Published in: March 2013 Features > A Brief History of Time (Page 1 / 3)

A Brief History of Time

We discuss Vacheron Constantin’s amazing success in time with Marketing Director Julien Marchenoir, a man who frequently says his job is to look to the future while always respecting the glorious past of the company

Marchenoir sits at the confluence of history and marketing at Vacheron Constantin

Vacheron Constantin is a fearless trailblazer in watchmaking, something for which it ought to receive due credit. The company is also very old – established in Geneva in 1755 – and it gets plenty of credit for this amazing fact. Vacheron Constantin is the oldest continuously operating Swiss watchmaking company, meaning it has never taken a break from actively producing and selling watches; World Wars, the Great Depression and various crises – including the quartz one – tried and failed to keep Vacheron Constantin from working.

To be sure, this is inspirational stuff and could lead directly into a discussion of the impact of Vacheron Constantin’s famous motto: Do better if possible and that is always possible. It was in fact this motto that brought us face-to-face with Julien Marchenoir, the Marketing Director of Vacheron Constantin, who has also been the Heritage Director at the company. He of course has excellent perspective on the history and legacy of Vacheron Constantin.

“This (motto) pushes us to develop the company and it has been really key in the history of Vacheron Constantin. I think this philosophy has kept us from collapsing during difficult times in the world’s history. You know, when you enter into Vacheron Constantin it is like a big sword (of Damocles) hanging above your head… It is enormous pressure for sure,” said Marchenoir.

Interview Julien Marchenoir For Vacheron Constantin

Artisans working on engraving a dial for the Métiers d’Art Florilege Queen watch. Marchenoir points to the scarcity of such artisans for the strictly limited production of the Métiers d’Art collection

The company Jean-Marc Vacheron founded certainly has a powerful legacy but this very legacy sometimes hides its heritage in innovation. For example, Vacheron Constantin appears largely to be on the sidelines of the silicium revolution while its many rivals have rushed to stake claims on various innovations.

At the same time, Vacheron Constantin has pioneered an unparalleled approach to watchmaking and anti-counterfeiting with the Quai de l'Ile collection and, long before this, the manufacture arguably led the way in the Great Depression by making and selling watches in steel.

Now, it is worth remembering that Vacheron Constantin was a pioneer of revolutionary materials in its manufacture movements; the company began research into anti-magnetic materials for watchmaking in 1862. Knowledge of the past reveals other surprises in this regard, as evidenced by the aluminium movement Vacheron Constantin made in the 1930s for a special series of pocket watches. If you do not believe it, just look at the brand’s archives or take a look at our own photo essay on the subject.

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