The Vacheron Constantin Égérie The Pleats of Time Concept Watch

Greatest Hits: Vacheron Constantin’s Heritage-Inspired Novelties from Watches and Wonders

From opulent jewelry watches to high-flying technological marvels, the horological legend Vacheron Constantin showcases its savoir-faire with a stunning slate of timepieces.

By Rhonda Riche

This year at Watches and Wonders, Vacheron Constantin presented a very diverse slate of timepieces ranging from an update to the minimalist Patrimony collection to a concept watch that combines haute horlogerie, haute couture, and haute parfumerie.

On paper, the following releases may sound chaotic, but seen in person in the halls of the Palexpo, they made the assembled press and buyers weak in the knees!

Vacheron Constantin x Couturier Yiqing Yin Égerie: The Pleats of Time

We were first introduced to the Égerie Pleats of Time – a collaboration between Vacheron Constantin and Haute Couturier Yiqing Yin – via a Zoom Call with the maison’s Product and Innovation Director Sandrine Donguy and Style and Heritage Director Christian Selmoni in advance of Watches and Wonders.

Still, the brilliance of these two concept pieces couldn’t be truly appreciated until we experienced them firsthand in Geneva.

The first piece is a diamond-set pink gold concept watch (so it’s not for sale) with a lilac mother-of-pearl dial adorned with a ‘pleats’ pattern and an original Haute Couture strap woven with exquisite embroidery and mother-of-pearl shards. These are the haute horology and couture elements.

However, in addition to those elements, Yiqing Yin also worked with master perfumer Dominique Ropion to create a dedicated fragrance, described by Ropion as “a mineral scent with pastel, wintry, powdery and iridescent notes, playing with the sun and wisps of smoke.”

This fragrance was then imbued into this pièce unique’s woven strap and will be released in step with wrist movements.

Now, we know this all sounds a bit…out there, but just because it’s never been done before doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make sense. After all, who doesn’t remember watching their mother dab perfume on the pulse points of her wrist to maximize the scent’s intensity and longevity?

The second Pleats of Time model is scent-free but just as visually captivating. This exclusive 100-piece limited edition also bears Yiqing Yin’s name engraved on the caseback.

Grand Lady Kalla

There are so many watches on this list that we’re going to focus more on an individual piece’s impact rather than list all the technical specs (you can trust Vacheron Constantin knows what it’s doing in that arena). So, let’s start with an incredible piece of art, the Grand Lady Kalla.

Probably the closest thing to a museum piece you’ll see at Watches and Wonders, Vacheron Constantin describes it as a “mantle of light embroidered with 57 facets emerald-cut diamonds” on the case and dial with even more diamonds, Akoya pearls, and onyx beads on the bracelet and tasseled sautoir necklace.

Moreover, with the release of this Grand Lady Kalla, Vacheron Constantin resurrects the idea of a convertible watch. According to Innovation Director Sandrine Donguy, the brand is always looking for ways to allow the maison’s artisans and the watch’s wearer to express their artistic sensibilities. Thus, this watch can be worn as a bracelet or a pendant necklace with the face covered or on full display.

And while the design has big Art Deco energy, Donguy explained in a press release, “The maison’s heritage testifies to its formidable ability to capture the spirit of its times while fulfilling feminine desires.”

20 Years of Patrimony

We can’t believe that the Patrimony is 20 years old this year. When it launched, the inaugural Patrimony model was celebrated for its slenderness, 1950s-style silhouette, and minimalist architecture – so very different than the hockey-puck-sized cases of the day.

Moreover, its proportions made it a very democratic design that suited men and women equally. Basically, it was a hit from the start. No notes.

Except Vacheron Constantin is not a house that rests on its laurels. That is why, this year at Watches & Wonders, the brand welcomed three new models to the Patrimony family. Two are manual-winding models in white gold or pink gold featuring a new 39mm diameter case, antique silver-toned dials, a closed caseback providing space for personalized engraving, and two new strap colors, azure blue or olive-green.

Meanwhile, a 42.5mm white gold model featuring a moonphase and retrograde date with 18-karat 5N pink gold hour markers and minutes track, an old-looking silver-toned dial, and an olive-green alligator strap.

And while the aesthetic of the Patrimony is pure and simple, adding complications like a retrograde and moonphase requires the kind of mechanical wizardry that only haute horology brands like Vacheron Constantin can provide.

Overseas Tourbillon

As wide-ranging as Vacheron Constantin’s 2024 Watches and Wonders novelties are, the brand has a theme that unites them all: “From Geometry to Artistry.” And the new Overseas Tourbillon is maybe the best manifestation of this ethos.

From its 42.5mm case to its bracelet to its crown and bezel, Vacheron Constantin is expanding its range of titanium watches by rendering the new Overseas tourbillon model entirely in Grade 5 titanium. Moreover, this model is graced with the collection’s emblematic blue dial and powered by the ultra-thin self-winding Calibre 2160.

The maison has dabbled with titanium before, most notably, the brand’s two Overseas Everest limited edition models released in 2021.

Finally, this Overseas is the first in the collection to feature a skeletonized tourbillon. But why do a tourbillon? Well, according to the brand’s Style and Heritage Director, Christian Selmoni: “It was time to explore other, non-chronograph options and decided to mix the metal with the ultra-thin self-winding tourbillon Calibre 2160.”

In short, it’s a technical watch with a unique aesthetic that has the collection’s emblematic blue dial tying everything together.

Collection Excellence Platine Traditionelle

The Overseas is not the only collection to get tourbillon-charged. The Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph joins the Collection Excellence Platine.

This 50-piece limited edition was crafted for collectors, and its impressive combination of noble complications and metals has also been honored with the addition of the Calibre 3200. This classic manual winding chronograph based on timepieces from the 1930s and 1940s but features robust modern chronometry.

For more information, including pricing and all the various tech specs, check out the Vacheron Constantin website.

(Photography by Pierre Vogel)

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