Christian Selmoni Of Vacheron Constantin at Watches and Wonders

“I think that the woman's universe for watches is much broader than the mens universe”. - In Conversation with Christian Selmoni, Style And Heritage Director, Vacheron Constantin

THM Desk
25 May 2022 |
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Watches And Wonders 2022 - a show that united the watch fraternity for a physical show after two years of the pandemic. Where we saw many firsts for watch brands and independents, the show also gave the audience a glimpse into the future of fine watchmaking.

Our Founder Karishma Karer caught up with the style and heritage director at Vacheron Constantin - Christian Selmoni to discuss Watches & Wonders, the Maison’s launches for 2022 and his thoughts on how women changed and influenced the way watches are made.

THM: Your views on Watches & Wonders 2022 - The physical show?

Christian: This is a very exciting and interesting moment for the entire watch fraternity to gather in real life after 3 years. It’s interesting to see new exhibitors at the show this year which showcases the vitality of the industry. While being exciting it’s also intense in terms of the emotion since we’ve been away from our friends, clients and the press. It’s also special when you meet again. It’s an exhausting Watches And Wonders 2022 but good to be back with 11 novelties which offer a great mix.

Watches & Wonders 2022

THM: Titanium seems to be a trend that is catching on in fine watchmaking. What are your views on premium brands using titanium as a metal in watches?

Christian: We’ve seen the interest for titanium from the clients for several years now. We made our first titanium timepiece in 2008. For decades, rather centuries, for clients in watchmaking both traditional and global, determine the value of the timepiece by its weight. The same culture applies to titanium. Titanium has solid advantages- lightweight, non-allergic, non-magnetic and a trend in watchmaking. However, it will not replace steel because of its feel good and long-lasting feature. But, this could be a good fit for certain watches with metal bracelets.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas
Overseas tourbillon skeleton in titanium

THM: Talking about the skeletonisation of the Overseas, is it 20% more skeletonised than the last one? Will there be more versions?

Christian: Yes, infact, we have removed approximately 20% of the existing calibre 2160. So this is the result of the work on the openworking. Right now we have the tourbillon overseas in titanium and rose gold. However we do not plan on presenting any newer versions of this tourbillon skeleton. It’s a new complication and we only do a few of them. Open-work complications require a lot of hands-made craftsmanship such as the finishing on the bridges and the plate. We don’t feel the need to increase the number of references of this calibre. Personally I’ve always been a big fan of the overseas metal bracelet, but I have to confess that on the tourbillon skeleton when you interchange the metal bracelet of the rose gold version with that black rubber strap it makes for a superwatch!

VC Overseas
The Overseas tourbillon skeleton on a metal bracelet and with a black rubber strap

THM: Coming to the most talked-about watch at Watches & Wonders this year, the Historique 222 - the return of a legend. Could you take us through the major changes and how have you retained the original nuances in the new model?

Christian: The idea was really to incorporate the 222 in the Historique collection while being faithful to the original design. Two main improvements or changes have been carried out - the movement that has been replaced from 1977 with a contemporary one namely Calibre 2455. The newer movement has higher frequency, better accuracy and three-positioned crown as compared to the older 222 which had a two-positioned crown. Now coming to the bracelets - the biggest improvement in my opinion.

Vacheron Constantin

When compared with the 1977 model, we’re stepping into newer bracelets which is a great achievement from the manufacturing and design point of view. When you put the new 222 on your wrist it almost feels like a second skin which is just phenomenal. For the jumbo 222 we did a steel, a yellow gold and a mix of steel gold version, so yes we do have space to develop other versions. However after seeing the love we received on the 222 in yellow gold, we do not see the need to come out with new iterations. Also the 222 yellow gold is not a limited series and will be manufactured continuously in the years to come.

More Details Here

THM: With the introduction of the new get set Perpetual Calendars for women this year, Is Vacheron Constantin deliberately focusing on complications for women? Your thoughts on women and the world of mechanical watches?

Christian: For many years we’ve seen a growing interest from ladies in technical watchmaking. This is why a couple of years ago we launched the Ladies Tourbillon which was 38mm and we decided to create our first ultra-thin perpetual calendar dedicated to the ladies from scratch. So basically unlike the tourbillon, we created the Perpetual Calendar with a smaller movement which enabled us to create a watch that was just 36.5mm and approximately 8mm thin. A grand complication that was always created keeping the ladies in mind!

Vacheron Constantin Watches

Speaking of watchmaking globally, I think that the woman's universe for watches is much broader than the mens universe. If you think about it for the men you basically have classic watches and sport watches. Now when we talk of ladies watches there is so much more - high jewellery watches, decorative crafts, sports watches, dress watches and so on. A much broader universe just like it is in fashion.

Historically ladies have been very important clients for complicated watches since the 19th century, mainly for chiming watches. Which is why I often wonder why there is this perception of it being a man's world.

THM: Do you have any favorite timepiece for the year?

Christian: Yes, at the beginning it was the 222 and also the Overseas Tourbillon Skeleton.

Well, that’s the first time we’ve heard anyone say that a ladies' universe is much bigger because watches are usually considered a man’s world. Times are changing with Maison’s producing more watches particularly for women. Vacheron Constantin will continue to build the world around the Historiques while being super picky with the watches they wish to reproduce!