acheron Constantin opens its new North American flagship boutique in New York City. The new two-story boutique at 28 East 57th Street celebrates the long-standing relationship between the watchmaker and America since 1831. Client-first experiences include in-house watchmaker, strap customization, interactive digital archives, rotating exhibition space, and the first ever permanent “Les Collectionneurs” vintage offer.
The selection of New York for the location of Vacheron Constantin’s North American Flagship carries powerful symbolism for the watchmaker. In 1831, Jacques Barthélémi Vacheron wrote a letter stating his intent to expand business to the United States, and in 1832 the company established its first agent in New York.
By the twentieth century, Vacheron Constantin timepieces could be found on the wrists of eminent Americans from members of the Rockefeller family, Henry and William James, automobile manufacture James Ward Packard, and actors Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor to name a few.
- Pocket watch James Ward Packard (1918)
Of the many innovative and historically important Vacheron Constantin timepieces, special references inspired by American clients include one of the first large wristwatches for aviators, a series of pocket watches for the U.S. Corps of Engineers during WWI, and just a few years later, the cushion-shaped “American 1921”, a classic yet daring tilted-dial design created for the American market. This iconic timepiece celebrates its 100th Anniversary in 2021 and is the focus of the New York Flagship opening exhibition.
Located between Madison and Park Avenue, the new Vacheron Constantin Flagship spans over 4,500 square feet and covers two floors. A distinctive glass façade opens directly onto 57th Street and features a sleek brass-toned design in the shape of the Maison’s emblem, the Maltese Cross. The transparent glass invites collectors and visitors into a discovery of the Maison’s creativity and fine craftsmanship in a harmonious old-meets-new environment fitting the spirit of Vacheron Constantin’s contemporary watchmaking.
Upon entering, visitors are greeted by an atrium filled with natural light and a double floor height. A striking blue straw marquetry wall with Maltese cross motif creates a focal point that conveys Vacheron Constantin’s dedication to high watchmaking artistry. To the left, an open discovery table welcomes watch collectors and visitors alike to discover beautiful crafts and techniques amongst an assortment of Métiers d’art timepieces.
A large eye-catching screen offers an immersive tour through the history of Vacheron Constantin in the United States via an exclusive interactive experience: the “Chronogram”. Developed in partnership with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), Chronogram is an innovative tool that uses emerging technologies to digitize Vacheron Constantin’s exceptional body of archives accumulated since 1755, shared with the public for live exploration of the Maison’s heritage.
- Elizabeth Taylor’s Lord Kalla watch (1989)
A dedicated area within the first floor displays the restoration capabilities of the Maison and rotating exhibitions of historic timepieces from the Vacheron Constantin private heritage collection in Geneva. In a striking design, visitors are met with a sweeping staircase animated with bronze vertical columns inspired by 19th century architecture.
As a demonstration of the Maison’s commitment to client-centered service, the second floor opens to an expansive watchmaking bench intended to encourage interaction with an in-house watchmaker as well as a custom strap station presenting both engraving and embossing customization options. A VIP Lounge encourages lingering and a family-friendly bar upstairs is equipped with games and refreshments that truly embody Vacheron Constantin’s dedication to clients.
The new Flagship houses the complete Vacheron Constantin timepiece collection from simple to high complications, as well as boutique exclusive models, the first permanent “Les Collectionneurs” vintage watch offering, and a rotating Les Cabinotiers assortment. The newly unveiled American 1921 Pièce Unique re-creation timepiece will also be presented for the occasion of the Flagship opening.
Chosen with patience and talent by the Maison’s heritage department specialists, “Les Collectionneurs” curated collection of vintage Vacheron Constantin watches from the 20th century have been restored and are offered with the same warranty given to contemporary collections. Previously only available at dedicated annual events in Vacheron Constantin boutiques around the world, a rare assortment will be featured in the North American Flagship as the world’s first “Les Collectionneurs” permanent boutique offering.
Les Cabinotiers, Vacheron Constantin’s approach to single-piece editions, showcases the Maison’s amazing wealth of creative and engineering talent. The department of Les Cabinotiers combines excellence and dedication with a group of master watchmaking professionals who use their wide-ranging scientific knowledge in the latest technical breakthroughs and 18th century watchmaking crafts to perpetuate Vacheron Constantin’s tradition of innovation. Creating both bespoke timepieces on demand from clients as well as timepieces conceived by Vacheron Constantin master watchmakers, Les Cabinotiers translate dreams into reality in mechanical and artistic terms and consistently push the boundaries of what is possible in watchmaking today.
To mark the 100th anniversary of the American 1921 watch, Vacheron Constantin has delved into its archives and its horological expertise to offer a faithful reproduction of the American 1921 original timepiece, emblematic of an era. Stemming from an impressive technical feat and epic human saga pushing the limits of fine craftsmanship, the creation of the American 1921 Pièce Unique watch mobilizes the remarkable expertise of the Maison’s Restoration workshop and Heritage department for an entire year. This approach might be a first in the watch industry, reflecting Vacheron Constantin’s commitment to the conservation, transmission and continuous enrichment of its heritage and skills.
In homage to great American art, display windows on 57th Street and the boutique’s first floor exhibition area will be fully encompassed during the opening by a dream-like bronze city including a car and track installation inspired by the masterpiece, Metropolis II (2010), by American artist Chris Burden (1946-2015). From his action-based works in the 1970s that focused on his own body and the relationship of the viewer to it, to the technical feats of his later sculptures that intervened in spaces, artist Chris Burden consistently challenged limitations.
By doing so, he reflected on the surreal realities of contemporary life and invited the viewer to join in these contemplations. Vacheron Constantin and Chris Burden’s work share a commitment to craft, and an exploration of the beauty found in scientific exploration. The installation on view pays tribute to a cosmopolitan love of movement and “the idea of a city”. This is the Chris Burden Estate’s historic first ever brand collaboration.