Vacheron Constantin’s Innovation Director Sandrine Donguy On Legacy And Luxury

3 min read

As one of watchmaking’s most historic Maisons, Vacheron Constantin holds a special place for lovers of horology—but it’s not just about tradition. MOJEH learns how one of its latest launches reimagines classic codes for the modern woman

“These timepieces are a way to express our core values. It’s about tradition, but also with a balance of innovation,”says Sandrine Donguy, product marketing and innovation director for Vacheron Constantin. Wrapping up the recent Watches and Wonders Geneva 2023 fair with eight new launches, Vacheron Constantin lived up to its name, with signature consistency and poise. A fleet of reimagined timepieces, many of which displayed retrograde complications in a whole host of sizes and colours, were a surprise for watch fans. Instead of following up the 2022 launches in the most obvious way— by further riffing on the hugely popular reissue of 1972’s chunky gold 222, a runaway success at last year’s fair — Sandrine and her team had something different in mind. Refusing to continue down that pre-beaten track, for 2023 they took a complete detour by introducing a number of unexpected timepieces — one of which was the much-lauded pale pink Overseas Self Winding with a neatly reduced silhouette.

The Overseas Self-Winding timepiece in 18K pink gold with 84 round-cut diamonds and interchangeable strap

Meeting MOJEH bright and early in a Parisian boardroom, Sandrine herself is fresh and innovative in an on-trend hot pink blazer. Much like the Overseas Self Winding, her feminine sensibility is most welcome in the male-dominated horological world. And again, like the timepiece, beneath the exterior beats a serious and studied horological heart.

“This year at the fair we showed our ability to keep a link and a connection with our heritage, something that is also based on our legacy,” says Sandrine. “But on top of that, presenting a very sporty collection is a demonstration of our watchmakers being daring enough to innovate, mixing tradition and modernity while playing with the timeless codes. Personally, I love the new sized Overseas, in 35mm and 34.5mm.” And, frankly, who wouldn’t? It’s a pinky-perfect and finely balanced timepiece, with aesthetically pleasing proportions and the option of a diamond-studded bezel —Barbiecore for grown-ups, done in a way that’ll never go out of style. It’s a nod to the fact that Vacheron Constantin, even with the weight of all that heritage behind it, is still looking to current codes and lifestyles, and shifting to match. Indeed, the sportiness of the Overseas collection is very much in tune with modern trends toward versatile timepieces, something that’s displayed beautifully in the newly-launched model’s simple interchangeable strap system.

The Overseas Self-Winding with 84 round-cut diamonds, beige-pink dial and 22K gold

“The ability to change straps, from integrated bracelet to leather or rubber, is proof that the Maison has always been able to stay true to its time. We can see that through the decades we have pushed the frontiers further to follow the trends of our clientele. Being a traditional watchmaker, we can listen to our clientele and we are able to inject subtle features that support our ability to innovate,” adds Sandrine. “The starting point of all our heritage goes back to our roots. The connection to the past is very important, we stay faithful to it and we try to reinterpret those codes in terms of sizes and other features.But it very much depends on the collection — for the more modern lines we take some structure and details from the heritage, but the rest of the design is quite new.”A delicate balance indeed — but one that it’s easy to trust Vacheron Constantin to keep.

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  • Words by Rachel Silvestri