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Exceptional men, the founders of the legendary Vacheron Constantin

Daring and determined visionaries: these men created the foundations of an uninterrupted history for the past 265 years. More than ever before, their heritage is at the heart of Vacheron Constantin’s approach and their personalities are still expressed today through a quest for excellence, a spirit of innovation, and the beating of each movement from the Manufacture.

Portrait of Jean-Marc Vacheron

Jean-Marc Vacheron (1731 – 1805) The beginning

Born in Geneva to a family originally from the city of Fribourg, Jean-Marc Vacheron was the youngest of a master weaver’s five sons. Introduced from an early age to manual trades by his father, Jean-Marc Vacheron created his own watchmaking workshop at the age of 24. With the founding of the company on September 17, 1755, a concern for longevity was already being shown. On this historic day, Jean-Marc Vacheron hired his first apprentice, Esaïe Jean François Hetier, for his workshop in the Saint-Gervais district. This commitment was recorded with a document bearing the oldest reference to the Vacheron watchmaking dynasty. An uninterrupted history of more than 265 years.

Abraham Vacheron (1760 – 1843) Against all odds

As the second son of Jean-Marc Vacheron, Abraham Vacheron was faced with the difficult responsibility of taking over the family business and dealing with numerous challenges. Between the French Revolution and the occupation of Geneva by Directory troops, it wasn’t an easy task. But, with tremendous optimism he was able to overcome these upheavals and, at the end of the 1780s, he produced the first known Lépine style watch.

Portrait of Abraham Vacheron

Jacques-Barthélémi Vacheron (1787 – 1864) Beyond borders

From 1810, Jacques-Barthélémi Vacheron took over the reins of the Maison. Ambitious and daring, his arrival marked the start of Vacheron’s entry into the world of great watchmakers. At that time, his workshop began to produce more complicated pieces, such as musical watches that played two melodies when required. In addition, and thanks to the determination of Jacques-Barthélémi Vacheron, the commercial aspect developed and expanded beyond Switzerland’s borders, first in France and then in Italy. A very promising sign for the rest of its history...

Portrait of Jacques-Barthélémi Vacheron
Portrait of François Constantin

François Constantin (1788 – 1854) A story of encounters

The son of a merchant, François Constantin spent his youth on the roads of the Alps and the Jura to perfect his keen sense of business. From these travels, he developed into a successful businessman and met Jacques-Barthélémi Vacheron. Both men originated from Geneva, were the same age, and most importantly, shared the same passion for stylish and complicated watches. The arrangement was perfect and the partnership was meant to be: the "Vacheron et Constantin" company was brought to life. And only a few weeks later, during a trip to Turin on July 5, 1819, he wrote these words to his associate, which continue to be at the heart of the Maison today. “Do better if possible, and that is always possible.”

An uninterrupted history

Vacheron Constantin has continued to enhance and reinvent the art of Fine Watchmaking. From 1755 to the present day, the Maison’s legacy has been created around stories and events that are worth discovering.

Our history
Portrait of Abraham Constantin

Abraham Constantin (1788 – 1855) An artistic sense

Brother of François Constantin and famous painter of the Romantic period, Abraham Constantin also held the title of “Official painter of the French court" in 1826. A friend of the princes, painters and writers of his time, including Stendhal, with whom he wrote a book, Abraham Constantin brought the Maison to the attention of Europe’s high society. His artistic talents were also called upon, and in 1827 he created ornamental motifs that gracefully accentuated precious bracelets.

Georges-Auguste Leschot (1800 – 1884) Enhanced ingenuity

The Maison’s success would be nothing without the contribution of one man, Georges-Auguste Leschot, who was hired in 1839 as technical director. This mechanical enthusiast proved to be a prolific inventor. Among the pieces developed with his spirit and creativity, one in particular was significant not only for Vacheron Constantin but for the entire Swiss watchmaking industry: the pantograph. By guaranteeing the perfectly faithful reproduction of various watch components, the pantograph made it possible to ensure continuous quality in series production, and allowed for components to be interchanged. This was a considerable breakthrough in the reliability, precision and quality of watches from Vacheron Constantin and watchmaking in Geneva.

Portrait of Georges-Auguste Leschot
Portrait of Charles-César Vacheron

Charles-César Vacheron (1812 – 1868) Ambition and vision

As the threat of the American watch industry emerged, Jacques-Barthélémi Vacheron decided to hand over the management of the Maison to his son in 1844. A gifted, ambitious and energetic young man, Charles-César Vacheron accelerated the development process of the Manufacture and increased its international activity by conquering new markets such as China, Spain, India and Cuba. Whatever the industry, borders were made to be crossed.

Charles Constantin (1887 – 1954) A new era

The great-grandnephew of François Constantin, he joined the Maison in 1914 after studying at the École d'Horlogerie de Genève. A few weeks later, when the First World War broke out, he was conscripted and sent to the northern border. An Officier d’Académie, he wrote Vacheron Constantin’s memoirs in 1928, and became director of the company in 1936. A new era began for the Maison...

Portrait de Charles Constantin
Pocket watch

The craftsmen of excellence

Humility and transmission. These are the values that inspired the Maison’s craftsmen. The result of the final product depends on the work of each individual, and their perfect technical mastery inspires an elusive feeling.

Vacheron Constantin - Legendary Founders - A LEGACY AS PRECIOUS AS TIME
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