For more than 260 years Vacheron Constantin has always set its sights on fine watch-making, and the maison prides itself for constantly reinventing itself so it could stick to this tradition. This may mean not getting the kind of production numbers mainstream brands routinely churn out, but Vacheron Constantin seems it isn’t just unperturbed by this; rather one could say it actually revels in occupying such a position. Which is one lofty perch, by the way.
“The watch industry represents over one billion watches per year, of which only 25 million are produced in Switzerland, and barely 500,000 can lay claim to fine watch-making status,” says Louis Ferla, CEO of Vacheron Constantin. “Within this context, Vacheron Constantin focuses on limited and reasonable production volumes, as required to offer the highest level of quality, aesthetics and expertise. Within an already highly exclusive segment, our maison is committed to maintaining a unique and sophisticated character. In this respect we are resolutely ‘one of not many.’”
The phrase “One of not many” quite succinctly expresses the message of Vacheron Constantin’s new communications campaign. After all, the brand, through the centuries, has drawn a discerning set who can appreciate constant innovation, the spirit of exploration, the passion and the uncompromisingly high standards required in watch-making, and even the transmission of ancestral skills. Such values are what allowed Vacheron Constantin to earn the recognition and respect of an exclusive circle of fine watch-making connoisseurs.
To embody this spirit, the maison says it has “chosen to cooperate with talented artists whose personality and works express a constant quest for excellence, openness to the world, as well as a spirit of innovation and creativity characterizing Vacheron Constantin.” The brand adds these select individuals are visionaries, passionate and acknowledged experts as they are in their respective fields. In short, they epitomize its “concept of connoisseurs.”
Honored by the watchmaker—and these people are expressly not brand ambassadors—are musician Benjamin Clementine, artist James Bay, multi-discipline designer Ora Ito, and explorer/photographer Cory Richards.
Clementine is widely regarded as one of the most talented musicians of his generation, and is known as a virtuoso in several instruments, as well as a vocalist. These come on top of him being a contemporary poet as well. As for Bay, the global success of his first album does not mean resting on his laurels. Instead, he continues to explore new musical territories and to reinvent himself with a daring and sophisticated second album that fuses rock and soul music. Both Clementine and Bay are associated with the classical, yet modern elegance, of Vacheron Constantin’s Fiftysix collection.
It’s Ito’s “Simplexity” concept that best matches Vacheron Constantin’s Patrimony line. Ito involves himself with presenting simple responses to complex problems, and this can be gleaned in the flowing tidiness of his furniture—or any of his industrial-design pieces, for that matter. And it’s this same mix of mechanical excellence and aesthetic sobriety that is expressed in the Patrimony watches.
As one of few who can claim to have climbed Mount Everest without the aid of oxygen tanks, Richards’s wrist is the perfect place on which the Vacheron Constantin Overseas should rest. Richards, who travels the world to capture the most powerful images, shares with the Overseas line the same spirit of discovery and openness to the world.
For the “One of not many” campaign, portraits of these exceptional individuals—shot by Phil Poynter—offer a backstage view of their art and savoir-faire. Notably, the artists themselves have taken part in the art direction of the new communications campaign.
“The worlds in which these talents are active—music, design, exploration and photography—are legitimate and relevant territories in which Vacheron Constantin has long since been present. What is most important in their work and in ours is transcending objects in order to generate emotion,” says Laurent Perves, chief marketing officer of Vacheron Constantin.
He continues; “These human and artistic encounters are undeniably in line with those that have punctuated the history of the maison since 1755.”