MADE CIRCA: 1950
MATERIAL: 18ct Yellow Gold
MOVEMENT: Manual Mechanical
CASE DIAMETER: 34mm
When the young Jean-Marc Vacheron opened a humble workshop in Geneva in 1755 at the age of 24, little did he know that the now prestigious watch making company ‘Vacheron & Constantin’ had been born.
Vacheron desired to craft timepieces that stood out with their elegance and quality however, had to create watches that also stood out from the over 800 watchmakers that were producing in Geneva at that time. It was on account of his business skills and their magnificent quality that Vacheron and his apprentices managed to sell watches to Italian and French nobles, thus allowing his company to thrive. Even through times of great uncertainty the flourishing business prospered.
The company persevered through great hardship however, in 1810 but a great decline in business in Geneva meant that the then owner, Jacques Barthelemy Vacheron decided to become partners with his friend the extravagant and excessively self-confident businessman Francois Constantin.
While many thought Constantin, so called ‘King of Watchmakers’, would be Vacheron & Constantin’s downfall, the company managed to defy any doubt and live up to its slogan – ‘Faire mieux si possible, ce qui est toujours possible’ (Do better when possible, and it is always possible). Surviving at this time was no small feat when Louis XVIII reigned. Taxes and charges were handed out randomly overnight while valuables and timepieces would be destroyed during inspections and businesses struggled within Geneva.
Vacheron & Constantin has established itself globally and become highly regarded in both watch collecting circles and high society. Acclaimed for their superior skill with design and quality they have created timepieces for such nobles as Empress Eugenie to whome they supplied a pendant watch, a pocket watch for Tsar Alexander II and several watches for Emperor Napoleon II that carried his portrait.
Originally designed to test the skills of watch brands and not for commercial sale, a chronometer timepiece was defined as one that performed to high standards in tests at an astronomical observatory. The Chronometer Royal was an exception to the rule: a pocket watch made by Vacheron & Constantin that unlike chronometers made by the company’s rivals, was also made for public sale.
The wristwatch alternative was released in the 1953 and comprised of the superb finish, simplicity of design and outstanding precision movement that made its earlier pocket watch form so popular. For many collectors the Chronometer Royal wristwatch is one of the finest timepieces of the 1950’s. It would also be one of the last to be tested at an observatory before the Control Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres took up the role of certifying the quality and precision of timepieces in 1973.
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