You’ll have heard of watch brands patronising the arts, supporting certain artists, sponsoring the odd exhibition here or there. But Vacheron Constantin is going one step further.
The storied Swiss watch brand has teamed up with New York’s iconic Metropolitan Museum of Art in an artistic and cultural alliance.
What does that mean in reality? A series of educational initiatives with the commendable objectives of safeguarding knowledge and passing on expertise.
The watch brand has form in this regard. The world’s oldest watch manufacture in continuous production actually started off life with an apprenticeship.
On 17 September 1755, Jean-Marc Vacheron’s founding act was to hire his first apprentice, Esaïe Jean François Hetier, for his new workshop in the Saint-Gervais district. The apprenticeship contract still exists in Vacheron’s archives – bearing the oldest mention of the Vacheron watchmaking dynasty – and commits the founder of the Maison to teach his art to the young apprentice over a five-year period.
Today, as in the past, Vacheron Constantin is committed to integrating apprentices into its production process and passing on its forebears’ skills.
Paula Lobo / The Metropolitan Museum of Art
As Louis Ferla, CEO of Vacheron Constantin, puts it: "The quest for excellence is a constant challenge in which we never stop learning. Vacheron Constantin's commitment to art and culture has always been an inexhaustible source of inspiration, permeating our freedom to create and express beauty in all our watches.
"The Maison’s ties with the United States and New York date back more than two centuries, with many of our finest creations having been made for American collectors and clients, such as the iconic American 1921. This partnership with The Met confirms our cultural and artistic attachment to this country, as well as our concern to preserve its expertise.”
With this in mind, Vacheron Constantin has developed its 'One of Not Many' Mentorship Programme – which has included a collaboration with Abbey Road Studios enabling young musicians to benefit from the advice of experts in music production, as well as working with CHAN Chun Wai – principal dancer with the New York City Ballet – who teaches his art to promising young talents.
This latest partnership will support a variety of The Met’s mission-driven activities and will include a number of collaborations, including an artist-in-residency programme and other educational initiatives; special events; and dedicated timepieces inspired by artworks from The Met collection.
Watch this space…