— WorldTempus interviewed Christian Selmoni, artistic director at Vacheron Constantin, a week before he took to the stage to accept the jury’s special prize at the GPHG 2015 for the world’s most complicated Replica Watches For Sale.
To what extent were you involved with the development of the Ref. 57260?
There were essentially three watchmakers involved in the project. It is part of what we call the “atelier des cabinotiers”, which deals with bespoke watches. Design took a secondary role compared with the technical side of things for this piece but there was nevertheless a lot of work done by one designer who worked on this project from around 2010. The main challenge was accommodating such a huge movement into a fake watch UK case and making such a huge number of complications legible. My involvement was in following the development and design of the Swiss replica watches but this is really different from my usual work, which is to provide a design input.
How do you work together with Vincent Kaufmann, head of design at Vacheron Constantin?
I am responsible for a team of designers and the brand’s bespoke watches, plus the artistic crafts. So I am more involved in conception and new projects and ideas, as well as the implementation of artistic crafts in the collection. So I have a more overarching view. I am more of a conceptor than a designer. Vincent and I work closely together, of course, but he is more directly involved in product development.
How difficult is it to dive into 260 years of history to come up with new ideas?
The heritage of the past 260 years is very important because this is what has shaped the identity of the brand. So it is very important for us to be faithful to the key style elements of the brand. If you look at the brand throughout its history there has always been a great variety in its style of expression. It has always had a certain sophistication, elegance and refinement, so our role is to maintain this spirit by looking for timeless designs.
How does the recent Cornes de Vache model express this heritage?
The Chronographe Cornes de Vache is a clear tribute to a watch from 1955. The Harmony collection also has a clear anchor in the history of the brand, particularly in the numerals, which are typical of a watch from 1928. All the work has been done to ensure that this history is expressed in a contemporary way. It is this tension between the present and our history that is important for us.
Is it fair to say that brands are trying to outdo each other in the field of artistic crafts?
What is important for us is that our brand’s history has been marked by four historic crafts: stone setting, engine turning, enamelling and engraving. The challenge for us is to use these traditional crafts in contemporary ways. We are not looking to incorporate new artistic crafts for the sake of it; rather we are looking to work on new themes that are challenging but to do so using our traditional artistic crafts. Once again we are very respectful of our traditions and our authenticity in this area.
Does the 57260 cast a shadow over the rest of the collection?
I don’t think so. We have such diversity in the collection, which can range from unique pieces to ladies’ Replica Watches UK. It is this consistency in the respect for the authenticity of the brand that is important for us. We don’t want to showcase just one facet of the brand but instead to show off the strengths of the brand in general, which have been built up over 260 years.