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Vacheron Constantin and its heritage
Beginner's Guide

Vacheron Constantin and its heritage

Monday, 21 January 2008
By Florence Noël
Florence Noël

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2 min read

“Atelier Cabinotiers Special Orders” is the bespoke watchmaking department, inaugurated at Vacheron Constantin at the beginning of 2007. An unusual decision but one that sits perfectly with the values of the oldest Manufacture in the world.

As Juan-Carlos Torres, CEO, commented at the time, “Vacheron Constantin started out 250 years ago selling one-off pieces. We therefore enjoy a certain legitimacy in this domain.” Over the course of its history, the firm has made more than one enlightened collector very happy, joining the ranks of the banker Henry Graves Jr., King Fuad of Egypt and his son King Farouk, all of whom owned unique timepieces by Vacheron Constantin.

Drawing on its heritage, the company, part of the Richemon group, therefore decided to put its watchmaking tradition at the service of its customers and transform their desires, be it for a dial, a case or even a movement, into a unique concept. Surprising? More strategic. “We created this structure to address demand that grows each year,” affirms Juan-Carlos Torres.

An ethical committee

Exclusively available through the historic Quai de l’Ile site in Geneva, the Atelier Cabinotiers employs ten craftsmen who work in consultation with an ethical committee. Its task is to ensure that each request is true to the brand’s values. “The sky’s the limit as long as our philosophy is respected,” adds the Genevan Manufacture’s CEO. “Requests must therefore be approved by this committee.”

Each special order for a bespoke watch must consider four sets of criteria: the choice of movement and complications, the choice of case, the type of display and the dial. The customer also decides on the finishing elements (numerals, hands, strap, etc.) after a lengthy discussion with experts from the Genevan Manufacture.

The objective is to create the perfect watch for the person who wears it. Naturally, this takes time. “We’re currently working on a dozen special orders, one of which should be ready within two to three years,” comments Juan-Carlos Torres. Not forgetting a price that ranges from CHF 30,000 to several million. Ultimately, Vacheron Constantin’s Atelier Cabinotiers expects to produce between 30 and 40 exclusive watches a year.

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