Some brands have a true luxury problem, and amongst them is Vacheron Constantin for sure. The Maison’s rich history has resulted in a private collection of 1,200 pieces, and the problem is that all of them can be considered highlights of their genre. Yet such a wealth of timepieces also offers numerous possibilities to create special themed exhibitions, as Vacheron Constantin has done with their latest exhibition named “Travels & Adornments”.

1926 – Pocket watch, 18K white gold, rock crystal, enamel and onyx cabochon crown. German silver skeleton movement.

For this exhibition, which is being held on the first floor of the Maison Vacheron Constantin on the Quai de l’Ile in Geneva, the brand has shown considerable restraint by only selecting forty seven pieces to put on display. Together they not only span the almost 260 years of Vacheron Constantin’s history, but also a trip around the world since the Maison has divided its exhibition into four sections covering Europe, Greece, the East and the open worked architecture of the late 19th century.

1909 – Lady’s pendant watch, yellow gold, translucent enamel on guilloché back, platinum and diamond floral-pattern appliques. Silvered dial.

What all these watches have in common is that they display a wealth of different decoration techniques which all breathe the culture they where crafted for, or inspired by. The decoration of watches started effectively in the 16th century when in most of Europe the display of lavish jewelry was ousted by the teachings of Calvin. Instead of creating increased unemployment under the goldsmiths, they simply moved their field of work towards watches, which were not regarded as jewellery. Other cultures like India for example, did not experience this turn of events and showed an continuing love for fine jewellery and expected their timepieces to fit into this tradition.

10944_dosF__low1924 – Pocket watch, 18K yellow gold, jade case with glyptic intaglio engraving, rose-cut diamonds. Enamel dial.

 Although the combination of materials and decoration techniques often offer a very lavish display of color and texture, they also offer a wealth of details that make this exhibition so unique. It also gives visitors an insight into the many different kind of decoration techniques that Vacheron Constantin has deployed over the years, yet the pieces that represent that craftsmanship are rarely put on display.

11470a__low1921 – Pocket watch, yellow gold and enamel, back adorned with Hellenistic-style frieze featuring a champlevé enamelled scene depicting Hermes on his chariot. Silvered dial.

Vacheron Constantin’s “Travels & Adornments” exhibition can be viewed until the end of October 2014 by appointment only at
Maison Vacheron Constantin, 7 Quai de l’Ile, 1204 Geneva

Martin Green
Eclectic taste in Haute Horlogerie, passion for diamond set watches, loves the classics

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