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In the past 261 years, much has undeniably changed. For Vacheron Constantin, however, some things have stayed exactly the same. As the oldest watchmaking manufacture continuously churning out prized timepieces to treasure, they are also keeping their three key fundamentals closely intact: perfectly precise methods; harmonious and inspired aesthetics; and an extremely high level of finishing touches. Alongside all that is a spirit of travel—combined with groundbreaking designs, remarkable details, and high-class materials and components—that has long elevated their dedication to casual elegance and practicality.
Recently, at the 2016 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva last January, the watchmaker debuted its newest collection, titled “Overseas.” Inspired by a true touchstone for Vacheron Constantin, the creation of their first Overseas model in 1996, the newest collection revamps an old classic and offers a new signature timepiece dedicated to 21st-century travelers. At the watch fair, guests got a glimpse of five new models in both stainless steel and gold, harnessing three brand-new self-winding calibers, simple time displays, complex chronograph detailing, interchangeable rubber and leather straps, water-resistant capabilities, and inside, small oscillating weights—inspired by the wind rose, a symbol of travel. Each model flaunted its own set of impressive details, like the small model’s 84 round-cut diamonds, totaling to one carat for its six-sided bezel, and the ultra-thin 1120 caliber model’s two straps and white gold buckle. The new watch has also been certified as a Hallmark of Geneva piece—an award for watches developed and assembled in Geneva that surpass stringent criteria related to performance and movement components.
In celebration of this new watch and its variations, Vacheron Constantin CEO Juan Carlos Torres and creative director Christian Selmoni have invited photographer Steve McCurry to travel to 12 international cities all relating to the watchmaker. Documenting a unique moment in each location, 12 images will reflect these sites, symbolic of the 12 hours on the face of a watch. So far, McCurry has journeyed to his first six locations: Padre Tembleque, Mexico; Grand Central, New York; Chand Baori, India; Leshan, China; Tsurunoyu, Japan; and Manufacture Vacheron Constantin, Geneva. In regard to his visit to Vacheron Constantin’s manufacture in Geneva, he said, “You find yourself facing this incredible shape, this architecture, this singular design that is also an authentic work of art, a concrete example of human genius. I see it as a perfect match between beauty and precision. Admiring the Manufacture Vacheron Constantin is like setting off on an extraordinary voyage.”
Over the next few months, McCurry will be traveling to the remaining six undisclosed locations and whittling down his many images to just one for each—producing an image representative of a significant memory caught in time for the future. In September, all 12 photographs will be on view in a special exhibition showcased by Vacheron Constantin. Until then, we’ll be counting down the time.
This article appears in Whitewall‘s summer 2016 Design Issue.