The ultimate goal for many watch enthusiasts is to own a truly high-end watch from one of the “Holy Trinity” brands. Watches from Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Vacheron Constantin represent true holy grails for watch lovers, and it’s a real point of pride to own one.
However, what Vacheron lacks in popularity, it makes up for with its long history and heritage. Not to mention that it wouldn’t be part of the Holy Trinity if it didn’t produce excellent timepieces.
This leads to questions like; are Vacheron Constantin watches worth their price? How do they compete with the other Holy Trinity brands in terms of quality? Should you opt for the underrated Vacheron Constantin or a more well-known brand like Patek Philippe or Audemars Piguet?
If you want the answers to these questions, keep reading this Vacheron Constantin review!
Vacheron Constantin holds a very special title; it’s the oldest Swiss watch manufacturer and one of the oldest in the world, with non-stop watch production since its founding in 1755. Its founder was Jean-Marc Vacheron, an independent watchmaker and avid philosophy and science enthusiast.
Initially, the Vacheron family were the sole owners of the company. But, in 1819, François Constantin became a part of the brand and was responsible for overseas marketing and sales. It was around that time when the brand’s slogan “Faire mieux si possible, ce qui est toujours possible (Do better if possible and that is always possible)” was established.
During the 1880s, Vacheron Constantin began to shape itself into the brand we know today. In 1880, it established the Maltese cross as its logo, which remains unaltered until today. The company also saw a massive reorganization into a joint-stock company in 1887 and opened its first boutique store in Geneva in 1906.
Like most high-end luxury watch manufacturers, the quartz crisis had a significant impact on Vacheron Constantin. However, the brand never ceased production and eventually became a part of the highly-regarded Swiss Richemont Group in 1996. In 2004, Vacheron unveiled its new headquarters in Plan-les-Ouates, Geneva, turning a new page in its history.
What Makes Vacheron Constantin So Unique?
In the world of watchmaking, history and heritage play a significant part in a brand’s value. After all, most watch enthusiasts want to feel like their watch has centuries of experience and craftsmanship behind it. And it’s hard to argue against Vacheron’s robust heritage considering its status as the oldest Swiss watch manufacturer with consistent, non-stop production for over 260 years.
One of the most important reasons watch lovers choose Vacheron Constantin is the brand’s constant strive for innovation. Since its inception in 1755, Vacheron has continued to make top-notch watches and watch movements. Some of its most important innovations and patents are:
- The first ever watch complication, in 1790.
- The first timepiece with non-magnetic properties, 1885.
- The Caliber 1003, which came out in 1955 and was the thinnest manual wind caliber ever.
- The Caliber 1755, which was the thinnest minute repeater caliber and came out in 1992.
- The Vacheron Constantin Reference 57260 pocket watch that features a whopping 57 complications, the most of any watch ever.
Of the Big Three luxury watch makers, we think Vacheron Constantin offers the best value-for-money. The reduced brand visibility only adds to the exclusivity and prestige of Vacheron Constantin, while the actual price isn’t as exorbitant as that of the other Holy Trinity brands. Watch connoisseurs recognize the brand’s excellence while the dabblers may not realize its value.
Vintage Vacheron Constantin watch prices are much lower than their counterparts from AP or Patek. You can even find some newer timepieces in the second-hand market for excellent prices.
Also, remember that Vacheron Constantin is still one of the Big Three luxury watchmakers. With a Vacheron timepiece, you get excellent quality and craftsmanship while saving a bit of money.
In a recent campaign, Vacheron Constantin established itself as “one of not many.” Compared to other Swiss luxury watch manufacturers like Rolex, Vacheron prefers to maintain a limited yet reasonable production to focus on the perfection of each specific timepiece.
It also shies away from employing popular artists or sports superstars to promote its watches. Instead, it relies on a few sophisticated artists to embrace its aesthetic and vision for the future.
Top Vacheron Constantin Watches
Here are some of the most popular Vacheron Constantin watches that you should keep an eye on:
The Overseas line is Vacheron Constantin’s offering in the stainless steel sports luxury watch market. This market has significantly increased in popularity over the past decades and includes notable examples from other brands like the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus.
While the Overseas doesn’t have the status of these other timepieces, it’s still an excellent sports watch to wear daily. You can find many versions of it, from simple three-handed ones like the ref. 4500V/110A-B483, to chronographs, dual time zones, tourbillons, and perpetual calendars.
The Patrimony is another staple line of Vacheron Constantin watches. The design of all Patrimony watches focuses on simplicity and minimalism and draws inspiration from older Vacheron designs that date back to the mid-20th century.
The Patrimony line contains watches of all sizes for both men and women. You can find them in stainless steel cases or platinum, yellow gold, and rose gold cases. A significant watch in the Patrimony family is the ref. 30110/000R-9793, which includes the caliber 1731, the successor to the caliber 1755.
The Vacheron Constantin Historiques is a line of watches that pays tribute to many famous Vacheron watch designs from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.
The most recent addition to this collection is the Historiques 222 ref. 4200H/222J-B935 that was released in 2022. This watch is a tribute to 1970s sports watches with a tonneau-shaped case and integrated bracelet, all in yellow gold.
Another great timepiece from the Historiques collection is the American 1921 ref. 82035/000R-9359. This unique timepiece features a 40 mm square case with the crown at the top right corner of the case and a diagonal time reading.
The Fiftysix is an ode to an iconic Vacheron Constantin design, the reference 6073 from 1956. It features an unusual case shape that curves heavily towards the lugs and a sector dial in different colors. You can get it on a stainless steel bracelet or a leather strap.
This family of watches includes some of the most affordable Vacheron Constantin prices, like the ref. 4600E/000A-B442. It also includes more expensive timepieces such as the ref. 4400E/000R-B436 with a day-date complication and a power gauge.
How Much is a Vacheron Constantin Watch?
Since Vacheron Constantin watches are among the top Swiss luxury watches you can expect to pay a large sum of money to get one. However, what you get in return is a beautiful timepiece with tons of history and craftsmanship behind it.
You can generally find some entry-level Vacheron Constantin watches for around $15,000. If you want cases from precious metals like platinum or yellow gold, it’ll cost you roughly double that amount.
When it comes to the most expensive Vacheron Constantin watch, the sky's the limit! Several models cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and then there’s the Vacheron Constantin Kalista. This watch is fully decked out in diamonds and costs 11 million dollars.
Do Vacheron Constantin Watches Hold Value?
When it comes to resale value, nothing beats Rolex or Patek Philippe. These brands are by far the most recognizable and popular, which makes their watches hold their already high value very well.
After those, there are brands like Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille, which have several models that retain or even increase their value constantly. Vacheron Constantin falls around this category, with some of its watches being more valuable than others.
However, the value of a watch can sometimes be highly subjective and depend on many factors such as condition and popularity, among others. At the moment, Vacheron Constantin appears to be on an upward trajectory. But even in previous years, you can rest assured that your money was well spent with a Vacheron Constantin timepiece.
Is Patek Better Than Vacheron?
This is one of the most common questions people ask when they want to purchase a watch from a Holy Trinity brand. The answer is that if you want the brand name and prestige of Patek Philippe, then you should buy one of their watches (if you can find one).
Vacheron targets individuals who will appreciate the brand for its sophistication, expertise, and craftsmanship rather than brand name recognition. Some people even prefer a Vacheron watch because it isn’t a Patek Philippe. Vacheron's lesser recognizability is sometimes preferable for watch enthusiasts who want to feel like they own something special.
Naturally, Patek Philippe watches have a much higher brand prestige and retain their value for longer. However, the quality and craftsmanship you get in some Vacheron Constantin watches is definitely on par with Patek watches. Not to mention that they are much easier to find in the market since the demand is less intense.
The King Of Underrated Luxury Watches
In the end, it all comes down to what you value and prefer for your wristwatch. Do you want an instantly recognizable timepiece? Then you’re probably better off with an AP, Patek, or Rolex. If you prefer a more underrated but masterfully crafted and elegant timepiece with attention to detail, you should definitely consider Vacheron Constantin watches. It’s not the kind of watch that’s instantly recognizable on your wrist but you can definitely expect that others will ask you about it.
The craftsmanship and attention to detail that brands like Vacheron Constantin employ is what drives us at Operandi Firenze to produce the best watch rolls. We use only the best Italian leather and thoroughly test all our watch rolls to ensure their consistency and reliability. Consider purchasing one of our premium watch rolls to accompany your new luxury watch.
So, go out there, have a look at Vacheron Constantin watches, and don’t forget to keep an eye on the time!
Photos courtesy of Vacheron Constantin