Last week we focused on one brand, Omega, while slamming the Olympics for the glorified school sports day it really is. This week, I’m going to repeat the trick and talk about Vacheron Constantin. No, we’re not getting paid to do so, heaven forbid! Aside from the awful attempts at humour, this column is beyond reproach.
Three recent releases from Vacherin Constantin’s Historiques collection neatly sum up the key elements of the brand, the oldest, continuously operating watchmaker in the world. The range trawls the company’s rich archives and reinterprets some of its most iconic pieces for a modern audience. The “oldest” of the three pieces is the American 1921, which, strangely, also looks the most modern. With the dial face set at an angle and the crown proudly sitting at the top right of the case, this jaunty watch has bags of character. The design is heavily influenced by early 20th-century timepieces, the plump numerals being the dead giveaway. With a pink-gold cushion case measuring 40mm by 40mm, the American 1921 is priced at HK$364,000.
A nugget of info: all Vacheron Constantin watches have the Geneva Seal, also known at the Hallmark of Geneva, or Poincon de Geneve in French, one of the most prestigious designations in watchmaking and applied only to pieces that have been finished and decorated in the canton of Geneva to exacting standards.
The second new piece in the Historiques collection is the Cornes de Vache 1955, which was launched at the Watches and Wonders fair in Hong Kong last year. Based on a chronograph from the 1950s, the watch has the classic two-subdial design and outer-ring markings but the highlights are the lugs.Cornes de vacheis French for “cow horns” and the lugs definitely have a playful bovine aspect to them. With a 38.5mm platinum case and gorgeous blue alligator leather strap, the Cornes de Vache 1955 is priced at HK$443,000.
Finally, the most simple to look at yet the most technically complex, the Historiques Ultra-fine 1955 is among the thinnest watches in the world, at 4.13mm. To reduce and flatten a movement takes a great deal of engineering expertise, so do not be misled by the austere dial. This sumptuous, barely there dress watch is priced at HK$319,000.