21 Ultimate Gifts: Personal Time

THE GIFT 

Customized Vacheron Constantin men’s wristwatch.

Five-night trip to Geneva, Switzerland, for two people.

An exclusive tour of Vacheron Constantin’s watchmaking facilities,
and hands-on design sessions with the company’s watchmaking masters.

$1.4 million

Two and a half centuries ago, when the world’s oldest watch company, Vacheron Constantin, was a relatively new concern, crafting a fine watch was a highly personalized process in which artisans collaborated closely with their clients. While this level of individual attention is exceedingly rare today, it continues to represent the pinnacle of luxury for serious collectors.

In an effort to take this tradition to a new level, Vacheron Constantin has agreed to combine the services of its personalized watchmaking program with a never-before-offered bespoke experience that will yield for one Robb Report reader a customized watch never to be replicated. The recipient of this gift will travel with a guest to Geneva, Switzerland, where the five-day custom-watch experience will be hosted by Vacheron Constantin’s CEO, Juan-Carlos Torres. The itinerary will also include a personal tour of Vacheron Constantin Maison—the home of the company’s horological museum and its Atelier Cabinotiers bespoke watch service—as well as hands-on demonstrations at the company’s métiers d’art facilities in Geneva and the famous Vallée de Joux, the birthplace of Swiss horology.

The custom watch will be based on the newly introduced Quai de l’Ile (pictured). This highly contemporary timepiece combines a customizable case with sophisticated anti-counterfeiting technology. The recipient determines the specifications of the case with the help of a computerized configuration tool that enables the review of as many as 400 different combinations of dial arrangements. Other options include a choice of rose gold, titanium, or palladium components on the modular case, as well as automatic or day-date movements. However, Vacheron Constantin will take the personalization process several steps beyond the Quai de l’Ile’s multitude of variations by enabling the recipient to work directly with the company’s top designers to customize the timepiece further.

The Quai de l’Ile’s anti-counterfeiting program will ensure that this watch’s custom design remains one of a kind. Vacheron Constantin teamed with Roger Pfund—the Swiss security-printing expert who helped develop Switzerland’s state-of-the-art passports and banknotes—to incorporate into its Quai de l’Ile timepieces such sophisticated security technologies as special inks, intaglio printing, and laser engraving.

The gift recipient’s journey into Vacheron Constantin’s inner workings will not be all work. Along with private jet travel to Geneva, five-star accommodations, 24-hour spa access, and butler service, the company will treat the buyer to meals prepared by some of the region’s most renowned chefs—whose special menus will be paired with some of the finest wines available—guaranteeing a gastronomic tour de force every bit as inimitable as the watch.

Vacheron Constantin, Ellen Cohan, 212.303.5030, www.vacheron-constantin.com

The gift is available to one buyer and must be purchased by December 31, 2009.

Photo by Jim Fets
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