Vacheron Constantin is one of the most reputable Swiss Luxury watch brands in the world. It is arguably the oldest continuously operating luxury watchmaking firm in the world, being in operation for almost three centuries. And this brand continues to make significant contributions to the watchmaking industry.
Vacheron Constantin is best-known for the exquisite ornamental detailing of its timepieces. These include engraving, enameling, guilloche, and gem setting. Which has earned Vacheron Constantin's notable clientele and patrons like Queen Elizabeth II, Pope Pius XI, Napoléon Bonaparte, Marlon Brando, William James, John D. Rockefeller, Diana Princess of Wales, Harry S. Truman, the Wright brothers, among others?
The watch company that would become Vacheron Constantin was founded by Jean-Marc Vacheron in Geneva, Switzerland. Jean-Marc Vacheron in his early twenties was already an accomplished Master Watchmaker and started out on his own at the young age of twenty-four in the year 1755. At that time, he was close friends with the leading French Enlightenment Philosophers like Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Voltaire; with their progressive and scientific ideas influencing his own work in watchmaking.
In that same year, Vacheron took on his first apprentice Jean Francois Hetier, and the contract with the apprentice is said to be the company’s birth certificate. With the earliest known watch produced by Vacheron, a stylish silver pocket watch signed with his name, made in 1755.
In 1785, the Vacheron transferred the leadership of his company to his son Abraham. Equally talented in the watchmaking business has his father, with an added knowledge of diplomacy. Abraham skillful carried on the legacy and kept the business afloat despite serious challenges during the French Revolution.
Vacheron Constantin in the year 1790, created the world’s first watch complication, which was a complication with a feature of the day-date on a wall clock movement.
Abraham, in order to keep the legacy of the family business alive, he made sure to pass on his own share of knowledge to his son Jacques-Barthelemy Vacheron. Before the company was handed down to Jacques in 1810.
VACHERON & CONSTANTIN
Under Jacques-Barthelemy Vacheron the company grew rapidly in innovation and in reach. The company made watches that played different melodies. Also, he coordinated the very first imports from the Vacheron company and supplied the Vacheron watches and clocks to buyers in France and Italy. This extended reach got Vacheron some of the notable clientele that helped boost the company’s reputation.
In 1819, Jacques-Barthelemy realized that for the benefit of the company, sharing leadership with a trusted partner best, and it would allow him to travel overseas and sell the company’s timepieces. Francois Constantin, a watch enthusiast, and a shrewd businessman were chosen Jacques-Barthelemy to be the company’s new partner. The company then continued its activities under a new name “Vacheron & Constantin” and later “Vacheron Constantin.”
Constantin’s contribution and expertise in business marketing significantly improved the brand’s reputation and influence globally. Undoubtedly, Constantin shared the same progressive philosophy and values that the Vacheron ancestors had, and he believed in striving for perfection. This is evident in the company's motto "Faire mieux si possible, ce qui est toujours possible” in English meaning “Do better if possible and that is always possible", that had its origins in Constantin's letter to Jacques-Barthelemy dated July 5, 1819.
Jacques-Barthelemy and Constantin worked tirelessly for over three decades to locate new clients and marketing opportunities for Vacheron & Constantin. Until Constantin’s death in 1854 and Jacques-Barthelemy’s death in 1863
MILESTONES AND SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS
In 1824, Vacheron Constantin created the jumping-hour watch. In 1880, the company registered its famous Maltese cross logo, which symbolizes its quest for precision.
By 1885 the first nonmagnetic timepiece was created, with components made of a material that can withstand magnetic fields.
In 1901, Vacheron Constantin received its first Geneva Seal for its watches. Shortly in 1929, the company created a Grande Complication pocket watch, No. 402833, for the King Fuad I of Egypt.
Vacheron Constantin was one of the first watchmakers to break away or the conventional round watch case shapes. From 1912 introduced its first non-round watch; a watch with a tonneau (barrel-shaped) case. In 1921 the rounded square Vintage Angle watch was created.
In 1955, the company produced the world’s thinnest manual-winding movement, named the Calibre 1003. Later on, the world’s thinnest minute repeater, The Calibre 1755 was created in 1992.
In 2015, Vacheron Constantin created the most complicated mechanical pocket watch ever made. A watch named the Reference 57260 with 57 complications
With a rich history over its 264 years in existence, Vacheron Constantin has earned its spot among the famous brands in modern times. The company’s heritage of making gorgeous ornamental engravings and gem setting puts in a class of its own in the watchmaking industry.