Prestige issue 280, November 2016
Vacheron Constantin pursues Its commitment to excellence and the preservation of crafts
On the occasion of the opening of a Vacheron Constantin boutique in Lebanon, Prestige met Juan Carlos Torres CEO of Vacheron Constantin, the oldest watch manufacture founded in 1755 in Geneva. Speaking of the brand’s watches, he particularly evoked the Overseas, which embodies the itinerant spirit.
Juan-Carlos Torres, CEO of Vacheron Constantin. © Vacheron Constantin
You are launching this year the Overseas watch, what are the codes of this watch and what is its history? The codes of the Overseas watch are known for more than 20 years. It is equipped with a bracelet with polished links in the shape of a half cross of Malta, a cross with very stylized palettes on the bezel, and a flat waterproof case. This year we launch the 3rd version of Overseas with different specific models in this range. At the top of the range we have an extra-flat perpetual calendar, a simple chronograph with great legibility. As an entry model we propose the automatic, and for the woman, a model in steel set with diamonds. We also have the Worldtime, with the hours of the world, it is the companion of the traveler. Its dial displays 37 time zones simultaneously, including spindles shifted by half an hour or a quarter of an hour from the UTC hour. Each piece comes with a unique interchangeable wristband system. It comes with two additional bracelets: a dark gray alligator leather strap, hand sewn, and a black rubber strap. These watches are certified Poinçon de Genève which reflects the excellence, patience, creativity, movement, transmission, openness to the world that are the foundation of Vacheron Constantin.
You appealed to the American photographer Steve McCurry to illustrate the Overseas collection. Can you tell us about this exhibition? To illustrate the itinerant spirit, we collaborated with American legendary photographer, Steve McCurry, who entered the Hall of Fame with his famous shot of the young Afghan with green eyes, that was on the cover of National Geographic magazine in June 1985. The photographer immortalized through his objective 12 unusual places in the world, like the 12 hours of the dial. This journey continued throughout the world for a year in order to capture rare and sometimes unrecognized and inaccessible sites. This journey that began at the Manufacture Vacheron in Geneva went through Japan, India, China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Mexico, New York, Morocco, Scotland, Ethiopia, France. Behind this partnership, a common denominator: the notion of eternity both in the representation of the history of the world and in the expression of time.
The Vacheron Constantin manufacture was born in 1755, what makes it different from other Haute Horlogerie houses? Vacheron Constantin is the oldest watch manufacture that has proved its technical and stylistic boldness throughout the decades. In 1755 the manufacture created the first silver pocket watch. There followed several innovations whose first complications were conceived at the end of the XVIIIth century, then in the XIXth century Vacheron created double-sided pocket watches and ladies wrist watches. In 1912 the barrel shape was born and the house perseveres in the XXIst century with the same creativity and the same level of efficiency.
© Vacheron Constantin
Can you tell us about the «Atelier Cabinotiers Special Order», which you created in 2006? Vacheron Constantin has 50 to 100 ongoing projects each year at the Cabinotiers workshop, a workshop of customized watches, watches not only personalized but developed as the customer wishes, from A to Z. Last year our very complicated pocket watch, the 57260, was the best example of all that this department was able to create.
You have opened a mono brand boutique in Lebanon. In your opinion, what are the advantages that could benefit to your clients? One of the advantages is to allow the brand to express itself, the mono brand boutique allows to display the largest part of our watches collection. Also a shop serves as an embassy in a country, we wanted our ambassador to be Cadrans. We have taken this step to please the Lebanese people, who are already collectors of the Vacheron watches, so that they have a place to see our watches and discuss with specialists. Vacheron is a very demanded brand, with timepieces with perfectly mastered techniques, harmonious aesthetics and a very high level of finishing. Moreover the customer receives a quality service because the vendors are well trained in Geneva.
At a certain time, the Cross of Malta had posed a problem in the Middle East, does this problem still exist? The Cross of Malta is not a religious sign, it is a timepiece, it is not ostentatious on the watch, it is very discreet, we hardly see it. At a certain time the advertisements had been problematic but not the watch.
Vacheron had designed women’s watches with asymmetrical shapes, the new ones are not in this style, do you think getting back to these models? We have several asymmetric watches in our collections, but the trend is currently for round watches. Later if the trends change, we will return to these models.
In your opinion, who are the friends of Vacheron Constantin? Vacheron’s friends are those who own watches, collectors, press people, who have been following Vacheron for years and who promote the brand. I also incorporate the collaborators into the brand’s friends.
What is the best-selling watch at Vacheron Constantin? Patrimony and Overseas, with the difference that Patrimony is very little copied.The Patrimony is very esthete, it is an elegant watch. Interview Conducted by Marcelle Nadim.