Ask Vincent Kauffmann Design Director your questions

I'm preparing an interview so here's the time to ask all you want to know on what goes behind VC designs!

06/10/2011 - 00:19
06/10/2011 - 01:12
06/10/2011 - 01:18
06/10/2011 - 06:26
06/11/2011 - 02:40
06/15/2011 - 13:48
06/16/2011 - 01:08
Does he have to make many compromises in his designs
06/09/2011 - 19:25
Re: Does he have to make many compromises in his designs
06/10/2011 - 03:14

What are the parameters that must be adhered to when designing a watch? It has to have the logo or a specific shape or certain lugs, etc.? Oftentimes restrictions make for more creativity.

Ask him if he always try to find some heritage,
06/09/2011 - 19:49

not just plain copies, more or less, like les Historiques, Americane etc etc,

but any small detail that links to the great Vacheron & Constantin inheritance, please.

And from me, you of course will ask him why they are so stubborn and refuse to use their original name?

Vacheron & Constantin smiley

Girard-Perregaux, Jaeger-LeCoultre, F.P. Journe, A. Lange & Söhne, for example,

are not renamed GirardPerregaux, JaegerleCoultre, Journe, Lange....

Or is it a inferior sign, because a certain 100 year younger brand's name is Patek Philippe?

I consider the brand's name as design, as well as the whole exterior design of a the dial or a watch,

a buckle or a deployant, so in my eyes ithe missing ampersand is a design question.

I asked this so many times, so my fingers bleed, but strange enough I never have got an answer!



I asked Charly Torres about adding the "&" he is all for it but it
06/10/2011 - 14:16

would mean actually changing the brand name and that is a decision only the shareholders (ie Richemont) can take!

Alex, it sounds like music in my ears!
06/11/2011 - 02:18

I'm sure Charly is the man to get through with it!

That would be THE DAY for Doc!

As you know I have been fighting for this for nearly 10 years now!

The Richemont family must be a family with traditions and I guess that they,

if anyone, would like to keep the finest watch brand wearing it's original name.

So far, on modern V&C watches you showed me the movement of one new watch with the ampersand,

and, well, a backside is a good start. Which name it was I don't rember just now, but I have a pic of it, of course!

Now, let us see & on the dial on every Vacheron&Constantin.

This not least to avoid terrible mistakes like in the 'book' about 'fine' brands,

which I throw in the dustbin. (Perhaps I have a pic of it somwhere).

Anyhow, it's written that Vacheron Constantin, without &, was founded by Constantin!!

Cheers and, sorry, & thanks smiley


it was on the Chronometre Royal 1907 :-)
06/11/2011 - 11:25


Yes it was - is ;-)
06/11/2011 - 14:52

and I found your magnificent pic!

Thanks Alex,


+2 Doc!
06/10/2011 - 18:08

In addition to all you have said, its disrespectful to the history of the company and the partnership of these two great families to reduce their contribution to a simple brand name, as TAG has done to Heuer.

Dean you are my man!
06/11/2011 - 02:28

We always have had the same approach to this issue  about 'the right name',

as well as the question below, wearable watches.

OK, a sport watch can be big when sailing, climbing K2 or hunting,

but a dress watch, slim elegant, thin and then 42 mm (!), is just terrible.

I have one watch that is 42 mm and I can't wear it with cuff buttons,

it looks terrible when one cuff is 1,5 cm below the sleeve and the other cuff doesn't show,

because the watch stops it from being on place.

I'm no snob, but when I'm dressed up, I want to be proper!

Anyhow the yacht is in the water and this weekend I will have the first sailing trip this year.

Than you doesn't need a watch at all, except the one in the main cabin cool

Take care Dean


Luckily, I've noticed a trend to rid of unecessary inscriptions...
06/09/2011 - 20:53

on watch dials at Vacheron. The question is when will all the cheesy inscriptions be deleted off the Overseas dial i.e. automatic/antimagnetic? Why clutter the dial lay-out with information no one really cares about?

The other question is, will Vacheron follow a path of innovative design, as with the revolutionary QdI,  and introduce a new, bold and modern design in another line/collection or was QdI too revolutionary?  

Great questions, I'm looking forward to the answers.
06/10/2011 - 18:12

Radek, I wonder if its a source of frustration, even embarrassment, when the industrial fakesters of the Far East tool up for a bogus VC its always festooned with ridiculous design frills.  Is this the perception of VC out there??

Radek, I also noticed that...
06/11/2011 - 02:31

at last.

For a time it was like Toyota Camry Sport Sedan 1,8 Grand de Lux 5 drive...

Enjoy life


I suppose my question(s) is where does he get
06/09/2011 - 21:34

the inspiration for the watch designs. Please give us an actual description (great story) of the inspiration of a watch design and then how the energy flows to create the final product. This may be a lot to ask, but it would be very enlightening to know how the inspiration becomes a watch.

I also have a question that I ask all the watch companies: When are you going to put the actual water resistance on a watch and why don't you invest in existing technology to make watches more water resistant?!

Best to all,


Does Vincent Kauffmann preparing a new Ladies collection
06/09/2011 - 21:39

with automatic and manual calibres. Maybe inspired from historical collection (special rounded lugs)....

I also hope that inscriptions disappear from dials (all collections) and only stays the UNIQUE and wonderful VC emblem.

I wait to discover what Vincent is preparing for 2012 -;)))

Thanks for this call dear Alex.

Best regards,


Some questions
06/10/2011 - 00:19

1-BIG Congratulations to him and his team for the job done!

Remembering where Vacheron was and where it is right now and thinking that design is the first criteria to sell a watch, I think that deserves a bunch of hurra. The Quai de l'Ile is a stunner ! I am drown on the details and the curves of the historic of the ultra slim 1955.

2-The awful choice between identification/coherence and best adapted design.

Is there any chance that in the future the watch and its complication will give the the design and NOT the line of the product? Especially on complications

This is a long explanation but these are my arguments for this question, but this is my only and major concern with the design.

I have one concern about the design of Complications. I am pointing the complicated Patrimony here. The choice was made to keep coherence in the offer and use the Patrimony traditionnelle simple three hand and for Grand Complications or for the Patrimony Wolrd Time with the most advanced caliber for this complicaiton but maybe also the biggest.

Imho This case is perfec for the simple watch, with straiht side and a nearly flat bezel it gives presence to a slim watch, the result is perfect, the patrimony is one of the most beautiful simple watch.

BUT for grand complications these enhance the thickness effect and it doesn't look good in my eyes. The coherence with the patrimony line is there but the esthetic coherence is broken. Proportions of Equation du Temps are not OK imho.

Grand Complications need a bigger work on the bezel to make it thinner and not a nearly flat angle, the Side should be curved so that man doesn't see the whole thickness, and finally the caseback need also to be adapted to make it look thinner. If you look at the fabulous St Gervais it looked so much better imho because of that.

And concerning the Worldtime the case is a bit straight, a bit serious, again the case used for St gervais or Jubile 1755 would have given another poetic dimension imho and better looking proportions.

Another brand does on this special thema a master job ;)

3- I would love to see a futuristic thin and small square watch, (not in the size of the QDI), is it something possible in the future?

(I dream once in a while that one of my design posted could inspire Vacheron ,  blush)

4- The job done on the Overseas and the new bracelet is fantastic, will there be another line thought with a metal bracelet?

Thanks Alex for your communication, and sorry for the long and boring explanation cheeky

Excellent opportunity
06/10/2011 - 01:12

and I unashamedly forget he is the Design Director and ask all my questions anyway... and they might be off target for him.

so, to add to the already bulging list;-

What new / how will VC improve anti-counterfeiting measures?

Will automatic watches get larger winding crowns?

Any plans to simplify product coding?

Can we hope to see more blue accents on white metal watches?

How many more years of Excellence Platine?

Does he ever wear a hat?

Can we expect larger month and day windows in QPs?

Is there an annual calendar coming soon?

Can we have a time only Minute Repeater soon?

Are we going to see a contraction in watch case sizes going forwards?

What objects inspired him to pursue a career in design?

What does he think is VCs bewst design of the last 10 years?

ok... enough already


06/10/2011 - 02:00

I am a numb-nut

.. larger crowns on manual wind watches... any manufacture can put tiny crowns on the Autos if they must....


um Gary...there is already an annual calendar launched this year in
06/10/2011 - 14:14


Fair point... well made! so how about a
06/10/2011 - 17:32
non QDI version Annual!
Does he wear a hat?
06/10/2011 - 18:14

LOL, what's up with that? laugh

People aren't wearing enough...
06/11/2011 - 01:37

apparently... (Monty Python)


One more question, Alex!
06/10/2011 - 01:18

Is there any tendency back to 'normal' sizes of watches?

By that I mean 36-39 mm in diameter?

I'm convinced since 10 years, that it's a great demand for them,

not least in this forum!

I would have had a Patrimony Pt if I could have got one in 'normal' size.

When I tested my friend Dom Bernaz own Patrimony Pt, I saw immedeately that it was like a frisbee on my wrist!

Not all guys are in Dom's size wink



Sorry to keep tagging onto your posts Doc, but
06/10/2011 - 18:31

you've identified another flip-flop that strikes me as less than full committment to their designs.  Why keep making bigger cases with the same trim and tiny movements, resulting in those awkward design compromises like pinched indicators and acres of wasted space surrounding the back display "portholes"?  I'm not even going to start on the wearability of such wrist-platters...

Why take all the time and energy to introduce a controversial piece like the transparent dial QdI, then rush in a solid dial to appease that controversy?  Why not spend some engineering time to improve it functionally, like better water-resistance?

Re: Ask Vincent Kauffmann Design Director your questions
06/10/2011 - 04:11

Hi Alex,

Veuille poser a Vincent la question suivante:

When you seek inspiration from one of the older designs (ie 1920's-30's) or select one of of these watches to reintroduce, what features in the exterior or interior aspects of the watch do you look for?

Merci a toi et a Vincent


I would be curious…
06/10/2011 - 06:26

to know what the biggest design risk he ever took that paid off in terms of a product that is now greatly appreciated despite the scope of the change it represented.

Re: Ask Vincent Kauffmann Design Director your questions
06/10/2011 - 11:11

I would like to know why Vacheron does not manufacture a flyback chrono

When a new inhouse chrono calibre will be available?
06/10/2011 - 11:41

The Lemania is very well known, but a new calibre (as another famous brand presented) should be great.

With a deep inside back view as a Richemont famous chrono...., it should be PERFECT, IMHO.



Re: Ask Vincent Kauffmann Design Director your questions
06/10/2011 - 14:23
As an aspiring watch designer I'd like to know, what advice does he have for making it in the industry and ultimately working for an amazing company like Vacheron Constantin? And What was Mr. Kauffman's own path to Vacheron?
Re: Re: Ask Vincent Kauffmann Design Director your questions
06/12/2011 - 03:05

Need help as presented in my post dated June 8th,11 22.21, titled NEED HELP ON THIS WATCH.  The thread that followed that post contains the info, and some pics that show the watch.  Please let me know what you can as to the age, other pertinent data , and what the watch is worth.  Thanks alot, Mike

I'm checking the numbers but you need to be patient but
06/12/2011 - 13:38

we don't give appraisals here so you may need to take your watch to an auction house or reputable vintage dealer for a quote.

Re: I'm checking the numbers but you need to be patient but
06/12/2011 - 17:58

Thanks Alex.  I'll try to be patient.  Mike

Timepieces other than wrist watches...
06/10/2011 - 18:20

The recent auction of V&C's magnificent 1933 constant force escapement table clock reminds me that VC hasen't presented us with a clock since 2005 and the stunning L'Esprit des Cabinotiers.  Are there any more unconventional non-wrist timepieces in the works?

Interesting thought!
06/11/2011 - 02:40

Sometimes we miss, or rather I do, the 'Verger period' with art deco clocks!

Not a clock but a Verger.

I have a clock, but that I have kept for myself...

We all must have our small secrets, or?



Who are his muse ? His inspiration in designs ? nt.
06/11/2011 - 10:38
Which independent(s) does he most admire and why? nt
06/11/2011 - 21:41


Alex please, check if he's got this pinned on his wall!
06/12/2011 - 11:46

Clip from V&C's 1950 catalogue to it's AD's smiley

Obvious PP's advertising squad has it cool



For all who are interested in design in general, as I am,
06/12/2011 - 16:54

I will from my heart recommend these 3 books 'Phadion Design Classics'.

999 design icons from the 20 th century.

From Porsche 911, le Corbusier's chaise lounge chair, toaster to watches.


Of course this is in one of the books smiley

Thank you for the recommendation, Doc....
06/14/2011 - 00:32

How strange that the publication appears again today in another posting.

Is it published in various languages?

Best wishes,


Probably, I have the English version anyhow :-) nt
06/14/2011 - 00:53


My questions:
06/15/2011 - 13:48

1) What are Vincent's top 3 favourite creations at VC, and why?

2) How many new models does he design per year (inclusing the ones that get rejected)?

3) What drives the creative process - Vincent's ideas, or the need to produce a certain product (for example, simple perp. calendar in Patrimony line)?

4) If Vincent was an 'independent', what would his dream watch look like?

5) Would it be possible to see a few sketches of designs that didn't make it to the production stage?

6) Excluding VCs, which other watch companies does Vincent prefers the most (from a design perspective)?

I look forward to this article Alex...



Historique 1921
06/16/2011 - 01:08

I have a long time question about the design of the Historique 1921. I've asked many watch aficionado's about it and even the staff at the V&C boutique in Geneva, however nobody seems to have the answer… Have a look at this:

At the original watch the vertical line on the dial through the 12 and 6 hours was (however 45 degrees to the left of the strap i.s.o. 45 degrees to the right on the re-edition) in the same direction/line as the seconds counter 60-30. Both 45 degrees offset to the strap. However at the re-edition:

The line through 12 and 6 is 45 degrees different than the line through the seconds counter. The line through 60-30 on the seconds counter is aligning with the strap, and not with the dial. Why is that? Isn't it strange to look at a dial and read the time, and then having to look under an angle of 45 degrees to read the seconds? To me it look like a printing error of the dial. It's just the printing which could have made everything aligned; nothing to do with the caliber. That the seconds counter is not straight under the 12-6 line on the dial (but on the right at the 3-9 line) doesn't matter to this. do you get my point? I hope you can get the answer from Vincent Kaufmann… Best regards, Gerard Nijenbrinks

Aditional picture to clear what I mean...
06/16/2011 - 18:10