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Vacheron Constantin: A time-honoured legacy

Vacheron Constantin: A time-honoured legacy

Christophe Ramel, regional director at Vacheron Constantin, shares how the watchmaker has endured the test of time and tide, and how it contnues to pay homage to the maison’s deep roots in the Middle East

Vacheron Constantin

How would you define Vacheron Constantin’s legacy and why, in your opinion and experience, has it endured for more than 200 years?

Vacheron Constantin has truly endured the test of time. In 1755, 24-year-old master watchmaker, Jean-Marc Vacheron, signed on his first apprentice, making his intentions clear of starting his business and handing down his skills. This contract is regarded as Vacheron Constantin’s birth certificate, making it the oldest watch manufacturer in continuous production for over 267 years faithfully perpetuating a proud heritage of watchmaking excellence and stylistic sophistication through generations of master craftsmen.

Over the years, the maison has endured world wars, economic crises and, not to forget, the quartz crisis as well. We were unwavering and steadfast by remaining true to ourselves through tradition, heritage, the transmission of knowledge and innovation.

To date, we are a trusted name in the watchmaking industry. We aim to keep bringing creativity to our designs to remain relevant and keep up with the current times while still maintaining the maison’s uncompromisable values.

Tell us about the brand’s presence in the region.

The Middle East is one of the key markets for Vacheron Constantin worldwide. We really look at it as a priority in terms of development. In our constant quest for excellence, we want to offer our clients the ultimate quality in terms of timepieces of course, but also in terms of retail experience.

Currently, we are present across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Lebanon through standalone boutiques and authorised retail partners with our latest flagship that re-opened in The Dubai Mall.

For two centuries, we have shared a special and long-standing bond with Middle Eastern clients who have always had a passion for collecting watches and unique timepieces. They have a deep understanding and knowledge of the maison, mechanical movements and complications which brings us closer to them. When it comes to fine watchmaking, there is no compromise on excellence or longevity. We are grateful for the abundant opportunities and generosity this region has shown us and will keep on strengthening this relationship in the future.

Your flagship boutique recently re-opened at The Dubai Mall. What can customers expect to find that’s unique and new?

The Dubai Mall flagship boutique is special not only for its locally inspired design but also because it is one of three flagships around the world. The boutique pays homage to the maison’s deep roots in the Middle East and commitment to outstanding client service.

As a demonstration of the maison’s tribute to the Emirati community, the entrance is adorned with the Mashrabiya pattern, traditional to local architecture, references to which continue inside the space offering a metaphorical and physical journey.

On this occasion, we collaborated with Emirati multidisciplinary designer Aljoud Lootah. She designed four incredible creations inspired by the maison that are being displayed at the boutique showcasing the ultimate craftsmanship prowess that only human hands are capable of mastering.

Clients visiting the Dubai Mall flagship boutique will get a first-hand sensorial and immersive experience through the world of high watchmaking. For example, they will be able to take a digital and interactive tour through the archives of the maison via the ‘Chronogram’, meet with our in-house watchmaker, customise their own strap, or simply explore the fascinating world of Metiers d’Art.

Tell us about the Historiques collection and the reissuing of the legendary 222. How does this reinterpretation pay homage to the brand?

Originally issued for the 222nd anniversary of the maison in 1977, the legendary 222 was designed by Jorg Hysek, marking a turning point in the history of the manufacture, as it made a remarkable foray into the world of “sporty-chic” watches.

Among the various existing 222 references, the one chosen to mark the return of this icon is the Reference 44018 in 18K 3N gold with a 37mm diameter. In keeping with the spirit of the Historiques collection, this new timepiece highlights Vacheron Constantin’s rich aesthetic and cultural heritage through a contemporary reinterpretation, endowed with the latest technical advances to optimise its reliability and comfort on the wrist.

Vacheron Constantin was one of the first-ever luxury watch brands to begin purchasing back vintage timepieces, refurbishing and selling them as part of the Les Collectionneurs series. Tell us what prompted this strategy.

Our flagship boutique in The Dubai Mall is home to the first permanent Les Collectionneurs vintage timepiece collection in the Middle East. “Les Collectionneurs” was created explicitly to unite the passion and admiration of the maison’s connoisseurs and watch enthusiasts.

By using the manufacture’s considerable resources, we collect and restore a series of historical pieces, which are offered for sale in exclusive locations, attracting seasoned collectors as well as young generations eager to learn and delve into the art and history of watchmaking. We realised the interest that watch collectors have in these vintage pieces and wanted to offer them the unique opportunity to have access to them directly through the maison which is a trusted source.

Highlighting the precious link between past and present, we are proud to be enriching these passions and aspire to continue nourishing them with the maison’s history, art and culture.

Are there any other collections that are considered the vanguard of the brand?

We are fortunate to have a wide range of collections for men and women from simple to high complications, so we do not rely on any single collection.

While the Overseas collection has received some significant interest, we find our clients very appreciative of the other collections such as the Traditionnelle, Patrimony and Historiques, to name a few.

We recently launched the new Traditionnelle Moon Phase, an incredible women’s timepiece that is showcased at our Dubai Mall flagship boutique. Entirely paved with 773 diamonds, totalling approximately 4.8 carats, this elegant timepiece displays a high-precision moon phase, which requires no correction in 122 years. It’s a beautiful achievement that blends technicality and aesthetics.

How is the brand embracing the future of timekeeping?

As Francois Constantin used to say, “Do better if possible and this is always possible”.

Our aim is to continuously push the boundaries of high watchmaking while staying true to our DNA to further emotions among connoisseurs, collectors, and clients. This passion for watchmaking brings us all together and translates into creating beautiful timepieces with the highest standards of finishing.

In terms of retail, we are developing a hybrid system for our clients to receive the same level of services both online and in boutiques worldwide. I cannot share more for now, but we have very exciting projects coming this year – both globally and in the region – which I am sure will please watch enthusiasts. Stay tuned.

Read: How Swiss watchmaker Vacheron Constantin is using blockchain tech

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