what do you like / dislike about Vacheron Constantin?

It seems that here on the Hour Lounge we have a great fascination about VC and yet we do not hesitate to criticize when we think that it is due. So what do you like/dislike at VC?

I like

1) The name of the brand: may be stupid but it sounds exotic and classy like the Orient Express

2)  The designs: avant garde and out of the box designs in vintage and modern watches (think Masks, Explorers, Patrimony bi-retrograde...)

3) The metiers d'art: enameling, engraving etc.. which keep these crafts alive. I like the fact that these crafts are present in regular production watches and not only for special orders

4) the bespoke service: no other barnds offers this..well maybe to their richest clients but unlke VC which is open to all

5) the new direction the brand is taking: the 2007 novelites show a more contemporary path VC is taking and one more in line with its avant garde designs of the past

6) the amazing finish of the inhouse calibers

I dislike:

1) The rather dusty and dated brand image the brand may have had pre 2000

2) The lack of brand identity which gave us all these different watches which had nothing in common

3) The lack of marketing and communications: a brand with VC's history and production should not be compared to Patek, Patek should be compared to VC! VC should be the benchmark and obviously they kind of missed the transition from an understated gentleman's watch to an understated gentleman's watch with communication and marketing behind it.

However to be fair I have to say that with the new and improved VC I am seeing my dislikes are fadding

Re: what do you like / dislike about Vacheron Constantin?
11/27/2007 - 15:17

I like:

- Like you Shady Joe, the name of the brand: Vacheron&Constantin, is really original and exotic (more than Jaeger leCoultre or Patek Philippe) ... and more, we can make funny puns with (illustrations tonigh ^^ )

- The watches^^: one of the Grand watchmaker/manufacturer, nice caliber, nice complications, nice watches

- The modernization of the brand image: Mask collection, and watches with a more actual design (the Bi-Rétro, etc.)...and this forum!!!

- The values of the brand, not only marketing for me, I find that we really find these values in the VCs' creations.

- The bespoke service: for when I will be a goldenboy LoooL.... moreover you have just given me an idea, I will sub-contract the photoshop works I have to make to them

- Could be an inconvenient, but I like this confidential and exclusive side of the brand!! And more, VC is one of the rare watchmaker which no follow the fashion trends!!

I dislike:

- The prices!!! Why it is so expensive? LoooL

- It's good to not follow fashion trends, but sometimes, many VC creation are a little to old-fashioned

Re: what do you like / dislike about Vacheron Constantin?
11/27/2007 - 18:07

I like:

The history of the brand.  Others claim to be older (BP 1735), but they dissappeared for a while and became a name that was purchased and resurrected.  VC is the real deal, the oldest continuous watch manufacturer.  They also had a number of 1st in the industry, such as the idea of making uniform parts for watches.  They also have produced fantastic watches for royalty, celebrities and for people who love beautiful watches.

They have a long history of producing beautiful complicated watches, but of also making beautiful and special case shapes, lug shapes, and dial designs.  They do not neglect the details such as lugs or case designs.  So one need not buy a Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar just to have a really special watch.

The Historique watches.  VC has done a great job of borrowing designs and elements of the past and modernizing them so that they are fresh, beautiful, and can appreciated by a younger generation that often times was not alive when the original design was released.  Examples are the 1972, the Jalouise (sp?), the Carree, the Toledo etc.

Although skeleton watches never seem to be all that popular with the public (maybe too fancy for some people, maybe to pricey, maybe a bit difficult to read),  but VC still makes them and they are in my humble opinion, simply the most beautiful skeleton pieces made.  

They are offering a bespoke service, that although probably out of my price range, is still a fantastic option to offer clients.

Their advertising campaign comparing various dates in history, what was happening in the world and how old VC was at that point.

I dislike:

As hard as I try and although I appreciate the artistry that went into making "the Masks," I just do not like any of them.

I am also surprised that some of their high end watches do not come with a deployant buckle, yet some rather reasonably priced models do/did come with them.  Its kind of arbitrary how they decide which watches will have them.  

The VC's single adjustment crown above the winding crown on the Dual Time Overseas.  It looks awkward to me, and its probably unnecessary since AP uses the same basemovement and I believe everything is operated on their RO dual time through the crown.

Many of their newer "dress watches" are  40+ mm and quite thin.  I find they end up resembling a pancake on a strap.  I know that the trend for several years has been very large watches, but I'm getting tired of oversized watches (but its seems they are here to stay). 

Best regards,

Dino

Intersting,
11/27/2007 - 18:20

and Hi Joe,

I appreciate that people have their own opinions,

and in many ways I follow you

But if you go back to my period of collecting,

the art deco,

for me everything is beautiful!!

or those two Cassandre posters !

And than Vacheron&Constatin,

was the leader of the pack!

You can't say this is dusty.....

made 1939

or this from 1937 ?

or even this from 1972 !!!

But I'm with you,

especially about the 70's,

please see my article

And some watches shouldn't have been produced,

but fact is that all Swiss watch industry were nearly dying,

at 70-90's.............

On the other hand as long as I been VC aficionado,

it's never been as much drive as now,

so join the gang !

Doc

Where to start
11/27/2007 - 19:55

Things I like:

1) Most vintage case designs

2) Gilloche dials

3) The sound of a fine watch movement ticking inside an 18k gold case

Things I don't like:

1) Contemporary designs. While there are few that I hate, most I just don't care for.

2) Service

I was pretty surprised reading of Alex's experience with the triple date, I wish I had gotten that type of service. I don't know what service is like for a contemporary model, but for vintage I don't even consider sending it to the company.

want to share with us the problems you had? (nt)
11/27/2007 - 20:41

.

My feeling was that...
11/27/2007 - 21:59

Vacheron was not interested in servicing vintage watches. I had a simple watch in good condition that needed only regular service. A year latter it still needed service.

Now I can understand the high cost of doing business, but really, they quoted a number 7 times that of the most expensive watchmaker in the US. OK, well how about an extract from the archives or a certificate of authenticity? Sounds lke a good program to recognise the past while keeping owners interested in the heritage of the company. I had heard that Patek charged for this service, so I wasen't expecting it for free. That quote was for $2000! For two pieces of paper.

Well, I was wiser for the experience, so I declined the service and the documentation, paid $75 for the return shipping, and waited, and waited, and waited. Finally I had to have an attorney contact the offices to get the watch back, one year after sending it in. Nine months after the shipping fee was paid.

Now, I still love the watches, but I won't do business with the company. And I believe that I understand the issues of service, Patek has done well by honoring their past. I appreciate competence, and directness, and I felt none from service personnel that I delt with. I was surprised when Alex told of talking to people about a new dial for his watch, I was told in no uncertain terms that I could not talk with anyone about the quote, I had to accept or regect the program, period.

I don't want to rant against the company or anything like that. They make their policy decisions, and thats OK. But from my perspective they seem to intentionally price themselves out of any association with the past. Othe atch companies do better, much much better. I don't know that everyone has this type of experience, but I don't hear anyone raving about it either.

So now I use RGM to service my watches and get great pleasure in dealing with them. I'd be interested in hearing where Doc sends his watches for service.

what I don't understand is how
11/27/2007 - 23:39

can they ask you $2000 for a certificate of authenticity when on the VC web site it is stated that the certificate costs 850 Swiss francs (which is about $700)!!

Furthermore, VC seems to be totally involved in the servicing of its vintage watches , recently an atelier dedicated exclusively to vintage watch servicing was set up in Geneva!

However your experience was rather painful and I can understand your discontent...

Re: what I don't understand is how
11/28/2007 - 16:20

It was about five years ago, they quoted it as two separate documents, one $900 the other $1100.

The difficult part was parts replecement, they would not allow the sale of parts period. Replacements had to be found just by looking through old movements. On the plus side, I now have a collection of movements too!

Same here... service delays and high costs for certificate
11/30/2007 - 20:19

Good morning. I'm back after many months of being rather upset.

I had exactly the same problem as you: service that takes forever (but I have just been told after contacting them via their websote that my watch has been serviced!!! I sent it over 9 months ago), and the exhorbitant costs of a certificate of authenticity: Wempe New York quoted $1346 !!!!!!! I complained both to them and VC and got the price down to $950 and I gave up and said yes just in order for them to get started on my watch.

Here is the best: Wempe actually printed in their order form: "Certificate of Authenticity---- Regular price would be $1346.00. Price has been reduced by VC". Amazing, like they are doing me such a great favor by asking me double the price and then reducing it!!!! Idiots.

I am slowly getting back to the level at which I enjoyed VC before this experience, but they definitely disapointed me. I used to know for 100% that my next watch would be a VC, but now I am not so sure anymore. Lange maybe.

It seems there is no ....
11/28/2007 - 20:34

consistency in the way the amount is charged. In Malaysia or Singapore the cost is about US$1300 (depending on the currency exchange fluctuation) which I find exorbitant and it becomes a deterrent to obtaining a Certificate. 

Applying for a Certificate of Authenticity for a vintage timepiece will most likely indicate the person/collector's enthusiasm in VC and this will natuarally bring about a stronger confidence in the brand. I can understand the time, cost, and effort involved in authenticating a vintage timepiece but this is one of the most effective ways to promote the heritage and history of the brand. Easy access to and a strong demand for such Certificates is also a good indicator of the future of the brand.

one thing to keep in mind is if you are going through an AD because
11/28/2007 - 20:49

often the latter just hikes up the price to get a margin on it!

That doesn't surprise me
11/28/2007 - 21:22
Maybe I have not been very lucky in my encounters with ADs, but I do not hold them in very high esteem. I never understood - and still fail to understand - how ADs are making 30-35% margin on everything they sell. I really don't understand why to get such a big piece of the pie, when they bring so little value to the table. Yeah, yeah, one can negotiate with them and it is always nice to get a big discount off the retail price, but I still feel that they rip-off to many people. I know a lot of WIS seem to have a special bond with their AD, but unfortunately it's never happened to me. I see them more as a necessary evil, and I can't wait for the day that watches manufacturers are going to sell their stuff directly over the internet and bypass the unnecessary middle man (who often, will know less than us...). I hate paying money for no value :-(
Quotations from AD and distributor
11/29/2007 - 06:52

Hi Alex

The price quoted was directly from Richemont, Singapore. The request was made through VC Boutique and I hasten to add that as far as the VC Boutique is concerned, they were merely doing a service and nothing more. This much I know.

Yes, I do agree with you that AD normally hikes up the price to get a nice margin. In fact, even main distributor doubled the price for just an Extract from the Archive. My friend really had a raw deal. He sent his watch (only a simple time & date watch) for service and requested for an Extract but ended up paying twice the amount for it and the watch had to re-sent to a local watchmaker to repair the damage the distributor did to his watch. Once bitten always shy!  Sorry for the digression :^) 

Coming back to the Certificate, can or will VC do something to streamline the cost factor. Otherwise the discrepancy will lead to much dissatisfaction and confusion which will not augur well for the esteemed Manufactory.

Cheers!  

dmas

Good topic Shady Joe!
11/27/2007 - 22:50
I agree with the majority of the points that have been made by yourself and the others so far... But to add my 2 cents, the things I like the most about VC is 1) Flawless execution and pursuit of perfection: I am a big fan of the attention to details and VC's focus on perfect finish... 2) Style and choice of designs. There are a few Patek models that I really really love, but I find a lot of them really boring. It would be difficult for me to find models out of VC's current collection that I do not like. The fact that VC offers a bespoke service makes it even better - it's like the Big Fat cherry on top! :-) 3) The direction that VC is taking. 4) The values that the brand stands for 5) The History of the Company 6) The 47212 moonphase ;-) The things I dislike about VC: 1) Prices - they are too high :-( I would really like to place a bespoke order, but it looks like I am going to have to wait a long time before being able to do so. 2) VC stopping the round Malte case - I love it so much!!
Fun topic Shady Joe!
11/29/2007 - 14:00

Likes:

1.  I love the name too and how it rolls of the tongue!

2.  The wide variety and selection that VC has offered over time, and still offers today.

3.  The quality, no matter what style, is always of the highest level.

4.  Related to #2, but the lack of a "standard" look that would characterize a VC watch  (i.e. the lack of a standard brand identity)

5.  That VC seems to attract watch lovers first, investors second (possibly 3rd or 4th).

6.  The ability for anybody to create a bespoke watch (even if it is beyond my personal finances).

Dislikes:

1.  Some of the offerings just do nothing for me even though I can appreciate the craftsmenship and novelty, such as the Masques, Skeletonizing, Patrimony Bi-Retrograde.  (but I accept this as one can never please everybody with everything when  woarking with variety, creative nature, and inspiration that sparks VC).

2.  I would never complain if the watches I'm interested in could be cheaper (the selfish part of me is coming out)