Vacheron Constantin Watches
Below is our current in stock inventory of Vacheron Constantin watches. If you have a Vacheron Constantin watch you are interested in selling or trading please contact us.
(47469) Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Contemporaine Perpetual Calendar 43175/000R-B519, 43175, rose gold on a strap with a rose gold deployant buckle, automatic Vacheron Constantin caliber, day, date, month, leap year indicator, moon phase, blue dial with applied rose gold indexes, sword hands, case back shows the movement, sapphire crystal, size 40.9 mm, thickness 9.1mm, like new with box and papers dated 2022.
(46705) Vacheron Constantin 7900V/110A-B333 Overseas Dual Time 7900V110AB333 7900V 110A B333, stainless steel on an integrated stainless steel bracelet, new automatic in-house Vacheron Constantin caliber 5110 DT movement, second time zone with am/pm indicator, pointer date at 6 o'clock, glossy silver dial with applied luminous hour markers and luminous hands, centered sweep seconds hand, pusher below the crown sets the date, screw-...
(47942) Vacheron Constantin 4300V Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton 4300V/120R-B547, 4300V120RB547, 4300V 120R B547, 18k rose gold on an integral 18k rose gold bracelet with a double folding deployant clasp, automatic Vacheron caliber 1120 QP/1, 40-hour power reserve, skeletonized dial with applied luminous rose gold hour markers and luminous hands, perpetual calendar with indications for the month (with leap year), d...
(47968) Vacheron Constantin 5000s/000r-b139 Harmony Chronograph 5000s/000r, 5000s000rb139, 18K rose gold cushion shaped case with an 18K rose gold double deployant buckle, manual wind Vacheron Constantin Calibre 1142 movement, 48-hour power reserve, chronograph, silver dial with painted Arabic numerals, small seconds at 9 o'clock, 30-minute counter at 3 o'clock, sapphire crystal, display back, water resistant, size: 37x46mm, thick...
(48179) Vacheron & Constantin 82172 Patrimony Traditionnelle manual wind small seconds, 82172/000R-9382, 18k rose gold case on a strap with a matching 18K rose gold tang buckle, manual wind movement (Vacheron Constantin calibre 4400 AS), power reserve of 65 hours, small seconds at 6 o'clock, silver dial with applied rose gold stick markers, water resistant to 30 meters, sapphire crystal, display back, diameter: 38mm, thickness: 7.8...
(47632) Vacheron Fiftysix Self-Winding 4600E/000R-B441, 4600E000RB441, 18k rose gold on a strap with an 18k rose gold tang buckle, automatic caliber 1326 movement, silver-tone dial with applied Arabic numerals and baton hour markers, luminous hands, central sweep seconds hand, date at 3 o'clock, display back, sapphire crystal, size 40mm, thickness: 9.6mm, sapphire crystal, water resistant. Like New with Vacheron Constantin box and ...
(47760) Vacheron & Constantin 82172/000P-9811 Patrimony Traditionnelle, platinum case on a strap with a matching platinum tang buckle, manual wind movement (Vacheron Constantin calibre 4400 AS), power reserve of 65 hours, small seconds at 6 o'clock, silver dial with applied stick markers, water resistant to 30 meters, sapphire crystal, diameter: 38mm, thickness: 7.8mm. Like New with Vacheron Constantin box and papers dated 2021.
(47921) Vacheron & Constantin 42042/423A-8722 Overseas Automatic, 42042/423A, 42042, stainless steel on a stainless steel bracelet with a push button foldover clasp, automatic, grey dial with luminous hands & hour markers, date window at 3 o'clock, sapphire crystal, water resistant to 150m/500ft, diameter: 37mm, thickness: 8.5mm. Excellent condition with box and papers from 2002.
(47816) Vacheron Constantin 6000V Overseas Tourbillon 6000V/110A-B544, stainless steel case on an integrated bracelet with a double folding deployant clasp, automatic Vacheron Constantin caliber 2160 movement, 80-hour power reserve, glossy blue dial with applied luminous hour markers, luminous hands, exposed 60-second tourbillon at 6 o'clock with a cage inspired by the Maltese cross, display back with rotor that runs only on the pe...
(47157) Vacheron Constantin 86050 Quai de L'ile Automatic 86050/000T-9343, 86050000T9343 Titanium on a strap with a titanium double folding deployant buckle, automatic Vacheron Constantin caliber 2460QH movement, 43-hour power reserve, grey dial, luminous hands and hour markers, pointer date, semi-transparent luminous sapphire date disc, sapphire crystal, water resistant to 30m, display back, size 41mm x 50mm, thickness 11.75mm. L...
(46520) Vacheron & Constantin 7700V Overseas World Time, 7700V/110A-B172, stainless steel on a stainless steel bracelet with a triple deployant clasp, automatic Vacheron caliber 2460 WT/1, blue dial with applied luminous hour markers, luminous hands, sapphire crystal, water resistant to 150 meters, diameter: 43.5mm, thickness: 12.6mm. Like New with original box, additional alligator strap, additional rubber strap with deployant cla...
(48004) Vacheron Constantin 86060 Patrimony Traditionnelle World Time 86060/000R-9640, 18k rose gold on a strap with an 18k rose gold deployant buckle, automatic Vacheron caliber 2460WT, the most center dial features a silvered zone with names of the cities printed in black & red ink & a "Lambert Projection" world map which lines up with the city names, AM/PM indicated using a darkened crystal which revolves over half the map, the ...
(48001) Vacheron Les Historiques 1955 Cornes de Vache Chronograph, 5000H/000P, 5000H000P, platinum case on a strap with a matching platinum tang buckle, manual wind Vacheron Constantin caliber 1142 movement, chronograph, small seconds at 9 o'clock, opaline white dial with applied hour markers, pulsation scale, display back, sapphire crystal, size 38.5mm, thickness: 10.9mm, sapphire crystal, water resistant. Like New with Vacheron C...
(46399) Vacheron Constantin 47150/000R-8916 Medicus Chronograph, 47150/000%, 47150000R, 18k rose gold cushion shaped case with a rose gold double folding deployant buckle, manual wind Vacheron caliber 1145, 30 minute chronograph, silver dial with tachymeter scale, applied rose gold markers, sapphire crystal, display back, diameter: 37mm, thickness: 11.4mm. Excellent Condition with Vacheron Constantin box.
(47907) Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin 4300V/000R-B064, 18k rose gold on a strap, foldover deployant clasp, automatic antimagnetic Caliber 1120QP/1, silver dial, luminous hands & hour markers, full calendar and moon phase, sapphire crystal, water resistant to 50 meters, diameter: 41.5mm, thickness: 8.10mm. Like New with Vacheron Constantin box, extra brown alligator strap, and papers dated 2019.
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Perpetual Calendar Rose Gold Blue Dial 2022
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time 7900V SS Silver Dial
Vacheron Constantin Overseas 4300V Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton 18k Rose Gold
Vacheron Constantin Harmony Chronograph 18K Rose Gold 2021
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle
Manual Wind 18K Rose Gold
Vacheron Constantin Fiftysix Self Winding RG Silver
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle Manual Wind Platinum
Vacheron Constantin Overseas 42042 Automatic Grey Dial SS
Vacheron Constantin Overseas 6000V/110A Tourbillon SS Blue Dial
Vacheron Constantin Quai de L'ile Automatic Titanium
Vacheron Constantin Overseas 7700V World Time Blue Dial SS 2020
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle World Time Rose Gold
Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques 1955 5000H/000P Cornes de Vache Platinum RARE
Vacheron Constantin Medicus Chronograph Rose Gold Limited To 90 Pieces RARE
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar 4300V 18k Rose Gold
Guide to Vacheron Constantin Watches
Vacheron Constantin is the smallest of the ‘Holy Trinity’ of watch brands which is made up of Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Vacheron Constantin. Patek has an annual output of roughly 50,000 units, followed by Audemars Piguet with 40,000, and Vacheron produces just under 25,000 timepieces per year. Vacheron Constantin is best known for its Overseas model line which was inspired by the iconic 222 reference launched in 1977 to celebrate the company’s 222-year anniversary.
Vacheron Constantin was established in 1755 by then 24-year-old master watchmaker Jean-Marc Vacheron. While rival brand Blancpain was founded 20 years earlier, in 1735, Vacheron Constantin claims to be the oldest watch manufacturer in continuous operation since it was founded. In 1819 the name officially changed to Vacheron et Constantin when Jacques B. Vacheron, the grandson of the founder, entered a partnership with the experienced businessman, Francois Constantin. This partnership laid the foundation for what was to become one of the most renowned and admired manufacturers of elegant and sophisticated timepieces in the world.
Vacheron Constantin, along with A. Lange & Sohne, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, IWC and others, is owned by the Swiss luxury conglomerate Richemont. Richemont, LVMH and the Swatch Group are the largest luxury groups globally, owning most of the world’s premier watch brands except for Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet. Vacheron Constantin became part of Richemont in 1996.
Even though the origins of Vacheron Constantin date back to 1755, it wasn’t until the 1880’s that the brand adopted the Maltese Cross as its logo. The image now known as the Maltese Cross was created by the Knights of Malta who used it on their banners and shields during the First Crusade. Vacheron Constantin, however, chose the Maltese Cross as the brand’s logo because the shape resembles a component of the barrel used to limit tension within the mainspring of a movement.
History of Vacheron Constantin Watches
A Legacy of Elegance and Refinement
Over the long and storied history of modern horology, countless brands have come and gone with very few achieving long term success in the ever-changing industry. Vacheron Constantin represents one of the select manufacturers that has maintained their exacting commitment to excellence and a status of renown for centuries. This enduring legacy has allowed the brand to rise to the top of the industry as one of the greatest manufactures in history and one of the three members of the “Holy Trinity” of Swiss watches. The original brand principles that were established by the founders remain guiding pillars of the company to this day, and the brand remains committed to preserving the more than 250 years of heritage that they have worked so hard to build.
Jean-Marc Vacheron was born in Geneva in April of 1731 as the youngest of five sons of a master weaver. Vacheron’s father inspired a strong work ethic in his sons while also teaching them the importance of operating a business honestly and with integrity. Jean-Marc studied watchmaking from an early age and was also fascinated by philosophy and the sciences, maintaining close friendships with leaders of the European Enlightenment, Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Little documentation exists concerning Vacheron’s pursuits prior to the founding of his workshop in Geneva in 1755. Seeking to establish his company in one of the centers of horological craftsmanship in Europe, he opened a small workshop, hired his first apprentice, Esaïe Jean François Hetier, and began producing pieces.
The nature of the watch industry in the mid-1700’s differed greatly from the modern landscape that we know today. None of the large conglomerates made up of multiple smaller companies existed and each aspect of the watchmaking process, from dials to cases to movements, were produced completely independently by individual craftsmen. When Vacheron established his brand in 1755, he joined a thriving industry of watchmakers who built pocket watches in small shops in the streets of Geneva. These craftsmen were the original group of artisans that established Geneva’s reputation for horological excellence and laid the foundation for the city’s preeminent position in the industry for years to come.
Less than one year after his brand was established, Jean-Marc Vacheron’s first known piece was completed. The primitive pocket watch was fashioned from silver and featured a time-only display on its blank, white dial. According to historical records, the majority of the pieces Vacheron made were unique examples commissioned by paying clients. Watchmakers had not yet adopted practices that would enable them to serially produce a line of watches and each and every piece was fully handmade one at a time with exceptional attention to detail. The level of craftsmanship produced in the region during this period was truly unparalleled and interest in the pursuit of watchmaking as a trade was high, helping to maintain a workforce of the talented apprentices that were needed to feed the growing industry.
The core values of the brand, predicated upon innovation and high standards of quality, were established during this early foundational era of Vacheron.
In 1770, Vacheron made its very first watch featuring a complication and a few years later, in 1779, Jean-Marc produced one of the very first engine-turned, or guilloche dials. To this day, complications and intricate decoration are two of the brand’s calling cards.
For the remainder of his life, Jean-Marc worked on commissioned pieces that today mainly reside in private collections around the world. While his workshop produced beautiful pieces, few could have known that the brand would remain a fixture in the industry more than 250 years later. In addition to the commissioned pieces made in small quantities each year, Jean-Marc also produced individual components that were then sold to other watchmakers to be used in their watches. Brands did not have the resources to produce watches fully in-house and they relied on artisans like Jean-Marc and his team to supply the components needed to complete their creations.
Jean-Marc had two sons: Louis Andre in 1755 and Abraham in 1760. In 1785, long before Jean-Marc’s passing in 1805, Abraham took over the shop during one of the most tumultuous periods in European history. In 1798, as a part of the French Revolutionary Wars, France invaded Switzerland, established the Helvetic Republic, and annexed the city of Geneva. Many small businesses tried and failed to weather the storm of French occupation, but Abraham Vacheron remained steadfast in his commitment and managed to continue producing fine quality timepieces during this incredibly trying time.
Most of the pieces produced under Abraham Vacheron’s leadership featured precious gemstones and elaborate enamel work. The workshop no longer produced pieces for the general public and focused more on creating one-of-a-kind pieces for the nobility and elites of the region. Unfortunately, while under French occupation, these clients lost much of their wealth and resources, and Vacheron quickly lost most of his work. Abraham used this difficult period to teach his own son, Jacques-Barthélémi Vacheron, all that he knew about watchmaking and when the region emerged from beneath the clouds of war, Jacques-Barthélémi was well prepared to continue the brand’s legacy.
In 1810, when the region finally regained its stability and political independence, Jacques-Barthélémi Vacheron took full control of the brand. Unlike his predecessors, who focused predominantly on small-scale production for a select group of clients, Jacques-Barthélémi looked to expand the business and began to commercialize the brand. Under his leadership, Vacheron expanded both its offerings and geographical scope. Jacques-Barthélémi introduced musical watches that played multiple short melodies on demand and began selling pieces internationally to France and later Italy. This expansion and international focus foreshadowed the brand’s explosive growth that would follow in the coming years. The key to this continued globalization of the Vacheron name was François Constantin.
Born in Geneva in 1788, François Constantin was the key to the brand’s emergence as a major player in the industry in the early 19th century. Constantin was a natural businessman and spent the majority of his youth traveling and establishing strong international connections. On one of these trips, François Constantin fortuitously met Jacques-Barthélémi Vacheron. In addition to their shared hometown of Geneva, Jacques-Barthélémi and François also shared an appreciation for culture, style, and sophisticated timepieces. Alongside his fascination with the mechanical complexities and aesthetic beauties of these pieces, François also saw great potential in expanding Jacques-Barthélémi’s family business into a global empire.
Thus, in 1819, the two joined forces and formed a business agreement that re-established the brand as “Vacheron et Constantin” (8). Constantin was said to have written Jacques Vacheron a letter stating that the new venture would strive to “do better when possible, and that is always possible”. This philosophy of continued improvement and refinement of the product ushered in a new era of prominence for the brand and remains the driving ideology behind the company to this day.
Vacheron et Constantin
The Center of Innovation
Shortly after Francois Constantin joined forces with Vacheron, the brand hired the famed horological engineer Georges-Aguste Leschot as Technical Director. Already well known for his design of the Swiss anchor escapement, Leschot further revolutionized the industry when he developed a tool, known as the Pantograph, that allowed for the standardization and interchangeability of movement components. While still maintaining the intricate handwork that the brand was already known for, Leschot’s innovation allowed Vacheron to expand its operations without being held back by manufacturing limitations. Before the development of the Pantograph, a company’s productivity was inherently capped by the number of employees that could be trained and hired to produce parts. The new tool, however, allowed unskilled laborers to easily run the machine producing simpler, standardized parts while skilled craftsmen focused on finishing and refinement.
After decades at the helm, François Constantin retired from the day-to-day business of running the company and passed away in 1854 with Jacques-Barthélémi following less than 10 years later in 1863. A series of heirs then stepped in to lead the maison, working hard to continue to move the business forward.
Another member of the Constantin family, Francois’ older brother Abraham, played a significant role in the rapid expansion of Vacheron et Constantin. Abraham was a well-known artist who served as the official painter to the French court and his royal connections introduced the maison to some of the most affluent members of society at the time. Vacheron et Constantin also enlisted Abraham’s artistic talents to help design and execute various components on some of the brand’s pieces.
Jacques-Barthélémi’s son, Charles-César Vacheron, took control of the brand’s operations in 1844. His main goal was to further expand the brand’s reach and under his leadership,Vacheron et Constantin was introduced to the Chinese, Spanish, Indian, and Cuban markets. This new global exposure generated greater recognition and admiration for the brand’s pieces, and to meet the increased demand, the brand was forced to move to a new factory located in central Geneva and to continue to add workers to its staff.
As the 19th century ended and the 20th began, the company notched several significant milestones. First, in 1880, the brand registered the now iconic Maltese Cross as its official corporate insignia. Modeled on the shape of a component of the barrel used to limit tension within the mainspring of a movement, the logo is now inseparable from the company and is still in use to this day. As the watch industry marched towards the new century, growing demand for timepieces caused Vacheron et Constantin to reorganize as a joint-stock company in 1887 in order to generate capital for further expansion.
In recognition of Vacheron Constantin’s exceptional achievements and contributions to the watch industry, the company received a gold medal at the Swiss National Exhibition in 1887. In addition to developing innovative complications and supplying movements and individual components to the industry, the brand also played a major role in shaping horological trends and fashions pushing the whole industry forward into the modern era.
Case in point, Faberge’s Third Imperial Egg (also introduced in 1887) housed a hidden Vacheron Constantin lady’s watch within. This exposure largely led to acceptance of the avant-garde wrist watch and in some ways ushered in the ubiquity of wrist watches in the fashion industry as a whole. Two years later in 1889, the brand introduced their first lady’s watch which was also one of the first serially produced wrist watches to ever come to market. The innovative piece drew significant attention to the brand even though the market wasn’t entirely sure how to receive it!
New Standards of Excellence
In 1901, Vacheron Constantin received the prestigious Geneva Hallmark, or Poincon de Geneve. Introduced by the Republic and Canton of Geneva in 1886, the award is the ultimate standard in excellence and an emblem of Geneva’s fine watchmaking expertise. Only a few select watchmakers and “manufactures” based in Geneva have ever received the award. In order to receive the Geneva Hallmark, brands are required to submit their timepieces for a series of exacting tests designed to test a timepiece’s quality and accuracy. By receiving the prestigious designation, Vacheron proved their timepieces to be not only aesthetically pleasing, but mechanically advanced and superbly executed as well.
The First Boutique
Vacheron’s pieces continued to appeal to the rich and powerful of the day, and the brand was privileged to supply watches to significant historical figures and members of the European aristocracy. To entertain these high-end clients, the brand needed a dedicated space in Geneva to display their watches in a luxury setting and in 1906, they opened their first boutique on the ground floor of the Tour de L’ile in Geneva. The first of many for the brand.
The Chronometre Royal
In 1907, Vacheron Constantin released their line of Chronometre Royal pocket watches. The Chronometre Royal was the brand’s most practical offering and unlike their more showy and ornate offerings, the 1907 Chronometre Royal was designed for everyday use. Additionally, the model was available at a much lower price than their other pieces giving an entirely new segment of the market access to the brand.
Most of the pieces featured an enamel dial and gold case, although a few rare pieces do exist in silver. The case cover was decorated with a “barleycorn” guilloche pattern and offered tasteful ornamentation to the otherwise basic piece. The Chronometre Royal remained in production in pocket watch form until the 1930’s and was revived as a wristwatch in the late 1950’s.
A Tradition of Special Orders
In 1914, Charles Constantin, the great-grand-nephew of Francois Constantin, assumed control of Vacheron et Constantin. Born in 1887, Charles possessed both business acumen and technical training gained at the Ecole d’Horlogerie de Genève. Unfortunately, just as Charles was preparing to make his mark on the brand, he was conscripted to serve in the army during the First World War and was forced to put his plans on hold. In spite of these difficulties, the brand continued to innovate and serve customers globally during this tumultuous period.
Notably, in 1918, automotive pioneer James Ward Packard commissioned the brand to make a piece for him. Packard’s 20K gold piece was deceptively simple in appearance but hid a petite and grande sonnerie, chronograph, and quarter and half-quarter repeaters. The fact that such a discerning and prominent figure of the period chose Vacheron Constantin as his brand of choice underscored the marque’s newfound international fame and the regard with which the market viewed their products.
In 1926, the company began work on another incredible piece, this time for King Fuad I of Egypt. The Grande Complication Pocket Watch (reference no. 402833) displayed the king’s coat of arms in enamel on the caseback and featured a carillon minute repeater with grande and petite sonnerie, three gongs and three hammers, a split-seconds chronograph with a 30-minute totalizer, a perpetual calendar, and moon phase and age indicators. The piece took years to develop and was presented to the king by the Swiss expatriate community in 1929.
Returning to the company in the 1930’s after his World War I military service, Charles Constantin got back to work just in time to steer the manufacture through the depths of the Great Depression and the next world war. Despite countless challenges, the company released the very first world time complication (with 31 time zones displayed) in the midst of the depression in 1932. The ref. 3372 was the first of many world time models to be manufactured by the brand. In order to create the ground breaking complication, Vacheron Constantin collaborated with renowned Swiss watchmaker Louis Cottier. Cottier was responsible for the creation of over 400 different movement designs and developed the innovative world time complication (later utilized by Patek Philippe and others) that allowed 24+ time zones to be displayed. Once again, Vacheron demonstrated their ability to generate innovative complications to meet the practical needs of their global clientele.
As the Depression dragged on, financial struggles forced the owners of many Swiss brands to consolidate or sell in order to keep their businesses going, Vacheron Constantin included. In 1938 the company was purchased by the Jaeger-LeCoultre family in a deal facilitated by the SAPIC holding company, of which Georges Ketterer served on the board of directors. Two years later, in 1940, Ketterer purchased a majority of the shares in the company bringing an end to nearly two hundred years of family ownership and placing the brand entirely under his control.
Ketterer proved to be an extremely effective leader who managed to leave the essence of the brand unchanged while simultaneously keeping it alive and profitable through the long years of World War II.
His tenure at the helm saw the introduction of many significant pieces starting with the ref. 4293 in 1943. An exceptionally complicated piece, the new reference featured a minute repeater, triple calendar with pointer date, and a moonphase. This important reference debuted many of the design elements that came to define the brand’s aesthetic during this period (and the decades to follow). From the distinctive teardrop lugs, to a blue date register, alternating red and black day and month indicators,and the patterned black strap, all were elements that found their way into many other references.
Next, in 1955, Vacheron again made history by producing what was, at the time, the thinnest manual wound caliber ever made - the Caliber 1003. Produced to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the company, the Caliber 1003 was a mere 1.64mm thick, the same as a Swiss twenty cent coin.
George Ketterer passed away in 1969, leaving his son Jacques to take control of the business. Under Jacques’ control, the name of the brand was officially changed from Vacheron et Constantin to Vacheron Constantin and in 1977, the company released the ref. 222, a piece that would prove to be one of its most significant models of all time. Released in celebration of the 222nd anniversary of the brand, the 222 followed the luxury sport trend started earlier in the decade by Patek Philippe with the Nautilus and AP with the Royal Oak and similarly featured an integrated bracelet and a monobloc case. The model was produced for only 7 years with roughly 500 pieces total produced making it an incredibly rare and desirable piece.
In 1979, the brand created what would prove to be one of their most impressive pieces to date. Named the “Kallista” (Greek for "the most wonderful"), the watch took over 6,000 hours to construct and 20 months purely for the jewelry department to set the 118 emerald-cut diamonds that adorn the case and bracelet. Originally valued at $5 million, it was the most expensive watch ever made at the time and inspired an entire line of diamond encrusted pieces.
In 1987, less than twenty years after his father’s death, Jacques passed away leaving the manufacture to change hands once again. This time, the brand was acquired by Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister, and an enthusiastic watch collector. Under the Sheikh’s leadership, the brand refocused on innovation and technical achievement. Yamani was particularly fond of minute repeaters, and in 1992, Vacheron Constantin introduced the thinnest minute repeater to ever come to market, the ref. 1755.
Next, in 1994, Vacheron announced the launch of a collection to honor the achievements of Flemish mathematician and cartographer Gerardus Mercator on the 400th anniversary of his death.
Mercator, who lived from 1512 to 1594, is best known for the “Mercator Projection” - a geographical chart where the spherical globe is flattened into a two-dimensional map, with latitude and longitude lines drawn in a straight grid. Mercator's innovative view of the world has endured for centuries and still helps navigators to this day. Vacheron’s model, the ref. 43050 Mercator, is an incredibly unique piece featuring twin retrograde hands in the form of a compass for both the hour and minutes.
The Mercator also showcased Vacheron Constantin’s command of fine enameling with a dial depicting a recreation of the cartographer’s original drawings. Each dial was engraved with the shape of the different continents and then carefully filled in with black enamel by master-enamellers Jean and Lucie Genbrugge. A fitting tribute to Mercator’s exceptional accomplishments, over the 10-year lifespan of the model, it is estimated that only 638 pieces were produced in total, making this another incredibly rare and special release from the brand.
After nearly ten years of ownership, Sheikh Yamani sold the company to the Swiss luxury goods holding company Richemont Group in 1996. That same year, the brand introduced the Overseas collection, which took inspiration from the earlier ref. 222. The Overseas was a mix of the brand’s fine watchmaking know-how and the modern sports watch trend and proved to be an important and successful addition to the brand’s catalog.
In 2004, the brand opened their new international headquarters in Plan-Les-Ouates, Switzerland in a building designed in the shape of a half Maltese cross by Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi. Up until this point, departments of the company had been scattered across various sites around Geneva and the new space facilitated the unification of everything from management to design to manufacturing all under the same roof.
To commemorate the 250th anniversary of the brand’s founding in 2005, Vacheron Constantin released a masterpiece known as the Tour de L’ile. The most complicated piece in the world at the time, the watch combined many of the brand’s signature mechanical and design elements into one 47mm rose gold case. The watch featured 16 complications including a tourbillon and minute repeater, 11 hands, 834 total components and had two dials to fit everything. Seven examples were made upon release, with one remaining in the Vacheron private collection, and the model went on to win the Golden Hand award at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
In the past 25 plus years under Richemont control, Vacheron has continued to flourish expanding its product offerings and introducing new and successful model lines. The company’s early success was built thanks to the popularity of commissioned pieces, and in the early 2000’s, the brand returned to those roots creating the “Les Cabinotiers” department to once again satisfy demand for unique pieces in the modern era. A fully custom watchmaking shop housed under the Vacheron Constantin name, Les Cabinotiers has produced some of the most complex pieces ever including the Reference 57260.
Released in 2015, the 52760 was a 98mm white gold pocket watch consisting of more than 2800 components and 57 complications. The piece was designed and produced by just three Vacheron Constantin watchmakers who dedicated themselves to the project for eight years.
A true feat of horological engineering, the piece included 6 time measurement complications, 7 perpetual calendar complications, 8 Hebrew calendar complications, 9 astronomical calendar complications, 1 lunar calendar complication, 1 religious calendar complication, 4 column wheel chronograph complications, 7 alarm functions, 8 Westminster chiming functions, and 6 additional complications. The watch attracted an incredible amount of attention to the brand's history and heritage and was sold for an estimated 8 million dollars to an American collector.
The Cabinotiers workshop comprises just 30 total watchmakers under the watchful eye of master craftsman Dominique Bernaz. The majority of the watches made by the exclusive department are unique pieces commissioned by private clients and collectors around the world and the program is one of the few opportunities still available to purchase a bespoke piece crafted by a major, mainstream brand.
In 2017, Vacheron Constantin raised the bar yet again with the release of the Celestia, a commissioned piece that was a true horological exploration of astronomical complications. Its caliber 3600 movement incorporated no less than 23 complications, making it the most complicated timepiece Vacheron had produced up to that point. The watch displays civil, sidereal, and solar time while also incorporating displays for (among other things) local tides, the relative position of the Earth and Moon to the Sun, indication for the equinoxes and solstices, a Zodiac display, and sunrise and sunset indicators. Vacheron used separate gear chains in order to facilitate the three distinct time displays, and even though the piece used over 500 individual components and 6 barrels to supply three weeks of power reserve, the overall thickness of the watch was just 13.6mm thick! A true marvel of horology, the retail price for the watch at the time was more than $1 million Euros.
The Les Historiques Collection
One of the most successful model families in the Vacheron Constantin range, the Les Historiques collection was conceived to pay tribute to iconic and notable vintage references from the brand’s extensive archives. Most models in the collection draw inspiration from pieces originally released in the mid-20th century with a few based on earlier models. To further highlight the history of each new piece, Vacheron included the year of the original model in each piece’s official name. The Historiques collection brilliantly affords collectors with the opportunity to own vintage-inspired pieces that combine vintage design cues and character with all the advantages afforded by modern watchmaking. With roughly one new model added to the collection each year, it’s a good thing Vacheron has such an extensive back catalog!
Les Historiques 1955 Cornes de Vache
French for “cow horns”, the Cornes de Vache got its name from its distinctive shaped lugs. The first Cornes de Vache model, the ref. 6087, was made in the mid-50s in incredibly small numbers, with only 36 examples known. These pieces were made in a 35mm case diameter in a variety of metals, meaning that very few of each variant exist. In modern times, Vacheron Constantin increased the size of the ref. 5000H Cornes de Vache to 38.5mm to suit modern sensibilities while still remaining true to the original model’s aesthetics and proportions. Within the Vacheron Constantin collection, the Cornes de Vache constitutes the most historically grounded model in production, and has been prized by collectors since its release.
Les Historiques 1952 Toledo
The 1952 Toledo was introduced in 2003 and pays tribute to the “Cioccolatone” model from the 1950’s. Featuring an Art Deco influenced stepped square case, the model gained its nickname from its similarity to the shape of popular Italian chocolate squares of the era. The original references 4821 and 4822 featured very sloped case profiles that conformed to the wrist beautifully while the modern Historiques Toledo is flattened slightly and incorporates a modern movement. The contemporary Toledo remains true to the original model’s design and has now been released with a number of different complications and in several different metals.
Historiques American 1921
The American 1921 is probably the most recognizable of all the models in the Historiques collection. Based on 12 pieces made between 1921 and 1931 with the reference 11677, the Historiques American sports a distinctive cushion case construction and skewed dial layout. The Breguet numerals and gorgeous sloping case evoke the spirit of the “Roaring Twenties” while tastefully incorporating modern horological advancements in movement finishing visible through the sapphire caseback. Many have speculated on the reason for the skewed dial, but the general consensus within the industry is that the watch was designed for driving. When a driver’s hands are on the wheel, the skewed dial would ensure that the dial remained vertical and easily legible.
Historiques Ultra Fine 1955
The 1950s represented an interesting period for the watchmaking industry. Mechanical aids were beginning to streamline the production process which allowing for more accurate and replicable results. In response to the opportunities afforded by these technological advancements, the most prestigious brands began pursuing new avenues to distinguish themselves from each other. Mainly with more complicated, more accurate, and thinner wristwatches. In 1955, Vacheron Constantin released its “Ultra Fine” model, which housed the unbelievable 1.64mm thick caliber 1003 movement. When the brand reintroduced the model in 2010 as the Historiques Ultra Fine in platinum and rose gold, it still utilized the caliber 1003 and was the thinnest mechanical watch in the world at that time.
The Patrimony collection takes inspiration from a dress watch from 1950 that was praised for its versatility and subtle elegance. The modern collection, launched in 2004, is made up of over 40 models with variants offering time only, perpetual calendar, annual calendar, moonphase, and minute repeater references. The aesthetics of the Patrimony collection are minimalist, classic, and pure, with restrained case and dial designs that allow the complications to shine.
In 2013, Vacheron released their most sophisticated Patrimony model to date, the ultra slim minute repeater reference 30110. Minute repeaters are among the most difficult pieces to create representing a serious challenge for even the most accomplished of watchmakers. To compound the complexity of this piece, Vacheron made an ultra slim version of the repeater, making it one of the most wearable examples of the complication on the market.
The Overseas Collection
Introduced in 1996, the Overseas collection is arguably the most popular of the brand’s many collections. Loosely inspired by the success of the 222, the Overseas was designed to bridge the gap between sport and luxury. Vacheron created the collection to meet growing demand for steel sport watches while also maintaining the high quality and finishing standards that its clients had come to expect. The Overseas capably incorporated distinctive Vacheron design elements into the case and bracelet construction, with the Maltese cross motif taking center stage on the bezel and bracelet links.
Whereas the majority of the brand’s other collections were designed to appeal to enthusiasts looking for high complications and haute horlogerie, the Overseas looked to connect the brand to a younger set of collectors.
The first Overseas model, the ref. 42040, was a svelte 37mm timepiece which was followed by smaller 35mm and 27mm examples. Powered by the COSC certified caliber VC1310, the 42040 was water resistant to 150 meters and available in either steel or solid gold. Today, the Overseas collection has been diversified to include chronographs, skeleton dials, tourbillons, perpetual calendars, and dual times in addition to the standard time-only model. The most popular and beloved variant is the modern ref. 4500V, a stainless steel piece with a stunning blue dial. This piece is one of the simplest manifestations of the Overseas design ethos but has become the brand’s answer to the Patek Philippe 5711 or Audemars Piguet 15202.
The blue dial tourbillon ref. 6000V is also especially prized by collectors. A key innovation found on this piece was Vacheron’s development of a peripheral rotor which ensures that the automatic winding mechanism does not obscure the view of the movement. Users gain the advantages of an automatic watch without sacrificing the view!
The Traditionnelle collection is where Vacheron Constantin shows off its mastery of traditional watchmaking techniques and high complications. Each piece showcases extreme technical refinement and pays tribute to the craftsmanship and know-how that has been passed down by the company’s watchmakers from generation to generation. The modern collection comprises moon phases, perpetual chronographs, tourbillons, complete calendars, and many limited and special edition pieces.
One of the most impressive pieces in the current Traditionnelle collection is the ref. 6000T Traditionnelle Tourbillon which places a Maltese Cross structure across the tourbillon cage, making the motif the centerpiece of the rotating chassis. As with the Overseas Tourbillon, this model also utilizes a peripheral rotor for easy viewing of the tourbillon cage through the caseback.
Another example of the brand’s mechanical wizardry, the ref. 5100T Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph, was released in 2020. Featuring a tourbillon as well as a monopusher chronograph, the 42.5mm rose gold case is just 11.7mm thick. Monopusher chronograph and tourbillon complications are difficult to execute and exceptionally complex on their own and combining both complications within a single case was an entirely new level of achievement.
The Harmony Collection
Another relatively recent introduction to the catalog, the Harmony Collection, made its debut for the brand’s 260th anniversary in 2015. The model family was designed to pay tribute to the cushion cases of the mid-1900s and combine a vintage feel with exceptional finishing.
Arguably one of the most beautiful pieces from the collection, the Harmony Tourbillon Chronograph was released in a limited edition of just 26 pieces in platinum. Powered by the manually-wound Caliber 3200 (which featured a solid gold tourbillon bridge engraved with Fleurisanne Arabesque and exceptional Geneva striping), the model featured the classic Maltese Cross shaped tourbillon at 12 o’clock and a monopusher chronograph with a "dragging" 45-minute function that prevents motion in the gears and cams when sufficient pressure is not applied to the pusher.
Alongside the Tourbillon Chronograph, the original Harmony collection also included the Dual Time Caliber 2460 DT, the Chronograph Caliber 3300, and the Ultra-Thin Grande Complication Chronograph Caliber 3500, a split-seconds chronograph with a peripheral winding rotor.
From top to bottom, the Harmony Collection offers collectors extremely high-end pieces with interesting complications and extra attention paid to finishing and decoration. Perhaps more than any other collection, the Harmony feels like the enthusiast’s offering. Pure high horology for high horology’s sake, these pieces aren’t attempting to be hip or modern and are aimed squarely at a subset of the market that is looking for the very best in horological engineering and aesthetic refinement.
The Metiers d'Art Collection
While the majority of Vacheron’s collections are designed to showcase the brand’s mastery of horology, the Metiers d’Art line serves more as an exhibition of its command of the decorative arts. Timekeeping becomes the secondary focus of these pieces with the decoration of the dial taking center stage instead. Launched in 2004, the collection has included a variety of interesting pieces including “Les Masques”, a collection that pays tribute to the masks of primitive cultures of the world, “Les Aerostiers”, a collection of five models paying tribute to the early days of aviation, and the “Tribute to the Great Explorers” series which was designed to honor the legacies of great explorers including Magellan, Zheng He, and Marco Polo.
The pieces made under the Metiers d’Art collection are genuine works of art that cater to the demands of a very different audience. The current collection showcases the symbols of the Chinese Zodiac with Year of the Rabbit, Year of the Tiger, and other pieces that feature hand engraved symbols and enameled decoupage.
The majority of Metiers d’Art pieces are limited editions with Vacheron citing the incredible amount of time each piece takes to craft as the restricting factor. Only a very small percentage of the manufacture’s highly trained craftsmen possess the technical ability to create dials with this level of intricacy and detail.
Furthermore, each dial takes an incredibly long time to execute, leaving the number of dials each craftsman can complete at a minimum. Although timekeeping is clearly secondary on these pieces, the movements Vacheron utilizes for the line are actually quite innovative. Most use the Caliber 2460 G4 which offers 40 hours of power reserve and is a mere 3.6mm thick.
With so many different collections each offering their own special focus and flavor, Vacheron Constantin truly has something for every collector. Whether searching for a vintage inspired piece, a modern complication, an exacting remake of a historical model, or an intricate Art Deco tribute, the brand has something for you. All Vacheron Constantin models feature a unique respect for brand heritage and aesthetic while still remaining modern and progressive.
Vacheron Constantin’s illustrious history of nearly 270 years is unparalleled within the industry. From its humble beginnings in a tiny shop in Geneva in 1755, the brand has grown in influence to achieve global recognition for its diverse collection of impressive timepieces. The brand’s ability to adapt to changing styles and tastes has allowed it to remain a perpetual force within the industry and its foundational values continue to influence the direction of the maison to this day. “Do better when possible, and that is always possible.”