Vacheron Constantin is the oldest manufacturer of fine watches in the entire world. Jean Marc Vacheron established the watch company in Geneva, Switzerland in 1755. Through the years, the company has maintained the highest standards of excellence and style. It has also played an important role in timepiece innovation and technology.
Vacheron was able to create his own complication in 1770. Nine years later, he was able to create the first engine-turned dials. The company is also credited with creating the first six quarter-repeater watches that can strike the hours and the quarters upon request.
The company was able to survive the French Revolution in the latter part of the 18th century. In 1810, the grandson of Jean Marc, Jaques Barthelemy Vacheron, took over the helm of the company and started exporting the watch to Italy and France. He recognized his limitations though, so in 1819, he took in Francois Constantin as a partner and associate. The company subsequently became known as Vacheron & Constantin. Constantin was ultimately responsible for the company’s expansion to new markets, including the lucrative North American segment. He also composed the company’s motto that states, “Do better if possible and that is always possible.” This was originally written in one of his letters to Vacheron.
The hiring in 1839 of Georges Auguste Leschot led to more innovations in the company’s watches. Leschot was able to standardize movements into calibers, which revolutionized the timepiece industry. He also created the pantographic device that would allow the mechanical reproduction of certain watch parts. The company is also responsible for the to and fro, 31-day calendar mechanism that can be seen from both the front and the back of the watch’s case. This has since become one of the company’s most popular designs.
Some of the company’s most notable users include historical figures like Napoleon Bonaparte, the Duke of Windsor, Pope Pius IX and Harry Truman. Here now is a list of the top 10 most expensive Vacheron Constantin watches in the world.
10. Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time – $59,300
The Vacheron Constantin Oveseas Dual Time has a gold case weighing 18 carats. it measures 42 millimeters in diameter and 12.45 millimeters in thickness. It has a complicated style with automatic movement. It also has an hour, minute and central second indicator. The watch also features a second time zone with day and night indicators. Power reserve can last up to 40 hours. The watch is water-resistant up to 15 meters.
9. Vacheron Constantin Tribute to Great Explorers – $103,900
The Vacheron Constantin Tribute to Great Explorers is a limited edition watch. The company made only 60 pieces of this watch. Its case is made of yellow gold weighing 18 carats and with size measuring 40 millimeters in diameter and 12.21 millimeters in thickness. It has an alligator band and a “Grand Feu” enameled dial. It also has automatic movement and an hours and minutes function.
8. Vacheron Constantin Malte Tonneau Openworked Tourbillon – $218,900
The Vacheron Constantin Malte Tonneau Openworked Tourbillon has a case made of pink gold that weighs 18 carats. it measures 36 millimeters by 48 millimeters and has a thickness of 11.8 millimeters. The tonneau-shaped watch has a transparent case back with sapphire glass. It has manual movement with 246 parts and 27 jewels. Power reserve should last around 45 hours. It has an hour, minute and small second indicators, with the small second on tourbillon. It also has a hand-type calendar.
7. Vacheron Constantin Malte Tourbillon Skeleton – $320,900
The Vacheron Constantin Malte Tourbillon Skeleton is a tonneau-shaped watch with a platinum case measuring 50 millimeters by 40 millimeters and with thickness of 13.15 millimeters. The case back is transparent and the case and bezel are set with 251 round brilliant diamonds weighing 1.9 carats and 30 baguette diamonds weighing 3.6 carats. The Grand Complication-style watch has a black alligator band.
6. Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers – $387,200
The Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers is a really thin watch that needs to be manually winded. The case of this watch is made of rose gold that weighs 18 carats and the strap is black alligator. Power reserve can last up to 34 hours.
5. Vacheron Constantin Malte Tourbillon Regulator – $700,000
The Vacheron Constantin Malte Tourbillon Regulator is a tonneau-shaped watch that features a tourbillon and a black leather strap. It has 263 baguette-cut diamonds in the dial of the watch, as well as 274 similar cut diamonds in the case. It is part of the timepiece company’s high jewelry collection.
4. Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionelle – $725,000
The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionelle is a Grand Complication watch with brown alligator band, silver dial and rose gold case weighing 18 carats. It has a manual movement, as well as functions on hours, minutes and seconds on tourbillon. It also has a minute repeater, perpetual calendar and power reserve at the back.
3. Vacheron Constantin Tour de l’Ile – $1.5 million
The Vacheron Constantin Tour de l’Ile was unveiled in 2005 to mark the 250th anniversary of the timepiece company. Only seven pieces of this complicated double-face watch was produced. It features a combination of horological complications and astronomical indications with 16 different points. It includes a minute repeater, sunset time, perpetual calendar, second time zone, tourbillon device, equation of time and representation of the night sky.
2. Vacheron Constantin (Special Commission) – $6.5 million
This watch has no name yet as it has been specially commissioned by a European businessman. It will include a perpetual calendar with leap year, star chart, celestial annual calendar, tourbillon, regulator, sunrise and sunset indicator, perpetual time equation, phases and age of the moon, substantial power reserve, multiple time zones and day and night indicator. With all these astronomical and astrological combinations, this watch may take years to complete.
1. Vacheron Constantin Kalista – $11 million
The Vacheron Constantin Kalista was created in 1979 for $5 million. Experts estimate its current price at $11 million. The watch features 118 emerald-cut diamonds. The company needed 6,000 man-hours to finish the watch, plus an additional 20 months for the encrusting of the jewels.