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Vacheron Constantin vs. Rolex: Features & Investment Review

Published on
Comparison
vacheron constantin vs rolex

Choosing between Vacheron Constantin and Rolex is like choosing between a vintage Bordeaux and a fine Scotch; both are exquisite, yet their appeal lies in distinct characteristics that cater to different palates of luxury. 

Vacheron Constantin is akin to a masterful symphony of watchmaking, offering intricate designs and complex mechanisms for those who appreciate traditional craftsmanship. Rolex, on the other hand, is the epitome of robustness and status, a brand synonymous with durability since its inception. 

Whether you’re drawn to the refined elegance of Vacheron Constantin or the bold statement of a Rolex, understanding their characteristics will help you decide which timepiece resonates more with your personal style. Read on to learn about their history, famous collections, and standout timepieces.

Comparison Table: At a Glance

Vacheron Constantin and Rolex are two titans of timekeeping. Understand at a glance what sets each one apart from the other, starting from their founding years, down to their watch complications, material innovations, and more:

FeatureVacheron ConstantinRolex
Founding Year17551905
Country of OriginSwitzerlandSwitzerland
Price RangeS$8,718 – S$161,512S$2,423 – S$330,262
Famous CollectionsOverseas; Patrimony; FiftysixSubmariner; GMT-Master II; Cosmograph Daytona, 
Watch Complications• Perpetual calendars
• Tourbillons
• Minute repeaters
• Chronograph
• Moonphase indicator
• Power reserve indicator
• Dual/world time
• Jumping hour
• Retrograde display
Annual calendar
• Date display
• Day-date display
• Chronograph
• GMT function (dual time zone)
• Diving bezel
• Yacht timer
• Saros annual calendar
Material Innovation• Advanced alloys, like 15k pink gold
• Ceramics
• Gold, platinum, and other precious metals
• Exotic leathers, like alligator skin
• Anti-magnetic materials
• Oystersteel
• Cerachrom bezel insert
• Rolesor (gold and steel combination)
• Everose gold
• Parachrom hairspring
• Platinum and white gold
• Chromalight display
Signature Design• Maltese cross
• Slim watch profiles
• Guilloché dials
• Oyster caseJubilee, oyster, and president bracelets
• Cyclops lens
• Cerachrom bezel
• Fluted bezel
• Mercedes hands
• Green and gold brand colors
• Rolex crown logo
Historical SignificanceOne of the oldest watch manufacturers with a strong heritage in watchmakingPioneering in waterproof watches and timekeeping in sports and exploration
Notable Wearers• Princess Diana
• Chris Paul
• Brad Pitt
• Tiger Woods
• John F. Kennedy
• Paul Newman

Vacheron Constantin Brand History

close up image of Vacheron Constantin watch

Vacheron Constantin has a long series of events to feature since its founding year. Here are some of the most remarkable that marked its timeline:

  • 1755: Jean-Marc Vacheron establishes Vacheron Constantin in Geneva, Switzerland. This is also the same year Vacheron Constantin creates the notable silver watch, the only timepiece bearing the founder’s name, featuring a verge escapement and gold-crafted hands.
  • Early 19th Century: The brand, under the guidance of Jean-Marc Vacheron’s son and grandson, continues to innovate and introduce more complex watch mechanisms.
  • 1819: Jacques Barthélémi Vacheron partners with François Constantin, leading to the renaming of the company.
  • 1907: Release of the first Chronomètre Royal by Vacheron Constantin, marking a significant achievement in watchmaking.
  • 1994: Introduction of the “Mercator” by Vacheron Constantin, celebrating the 400th anniversary of the death of the famous Flemish mathematician and geographer Gerhard Kremer (known as Mercator).
  • 2015: Vacheron Constantin unveils Reference 57260 on their 260th anniversary, setting a new standard as the most complicated watch ever made with 57 complications.
  • 2021: On the 100th anniversary of the American 1921 watch, Vacheron Constantin releases a faithful reproduction, celebrating an iconic era in watchmaking.

All the hard work in molding this significant luxury watch brand has earned outstanding results. These years, Vacheron Constantin, particularly its latest Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas 4500V watch, has become commonly sought out, specifically as a piece of investment, according to the South China Morning Post

Chrono24 backs this up, stating Vacheron Constantin’s timepieces are going to be the “…latest hot watch[es] for collectors.”

Top 3 Popular Models From the Overseas Collection

1. Overseas Chronograph 5500V/110A-B148

Vacheron Constantin Overseas 5500V/110A-B148

Known for its sunburst blue dial, this model, introduced at SIHH in 2016, has been a classic favorite due to its dressy appeal in a 42.5 mm case in pure stainless steel. This currently has a market price of S$43,740.

2. Overseas Dual Time 7900V/110A-B334

Vacheron  Overseas Constantin 7900V_110A-B334 

Apart from its dual time display, this complicated watch model, priced at S$40,274, comes with a blue dial. It further showcases several functionalities, like an additional adjustable hour hand, pointer date, central seconds, and an AM/PM indicator.

3. Overseas World Time 7700V/110A-B172

vacheron constantin overseas world time 7700V-110A-B172

Distinct in its design, this Vacheron Constantin Overseas watch turns heads with its 43.5mm, intricate dial details, and open case back, among others. A watch like this can be acquired from a private sales market for S$38,123. 

Read Also: Should You Buy Vacheron Constantin Overseas Watches?

Top 3 Popular Models From the Patrimony Collection

1. Patrimony Manual-Wind 81180/000G-9117

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony 81180-000G-9117

This model, costing S$17,392, is the epitome of classic simplicity as it features a clean, sober white dial complemented by a black strap made of crocodile skin. 

2. Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date 4000U/000R-B110

vacheron constantin patrimony retrograde day-date 4000U-000R-B110

This particular watch is inspired by the Vacheron Constantin models in the 1950s. It has day and calendar features in the dial and uses pink gold for its 42.5mm smooth case. Due to its intricacy, expect this watch to fetch a high price of around S$43,994. 

3. Patrimony Perpetual Calendar 43175/000R-9687

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony 43175 000R-9687

Known for its thin profile in a 41mm case, this S$62,284 watch exhibits a no-nonsense dial filled with functionalities, like the perpetual calendar. Though far from looking rugged, this timepiece is water-resistant at about 30 meters.

Top 3 Popular Models From the Fiftysix Collection

1. Fiftysix Self-Winding 4600E/000R-B576

vacheron constantin fiftysix self-winding 4600E-000R-B576

Introduced at SIHH 2018, the 4600E/000R-B576, priced at S$24,570, is remarkably known for its pink gold case and brown dial. This houses the Vacheron Constantin caliber 1326, allowing it to measure the hours, seconds, minutes, and dates accurately. 

2. Fiftysix Day-Date 4400E/000A-B437

vacheron constantin fiftysix day-date 4400E-000A-B437

This watch’s identity lies in its black crocodile straps, contrasted by a striking silver dial that shows the date and weekday functions. This model is one among the few of Vacheron Constantin’s timepieces that fall on the midrange price. This can be bought for around S$19,392. 

3. Fiftysix Complete Calendar 4000E/000A-B439

vacheron constantin fiftysix complete calendar 4000E-000A-B439

This is another watch introduced at SIHH 2018. Like the reference 4400E/000A-B437, this comes with a black crocodile strap and a high-quality silver dial. However, the watch’s face showcases a moon phase feature and day, date, and month functionalities. Its current market value is S$24,325. 

Rolex Rand History

close up image of Rolex Daytona watch

Rolex is another old luxury watch brand, but not as old as Vacheron Constantin. To better understand how it came about, let’s take a look at its most significant moments in history: 

  • 1905: Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis establish Rolex in London, England, originally named Wilsdorf and Davis.
  • 1927: Rolex gains fame for its durability and precision when a Rolex Oyster watch crosses the English Channel with swimmer Mercedes Gleitze, showcasing its water-resistant capabilities.
  • 1945: Introduction of the Rolex Datejust, the first wristwatch with an automatically changing date on the dial.
  • 1953: Release of the Rolex Submariner, one of the world’s first diving watches, waterproof up to 100 meters.
  • 1954: Launch of the GMT-Master, designed for Pan American Airways pilots to manage dual time zones.
  • 1956: The Rolex Day-Date is introduced, the first watch to display the date and day of the week fully spelled out.
  • 1960: Rolex Deep Sea Special descends to the deepest point in the ocean, the Mariana Trench, attached to the bathyscaphe Trieste.
  • 1963: The launch of the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, a watch designed for professional racing drivers.
  • 1971: Introduction of the Rolex Explorer II, designed for cave explorers with features like a 24-hour display.
  • 2007: The Yacht-Master II is unveiled, featuring a programmable countdown with a mechanical memory.
  • 2012: Launch of the Sky-Dweller, offering a dual time zone and annual calendar for international travelers.

A lot more collections followed, bearing some of the most in-demand Rolex watches. Dominick Reuter, a senior reporter for Business Insider, states that these timepieces have “…outperformed gold, real estate, and stocks in the past 10 years…”

This explains why Rolex watches have become more expensive, as The New York Times reported. Yet, while this is true, Valida Pau, an Assignment Desk Intern at CNBC, reports that Rolex experienced a “second-hand luxury watch price slump…” after the pandemic. 

Nonetheless, its price remains profitable, especially since the younger generation is keen on having a Rolex watch, according to Chrono24

Top 3 Popular Models From the Submariner Collection

1. Rolex Submariner Date 116610LN

rolex submariner Date 116610LN

Released in 2015, this model, which is currently worth S$14,854, is an upgraded version of the 16610 Submariner. It features an enhanced lug design for robustness and a hard-wearing ceramic bezel insert.

2. Rolex Submariner “Hulk” 116610LV

Rolex Submariner Hulk 116610LV

Debuted at BaselWorld in 2010, this version is nicknamed the “Hulk” due to its distinctive green dial. It has garnered significant demand in the market, with its value appreciating over time. Presently, this is valued at S$25,072 in the market. 

3. Rolex Submariner “No Date” 114060

Rolex Submariner Ref. 114060

Known for its timeless design without a date function, this S$13,399-worth Submariner variant stands out with its stainless steel build and a striking contrast between its black Ceramic bezel and dial. Dive into our Rolex Submariner ref. 114060 review for an in-depth look at its unique features.

Top 3 Popular Models From the GMT-Master II Collection

1. Rolex GMT-Master II “Pepsi” 126710BLRO

Rolex GMT-Master II Ref 126710 BLRO

This version has a distinctive red and blue Cerachrom bezel, enabling the wearer to track three separate time zones simultaneously. Due to its demand, this watch can fetch a high price of S$26,608. Discover the unique charm of the iconic Rolex Pepsi in our detailed review.

2. Rolex GMT-Master II “Batman” 126710BLNR

Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR

Distinguished by its black and blue bezel, this S$21,517 watch offers a unique, worldly aesthetic, excelling in its functionality and design.

3. Rolex GMT-Master II “Root Beer” 126711CHNR

Rolex GMT-Master II Root Beer 126711CHNR-0002

Featuring a brown and black bezel paired with a two-tone bracelet, this model, which currently has a market value of S$25,769, exudes a blend of retro charm and classic elegance.

Top 3 Popular Models From the Cosmograph Daytona Collection

1. Rolex Daytona 116500LN-0001

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116500LN-001

This stainless steel model, valued at S$37,182, matched with a ceramic bezel, comes in a black bezel and white dial. This was introduced at BaselWorld 2016, and it has a watch size measuring 40 mm.

2. Rolex Daytona 116506-0001

Rolex Daytona 116506

Deemed an iconic, high-priced watch, this S$128,887-worth Rolex watch features the name “Daytona” in red on the dial. This comes in 904 L steel, 18 ct gold, and Rolesor versions, and various dial and bracelet options. 

3. Rolex Daytona 116508-0013

Rolex daytona 116508-0013

Significantly known as a John Mayer Daytona, this yellow gold watch matched with a stunning green dial. This was introduced at BaselWorld 2016 and has become an instant collection-worthy timepiece, currently gaining a value of around S$82,826. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Vacheron Constantin Better Than Rolex?

Whether Vacheron Constantin is better than Rolex depends on what you value in a watch. If you appreciate artistic skills, such as enameling, engraving, and guilloché, as well as intricate complications and complex mechanics, Vacheron Constantin, a part of the Holy Trinity that’s as excellent as Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe, is a great choice. 

Meanwhile, if you’re more into Rolex’s aesthetics and wide selection of collections and watch models, then it’s the brand to go for. It all boils down to your preferences since both luxury watches are well-made in aspects like design, quality, caliber, and materials.

2. Does Vacheron Constantin Hold Value?

Vacheron Constantin watches are esteemed for their exquisite craftsmanship, which often translates into impressive value retention. These timepieces are typically produced in lower quantities than Rolex, making certain models highly sought after in the collectors’ market. 

However, this doesn’t mean that every Vacheron Constantin guarantees a great ROI; this will mainly be factored by its rarity, condition, and the watch industry or market, in general. 

3. What Is More Prestigious Than Rolex?

While Rolex is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious watch brands globally, Vacheron Constantin often holds a higher esteem among watch enthusiasts due to its rich history and limited production numbers. 

Brands like Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet are also often considered more prestigious due to their exclusivity and the complexity of their timepieces.

Final Word

When considering a Vacheron Constantin or a Rolex, it’s essential to acknowledge that you’re not just buying a watch but investing in a statement of craftsmanship and heritage. Vacheron Constantin’s pieces are often esteemed for their complex horological complications and exquisite designs. The other brand, which is Rolex, has a reputation for durability, timeless design, and robust resale value, which makes it an aspirational brand for everyday wear and societal recognition.

Key Takeaways

  • Vacheron Constantin is known for its exclusivity, while Rolex is celebrated for its global brand recognition.
  • Both brands hold prestigious positions: Vacheron in the “Holy Trinity” of watchmaking, and Rolex as an iconic symbol of luxury.
  • Vacheron excels in complex, artistic designs and movements; Rolex is renowned for precise, reliable, and robust timepieces.
  • Vacheron offers extensive customization and unique pieces, whereas Rolex provides consistent quality and higher resale value.

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