Capturing the spirit of adventure with Vacheron Constantin


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A look at some of the brand’s latest novelties.

Written by Justin Mastine-Frost

When thinking of travel watches, of course GMTs, world timers, and dual time complications are by no means hard to come by, but expressing a spirit of travel and exploration is a different animal altogether. In the grand scheme of things, few brands are as all-encompassing in this theme as Swiss luxury timepiece company, Vacheron Constantin. From their daily-wearable and travel-ready Overseas collection, to the artistic interpretation reflected in their rare crafts division (the Metiers D’Art), to their collector and client experience programs, there’s a spirit of adventure that resonates through the maison unlike any other. Earlier this year we had the pleasure of joining Leslie Kobrin, Vacheron Constantin’s first female North American president, and the rest of her team on an excursion to Napa Valley alongside some of the brand’s key clients for a unique travel experience, and a look at some of the brand’s latest novelties that speak directly to the topic at hand.

Travel-Ready Time

Starting with the brand’s more direct link to travel and timekeeping, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas line remains one of the most versatile travel-focused watch collections in its class – especially since its latest refresh in 2016. Where the Overseas earns its stripes is in overall versatility, starting with its elegant design. Slender enough to pass as a dress watch, yet not lacking in bold personality for more casual wear, the Overseas transfers from day to night without effort. It also benefits from a unique quick-change strap system that trumps any similar offerings from the competition. Sold complete with a bracelet, rubber strap, and supple alligator leather strap, the Overseas can go from the boardroom to the beach in a matter of minutes, and thanks to its screw-down crown (and pushers, in the case of the chronograph) a 150m water resistance ensures that it will be more than up to the task for any adventure you can throw at it.

Further adding to its position in the category, two models within the line allow for the tracking of multiple time zones – the World Timer and Dual Time models. These two variants are by far the most practical for those frequently on the go. Further adding to its cachet, the World Timer is one of the few examples on the market that indicates all 37 time zones around the globe, rather than the more common 24 primary time zones found on other world timers out there.

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The Art of Travel

Over the last couple of years the releases from Vacheron Constantin’s Metiers D’Art collection has drawn more inspiration from travel and adventure than ever before. This year’s releases, known as Les Aerostiers, commemorate the world’s first six hot air balloon flights that took off over France between 1783 and 1785. Recreated using available illustrations of the original balloons, Vacheron’s watchmakers used traditional watchmaking techniques including engraving, guillochage, and translucent enameling to create three dimensional dials for each piece. As its inner workings, a unique self-winding caliber displays hours and minutes, as well as the current day and date using digital displays.

While Vacheron’s Metiers D’Art releases from 2017 were less complex mechanically, using a simple 3-hand time indication from the brand’s self-winding caliber 2460 SC, the elaborate dials of the Villes Lumieres are downright exceptional. Using the traditional technique of champleve enamel, these pieces feature a bird’s eye view of three of the world’s most iconic cities; Paris, New York, and Geneva. Aside from replicating the overhead roadmap of each of these cities, a scattering of gold dust is strategically placed in the surface layer of enamel, replicating the glow of each of these destinations at night. Any frequent visitor or resident will appreciate the level of care and attention to detail in these rare pieces, and when on the wrist, these watches provide a constant reminder of one home or preferred destination of travel.

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An Immersive Experience

As a loyal client of the brand, Vacheron collectors get to experience this essence of exploration through an extension of their favourite wristwatches. As with many luxury brands of late, Vacheron Constantin regularly organises exclusive travel experiences for its core clientele. Most recently we joined the brand in the Napa Valley as part of one such excursion, where the brand chose to preview its latest Aerostiers and Overseas releases. Fitting to the occasion and destination, our visit included a stop at Shadybrook Estate and Promontory wineries, an early morning hot air balloon ride over the valley, a cooking class at the American Culinary Institute, and most notably an intimate dinner at Thomas Keller’s famed French Laundry. Keller has long been a client of the brand himself, and a Vacheron Constantin clock is positioned at the front of the kitchen. As luck would have it, the legend himself was in the kitchen during our visit, sporting his own Vacheron while interacting with guests. Over the course of three days, fellow collectors, boutique managers, and Kobrin swapped stories, shared experiences, and bonded over our unique travel experience. Travel and adventure has an ability to bring people together unlike anything else, and it’s precisely these bonds that create the close-knit relationships between Vacheron collectors and their beloved brand.

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