Vacheron Constantin: Heritage of Swiss watches
Numerous Swiss watch brands pride themselves in having a long, rich history of producing high-end time pieces for a number of years.
AMEinfo met with Dominique Bernaz, the artistic director of the maison, a true watch passionate and a pioneer f the Heritage Department at Vacheron Constantin, who explains the reason behind choosing Dubai for such a global launch, more about the new collection and what it means to cater to the world’s ultra wealthy, those who definitely want the finest things in life, and are willing to wait for them.
Why choose Dubai for this global launch?
I’ve been in the business for about 40 years, and Dubai is a very interesting, there are many connoisseurs here; it has become the capital of luxury in a way.
The pieces have been announced on the website two weeks ago, and Dubai is the first city we show them in.
Tell us a little about the bespoke department in Vecheron, what value does it add and a little bit of the history behind it?
We’ve always been doing bespoke, but we have dedicated a service to this approach of watch making in 2006. In bespoke the the problem is that we can never show our work because we are doing something especially for someone, and they choose to either show it publicly or not.
Very often people would ask what we can do in the bespoke sphere, so we decided to create a small collection called Metres Cabinotiers, with the same process for bespoke unique pieces, so they are very technical or very aesthetic, or a mix of both.
Was Dubai a first city because you get many bespoke orders from here?
We get some major bespoke orders from this part of the world.
When you do bespoke there are different ways, we start from a white page, and build for you a caliber, a mechanism, the case, dial and all that comes with the watch. Here I would say the sky is the limit, it all depends on how much you are ready to spend and how long you are prepared to wait for.
What’s the most expensive bespoke piece you have done upon a request from the Middle East region?
The most expensive piece done for the region upon a bespoke request was in the vicinity of let’s say between 15 and 20 million dollars. For this much money you need to wait for 6 to 7 years, here we are not talking about stones, we are talking about the mechanics. It was not delivered yet, but will be soon.
What value does the heritage department at Vacheron valuable and unique now?
We are in the 21st century, and it is one where speed is very important, many brands appear and disappear. I think the value is more about credibility; we have been here for 260 years, so it is all about credibility and responsibility.
Doing bespoke in the 21st century is not financially logical… if you want a department to be profitable, you don’t listen to your clients, you do what you can do and you do it in the best possible way with efficiency, but bespoke is never very efficient, and clients are giving us a challenge.
Even though bespoke is a product itself it is more expensive than a production product, and profitability for the company is not as good.
Then why do you do bespoke now?
If we do bespoke today it is because the company was created on bespoke. In the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, most of our pieces were bespoke pieces, so it is in our roots, hence we keep giving this service.