For more than 260 years, Vacheron Constantin has been creating unique and rare models conceived by master-watchmakers constantly pushing the limits of excellence, or commissioned by demanding collectors. This horological tradition is more vibrantly alive than ever thanks to its Les Cabinotiers department which, while ensuring respect for the values of the Maison and of Fine Watchmaking as a whole, dreams up exceptional timepieces.
The role of the “Atelier Cabinotiers Special Order” department is to perpetuate the unique expertise of their master watchmakers, who work in the great Genevan tradition of the Cabinotiers watch workshops. The Atelier Cabinotiers offers clients a highly exclusive service: that of producing unique timepieces, entirely custom-made and created on an individual commission basis.
The custom-made watches are surrounded by secrecy and confidentiality. Often embodying a dream or passion, they are an expression of aspiration, legendary because they are spoken of more often than they are actually seen.
No collections of catalogues here, only a listening ear. It all starts with a narrative: the client’s private story. A history fan might ask for the reproduction of a painting by one of the great masters in grand feu enamel on the dial; an aspiring Romeo might want his piece to chime once a year on his Juliet’s birthday; or a grand complications enthusiast might dream of owning a ground-breaking mechanical masterpiece.
All requests, from the most simple to the most ambitious, are meticulously examined by an ethical committee set up specifically to ensure that only projects that correspond perfectly with the values and traditions of Vacheron Constantin are approved; allowing the realization of a dream for the future owner.
A tradition with strong historical roots
In the 18th century, prestigious clients were accustomed to placing orders with the cabinotiers, the watchmaking artisans who forged Geneva’s reputation. This tradition has been pursued without interruption by Vacheron Constantin. From Tsar Alexander II to the New York banker Henry Graves Jr and from car manufacturer James Ward Packard to crowned heads such as Fouad I and Farouk of Egypt, all were fervent collectors of one-of-a-kind models created by the Maison.
The Manufacture’s Les Cabinotiers department perpetuates this distinctive spirit reminiscent of Geneva in the Age of Enlightenment. The timepieces here are born from special developments undertaken by accomplished watchmakers. These vivid expressions of horological excellence speak volumes by their very essence rather than being mere showpieces.
Each new project is driven by an experienced, multi-disciplinary team composed of designers, mechanical engineers, micromechanical engineers and master-watchmakers.
Together, they transpose bold watchmaking feats into cutting-edge technologies, with the only imposed limits being a determination to remain true to the values conveyed by the Maison for more than 260 years.
Les Cabinotiers also relies on the unique artistic and craftsmanship competencies of Vacheron Constantin in enhancing the aesthetics of its horological prowess. The guillocheurs, enamellers, engravers and gem setters of the Maison are some of the last remaining artisans who still master the intricacies of their professions and proudly perpetuate an age-old heritage mingling intuition with expertise.
The expert hands of all these key players give rise to timepieces that are unique in the world, representing the very peak of Fine Watchmaking and destined to leave an indelible imprint on the history of the Manufacture.
The Reference 57260 watch unveiled in 2015 perfectly crystallises the vocation of the Les Cabinotiers department.
This double-sided horological work of art is distinguished by its unfathomable complexity and wealth of technical innovations. Developed and crafted by three master-watchmakers, it called for eight years of development. The grand adventure of the Reference 57260 watch was nurtured by a will to transcend the boundaries of feasibility as well as exceptional expertise, backed by sophisticated mathematical calculations. It has now established itself as the new benchmark in the field of Haute Horlogerie with its 57 complications (many of which are unprecedented) and thereby further enhances the enduring renown of the Geneva-based Manufacture.
It is in the same rich vein as Reference 57260 that Vacheron Constantin is presenting two exceptional new models at the SIHH 2017: Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600, an astronomical watch with 23 complications; and Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860, a watch equipped with a grande and petite sonnerie as well as a minute repeater.