that only a few watchmakers at the time possessed.

In honor of this heritage, Vacheron Constantin devoted most of its new introductions this year to ladies models, including the new Malte model for ladies, a gem-set watch in an elegantly pared-down case size of 28.3 x 38.7 mm.

In the Patrimony collection, Vacheron Constantin pays tribute to women with a series of watches equipped with mechanical movements, which are beautifully set with diamonds. The automatic Contemporaine features a diamond-set minute track that is uniquely set from underneath the dial. There is also a fully set version, with 775 diamonds. The high jewelry version of the Traditionelle, also new in the Patrimony collection, is a slim, manual-wound watch set with over 300 baguette diamonds.

The Patrimony collection is custodian of the true horological tradition of classic watchmaking, and is thus part of Vacheron Constantin’s genetic make-up. The round cases express the enduring classic style in a renewed testimony to Vacheron Constantin’s heritage. All of the new Patrimony watches comply with the standards of the Geneva Seal.

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Topics: Watches, Editorial, featured, tonneau, Vacheron Constantin

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