Vacheron Constantin - The Oldest Watchmaking Company?
Vacheron Constantin claims to be the oldest watchmaking brand in the world that till nowadays continues to be involved in this industry. However, in 1945, the company launched an ad that stated the celebration of 160 years of Vacheron Constantin. This means that the Swiss watchmaker traced its foundation back to 1785 when the company was headed by Abraham Vacheron. Only later did it trace the lineage further to the year 1755.
In 1755 Jean-Marc Vacheron, had its own workshop. This is why the year of foundation of Vacheron Constantin became 1755. This year became official since the discovery of Jean-Marc's commercial contract dated 1755.
However, the archives of the company itself do not include any information of the first sixty years of its activity since 1755. There are only letters that are dated 1810. These letters are signed by Jaques-Barthelemy Vacheron. All information concerning the year 1755 comes from secondary sources, featuring some documents and references from public record.
The confusion that surrounds the company's lineage can be an anachronistic artifact that is used in contemporary business, so the company is somehow greater than its founder. Thus in the middle of the 18th century it was both the founder and the craftsman.
According to the information provided by Vacheron Constantin its origins can be traced whether to 1755, 1785 or even 1908. The latter is the year when, despite several changes in company's management, there is a lineage that remains unbroken till nowadays.
Nevertheless the arguing on the foundation date didn't stop Vacheron Constantin from breaking several records in the industry of watchmaking. Throughout it's history the company introduced many innovations among which was the creation of a machine able to duplicated watch parts and thus saving time and money.
Vacheron Constantin holds the record for the most expensive wristwatch in the world. Created in 1979 Kallista, Greek for "the most wonderful" is a timepiece that has 118 emerald-cut diamonds and its initial price was 5 million dollars. Today the watch is valued at 11 million dollars.
Besides creating the most expensive wristwatch the company, in 2005, designed the most complicated timepiece. The watch was created in order to celebrate the company's 250 years of activity in the watchmaking industry. The name is Tour de I'Ille and it has an enormous, for a wristwatch, number features. 834 component parts allow the watch to have 16 complications. Its initial price was 1.5 million dollars.
Today Vacheron Constantin does not need any advertising; it is among the leaders in watchmaking. Together with Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin forms the Big Three in Swiss watchmaking business.