Vacheron Constantin’s 2007 SIHH was a tremendous success in terms of brand identity and new products the most exciting of which was undoubtedly the Masques collection. Making a bang is good but confirming and comforting ones position is much more difficult. However this year Vacheron Cosntantin did actually both, comforted what had been seen last year with a natural evolution of existing collections (albeit few since the focus was almost only on the QdI) and came out with even a bigger bang than last year by launching the Quai de l’Ile collection.
Click on the scans for a larger image
Entrance to the Vacheron Constantin booth
Overseas Dual Time on Strap
The Overseas Dual Time is now available in pink or white gold on strap. The pink gold model has a white gold bezel and both are diamond studded with 88 brilliant cut diamonds for a total of approx 0.90 carats.
The watch comes on a white croc strap and a white rubber strap. However considering its size of 42mm it could also be worn by gentlemen with a more bling sense of sartorial elegance or whose leisure lead them to spend time lazing on Flavio Briattore’s yacht in Porto Cervo.
|rose gold||white gold|
Overseas Chronograph in Rose Gold
In 2006 Vacheron Constantin launched the all rose gold Overseas Dual time with a scrumptious chocolate dial in a limited edition. Before the huge success of the watch here is an all rose gold Overseas chronograph. I love it; the deep rich gold perfectly sets out the polished and mat surfaces of the case but even more of the beautiful bracelet. This model would be my premium wrist choice would my friend Flavio invite me to sip champagne on his yacht.
Overseas Chronograph in Rose gold on strap
Finally!!! Ever since the launch of the Overseas 1 in 1996 aficionados were urging for this watch to be offered on strap. This year being obviously the year of the rose gold Overseas, Vacheron Cosntantin presents the rose gold chronograph available with both a crocodile strap and a beautiful dark brown rubber strap. I love it: the anthracite dial, polished bezzel, brushed case and brown rubber strap are a killer combination! It definitely is not discreet or understated but it looks damn good. A real hit and truly a watch I would like to own.
Don’t ask me about a steel version of the Overseas on strap…I don’t know!
Chronometre Royal 1907
The Royal Chronometer 1907 from the Historiques collection launched last year still is in rose gold with enamel dial however as you know only the first 100 pieces had a red numeral 12 and the others will have all numerals in the same black color.
Patrimony Contemporaine manual wind
A platinum model completes the existing gold variants. Whereas the Patrimony Contemporaine manual wind in platinum with platinum dial was a limited edition part of the Excellence Platine collection this one with cream colored dial will be part of the regular production.
Malte Tourbillon Regulateur
This is the non limited version of the model launched last year in the Excellence Platine Collection. I like the newly reworked case design of the Malte Tonneau with less protruding lugs which give the case a more harmonious appearance. I love the subtle guilloche dial and of course the oversized tourbillon cage. The size of the watch (50mm length) may scare some but to have a legible regulator style time display and maintain the size of the tourbillon carriage the movement needed to be long which explains the case size. The other Malte Tonneau models remain in more tame sizes. The Malte Tourbillon Regulateur comes in rose gold and platinum.
Malte Tonneau Chronograph
Here also the Malte Tonneau case has been beefed up compared to the existing model. The dial has a very elegant guillochage and the subdials are slightly grey giving a very attractive two tone effect to the dial. My only issue would be the round section which has been guilloche and think that I would have liked it better had the whole dial been engine turned. The Malte Tonneau Chronograph exists in rose gold and white gold.
|side by side with the previous Malte Tonneau chronograph|
The Quai de L’Ile
Note: the Quai de l’Ile uses so many complex techniques that a full article is needed to detail the manufacturing process and techniques. Therefore I’ll leave you with some general details and impressions here below and stay tuned for the article.
The Quai de l’Ile is a whole new collection launched this year with two models: the automatic with date featuring the inhouse calibre 2450 and a day/date with power reserve featuring the inhouse calibre 2475 first used in the Jubilee 1755 models both stamped with the Geneva Hallmark. The QdI is Vacheron Constantin’s vision of 21st century watchmaking, no F1 space age materials or DLC cum carbon fibre cum dental hygiene case metal or materials but good old traditional high grade watchmaking with a contemporary vision. I love this watch; it’s everything I like and even more.
The case is cushion shaped Lego style made of 7 parts which are all fitted together and not soldered which is a true feat when you look it up close. This “modular” case construction enables the wearer to personalise his watch by choosing the metal he wants his watch to be composed of: palladium, rose gold or titanium and a mix thereof.
|Broken view of the case components|
The personalisation is not only applied to the case metals but the client also has the choice between two dials (grey or light) and two different finishes on the movements (rhodium or ruthenium)! All this leads to what the brand claims as almost 400 different combinations possible…chances that you see someone with the same exact watch is remote and this is quite a feat for a “regular production” piece!!
Vacheron Constantin has created a “configurator” for this collection consisting of a tactile screen where the client can test the different assemblies before making his final choice.
However for those who do not want to personalise their watch (or want the time only model which is not yet possible to personalise) both QdI models are offered in the following standard combinations:
- Middle, back, bezel and crown in palladium – grey dial – rhodium-plated movement
- Middle, back, bezel and crown in pink gold – light dial – rhodium-plated movement
- Middle, back, bezel and crown in titanium – dark dial – ruthenium movement
The sapphire crystal dial uses the same principals of security printing as found in passports and bank notes (have four patents pending), it is an amalgam of cutting-edge techniques and refined processes, in particular those of : laser engraving (with or without inking), galvanic growth of metal and metallization.
The interesting thing here is that as futuristic as it may look the movement is finished to the highest standards and is now visible via dial side. There have been many discussions on the Lounge regarding the finish of the non visible parts and the underdial and here you have a straight view into the perfect finish of the underdial.
The name Quai de l’Ile is a tribute to Vacheron Constantin’s historical address in Geneva since the 19th century, ever since Jean-François Constantin had a building constructed there in 1873-1874. What do I think of a rather dated name chosen for such a cutting edge contemporary collection ? Um…er…do you really want to know?
Automatic with Date
Very, VERY cool watch! It does not have the depth of the day/date model due to the top plate but then again the top plate enables the light to shine on it in a very particular manner. The RG model is quite elegant; the titanium model is stealth and very industrial looking whereas the palladium version (my favourite) has a fantastic sheen to it!
|rose gold/rhodium plated movement/light dial|
|titanium/ruthenium plated movement/dark dial|
|palladium/rhodium plated movement/dark dial|
Day/Date with power reserve
The fact that the movement is on different levels gives great depth to this model. Here are scans of just a few of the numerous variations possible:
|rose gold/rhodium plated movement/light dial|
|cal 2475 with ruthenium plated gold rotor||titanium/rhodium plated movement/dark dial|
|palladium/rhodium plated movement/dark dial|
|titanium case/rose gold bezzel/ruthenium plated movement/dark dial|
|palladium case/titanium flanks/rhodiumplated movement/dark dial|
|titanium case/rose gold flanks & bezzel/rhodium plated movement/dark dial|
The talking piece of this year’s SIHH was once again from Vacheron Constantin: the Quai de l’Ile! It is definitely an audacious move for Vacheron Constantin which may leave certain, more used to the brand’s classical designs, scratching their heads but we finally have a high horology brand filling the gap between tradition and the 21st century with a whole new collection and not only with a few ultra limited and expensive “concept” watches.
....thanks thanks thanks Alex for your write-up
Your pics are superb! An finally I changed my opinion on the new Dual Time with diamonds - I shouldn't wear it LoL - the dial is very nice, contrary to what i said previously when i saw the press pics :)
The Chrono Royal is, in my opinion, very very flat with a whitout the red indications (in first approach).
The rubber strap on the Overseas, I didn't imagine that that would make a such effect!!!! Very NICE!!
And the QdI...Everything is said! I want to see this watch in the flesh!! :)
Saturday, I will come with to SIHH
Quai de l'Ile and Quai de l'Ile and Quai de l'Ile and...
Instant absolute hit
For me, with my roots in art from the period between 1910 and 1939,
which is the art deco period, this is fantastic!
Somebody says the period was between the wars, but they are wrong.
The exhibition Arts Décoratifs in Paris 1925 gave the name to the type of art,
but not until Bevis Hillier wrote his book, Art Deco 1968 !
So the people who lived during the period, called it many things, modern, jazz, cubism etc., but never art deco!
This is lines are from that period combined with our time.
for ronometre royal and quai de l'ile
I would like to see some of them in the flesh.
Thanks, Alex, for the report & all the photos. Won't it be fascinating over time as Loungers one by one unveil the arrival of their special & personal QdI. It's all quite intoxicating.
Ther are actually 3 watches Vc produced this year that I would like to own...
The QdI automatic in palladium, rhodium plated movement/dark dial the other 2 are still under embargo so you'll have to wait a bit
the two new editions of Grands Explorateurs...
i totaly agree with you Mr Alex so little $
i allready buy an overseas for my wife as a present so i hope to have one for my self for this year
these watches are alive. The Malte Tonneau is not exactly what I want... yet the design is so alive, so searching for originality and 'a heartbeat' with the outer numerals floating 'outside' the dial... You feel the design as a work of art. Maybe it isn't exactly 'there' yet.. but it speaks volumes about what VC is 'becoming' (again).
The enamel dial watch look better to me without the red 12! Funny, so much better, IMHO.
The Quai is just plain innovative and astonishing and brave and fantastic!
I truly find VC to be the only BIG HIGH LEVEL watchmaker who is really reaching beyond the comfort level, and DARING to 'fail' as it were. NOT that there is any failure here!!!! But there is risk and beauty in the risk.
more thoughts, the case of the Quai is something to just... behold.
the Chronometre Royal, I liked the red 12 better!
for this great write up.
That's a great review.
Its a great presentation for those who weren't there and brings back pleasant and exciting memories for those who were.
...and it was nice to finally meet you, my dear Canadian fellow!
are experiencing "live" the rebirth of VC
Alex, you're our eyes and ears for us, poor people who can't move to those big shows....
I think, VC consolidated the change everyone was expecting from our beloved great house. And, as you said, this is more difficult.
I'm particularly in love also, love at first sight, with the QDI: what a great watch. I hope only the height is not too much. More and more I like thin watches. But anyway, the look is so extraordinary, that this doesn't matter. I try to imagine a Rose Gold Date QDI with a dark dial: this will be a killer, don't you think?? From your pictures, I can see the folding clasp is not bad at all also.
I hope the much waited strap for the OV chrono will be available also for us and permit to switch the bracalet(which is still fantastic). Can they do that for us in the Geneva boutique??
OK, there is no other way: I need to start saving!!!
Thank you again for your fantastic report.
not exactly fit the existing steel models but with a bit of tweaking here and there you could fit one.
thank you, yet again, for a truly wonderful article!
Beautiful shots - Deniz is definitely the Master, but you are a young(??) promising padawan
I was sad on Sunday the night didn't finish a little bit later with a cigar and a glass of Courvoisier, but seeing those shots I am now happy you went to bed early and didn't have a hangover at the photoshoot...
One question: is the new Malte Chronograph supposed to replace only the older "Royal Eagle" one, or is it also supposed to replace the iconic round chrono? As you said VC will shut down production of the round Malte models, so I am wondering if we should also expect a chrono in the Patrimony collection?
kind words and it was a real treat to finally meet you.
The new Malte Tonneau Chrono will replace the old version (aka Royal Eagle) but this process will be a slow one. The Malte Chrono (round model) is still part of the catalogue. As for the Patrimony Chrono SIHH 2009 is in less than 9 months so patience
Thanks for the thorough coverage and great photos of all the new models!
You had to have spent an amazing amount of time and effort getting this trip of a lifetime put together. Yet you you always hav a smile on your face, a joke to tell or just taking the time to have a quiet conversation. You did it with flair few people could replicate. We have bespoke watches and as hourloungers we have our own bespoke moderator...how fortunate we are.
meet those I did not know and see the ones I did.
I'm the fornutate one to be your moderator
a lot has been already said on the QdI line. I don't want to repeat myself over and over again... it's instantly become a favorite of mine :-))) and you knew it right from the start, Alex.
I wanna say three things as a conclusion to your report:
- new Malte Tonneau Chrono looks gorgeous in your pix, to me better than in reality; I like the new tonneau case and have to admit it sits and fits on the wrist perfectly but the dial design leaves a lot of room for improvement (IMO)
- new Overseas diamond paved looks very good in your pictures too, but I agree with Francois it is a woman's watch. BTW my wife loves it
- last but not least we have to do some follow up on the promise Mr. Torress made concerning the special edition VC Hour Lounge watch...
you did a good job with Mr. Torres
Thank you Alex for the wonderful report. Curious to know if you have the case height for the QDI, and do you know when the price list for the QDI will come out?
it starts at about euro 20k
Alex, thank you for the response. Do you know when we might have exact figures in USD? Dont mean to press you, just really excited and love the day/date palladium, but want to make sure this dream can stay a possible reality.
I really regret not to be there during those few days, meet sympathic Loungers, share views, and... see these outstanding pieces QdI.
From the pics, I think I would go to a day/date in palladium, ruthenium movement and dark dial, but the best would be to see in real the different metals and how they look like!
Alex, I am in a hurry to join you for SIHH 2009.
See you soon, and thanks again for your concise report.
HL dinner in Paris.
For me, Quai de l'Ile was not only the star of the VC 2008 collection, but it was the highlight of the entire SIHH. Almost everyone who I spoke with was talking about this new line.
In this day and age, it is getting harder and harder to do something truly new and innovative in the world of haute horologerie and there is so much of the "been there, done that" in the industry. However, VC with its incorporation of security printing and features into these watches, has managed to do what no other brand has.
Also, the ability to personalize your watch is a wonderful way to bring some elements of their magnificent atelier program to a much broader audience. While you cannot have built your ultimate bespoke timepiece, you are able to have created a watch that will be uniquely yours.
A huge congratulations to Vacheron Constantin on this tremendous achievement and I am very glad to see that it has been enthusiastically received by the watch-loving community. Finally, while global divorce rates may be rising, this marriage of the essence of VC traditional fine watchmaking and the cutting edge of technological innovation is sure to last a very long time. IMHO, the new Quai de l'Ile collection is historically significant for the manufacture and I can envision it occupying a prominent position in the next 250+ years of Vacheron Constantin.
by what Vacheron is bringing to the table this yr. Fresh new designs, innovations and Overseas on strap!! It's overload but in a good way! Thanks Alex for sharing these wonderful photos of VC's magnificent creations!
in the middle of all the excitement. You have a true gift. V&C has once again put themselves in the " cat bird's seat" of manufacturers. This year's additions, along with the long standing lines have truly made them irresistable! Congratulations to everyone and may I ask when we will get an idea of pricing? Best to all, Tim
my eyes and should be getting them next week.
I had the pleasure to visit the VC stand at the SIHH 2008. Regarding the new Quai de L´Ile collection, I have a doubt whether such new marketing approach will be very sucessfull. It gave me the impression that Vacheron Constantin lost a little part of its manufacture characteristic. The combination of dials, cases and movements etc, according to the desire of the clientele, transmits the sensation of mass production. I didn´t like of this new move from VC.
contrarian view on the QdI. I love it but its always good to have opposing thoughts, others have expressed similar doubts as yours.
Looking forward in your participation.
Thanks Alex for your response. The opinions, comments and critics are also important insights to solidify what is right.