In Conversation With: Sandrine Donguy

In Conversation With: Sandrine Donguy, Product & Innovation Director At Vacheron Constantin On The Rich Heritage & Trends At Watches And Wonders 2023

THM Desk
7 Apr 2023 |
clock icon5 min read
like image
comment icon image
like image
SUMMARIZEarrow down


Timekeeping developed from early humans' attempts to explain the apparent motion of the sky's celestial bodies. The early horologists used gears and hands to keep track of the lunar cycle after moving on from sundials. And that’s what brought us to the moonphase. And this time Vacheron Constantin unveiled a new moonphase timepiece taking us all by surprise at Watches And Wonders 2023!

We caught up with Sandrine Donguy, Product Director At Vacheron Constantin to discuss the sweet surprises at the show and more!

In Conversation With: Sandrine Donguy

Vacheron Constantin unveiled the Moonphase Retrograde Date in the Overseas Collection. What was the thought behind this sporty watch? Sandrine said, “On top of the moonphase is also a retrograde signature. The Moonphase had already been part of the Perpetual Calendar series. But the retrograde date is a play on classics. It’s the perfect combo that gives the element of a twist between sporty and classic. What was interesting for us is how we can integrate this classical function into a sporty timepiece, keeping in mind the details like the hour markers, blue-lacquered dial, and more. It’s a 41mm timepiece and it was quite a challenge to integrate the retrograde, keeping in mind the balance proportion.”

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Collectionn- Moonphase Retrograde Date

At Watches And Wonders 2023, we also saw the trend of downsizing. Talking about the novelties she said, “We introduced the 34.5mm and 35mm timepieces this year. The idea behind this was to complete their offerings. We already have an automatic timepiece in 37mm but we were missing this in-between sizes. This timepiece fits the clientele that’s looking for smaller sizes with a sporty function. It appeals to men as well as women with the diamond set version and an interchangeable strap system.

Sharing her insights on the new features, the one that stood out was the new straps. “It’s a new strap change system that we have introduced this year which is easier to adjust and change. For the first time, we have added the self-interchangeable buckle system which was not the case for the previous Overseas timepieces”, she further added.

Did you know, this Maison also had a surprise launch in the form of the Traditionnelle Tourbillon in a green sunburst dial? Giving us insights on this launch she said, “It’s very in sync with the codes of Vacheron Constantin and Traditionnelle. A very elegant and refined color tone with a twist of grey effect. The timepiece also has faceted ends which are sandblasted and polished adding a modern touch. A 41mm timepiece, it’s very easy to wear.”

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon

Last year, we saw a focus on several re-edition timepieces from this Maison. With the Historiques 222 making a huge noise, can we expect more such re-editions? Sharing her thoughts Sandrine said, “At Vacheron Constantin, we have a broad collection of timepieces. We would love to play on the heritage of the Maison but depending on the collection, we decide to emphasize certain facets. The idea this year is to play on another story from the archives which is the retrograde impressed on multiple creations.”

Vacheron Constantin has a long heritage but the world’s moving fast on the digital front. They also have a digital authentication certificate for the timepieces. Being the innovation director, Sandrine injects digitalisation and modernity into Vacheron Constantin. Sharing her thoughts on how she does this she said, “From a product standpoint we look at mechanics in the timepiece. We are known for multiple complications on the wrist, so that’s the direction we are looking to take. We would also enlarge our clientele with the new interchangeable strap system. This is a part of the innovation process at the Maison. We will also look into the sustainability factor since it’s a big ask of the luxury market. In terms of digital, we won’t lean towards a smartwatch but, we have a playground on our boutique where we can play on these facets and enrich the experience of the customers.”

Vacheron Constantin

Coming to the show, this year was unlike any other. Activities were happening at the Salon and outside too. Sharing her thoughts on the same Sandrine said, “There is a huge trend on coming back into smaller sizes. Another trend is coming back to authenticity. What we should remember is to stay true to the DNA of the Maison and not increase volume despite the market boom. We’d like to maintain the right pace to strike a balance between the desirability and traction of our timepieces. There is no compromise on quality when it comes to our timepieces.”

Another trend we saw at the show was brands introducing timepieces for men in smaller sizes. Sharing her thoughts on this Sandrine said, “This is a trend that has been inherited from the vintage watch market. Especially the younger generation appreciates smaller dialed watches with cool bracelets. It breathes new life into the watch market.”

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Self-Winding

How do brands maintain a balance between demand and supply considering the limited production and people wanting the timepieces? She said, “We have a vision of where we want to go. We cannot please everyone but have increased the production capacity without compromising on quality. We have a select clientele for Historiques 222 but we cannot cater to the mass demand. We want to maintain the exclusivity element for our timepieces.”

Haute Horologerie has been the brand’s forte. But, with the new launches in the Overseas Collection, it’s also leaning towards appealing to the younger generation. Well, a Vacheron Constantin is not always your first watch. But, with these new launches, it can be! With vintage and sporty watches appealing to the youth, it’s opened a whole new avenue for the Maison!