5 factors behind Vacheron Constantin’s billion-dollar success

Vacheron Constantin has joined the ranks of the billionaires’ club as the eighth brand to surpass CHF one billion in sales, reaching CHF 1.097 billion with an 18 percent increase.

When the annual report of the Swiss watch industry was released earlier this week, all eyes scoured to the top, and the numbers spoke for themselves: Rolex unsurprisingly leads the top 50 Swiss watch companies, but with a record-breaking turnover of CHF 10.1 billion (we’ll look closely at this in a separate story), and Swatch, Richemont, and family-owned companies dominate the top 10 spots, and that includes billion-dollar-sales newcomer, Vacheron Constantin.

According to the report, Vacheron Constantin achieved a turnover of an estimated CHF 1.097 billion in 2023. In contribution to this, about 35,000 timepieces were sold, where an implied average retail price per watch (excluding VAT) was at CHF 38,740.

Source : LuxeConsult, Morgan Stanley Research estimates. Note: this chart cannot be reproduced without Morgan Stanley’s express authorization
Source : LuxeConsult, Morgan Stanley Research estimates. Note: this chart cannot be reproduced without Morgan Stanley’s express authorization

Additionally, the brand gained a 24 basis points (bps) increase in market share. However, with a retail market share of 2.7%, it still trails behind its direct competitor Patek Philippe, which stands at 5.6% (+32 bps).

Over the years, Vacheron Constantin has been climbing the ranks. Since 2020, where the brand placed 14th place on the index, the following years have seen them jump to 11th in 2021, and currently hold eighth place for two years in a row. 

Among watch collectors, Vacheron Constantin enjoys a sterling reputation, highly esteemed for its rich heritage, timeless elegance, and commitment to horological excellence. I mean, there’s a grand level of admiration that someone out there had a custom Vacheron Constantin Armillary Tourbillon made for their bespoke Rolls-Royce.

It still holds the distinction of being one of the oldest continuously operating watch manufacturers (established in 1755), and if such an exhibition of quiet luxury is any marker of the brand in a higher echelon, then we don’t have to get into how the brand has been dressing kings and queens of old and new — but we’ll say it anyway for good measure anyway.

We can and will however, look at what contributed to Vacheron Constantin’s success in recent years. From the latest iteration of the Overseas model to the 222, we look at Vacheron Constantin’s recent successes that made it to the Billionaire’s Club.

#1: The successful revival of the Overseas collection

In 2016, yet another iteration of the Overseas underwent a significant transformation, characterized by cleaner lines and a sleeker overall appearance. This is coming from its last revival in 1996, where the first generation of the Overseas paid homage to the 222’s Maltese cross motifs.

The Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra Thin Skeleton and the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra Thin are powered by Calibre 1120
The Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra Thin Skeleton and the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra Thin are powered by Calibre 1120

This 21st-century revamped design was praised for its cohesive bezel, case, and bracelet, featuring notable improvements for wearers, including a quick-change strap system. Bundling bracelet, leather, and rubber options with every watch ensured versatility for any occasion.

The Overseas Auto 4500V/110A-B128
The Overseas Auto 4500V/110A-B128

Beyond its aesthetic allure, the 41mm case housed the impressive Caliber 5100 movement, boasting exquisite finishing and the prestigious Geneva seal of quality. Among the standout models of this third generation is the 4500V, distinguished by its captivating blue dial, unmatched in its richness and depth.

#2: Historiques 222 remains to be one of the best revivals

The aforementioned Overseas has much to thank the 222 for its existence since it was created as the spiritual successor. The Historiques 222 won ‘Best Revival’ prize (and Vacheron Constantin being the overall winner with ‘Brand of the Year’ prize) at our 2022 Revolution Awards, which saw the reintroduction of the Jumbo watch in 18K yellow gold.

(From left) 1977 Vacheron Constantin 222 "Jumbo" and Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222
(From left) 1977 Vacheron Constantin 222 "Jumbo" and Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222

We go into the details of the modern iteration here, but in the midst of the immense demand for integrated bracelet sports watches, particularly the highly coveted Overseas model, the introduction of the striking yellow gold Historiques 222 by Vacheron Constantin caused a frenzy.

The Historiques 222, an 18K yellow gold re-edition
The Historiques 222, an 18K yellow gold re-edition

In the year of its relaunch in 2022, at the Singapore boutique alone, there were over 2,000 individuals eagerly waiting for the chance to acquire one of the approximately 10 watches allocated per year. On the gray market, new, unworn triple-two’s are going for up to over US$100K.

#3: A strategic leadership in CEO Louis Ferla

To answer most of what Vacheron Constantin has been doing well in the last couple of years, Revolution’s Wei Koh has a dedicated soliloquy to the maison that he goes on in full here. “The incredible power in creativity coming out of Vacheron’s Plan-les-Ouates manufacture has made it one of the hottest watchmaking brands around and an important demonstration that maisons such as itself that are owned by big groups can also be some of the most innovative on the planet,” he mused.

Vacheron Constantin CEO Louis Ferla
Vacheron Constantin CEO Louis Ferla

Since CEO Louis Ferla took the helm in 2017, the innovation and allure associated with its exceptional timepieces, the strategic manner in which the brand has been capitalizing on its successes, the soaring demand for its watches, and the remarkable resale values for many of its timepieces can all be attributed to him.

#4: New materials and innovations done right

In 2019, a titanium prototype worn by mountaineer Cory Richards (which sent everyone into a frenzy) inspired the release of the titanium and steel Overseas Dual Time “Everest” and Overseas Chronograph “Everest” in 2021. This was followed by the Overseas Tourbillon Skeleton in 2022.

While their cases are stainless steel, the Everest editions have the bezel, crown, and pusher rings in sandblasted titanium
While their cases are stainless steel, the Everest editions have the bezel, crown, and pusher rings in sandblasted titanium

Then in February 2023, the introduction of the Overseas Chronograph “Panda” marked a departure from the watch’s conservative styling, presenting a sporty and sophisticated alternative. In between numerous offerings, this brings us to last year’s Watches & Wonders where the Overseas Moon Phase Retrograde Date was particularly notable, being that it introduced a retrograde display for the first time.

#5: Metiers d’art and jewelry success

While Vacheron Constantin’s integrated bracelet sports watch family continues to be desirable across its various models, the Overseas collection can be categorized into two distinct echelons. The first encompasses models with standard movements, while the second features more elegant options with thinner movements and a precious metal case.

The brand recently unveiled a new model that falls into the latter category: the Overseas Tourbillon High Jewellery, marking the first time the collection features a baguette diamond bezel and a white gold case and bracelet.

Overseas Tourbillon High Jewellery

Adding on to the Overseas’ success, this year saw the expansion of the first Overseas quartz — in 33 mm in pink gold. The new design combines a diamond-set bezel and a denim blue dial.

Les Cabinotiers Memorable Places

It goes without saying that the Les Cabinotiers has always surpassed expectations, following last year’s annual thematic release where nine exceptional timepieces showed off exceptional mechanics and decorations inspired by remarkable architecture from around the world.

More on VACHERON CONSTANTIN

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Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers The Berkley Grand Complication
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Unveiling Vacheron Constantin x The Met: A New Era of Bespoke Luxury
Vacheron Constantin Partners With the New York Met to Offer Real Art for Your Wrist
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Nine One-Off Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers pieces blend Artistry and Mechanics
Dec 22, 2023
The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon is its Most Luxurious Sports Watch Yet
Dec 12, 2023

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