For most watchmakers, heritage is of the greatest importance, and provides a wealth of inspiration for new designs. However, Vacheron Constantin takes this close connection to its past a step further, preserving its legacy by seeking out some of its finest vintage timepieces and restoring them to be enjoyed by further generations to come.
Its Les Collectionneurs collection brings together notable pieces, whether pocket watches or wristwatches, sourced from channels varying from auctions to renowned private collections. These are then meticulously restored to working order before being presented for sale at a select number of special events held around the world. In London, there is currently a chance to view a curated selection at the Vacheron Constantin boutique on Old Bond Street and at Harrods until 5 November.
‘Les Collectionneurs represents another facet of Vacheron Constantin,’ says Christian Selmoni, style and heritage director. ‘The collection perpetuates this precious link between past and present, enabling our clientele of connoisseurs and collectors to acquire restored vintage pieces directly through the maison, which is a real guarantee.’
Purchasing through Les Collectionneurs gives important peace of mind in a vintage market that can, at times, be hard to navigate. After a historical evaluation to authenticate the piece, cross-referencing the serial number of the watch against Vacheron Constantin’s detailed in-house archive, the timepieces then undergo a technical assessment to determine what work may be required. If needed, they are restored using period components sourced from the watchmaker’s large stock, or parts reproduced in an identical way according to old-fashioned methods. The final timepiece comes with both a certificate of authenticity and a two-year guarantee.
Notable pieces to be discovered at the company’s Old Bond Street boutique include a handsome yellow-gold model from 1936, named ‘Jubilee’ in reference to Vacheron Constantin celebrating its 150th anniversary in the year prior. A watch with an interesting story to tell, the origins of Vacheron Constantin, in fact, go back to 1755, but due to the incomplete nature of the manufacture’s archives at the time this was misattributed to 1785.
Other special watches include an example of the ref 4240L from 1949, an early calendar wristwatch featuring a moon phase and defined by its distinctive triple gadroons case design and claw-shaped lugs. A more contemporary offering comes in the form of the ref 43040 from 1995, a sophisticated take on a jumping hours watch inspired by some of the first models of this kind created by the maison in the 1930s.
37 Old Bond Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4AB; vacheron-constantin.com