Is Vacheron Constantin going down market?

Nov 14, 2017,06:36 AM

Sorry for the provocative title, but I read this today:

The notion of Hodinkee becoming a retailer isn't the interesting nugget in that article. But this is:

"According to various insiders, Vacheron Constantin will soon be unveiling a new entry-level line of watches – powered by outsourced movements that do not qualify for the Poincon de Geneve – priced as affordably as no watch bearing the name has ever been before."

Outsourced? Who from? We know that Richemont has established a special quality control at Sellita bearing the GrandJean logo. While those are already in Baume & Mercier, and probably in IWC by now, I cannot imagine Sellita movements finding their way into anything with Vacheron Constantin on the dial. I'm recalling the unlamented (by most) Jaeger-LeCoultre Club models of the 70's--in another time of some desperation.

Movements by LeCoultre? That would be much more reasonable, even in a historical sense. In effect, the savings would come from VC no longer taking the ebauche down for their own fine finishing, perhaps. I could live with JLC supplying the "outsourced" movement for a style watch like an Overseas, but I suspect the watches will be uniquely styled to distinguish them from the regular line.

There are members of this forum with much more direct access to those who would know. Any news?


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Mentioning JLC, and if I'm not wrong,

 By: marcelo : November 14th, 2017-07:10
VC used JLC's Master Reserve de Marche movement in one of its models.

VC was once owned by JLC...

 By: rdenney : November 14th, 2017-08:18
And used LeCoultre ebauches for years. The same was true for AP in the 80's and 90's (and later). But they were always ebauches that VC finished to their own standard. Even though JLC hasn't owned VC since the 60's (though they are both now under the same... 

Thank you

 By: marcelo : November 14th, 2017-08:31
The watch I mentioned is from the 2000s, if I'm right again.

Yes and no

 By: alphabeta81 : November 14th, 2017-07:25
I would expect them to have cheaper steel watches. After all, you can get the QDL for 30% off already reasonable MSRP in the USA with one google search from a very reliable middle man website. The MSRP of that in steel is $15,000 and the gold MSRP with sl... 

Every brand ...

 By: nilomis : November 14th, 2017-07:43
To conquer market, needs a set of entry level products. VC opened a very nice boutique here where I live but, without entry level products, they could not succeed and they close. If they create an entry level, for their class, product line, they can start... 

Yes it is

 By: drphileasfogg : November 14th, 2017-07:50
Sad to see VC going down like this...

What's their strategy?

 By: piccolochimico (aka dsgalaxy1) : November 14th, 2017-08:17
I wish I could buy a new overseas for 3-4k... there's still the old reference available, so plenty of choices. Anyway VC is supposed to be Patek main competitor, let's wait what's going on

I've read your link to "SJX" several times now.

 By: Padj : November 14th, 2017-09:24
Where is the reference to "out-sourced movements"? By the way-entry level Vis might not be as bad (or as cheap) as it sounds. Lange last year marketed a beautiful, and beautifully-finished, $14,900 watch. That's entry level, excellent quality, and not rea... 

The article has been changed.

 By: brandon1 : November 14th, 2017-10:04
I just re-read it and it’s different than yesterday. The OP’s quote is how it read yesterday. Interesting. Brandon

That is interesting.

 By: Padj : November 14th, 2017-11:22
Maybe they caught some flack.

Ha! That's why I quote from sources.

 By: rdenney : November 14th, 2017-11:36
They have indeed removed most of the sentence I quoted and connected it to the following sentence. That doesn't make it not true, of course, but it was presented as gossip and I haven't taken it for more than that. --Rick

Classic change management behaviour?

 By: Velociphile : November 15th, 2017-04:17
Sounds like VC have hit the bargaining phase of change management on there way to the new post bubble normal. If this is done in the right way I don’t see a problem. But dropping a brand entry point is a one way ratchet that can take years to recover from... 

A historical perspective

 By: tick-talk : November 16th, 2017-08:41
VC has a long history of both producing 2 nd quality timepieces and selling the “cheap wares” of others: 1819 – Vacheron & Cie, Vacheron & Girod, Girod-Colombey 1820 – Issac Soret, Freres Desart (dead names bought for the Italian market) 1822 – Ab... 

Other examples of compromise...from the 1930s

 By: tick-talk : November 19th, 2017-12:40
V&C marked their 150th anniversary in 1935 with a special edition wrist watch, despite a global economic depression. Here I'll let managing director Charles Constantin describe the project: "The round gold or steel wrist watch for men, with the crown ...