In September 1755, a 24 year old watchmaker Jean-Marc Vacheron, signed his first apprentice, thus founding a business by making clear his intention to hand down his skills. This contract can therefore be regarded as Vacheron Constantin's birth certificate, making it the oldest watch manufacturer in continuous operation since it was founded. In 1785, Jean-Marc Vacheron's son, Abraham, took over the workshops. He managed to keep the enterprise going despite the troubles following the French Revolution and the occupation of Geneva by the troops of the French Directory. Following the lead given by his father, he taught the watchmaker's trade to his son, Jacques Barthelemi Vacheron. The first known complicated movement to come out of the workshops signed Vacheron a Geneve dates from the end of the 18th century.
In 1810, Jean-Marc Vacheron's grandson, Jacques Barthelemi Vacheron, assumed the management of the family enterprise. The company started to produce more complicated timepieces, such as musical watches with two different tunes. Jacques Barthelemi Vacheron oversaw the first exports of his products to France and Italy, gaining such high-ranking clients as Prince Charles-Albert of Carignano, the future king of Sardinia and the first of the House of Savoy, whose son became the first king of a united Italy.
In 1819, the partnership between Jacques Barthelemi Vacheron and experienced businessman Francois Constantin gave the business a new name - Vacheron Constantin. The two Genevese shared the same interest in sophisticated and complicated watches. Francois Constantin had a keen eye for business, opening a number of new markets during three decades of work for the company. Only July 6, 1819, Francois Constantin wrote to his new partner, Jacques Barthelemi Vacheron, from Turin. His letter contained the phrase that was to become the company's motto: "Do better if possible and that is always possible."
In 1839, Vacheron Constantin revolutionized watchmaking methods by designing new tools, including a pantograph to centre and create holes in the baseplates and bridges of the movement. This made possible the manufacture of interchangeable parts, which enabled the company to raise the quality of its watches. This invention propelled Vacheron Constantin towards a successful future. Throughout the following years, Vacheron Constantin went on to achieve many more major accomplishments. It created one of the first series produced wristwatches and was one of the first manufacturers to adopt the tonneau or barrel shaped case.
In 1955 , Vacheron Constantin managed to create the thinnest ever manually wound movement; at 1.64mm it is as thin as a Swiss 20 cent coin. The calibre 1003, bearing the Hallmark of Geneva certification, has become representative of the ultra-thin movements.
In recent years, Vacheron Constantin has produced some of the world's most prestigious watches, including the Patrimony, Traditionelle, Harmony, and Overseas collections. Vacheron Constantin produces the largest number of timepieces stamped with the Hallmark of Geneva and has been a loyal representative of this certification since 1901. Compliance with these quality criteria denotes the manufacturer's undisputable mastery of the entire watchmaking process from the design of the movement, whether simple or complicated, to the sale of the watch. It is this commitment to quality that makes the company one of the most prestigious watch brands in the world.
Vacheron Constantin watches are available at our Richmond store, located in greater Vancouver.