When you’re a world renowned watch brand and you want to pay tribute to your long history in a major market, what do you do? In the case of Vacheron Constantin it created three magnificent one off masterpieces. The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle Calibre 2755 Boutique New York was made in 2011 especially to celebrate the opening of its New York boutique (first ever US Boutique at this time).
Vacheron Constantin has been well established in North America for longer than any Swiss brand. It had already made successful inroads in the early part of the 19th century at a time when many of the major brands we know today had yet to be founded. In 1819 came the arrival of a significant new partner for the manufacture, François Constantin. He was previously from J.F. Bautte, the forerunner to Girard-Perregaux. A flamboyant character, he enjoyed himself immensely travelling the world and selling Vacheron & Constantin (as it was named at the time ) watches to the wealthy cognoscenti. The son of a wealthy grain merchant, it was Constantin who, on writing from Turin, Italy on July 5th of the same year, coined what has since become the company motto: ‘Do better when possible and it’s always possible.’
It was Jean-Barthélémy Vacheron’s long term vision and Constantin’s undoubted charm which helped to open up the brand to the vast opportunities presented by a vibrant North America, hungry for the finest goods from Europe. Indeed the brand appointed an agent and opened its first distributorship in lower Manhattan in 1832, prior to that only British made watches had been marketed in North America.
The hand-engraved frieze motif on the case actually serves as a reminder that the world’s oldest watch manufacturer with an uninterrupted history has enjoyed close links with the United States for over 180 years. And as history records, the beauty and precision of Vacheron Constantin watches won Americans over.
The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle Calibre 2755 Boutique New York is of course a piece where the manufacture takes the opportunity to show off. It was designed specifically to pay tribute to the expertise acquired over more than 255 years of the Manufacture, and what a piece it is. Its 602 piece movement was designed entirely in-house, and with a price tag of $620,000, bear in mind you are paying more than $1000 for each of those pieces.
The watch features the three major complications that mark a watch as a timepiece of great importance; namely a tourbillon, a perpetual calendar and a minute repeater. The minute repeater was designed in such a way that it features two weights which act as a brake on the governor’s rotating shaft. This evens out the energy released by the barrel. To do this it uses opposing centrifugal and centripetal forces. The tourbillon, positioned at 6 o’clock, does what all tourbillons are supposed to do and counteracts the effects of gravity on the accuracy of the watch. The perpetual calendar is programmed to faithfully record the date according to the Gregorian calendar for the next 400 years.
Despite the impressive complications, the watch remains as sleek, stylish and as impeccably tasteful as any watch in the Patrimony Traditionnelle range. The pink gold 44mm casing contrasts smartly with the crisp opaline grey of the dial. The railway track hour marking features pink gold indices while the three sub dials indicate the day, month and date. On the back are two engravings, “No1/1” and “Madison and 64th”.
The other important pieces created to mark the New York boutique opening were the “Overseas Chronograph Perpetual Calendar Boutique New York”, and the “Historiques American 1921 Boutique New York”. Who owns these magnificent pieces today? We don’t know, but usually these exclusive one offs tend to find their way back to the maison’s own museum for posterity.
More resources about the Patrimony Traditionnelle Calibre 2755 on the Official Vacheron Constantin Website.