Why has VC lost its spot?

It's obvious by this post from the other watch website. VC must make its name more widely known and get the respect it deserves.

I understand why PP and AP are often mentioned in the top 3 brands but why VC???? 

To my knowledge VC has not contributed any where near as much as companies such as AP, PP, Breguet, JLC or Lange to the world of horology - They make no movements (or certainly not until very recently) themselves, they have not invented anything (to my knowledge) and do not have any real identity in the industry.

Granted they are a very old company - their finishing is excellent (on par with many brands) but I simply do not understand why people refer to the big three as PP, AP and VC ???

Am i missing something?

(Alex, if I violate anything please delete, thanks!)

Re: Why has VC lost its spot?
08/24/2007 - 07:38

The sender IS definitely missing something. 

Obviously he is not aware of VC's illustrious past and one must bear in mind that VC did not proclaim itself as one of the big three.  That was a title given to VC by those who appreciate and know of fine horology. Granting that VC has had its ups and downs, particularly in the last decades, it is obvious that VC is dead intent on reclaiming lost glory (with a vengeance).

Hopefully, VC will succeed! (nt)
08/24/2007 - 09:50


the poster is obviously not aware of the (sorry long post)
08/24/2007 - 10:43

history of certain of the brands he names such as Breguet which basically stopped making watches from around 1850 til the 80s when it was bought by the Chaumet brothers, Lange is also a reborn brand etc...

As Kazumi states VC did not put itself in the category of the big 3 but the industry (professionnals, experts, colllectors etc..) did. When you have collectors such as Fouad of Egypte or Packard ready to pay immense sums for VC to make them a watch its because the brand was considered as one of the best.

VC may have somehow missed the mechanical watch revival in the late 80s due to ownership and management by Sheik Yamani (the former Saudi minister of petrol) who was more interested in VC's real estate than watch making capacities. With the Richemont ownership VC did come back but not like it should have: some fantastic high horology pieces such as the skeleton minute repeater and tourbillon but an evident lack of communication and sometimes a difficult to understand product strategy leading to a lack of brand identity.

I think that since the 250th anniversary the VC management / team has really understood the wonderfull brand VC is and are now in full speed with the creation of some extraordinary pieces and of a brand identity with well distinguishable models.

On the in house movement side VC currently has 4 base movements:  3 automatic, 1 manual, a tourbillon movement and a perpetual calendar / minute repeater / tourbillon movement. In the pipe lines are an inhouse chronograph movement, a large sized manual etc..  

The finish of the above movements is also extraordinary not only on the visible parts but also on the underdial, for me these movements are the most beautifully finished among "mainstream" brands. I recently showed the caliber 2450 to independent watchmakers Roger Smith and Kari Voutilainen (Philippe Dufour himself lauds the finish of Voutilainen's movements which says alot) and both were amazed by the quality of the finish which both said was something extremely difficult to achieve in "production" pieces.

As to inventions I don't have the list but off the top of my head: VC was the first to create tools for standardising components as to create "serial" production, they invented the first retrograde indication in a wrist watch, they were the first to serially produce a precision time keeper (the Royal Chronometer)...

Its not all to make your own movements and to invent (I can't really think of any major horological breakthrough since Abraham Louis Breguet!!) but your watches need to be beautiful and VC has made some of the most gorgeus watches I have ever seen.

All this to say that in 252 years of history you have ups and downs and VC's main problem was communication, its not enough to have fantastic products and world firsts but you should let the public know it. I'm not saying that VC should become a purely marketing brand but what the hell if "you have it flaunt it" :-)  

Just my 2c

Re: the poster is obviously not aware of the (sorry long post)
08/24/2007 - 14:52

agree with Alex' 2c... I would just make a small addendum: IM(very humble)O, the resurgence of VC happened a few years before its 250th anniversary, in 2000, with the launch of the Malte collection. Again IMO, this is THE collection that sets VC apart from its competitors, on 2 points: a) VC has been able to achieve in this line the perfect blend between the traditional and the modern. This is a rare feat that PP and AP have only been able to achieve on a few select models. b) The collection has its unique identity, with distinct and original features (lugs, hands, etc.) making each model easily identifiable. There is not one “lame duck” in the collection, which remains to date my favorite… the 47112, 47031, 47120, 30066, 49145, 30040, … if I had the money I would buy them all. My 2c…

"I'm not saying that VC should become a purely marketing brand
08/25/2007 - 06:17

but what the hell if "you have it, flaunt it"...I couldn't agree more.

And there is also something else, beside Alex' comments,
08/24/2007 - 15:08

not to forget: VC was, during the last century, clearly ahead of his time in offering exclusive cases (in wristwatches) on the market, and which has lasted through years: I am thinking about the large, curved and square "Cioccolatone" (the new version being Toledo), different watches with tear drop lugs, the best ever made by a manufacturer, and many others.

Last point who is coming to my mind after checking: they produced the flatest ever made watch in 1955, unrivalled since then to my knowledge, with a movement 1,64 mm in thickness!

I think there are many reasons to include VC in the "big 3", if you refer to some expert expressions.


interesting question, the reason I think VC, PP and AP are considered
08/24/2007 - 22:43

as the big three is because they have been considered as high end brands making the finest watches uniteruptedly for 250 years for VC and over 150 years for PP and AP. And like it or not history is extremely important and being able to stay on top for all these years is a feat.

VC maybe does not have an iconic model but then again look at AP they have fantastic models but are slaves to the Royal Oak and the offshores and the day these models stop being hot AP better have a plan B.

Breguet basically was dormant since the end of the 19th century til the Swatch acquisition, Lange exists only since 1990 and unfortunately they have not been able to continue the amazing pace they had started with and for me they have not produced anything of interest since 1999 and the launch of the Datograph.

JLC may have supplied the whole industry with movements but the brand was never considered as high end as its clients and just because they are trying to come out with more complicated and expensive watches today doesn't really mean that they are high end in the eyes of collectors (just look at the auction prices of the complicated pieces)

As was stated above its the market which decides who's part of the big guys and up til now only VC, AP and PP are considered to be part of that select group.