Vacheron Constantin and the Hallmark of Geneva
A true horological philosophy
A guarantee of provenance
A guarantee of exacting precision
A guarantee of durableness
A guarantee of horological expertness
Introduced in the 19th century by an industry long threatened with the scourge of counterfeiting, the Hallmark of Geneva is now regarded as a true horological philosophy and the symbol of horological perfection. Given legal status in 1886, the Hallmark of Geneva is probably one of the oldest professional hallmarks in any industry, recognised as a label of origin, but especially as a guarantee of superior quality. But while it is highly prized in the world of Haute Horlogerie, not just anyone who wants to can join the select circle of manufactories able to obtain it.
A very select club of manufactories
Comprising twelve permanent criteria – modified over the years, of course, to meet various changes in the industry, the Hallmark of Geneva is only given to movements that satisfy all twelve.
What is more, it is only granted to movements assembled and regulated within the canton of Geneva and by watch Manufactures whose head office is there. The number of companies able to display it on their prestige series can be counted on the fingers of one hand, making a sort of exclusive club to which Vacheron Constantin is proud to belong.
Besides the technical and aesthetic obligations required by the law, the Hallmark of Geneva embraces a horological philosophy that makes no concessions to the quality of either the movement as a whole or to its individual parts. It is guided by a certain spirit governing the production of movements from the design stage, because these require a number of manual operations in the purest tradition of the professionals who created this hallmark more than a century ago. In the area of finishing, for example, decorating parts with Côtes de Genève, circular-graining and chamfering and the drawing of steel are operations carried out by hand.
Safeguarding the spirit of true craftsmanship
Although there is no intention of slowing down progress in the area of watchmaking expertise, the Hallmark of Geneva continues to emphasise the actual craftsmanship at the heart of its founding principles, even though its criteria are periodically modified to meet industrial changes in the sector. Manual work will therefore remain central in the activities of Manufactures that regard the Hallmark of Geneva as the pinnacle of the art of watchmaking.
In practice, the Hallmark of Geneva Commission – which is totally independent, reinforcing the value of this certification – has seven members appointed individually for four years by the cantonal government. For approval, each one of the movement’s 100 to sometimes more than 800 components, depending on the model, must first receive approval from the Commission. Once all the parts have been given the green light, the movement can be assembled and regulated for one final series of tests. The plates of all the watches in the relevant series are then authorised to receive the Hallmark.
Vacheron Constantin, upgrading the Hallmark of Geneva in its production
Vacheron Constantin has always viewed the Hallmark of Geneva as an exclusive hallmark to be championed, respected and upgraded in the production of its watches. Since being granted its first Hallmark of Geneva in 1909, Vacheron Constantin has been one of the few manufactures to have worked within the demanding and satisfying parameters of this quality hallmark, which symbolises watchmaking excellence. Vacheron Constantin continues to develop its range of watches Hallmark of Geneva; the objective is to have all its mechanical movements certified.
As Vacheron Constantin has always aspired to perfection in the creation of its timepieces, the Hallmark of Geneva provides a standard enabling it to transcend its limits. As the Manufacture’s aim is to create timepieces with extremely refined lines and faultless movements, it has pushed the design and finishing of its watches to the very limit. This has led to close individual attention being given to every component and resulted in the highlighting of the movement’s gear-trains, more generous, finely hand-finished surfaces, and a balance of shapes worthy of the finest watchmaking tradition.
Far from yielding to the imperatives of productivity, Vacheron Constantin has always given priority to quality. From its R&D and design department to its assembly workshops to the finishing of its components, this spirit of true craftsmanship, supported by a solid industrial base, ensures that the Manufacture Vacheron Constantin will remain one of the worthiest representatives of the Hallmark of Geneva.