The American Heritage of Vacheron Constantin

The American Heritage of Vacheron Constantin is an interactive online event marking the intersection of the American narrative and the company’s unbroken 256-year history with the rich stories of the brand’s American collectors. The project is a precursor to the official grand opening of Vacheron Constantin’s first-ever U.S. boutique, located at 729 Madison Avenue in New York City.

The American Heritage of Vacheron Constantin will showcase untold stories of the manufacture’s nearly 180-year relationship with America. Vacheron Constantin officially arrived on U.S. shores in 1832. The company’s historical stories will be told through an interactive timeline. The narrative will include famous Vacheron Constantin owners from the United States including Henry Graves, James Packard, Julie Ward Howe, and many others.

In addition to fascinating accounts pulled straight from the Vacheron Constantin archives in Geneva, U.S.-based collectors and enthusiasts are invited to contribute personal anecdotes about their Vacheron Constantin replica timepieces. Interested participants will first be asked to provide information on their timepiece, allowing the brand’s Heritage department to validate each submission. Following validation, the owner will be invited to share the unique story of their timepiece, either before or after they acquired it. The submission will be featured as part of the timeline, and thus the owner and watch will become a part of Vacheron Constantin’s history in the United States.

“The American Heritage of Vacheron Constantin is a pioneering way for our brand to showcase the wealth of our history in the United States, as well as engage passionate collectors and watch enthusiasts who are so key to our continued success,” says Hugues de Pins, President of Vacheron Constantin North America. “While the opening of our new boutique on Madison Avenue is a hallmark of the brand and will allow us to interact with our customers personally, this project allows us to reach a community of Vacheron Constantin collectors in North America that extends well beyond New York City, where the company historically established its first office in 1832.”

World Records for Two Rolex Daytona Paul Newman Watches

Antiquorum’s “Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces” auction held on Sunday, May 12th at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Geneva, headlined by a selection of vintage replica Rolex Daytona watches commemorating that model’s 50th anniversary, and set two new world records, including the highest ever sale price for a Daytona at auction.

The auction featured a total of 518 carefully curated timepieces and drew bidders from around the world, notably from China, Hong Kong, Italy, the United States and Switzerland. Once again, it was a Patek Philippe that commended the top price at the sale, in this case a Patek Philippe “Sky Moon Tourbillon” in rose gold with special order case. A unique piece with 12 complications, the watch was sold to an on-site bidder for the eye-opening price of CHF 1,202,500. The two-sided watch has an 18k rose gold case and its complications include a minute repeater with cathedral gongs, a one-minute tourbillon, a perpetual calendar with flyback retrograde date, a nocturnal sky chart of the Northern Hemisphere, moon phases and lunar orbit, time of the meridian passages of Sirius and moon, and indications for both solar mean and sidereal time. It is accompanied by its original fitted box with lock and key, a setting pin, an “Official Chronometer” certificate and a Certificate of Origin.

It was the collection of Rolex Daytonas, however, that brought about two new world records, appropriately enough for the iconic sports watch’s 50th anniversary year. The highlight of the collection, a very rare Rolex Gold Daytona Paul Newman model, with a prototype lemon dial and white graphics made in the late 1960s, sparked an intense bidding war and ultimately sold to a room bidder for the astonishing world-record price, nearly three times its low estimate and the highest price ever attained for a Rolex Daytona. The watch has an 18k yellow gold case, round chronograph pushers and a non-reflective black bezel with a tachymeter scale, along with the distinctive subdials characteristic of a so-called Paul Newman dial.

The other record-setting Rolex Daytona, which also attracted global competition among bidders, was the Rolex Diamond Cosmograph Oman,  which brought an impressive. The watch, in a yellow-gold case, was sold to the nation of Oman in 1985 and is extremely rare, possibly even a unique piece. It has a bezel set with 44 diamonds and a dial set with 240 diamonds and nine sapphires.

Other Rolex Daytona models that performed exceptionally included two other Paul Newman models in steel, which each sold, more than doubling their low estimates.  Another, the so-called Rolex “Solo” watch from 1965, an extremely rare piece in stainless steel with a steel bracelet and buckle, went for $116,500. And a Daytona signed by late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and once owned by the nation of Libya.

Other notable pieces from the auction included a rare 2008 Richard Mille “Perini Navi Cup” special edition in white gold; a unique Christophe Claret DualTow 20th Anniversary piece; and a Vacheron Constantin wristwatch with cloisonné enamel dial inspired by John J. Audobon’s Birds of America, which achieved a final sale price over double its high estimate.

“We are extremely proud of the spectacular prices realized for the selection of rare and unique Rolex Daytonas presented in today’s sale,” said Julien Schaerer, managing director & watch expert, Antiquorum Geneva. “We are especially thrilled by the world records attained for the with prototype lemon dial and the Cosmograph Oman, proving once again that the Daytona model is highly sought-after by collectors and continues to command world record results.”

Vacheron Constantin Returns To What It Is Good At With The Collection Excellence Platine Patrimony Double Retrograde Watch

Vacheron Constantin isn’t good at everything, but they are good at a few things. One of those things is making effectively simple luxury watches. Getting too avant garde really isn’t their thing. Releasing “modern” watches really isn’t their thing either. In my opinion the newer Quai de l’Ile collection was a visual and logical disaster.

Moving forward, Vacheron Constantin has been focusing a great deal on platinum watches. The expensive and hard to work with metal has been increasing in popularity, especially as many of the world’s wealthy watch lovers are seeking more and more exclusive materials for their watches. While there is nothing new about platinum, it has always been of the rarest precious metals, and notorious for requiring extreme efforts to work.

The Platine Patrimony Double Retrograde watch (Limited Edition of 100 pieces) features a platinum case, with a platinum dial, platinum hands, and even platinum threading (exclusive to Vacheron Constantin) on the strap. However, the hour indices are white gold (easier to polish, and the contrast with the sand-blasted platinum dial assists with legibility). You then have the blue hands for the retrograde date (on the top), and day of the week (on the bottom). The layout is really nice and simple. Not the same as Patek Philippe, but similar in terms of simplicity. It is a good idea to keep things easy to ready, and this is one of the better executions of a retrograde calendar that I have seen.

Inside is an in house Vacheron Constantin caliber 2460R31R7 with 27 jewels, beating at 28,800 bph and with a power reserve of 40 hours. Pretty simple, but the power reserve is a bit low in my opinion. The decoration of the movement is impressive however. Meticulous polishing on the movement itself, and the 22k gold rotor is guilloche engraved for a great classic look. Further, the rotor is coupled with ceramic ball bearings which are proving to be a better alternative that steel ball bearings that rely much more on lubrication.

The PT950 stamp on the watch dial and the rear of the watch indicate the purity of the platinum, which in this case is very close to being pure. The watch case is 42.5mm wide, a good size. It is good to see Vacheron Constantin focusing more on the things it is good at. No brand wants to hear that it cannot do everything, but it is important to focus on a company’s strengths. Watches like the Platine Patrimony Double Retrograde fall into this category, and should be seen as an example of Vacheron Constantin as a whole.