For those interested on a feature article on the Quai de l'Ile : Vacheron Constantin's Bohemian Rhapsody
I'm not doing an owner's review but you can read an excellent article by Duncan Wang: Duncan's review
I love the Quai de l’Ile! For me its one of the coolest watches from a mainstream brand (read not an independent artisan) launched in ages. And to put my money where my mouth is, a few weeks back I purchased a time only model in palladium.
Sometimes when you meet a person, listen to a song or see a painting it just clicks, that special cord in you is hit and you just know that this is it! This was definitely the case when I saw the first CAD drawings of the Quai de l’Ile and later the actual watches… both a breath of fresh air and a huge smack in the face. The chord was strung and I was hooked…or doomed depending on how you look at it .
I know that the QDI is a love/hate design and something so different from the typical classical watches we are used to seeing from Vacheron Constantin but let’s face it, we have entered a new era in watchmaking where those in their 30s-40s who are starting to get interested in horology want something different from what their fathers were wearing: enter the world of design. However the problem was that until now you rarely (if ever) had high horology mixed with design and a prestigious name.
I think that the image we have from VC is rather warped from what we have seen in the 90s where the brand produced very classical watches but if you look back at the brand’s historical pieces you will see that they were always on the forefront of design and creativity: playing with lugs, sizes and shapes : a short article on VC's avant garde designs
With the Quai de l’Ile VC actually created a new market: design oriented haute horlogerie (put aside the niche brands such as Mille, MB&F or Urwerk), and they had the courage to actually create a whole new collection and not just apply this design to a few concept watches or ultra limited pieces…
I think kudos should be given to VC for having had the guts and courage to do something like the Quai de l’Ile. It is always easy not to ever take risks and stick to old and tested designs but here VC is opening a path and a few years down the line the Quai de l’Ile will be like David Lynch’s Eraserhead or Massive Attack’s Blue Lines: creating a new genre, becoming a classical that many would want to copy but never reaching the same level.
The watch itself is fascinating; the case is just amazing with its brushed and polished surfaces. I love the way the white paddle rotates around the dial highlighting the date. Depending on the angle the dial is looked at, it can look grey, brown or even aubergine…it really has an original effect! I wear it with a brown rubber strap and believe me it has hardly left my wrist for the past month. So what’s the next step? I definitely do want a day/date model either in titanium/palladium or titanium/rose gold, and from there on I would love to build a QDI collection and if what I think will be launched next year will be launched then I definitely want one