Talking nostalgia with Vacheron Constantin’s master of heritage

As the strategy and heritage director of Vacheron Constantin, Julien Marchenoir has the unique role of both honouring and protecting the past as well as advocating and planning for the future. We’ve sat down with the man himself to get a bit of insight into how he performs this job so seamlessly…

Julien Marchenoir has said that it’s “an honour” to take on the responsibility of Vacheron Constantin’s vast heritage, which features “over 450 million metres of archives, over 400 million pages of correspondence, and over 1,000 registers that have been kept and brought in by multiple generations of owners, starting from the 18th century.” This archive is not only used to preserve the 260+ years of Vacheron Constantin’s history, but it's also used as a source of reference and inspiration for future designs.

Fast forward

In terms of the future, Marchenoir believes that “it’s crucial that we continue to evolve and not just rely on what we’ve done in the past. The world is moving and changing, and we need to demonstrate that what we do and the way we do it is relevant for today and tomorrow.” And to ensure that Vacheron Constantin is continuing to evolve and keep up with modern trends, the company has embarked on a time-consuming yet worthy project. “For the past three years, we’ve been working with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne on a project called Chronogram, where we’re transforming the physical archives of the company into data, so we can search through the millions of pages in faster and more efficient ways.” Making the company's 260+ years of history accessible at just the tap of a finger.

Timeless

A classic watch is believed to be one that can merge the designs of the past with the eternalness of an icon, and when asked which ‘classic’ is his favourite, Julien answered with a slight wave of his wrist — the platinum of his timepiece glistening off the lights. “What I’m wearing is a half-thin, 40mm Patrimony in platinum. It’s one of my favourite pieces. It’s what I would call a true classic. It’s a design from the 1950s, where trends either veered towards the creative or the essence of pureness. This model, with its very sleek design, is of the latter. Platinum is for watch aficionados and collectors — it’s pure, rare, and eternal.”

Photos: Tim Brown for Classic Driver © 2017 

A selection of Vacheron Constantin watches can be found in the Classic Driver Market.