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Vacheron Constantin History

1755
Jean-Marc Vacheron founds a business destined to become the oldest luxury watch manufacturer in continuous operation. The young master watchmaker, who is only 24, takes on an apprentice and creates a legacy.

In the same year, Jean-Marc creates a silver pocket watch that is later to be known as the first ever made by Vacheron Constantin.

1785
Abraham Vacheron (Jean-Marc’s son) takes control of the Vacheron manufacture. His fortitude ensures the brand remains viable through the French Revolution. Abraham will also teach the fine art of watchmaking to his own son.

1790
Vacheron a Geneve signs its first complicated movement, which shows day and date as well as time.

1810
Jacques Barthelemi Vacheron, son of Abraham, takes over the manufactory. Vacheron watches with increasingly delicate complications are sold overseas, to high-profile royal clients.

1819
Jacques Barthelemi Vacheron goes into partnership with Francois Constantin, a Genevan businessman. The brand name is changed to Vacheron et Constantin, and the new partner coins its motto – ‘Do better if possible and that is always possible.’

1824
Vacheron Constantin develops a watch with a jumping hours movement, a radical indication of the brand’s design brilliance and manufacturing prowess.

1839
Georges-Auguste Leschot is employed by Vacheron Constantin to engineer watch parts. Leschot designs a machine called a pantograph, which enables the watchmaker to drill precise holes in a movement’s bridge or baseplate. The pantograph thus makes it possible for individually designed elements to be interchanged, enabling new innovations to be made to specific calibres. The company and the engineer are awarded the gold medal in the Arts Society’s Rive Prize for this machine.

1869
Vacheron Constantin begins to make pocket chronometers. These precise devices will go on to win multiple awards, and influence the new era of horological science.

1872
The brand is awarded distinctions at Geneva Observatory’s first precision competitions.

1880
Vacheron Constantin registers its ‘Maltese Cross’ logo with the trademark office in Bern. The design is based on a component used by Vacheron Constantin in an early movement.

1884
The brand unveils a pocket watch with a double face, enabling multiple prized complications to be displayed. These include a perpetual calendar, a moon phase and age indicator, and date and day indicators.

1889
Vacheron Constantin creates one of the first ever wristwatches – a serially produced ladies’ luxury watch, which includes a novel winding bezel.

1901
A Vacheron Constantin movement is awarded the coveted Hallmark of Geneva for the first time.

1907
The Royal Chronometer is unveiled. The watch is considered extremely robust, and gains much praise from users in harsh environments. It is the start of a journey that will produce some extraordinary chronometers.

1912
Vacheron Constantin begins to use tonneau-shaped cases, becoming one of the first luxury watchmakers to work with avant-garde forms.

1917
The brand creates specially designed, super-tough pocket watches for sappers in the Corps of Engineers.

1918
James Ward Packard commissions a bespoke Vacheron Constantin pocket watch, which includes four chiming complications.

1921
The brand unveils a wristwatch designed exclusively for the American market – a daring cushion-shaped model featuring a tilted dial and a winding crown at one o’clock.

1927
Vacheron Constantin creates a skeletonised pocket watch with a rock crystal case. The movement is just 2mm thick.

1929
Vacheron Constantin creates a specially commissioned grand complication pocket watch for the King of Egypt. It includes grande and petite sonneries, a minute repeater, a chronograph and a perpetual calendar with moon phase indicator.

1954
The Aronde wristwatch is premiered. The combination of rectangular case and domed crystal make it a daring piece, which is instantly recognisable as a modern classic.

1955
In the year of its 200th birthday, Vacheron Constantin unveils the world’s thinnest manually wound calibre. This movement, Calibre 1003, will become known as the benchmark for all ultra-thin luxury watch movements. It is just 1.64mm deep.

In the same year, the brand unveils a wrist chronograph that is resistant to water and magnetic fields. This twin pushbutton watch is one of the most beautiful of its time.

1957
Vacheron Constantin releases a round wristwatch devoid of ornamentation. Its classic dial and slim case will set the tone for decades of horological style.

1968
The brand unveils Calibre 1120, an ultra-thin self-winding model housed in a radically-designed square case.

1977
‘Codename 222’, a luxury watch whose name refers to Vacheron Constantin’s 222nd year of watchmaking, is born. 222 is a new steel watch designed to be tough and visible in extreme conditions. Its self-winding mechanism and luminous dial make it the ideal companion for adventure.

1979
Vacheron Constantin reveals the Kallista, an extraordinary jewellery watch that will inspire some of the most opulent luxury watch designs in modern history. It features 118 diamonds, which are painstakingly matched over five years, and takes 6,000 hours to put together.

1992
The brand unveils its minute-repeating masterpiece, Calibre 1755. It is the thinnest ever minute repeater.

1994
The Mercator watches are released, featuring enamelled dials reproducing the maps of the Flemish geographer for which they are named. The hands are designed to look like map dividers, and work on a unique display principle – travelling outwards from a central point at the bottom of the dial.

1996
Vacheron Constantin creates the Overseas – a watch born from the success of its ‘222’. Elegant and sporting, it is the brand’s modern version of a luxury performance piece.

2005
Vacheron Constantin is 250 years old. To celebrate, the brand unveils five extraordinary horological creations, including four wristwatches. Of these, the Tour de L’ile is the most complex and rare – only seven will be made. They are the most complicated luxury watches ever created in series, featuring 16 complications including astronomical displays.

2007
The brand’s master watchmakers unveil a daring horological vision – a collection of luxury watches designed to trace the entire human history of creativity. Their theme: the mask. The Metiers d’Art ‘Les Masques’ collection takes three years to design, and features twelve masks, perfectly miniaturised.

In the same year, the Royal Chronometer turns 100. To celebrate, a new edition is released in the Vacheron Constantin Historiques family.

The brand becomes the sponsor of the Opera de National Paris.

2008
The Quai de L’ile collection is unveiled – and with it, a unique approach to luxury horology. The case is created to allow more than 700 variations in the finished piece. Clients are invited to design their own luxury watch online, allowing every Quai de L’ile watch to leave the Vacheron Constantin manufactory as a completely original piece.

2009
The brand invents an entirely new method of cutting diamonds – the Flame. This cut is used on Vacheron Constantin’s luxury ladies’ watches. It is accredited by the Gemological Institute of America as an official cutting style, an accolade that has not been bestowed for more than 20 years.

In the same year, the brand unveils the Kallanai, a luxury ladies’ watch set in 186 emerald-cut diamonds.

2011
Vacheron Constantin presents a World Time complication with a difference: the Traditionelle World Time is capable of indicating all 37 recognised world time zones at once. It is an extraordinary achievement for a mechanical watch.

In the same year, the brand becomes a partner of the Institut National des Metiers d’Art, and forms its own Vacheron Constantin Institute, dedicated to developing craftspeople and transmitting the ideals of expertise.

2012
To celebrate 100 years of using tonneau-shaped cases, the brand unveils three celebration pieces in its iconic Malte collection. It also unveils a limited edition 100-model piece with a balance wheel designed to replicate the Maltese cross logo.

In the same year, Vacheron Constantin begins a partnership with the Grand Theatre de Geneve.

2015
Vacheron Constantin celebrates 260 years of crafting luxury watches with a new collection – Harmony. The first seven models in the collection are unveiled, revealing a beautiful new take on the iconic single-push-piece chronograph. Each model is inspired by Vacheron Constantin’s earliest wrist chronographs, dating from the 1920s, and also includes a tribute to the fleurisanne engraving found on Jean-Marc Vacheron’s earliest-known work.

Vacheron Constantin unveils Reference 57260, a pocket watch whose 57 complications make it the most technical ever created.

Here you can view the latest of our Vacheron Constantin watches as well as the newest pre-owned luxury watches in stock now.

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