Opened in 2006, Vacheron Constantin's Les Cabinotiers department is something of a world apart. It renews with the tradition of bespoke watches and one-of-a-kind pieces, offered as a service to collectors.
The first exhibition to be jointly curated by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie and the Michelangelo Foundation, both of which recently relocated to a historic building in downtown Geneva, highlights rare crafts and the "singular talents" who perpetuate these skills.
"Geneva at the Heart of Time – The Origin of Swiss Watchmaking Culture" opened in Beijing at end April. The exhibition was patiently brought to fruition by the Capital Museum in Beijing, the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire in Geneva and Vacheron Constantin, and is already a landmark event in Asia.
Excluding the Henry Graves Supercomplication, which went for an astounding CHF 23.2 million, this November's Geneva sales realised CHF 25.4 million with Patek Philippe alone. Antiquorum, Christie's and Sotheby's closed their autumn sessions on a total CHF 78.6 million.
At Sotheby’s Geneva, The Henry Graves Supercomplication re-established its supreme status as the most valuable timepiece in auction history, selling CHF 23.2 million (USD 24 million / EUR 19.3 million / GBP 15.1 million), thereby beating the record of USD 11 million it established in 1999.
Three years ago in these same columns (Revue FH) we reported on efforts by officers of the Guardia di Finanza to curb counterfeiting in Tuscany. The region of Florence is well known beyond Italy’s borders for its rich manufacturing heritage, handed down from the Middle Ages.
Since the very first civilisations, the measurement of time has progressed with Man's ingenuity. The same is true of aviation, which turned to watchmakers for accurate, functional, durable products. Timepieces in a class of their own with an immediately recognisable design.