Finally they woke up! It was about time. At the current rate they would have lost all they customer 20 years from know. About 90% of their clientele is well above their 60's meaning that in about 20 to 30 years many will have passed away. There is nothing in the Vacheron catalogue that is at all interesting, and somethings are downright scary. Their regular production line is simply not appealing to a younger crowd. This is the most interesting piece of the pie since there has been never so much interest for high-end watches from such a young audience. AP with the Offshore and Royal Oak has almost a religious following in younger crowds. Patek seem to appeal more to a "type" of aficionado rather than an age group. Vacheron's classic line is no contest against Patek's and their sporty Overseas is in my view the worst attempt in horological history to bank on the success of the Royal Oak. So, Vacheron was going nowhere, and it was getting there fast! The best way to recognize that is just by looking around yourself. Few watch nuts I know own or think of owning a Vacheron. If they do, they are generally situated in spot 12 in their list of priorities. If they do own a Vacheron it certainly does not take center stage on their wrist often.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, they slam their fist on the table and surprise everybody with this! Brilliant move. As I mentioned in a previous post I see Vacheron purists frowning at this development. Personally, I see it as a breath of fresh air. Everything about it looks new. Unlike previous years, this definitely is not like it was looked up from somewhere else. The use of titanium and the ability to mix metals at your own desire is new and unknown at Vacheron. Plus the option of being able to factory engrave your name on the back bezel is an option that will give a lot to talk about. They certainly needed something like this to make a younger and more demanding crowd look their way. If we practically order our cars "a la carte" why not our watch? There is only no thing that could blemish its success. The "Quai de l'Ile" is a bit expensive for the difficult times ahead. A fully customized model could go well over 30,000 Euros. Exact pricing is not available yet.
There are some ready made versions that will be available at retailers yet the idea is that you customize and choose you own "Quai de l'Ile". There is also the option of a factory engraving of your choice on the back. There will be a link on Vacheron's site for you to configure the watch, or at least this is their plan. Some dealers will get a "column" with a display on top so that you can configure your watch on site. Than, two to three months later it should be waiting for you at the dealer. Well, that is at least what they claim. Prepare this not to be so true since the watchmaking industry is not renowned for holding their deadlines with the same precision as their watches.
The "Quai de l'Ile" is a real power-play from Vacheron. I hope that this is only the begging and that Vacheron don't fall complacent and continue to surprise us with stuff like that. It would be nice to see them back with the other two guys (AP and Patek) right up there.