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Vacheron Constantin does the double this Autumn

With more than 265 years in the game, Vacheron Constantin has a lot of history to honour. This Autumn, it’s celebrating this heritage with two exhibitions well worth your time…

If you were the oldest watch manufacturer in continuous production, you’d want to celebrate it, wouldn’t you? And at 265 years old, Vacheron Constantin is not just older than any other watch company, it’s older than many countries.

Every year, the brand takes us on a trip down memory lane: it digs around in its considerable archives, chooses some of its favourite pieces, and then hunts them down – whether from auction rooms or private collectors.

The manufacture will then authenticate, clean and restore these watches as necessary, before taking them on a world tour.

The series of historical pieces are then subsequently offered for sale at dedicated events in Vacheron Constantin boutiques around the world. Perhaps most impressively, each piece is given a two-year warranty, regardless of how old they are.

The brand has named this annual programme “Les Collectionneurs” – and it is now a highly anticipated occasion for any self-respecting watch aficionado.

This year’s collection will be available to see from 12 October-5 November at Vacheron Constantin’s boutiques at 37 Old Bond Street and in Harrods.

Vacheron Constantin Les Collectionneurs 2019-2020
Vacheron Constantin Les Collectionneurs 2019-2020

The history boys

We’ve picked out a brace of watches that are more than worth your attention.

The first is the 18K yellow gold 30mm-diameter men's watch named ‘Jubilee’ in reference to the Maison’s 150th year in 1935 [pictured above, far left].

The maths whizzes among you may have already figured out the discrepancy. Surely that would mean the company started in 1785 not 1755.

But at the time, in the 1930s, the apprenticeship contract attesting to the hiring of an apprentice by Jean-Marc Vacheron (1731-1805) in 1755 had not yet been discovered.

And so the manufacture’s historians incorrectly dated the origins of the Maison back to 1785. This explains the celebration of a century and a half of history in 1935, the year preceding the creation of this model distinguished by its 12 o’clock crown.

The second is an 18K yellow gold jumping hours gentleman’s wristwatch (ref 43040) from 1995 [pictured below]. The ‘chronoscope’ or jumping hours watch is the result of a Robert Cart-patented movement from the late 1920s.

The system was adapted on pocket watches and wristwatches like for reference 3189 manufactured in 1930.

In 1994, Vacheron Constantin relaunched a jumping hour wristwatch under the reference 43040 housing a 1120HS self-winding calibre (HS for “Heures Sautantes” meaning “Jumping Hours” in French). In order to be faithful with the original model from the 1930s, the dial of the reedition shows a similar guilloché pattern.

Vacheron Constantin Les Collectionneurs 2019-2020
Vacheron Constantin Les Collectionneurs 2019-2020

Hey, sports fans

And if you still haven’t had your fill of Vacheron Constantin, then the brand is also presenting a selection of emblematic timepieces devoted to the world of its sports watches and the precision instruments that preceded them.

The selected watches – drawn from the Vacheron Constantin private collection – includes the famous “222” watch, one of the brand’s most recognisable timepieces.

In 1977, the year of its 222nd anniversary (correctly counted, this time), Vacheron Constantin presented its interpretation of the new trend for sports watches. The 222 was the forerunner of the now iconic Overseas, launched in 1996.

You can enjoy both these exhibitions until 5 November at Vacheron Constantin’s boutiques at 37 Old Bond Street and in Harrods.

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