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Vacheron Constantin is the world's oldest continuously operating watch manufacturer. Founded in 1755 by Swiss horologist Jean-Marc Vacheron, it was built with the mission of creating important contributions to the Swiss watch industry. The company quickly established a reputation for producing finely crafted watches and horological breakthroughs, including the first watch complication and the first engine-turned dial.
Today, Vacheron Constantin is renowned for the balanced expression of the art of watchmaking, combined with mechanical prowess and mastery of the most complex movements. These are notably demonstrated by the Reference 57260, the most complicated mechanical watch ever made, with 57 complications; and the Traditionnelle Twin Beat perpetual calendar, the first dual-frequency watch.
Throughout history, some of the most recognizable names to wear Vacheron Constantin timepieces were Napoleon Bonaparte, King Edward VIII, and President Harry Truman. Vacheron Constantin continues to win over generations of watch connoisseurs and collectors with the most discerning tastes. Explore our collection of Vacheron Constantin watches at SwissWatchExpo.com.
Vacheron Constantin is one of the oldest watch manufacturers in the world with uninterrupted history. The business was founded in 1755 by cabinotier and watchmaker Jean-Marc Vacheron in Geneva, Switzerland. The company quickly established itself as a trailblazer in the industry, by creating the first watch complication in 1770, and the first engine-turned dials nine years later.
Abraham Vacheron, Jean-Marc’s son, assumed control of the business in 1755. He guided the company through the challenging years of the French Revolution, before passing it on to his son Jaques-Barthélemy in 1810. Jaques-Barthélemy became the first to export the company’s watches to Italy and France. Upon realizing that he needed a partner to expand the business, he formed a partnership with François Constantin in 1819, after which the company became known as Vacheron & Constantin.
In 1833, the pair hired inventor Georges-Auguste Leschot. His creations turned out to be a success for the company, and he became the first person to standardize watch movements into Calibers.
After the death of Vacheron in 1854 and Constantin in 1863, members of their families continued to run the company. In 1880, Vacheron Constantin adopted the Maltese Cross as the company’s symbol, which they continue to use until today. The cross is said to represent a component of the watch barrel, which reduces the amount of wheels necessary for winding.
Vacheron Constantin met many challenges during the Great Depression, and the family had to give up their majority stake in the company. By 1940, the brand’s 185 years of family leadership ended. A holding company who managed Jaeger-LeCoultre gained ownership of Vacheron Constantin, with Georges Ketterer as its Managing Director.
At Ketterer’s helm, Vacheron Constantin launched the world’s thinnest manually wound caliber, and introduced a classic dress watch that laid the foundation for the Patrimony. When Ketterer passed away in 1969, his son Jacques took over and led the company until 1987.
In 1996, Vacheron Constantin changed leadership again when it was acquired by the Swiss Richemont Group. Under Richemont, the brand was able to create some of their most popular collections: the Patrimony in 2000 and the Overseas in 2003. In 2005, they hit their 250th anniversary, and introduced the Tour de I’lle – a timepiece with an incredible sixteen complications and 834 parts.
Today, Vacheron Constantin produces approximately 20,000 mechanical watches every year at their Plan-les-Ouates, Geneva, Switzerland, manufacture. It continues to be one of the most prevalent luxurious brands in the world, and is regarded as one of the “Big Three” watch brands, alongside Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet.
From its inception in 1775, Vacheron Constantin has been the loyal custodian of the highest fine watchmaking criteria - precision, reliability, aesthetics, and craftsmanship. This continues with their broad choice of contemporary timepieces, which can be categorized into the following families:
The Patrimony collection is composed of classic dress watches. Inspired by the brand’s watches from the 1950s, designs from this line are characterized by their simple round case and reserved dial design. Another hallmark are their thin cases and flat construction, which make them perfect for wearing under the cuff.
The current collection consists of two- or three-hand watches, minute repeaters, perpetual calendars, and tourbillons, where even the most complicated pieces have thin cases.
The Historiques collection pays homage to Vacheron Constantin’s uninterrupted history through contemporary versions of the brand’s historic models. Here we see the revival of traditional watch models by incorporating technical upgrades and bold aesthetics. The most popular watches from the collection include the Historiques American, based on a model from 1921; and the Historiques Ultra-Fine, based on a model from 1955.
The Traditionnelle collection is composed of contemporary takes on the brand’s most demanding Haute Horlogerie creations inherited from the 18th century. These watches showcase technical refinement and include the most sophisticated complications such as the Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar, Grand Complications, and Minute Repeater Tourbillon.
The Overseas is the brand’s line of luxury sports watches, aimed at clientele with sophisticated and active lifestyles. These watches are characterized by their hexagonal bezel and integrated bracelet, whose designs are inspired by the brand’s Maltese cross logo.
The Overseas collection embodies casual elegance and comfort, enhanced by its interchangeable strap and bracelet system. It comes with various functions such as time-and-date, dual time, chronograph, perpetual calendar, and tourbillon.
The Malte collection takes its name from the Maltese Cross that is the symbol of the brand. Earlier collections are characterized by clean lines and the Maltese Cross on the dial. By 2012, the tonneau shape had been a part of the Vacheron Constantin collection for 100 years, so to celebrate this milestone, all succeeding Malte watches have featured tonneau cases.
Vacheron Constantin does not publish information on their reference numbers, but partial data exists for their serial numbers.
The serial number is located on the movement of every Vacheron Constantin watch, and can be used to estimate the production period.
|YEAR OF ISSUE||SERIAL NUMBER|
Having a Vacheron Constantin in your watch box makes you part of an ultra-elite group of collectors. Watch connoisseurs the world over value Vacheron Constantin for its illustrious heritage and rigorous standards for quality and design. Here are the most common questions asked about Vacheron Constantin watches.
Vacheron Constantin watches are of supreme value, making them a target of more sophisticated counterfeiters.
Vacheron is known for their “no room for errors” mantra, where every unique piece is individually crafted, decorated, and tested to perfection. If you spot a mistake or any sign of unfinished work on a Vacheron Constantin timepiece, then it is likely a fake.
The best way to verify the authenticity of a Vacheron Constantin watch is to go to an authorized dealer to have your timepiece checked. We always advise clients to buy only from a reputable watch retailer, who can provide a guarantee of authenticity on the watch.
Vacheron Constantin watches are handmade and can take years to make. Thus, the company only produces some 20,000 watches per year – a very small number compared to other luxury watch brands.
Moreover, their watches are stamped with the prestigious Geneva Seal, conveying the quality of the watchmaking and finishing that go into their timepieces.
With their exceptional quality, lower quantities, and steady demand, Vacheron Constantin watches thus command a higher price tag.
Vacheron Constantin watches tell more than the time of day. Their unmatched heritage and exceptional craftsmanship make them ideal heirloom pieces, and indeed, collectors tend to pass them on from generation to generation. While it’s not ideal to buy watches solely for profit, Vacheron Constantin watches represent excellent investments.
Just like in a fine car, all the moving parts need to be maintained and changed periodically to keep them working smoothly. Vacheron Constantin recommends the following maintenance periods for their timepieces:
However, these all depend on how you wear and store your watch. There can be signs that your watch needs maintenance sooner rather than later. For more information, here are Signs It’s Time for Watch Maintenance.
SwissWatchExpo stands ready to provide loving care to your prized Vacheron Constantin timepiece. We offer a full range of services, from basic maintenance to major repairs and restorations, performed by expert watchmakers at our state-of-the-art service center. Here’s more information about our comprehensive Repair Services.
The cost of the service will depend on the model of your watch and its current condition. When you send in your watch to SwissWatchExpo, it will be examined by our master watchmakers, who will then create an estimate of the repair or maintenance to be done. We provide the estimates free of charge. Only when you approve the estimate will the process commence.
Having a Vacheron Constantin as part of your collection means you are owning a part of watchmaking history. With a history going back to 1755, a record of pioneer inventions, and highly intricate design, Vacheron Constantin watches have become more than just timepieces but actual works of art.
Many of the Maison’s best works were produced years ago, and don’t fall under their current watch families. Thus, starting your search in the secondary market offers the greatest opportunity to own these masterpieces.
On the other hand, current collections from Vacheron Constantin are created in much smaller quantities compared to other luxury watch brands. Vacheron only produces 20,000 watches a year, making for a limited number of watches in existence. If you are in the market for any of these watches, and would like a readily available piece, it makes sense to buy pre-owned.
In the pre-owned market, you can choose from all collections – limited, vintage, and new. This makes shopping for your desired Vacheron Constantin watch that much easier.
Acquiring a Vacheron Constantin guarantees entry into a distinguished club. When you buy your Vacheron watch pre-owned, you can enjoy a significant price discount while still owning an exclusive and valuable piece. While rare vintage models appreciate over the years, a pre-owned watch is, in general, less expensive than a brand-new piece.
Lastly, buying pre-owned does not always mean buying an old watch. If you want your watch as new as possible, there are many watches in mint and excellent condition, and even unworn and in their original packaging, that can be found in the pre-owned market. At SwissWatchExpo, we commit to delivering every watch, vintage or current, in “like new” condition. All the watches we sell are inspected and restored by our expert watchmakers before they are listed for sale – in fact, many of our clients say they can’t believe it’s not new.
SwissWatchExpo’s guiding principle is that buying pre-owned will give you the maximum value possible. If you’re in the market for a Vacheron Constantin timepiece, our experts are ready to help find the right one for you.