The quote on the QDL dial... what does it mean to you?

The quote which is written on the dial of every (?) QDL goes like this:

"With your able assistance, I promise you that we will make as much from watchmaking as all the commercial travellers together.... I assure you that we will be strong: our watchmaking is highly esteemed here, by continuing to do better if possible and that is always possible." 

This may be an odd question, but what do you think the speaker means by these words?

Is he saying, we'll make tons of money? "make as much from watchmaking as all the commercial travelers together--"

Or is he saying, we will make great art? "make as much--" Is he saying we will compete with these other commercial ventures and beat them? "as all the commercial travelers together--"

All of the above?

I ask only because this writing on the dial has given me pause when I was just about to make a decision recently.

DO YOU LIKE THE QUOTE? is what I really should be asking. Do you like it on the dial, even though it is very tiny?

Thanks for indulging this inquiry into minutia... but then isn't minutia what so much of collecting is about?


This is a famous quote from the lore of Vacheron & Constantin
05/01/2010 - 06:59
It was written by Francois Constantin during his sales travels back to Messr. Vacheron at the Maison, providing feedback on his journey.  I believe he was describing the market acceptance and high level of interest in V&C timepieces among the exclusive clientele of that time.  It appears to have been a "sellers market" back then for V&C - if they continue to produce outstanding pieces as well as contiuously improve upon their strong market position. The very last segment "continuing to do better if possible and that is always possible"   I believe this is still a mainstay of what many VC fans believe in when it comes to the brand. I would not have any problems with the quote on the QDI.  I would be more concerned with whether the lettering affects the legibility of the watch.  If it doesn't, I like the quote.  If it does affect legibility, then I don't care what is written, I wouldn't like it. Just my 2 cents. BR, Dan
To do better if possible and that is always posible, it has become
05/01/2010 - 11:35

the motto of the brand and doesn't refer to having better sales but making better watches.

Nevertheless I understand the begining of the phrase as something like "we shall become market leaders and do better than all the other watchmakers"

I don't think the wording should put you off unless you don't want
05/01/2010 - 15:45

any writing on the dial. The quote doesn't put me off and I don't see anything negative in it

05/01/2010 - 20:42
I was curious if people 'liked' the quote. Is it inspiring? Well, I don't know... I have to say I wish it was not on the dial. I don't understand its presence there...  I fell in love with the tantalum/palladium QDL, and was about to reserve one. Then, the writing on the dial 'confused' me. I am not sure I agree that this quote is  particularly universal-sounding in its up-lift... I don't get it! :( I could understand, say, on a Speeedmaster dial, 'one great step for mankind' or something, but this quote is not really emblematic or quintessential, nor does it evoke a 'great historic image' or what have you. Anyway, I've taken this far too seriously and I appreciate your indulgence. Little things matter the most with fine timepieces... The QDL is still one of the most intriguing, brave, fine, and cool watches I have ever seen.
Thank-you for a great question!
05/02/2010 - 07:12
Being a vintage fan, such a quote from the past is sure to inspire . I've only seen François Constantin's famous quote translated in English, where it has been interpreted slightly different by several authors. The words came from a letter written by Constantin to Jacques Barthélémy Vacheron, dated July 5, 1819 and only three months after Constantin joined Vacheron Chossat et Cie as a partner.  He had been on the road since June 24 and was in Turin, Italy.  A prolific letter writer, he provided the VC archives with it's most cogent record of the period. Italy had been the most significant market since 1816, when Jacques Barthélémy made frequent trips.  The Royal watchmaker, Martina, had in fact become a customer of the re-named Vacheron & Constantin and this was Constantin's first trip on their behalf to this important market.  His letters to Vacheron were no doubt well considered. This digression from your question is important to understand the context, and not just the words, of the quotation.  As you suggest, mere words do not impart meaning.  So please bear with me a little longer! François Constantin's background deserves some attention; perhaps more than we generally give.  He was born in 1788 and by the age of fourteen was an agent for his father's grain business, walking throughout the countryside collecting orders.  He began work as a "commercial traveller" (salesman) for a watch case manufacturer by age sixteen.  He was later recruited by Bautte, a highly respected Geneva watchmaker, as his representative in Italy.  Constantin's first encounter with Vacheron was over Italy, when the latter tried to persuade the former to also be his agent in the country.  As Constantin was in turmoil, first for having left Bautte then for joining with a disagreeable partner, he gladly fell upon Vacheron's offer of a new partnership at the age of 31. Vacheron's faith in Constantin was amply rewarded for, within five years, he was intimate with Italian aristocracy, including King Victor Emmanuel.  Those connections attracted other great families of Europe and soon the shops of Vacheron & Constantin had ample orders for pieces of the highest value and complication. While renowned for his social skills, it was his savvy as a businessman that probably ensured the success of Vacheron & Constantin.  His one consistent demand was for quality above all.  It was on this characteristic that he felt all competition were weakest and they were strongest.  Reviewing his letters, this theme is undeniable. You may also enjoy some other favorite quotes from his correspondence.  Constantin from Turin, February 1821, regarding competition from another watchmaker:  It is not on me that you should count, but on yourselves. It is the goods that speak, the traveller (salesman) has almost to be silent. Again from Turin in July of 1821, Constantin writes: Let us keep our lines as they are but let us concentrate on their reliability, for these splendid watchmakers have no taste for a fine watch that stops; they prefer an ordinary one which does not stop. But of the famous quote - the motto of Vacheron Constantin - the translation I prefer goes like this:If you give me the support I need, I promise you that we will sell as many watches as all the other sales representatives put together...My reply to you is that we will succeed; our watches are already held in the highest esteem here (Italy), and in continuing to do better if possible, which is always possible, we will master all potential customers.  You know this is my pipe dream; try to make it come true. When I hear those words, or any variation, I think of François Constantin; his humble beginnings, vision, perserverance and quest for quality above all.  I also commit to forego our contemporary shorthand and include the name of Constantin whenever referencing this great brand . My information has been gathered from Cologni's Secrets of Vacheron Constantin and the letters reproduced in Antinquorum's catalog The Art of Vacheron Constantin.
Incredible reply/ changed my impression/ sincere thanks
05/02/2010 - 21:28
What an engaging, well written, and informative reply, tick-talk, I read it twice! This really changes my impression/interpretation of the quote on the dial. Although it does have to do with business, it is really about perseverance and quality, and a touch of destiny... The quote no longer 'confuses' me. And I will look again at the tantalum LE without the uncertainty about the quote... I have to admit though...I'm starting to think about Basel 2011 when, very likely, a platinum Patrimony chronograph will be introduced with a stunning darker dial... I do find Vacheron Constantin to be a truly Interesting company. Your reply and the way it was written really is what these forums and collecting is all about. Thank you.
My pleasure and good luck :-)
05/03/2010 - 18:06
Whatever your choice, if it has some meaning that touches your soul, it cannot help but satisfy
I would go for the QdI
05/04/2010 - 12:43

unless you are happy taking a QdI in titanium or palladium at a later stage, the tantalum one will only be available for a limited amount of time.  And re the Patrimony chrono in platinum, unless you know something that I don't, it is not a given that it will be released in 2011. There was a platinum version of the chrono in the Historiques collection, but not in the Malte collection (it was made in PT as part of the Excellence Platine, but that was a limited edition). But I have to agree with you, if it was to be released with a grey dial, it would be a killer of a watch!... Good luck in your decision! Cheers,  Francois

Again Dean, thanks for the super-interesting post
05/04/2010 - 12:37
I like all these quotes, especially: "It is the goods that speak, the traveller (salesman) has almost to be silent"CHeers,  Francois
VC values
05/04/2010 - 18:57
Francois, I think you are drawn to one of the essential values of vintage V&C.  While there was constant competition to patent every new albeit minor improvement in horology, Vacheron AND Constantin (just remembering my earlier promise ) steadfastly refused to so the same although they were actually leaders of innovation.  Their thinking, as reflected by Constantin's words, was that superior products would win the customer without a lot of bragging. In hindsight, this may have been a huge strategic mistake which resulted in their boutique status.  OTOH, V&C would not have been the same company had they evolved into a megatron like Rolex and we would all be fondly discussing another brand .
we both like VC for the same reasons Dean...
05/04/2010 - 20:36
I would only add to your comment "you are drawn to one of the essential values of vintage V&C"... I would argue that this does not only apply to vintage V&Cs, but as well to present ones... Cheers,  Francois