The story of Vacheron Constantin and its mastery over classical watchmaking

Of style and heritage

The great significance which Vacheron Constantin attaches to its creations are manifested in the role of their Style and Heritage Director, a position occupied in the present day by Christian Selmoni. Having served at the maison since 1990, Selmoni was appointed as artistic director in 2010, before being elevated to his current role last year. “In this current position, my duties are to enrich and showcase our heritage – and with 263 years of it – we have plenty of things to communicate.”

Thus, the heritage department functions as the bridge between Vacheron Constantin’s past, present and future. As a result, it has become the de facto reference point for advisory services to auction houses. More than that, the department links new creations to the history of the company through an expression of style in the way it knows best. For Selmoni, that inherent Vacheron Constantin style is qualified by notions of elegance, refinement, balance, sophistication and, “a little twist in the design.”

In this year’s new self-winding Fiftysix collection, grand Geneva watchmaking traditions throb within a retro-contemporary style. The collection’s name originates from the year of make of an historical Vacheron Constantin piece – the reference 6073. During its time, the 6073 contrasted the classicism of its dial against a bold case design, in the golden age of round timepieces.

On the new Fiftysix range of timepieces, the design twist which Selmoni alludes to is expressed through branches of the Maltese cross (a component formerly found in watch movements) transposed onto the lugs. Its box-type crystal above the bezel is another distinctive hark back to the 50s, replacing the Plexiglass or mineral glass of yore with a more resistant sapphire. Similarly, its dial channels that ‘50s watchmaking iconography with sectors, alternating Arabic numerals and baton-type hour-markers. Three models – all in 40mm cases of steel or 18k 5N pink gold – offer various functions; date only, day of the week with date and power-reserve indication, as well as the complete calendar with precision moon phase.

Selmoni surmises that the current trend for retro and vintage among the millennials is driven in part by a pronounced nostalgia for a more optimistic time. “We now live in a very digital world surrounded by technology, and it is the more analogue objects which help us to reconnect with a tangible world.”

Vacheron Constantin

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