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The Vacheron Constantin Overseas World Tour: the spirit of travel

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Founded in Geneva in 1755, Vacheron Constantin has consistently cultivated the spirit of travel inherited by one of its founders, François Constantin, who relentlessly travelled the world to expand the activities of the Maison.

François Constantin and his travels around the world


The values associated with travel are indeed an intrinsic part of the Vacheron Constantin heritage and philosophy.

The name of the iconic Overseas collection was not chosen by chance when it was launched in 1996. With its distinctive casually elegant design, at ease in any situation, the Overseas was conceived as the ideal companion for globetrotters and travellers.


To remark the tight association between the 2016 Overseas collection and the theme of travel, Vacheron Constantin developed a fascinating project in collaboration with Steve McCurry, the American photographer winner of the most prestigious awards including the Magazine Photographer of the Year, the Royal Photographic Society's Centenary Medal two first-place prizes in the World Press Photo contest (1985 and 1992) and the Robert Capa Gold Medal Award for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad.


The Maison and McCurry chose twelve locations, little-known and sometimes inaccessible sites captured by the lens of the photographer, that chime with the fundamental values of Vacheron Constantin.

Beyond their beauty, the shots reflect the spirit that has been driving Vacheron Constantin for 260 years and give a representation of the world as to the expression of time.

Let’s start this world tour from West to East, from Mexico to Japan.



Time for transmission: Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque, Mexico

Designed to channel water through the Mexican desert, this exceptional aqueduct is the architectural proof of complex expertise and in-depth technological knowledge. Born out of the encounter of the Roman and Pre-Columbian civilisations, this monumental work was built between 1553 and 1570. Stretching from Zempoala to Otumba, it spans an incredible 45 kilometres.
© Steve McCurry / Vacheron Constantin
Steve McCurry’s perspective:
"You fully grasp the visual strength of this aqueduct when you realise that it was built over 500 years ago with absolutely perfect symmetry. I see it as a work with a poetic structure, placed right in the middle of nowhere."



Time for movement: Grand Central Terminal, New York, United States

One of the world’s largest railway stations, this architectural gem is set in the heart of the Big Apple. Each day, millions of travellers pass through it in an uninterrupted choreography. This is where the heart of Manhattan pulses almost round the clock. For Vacheron Constantin Steve McCurry’s team was able to re-discover this mythical location in the middle of the night with only a few discrete travellers.
© Steve McCurry / Vacheron Constantin

Steve McCurry’s perspective:
"I remember the first time at Grand Central Station, in New York. I had the impression of being immersed in a work of art, not a railway station! What I find especially fascinating here is the constant human interaction. But it was fantastic to be able to spend a whole night there. We had the entire station to ourselves, as if in a waking dream."



Time for inspiration: Crawick Multiverse, Scotland 

The Crawick Multiverse site is a gem nestling in the hills at the heart of the Dumfries region. The visionary architect and landscape artist Charles Jenks has transformed a former open cast coal mine into a landscape art design. The ecology of the site and the monoliths found there inspired its construction based on space, astronomy and cosmology. Extending an invitation to journey from the centre of the Earth to the furthermost galaxies, it brings universes together through the unique and far-reaching perspective of its inspired creator.
© Steve McCurry / Vacheron Constantin

Steve McCurry's perspective:
"I was previously unaware of this location, and pleasantly surprised by its ancient mystique despite being a new installation. These man-made formations typify Scotland's great history of similar formations whose purpose are still unknown to us today. There is a cosmic feeling evoked by these structures."



Time for inspiration: Manufacture Vacheron Constantin, Geneva

Within the Manufacture, the union of opposites expresses the spirit of the Maison. Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi created a play on materials in a blend of sophistication and simplicity, harmony and discipline, flowing and closed spaces, modern and timeless lines. The atrium consists of an interplay of staircases, gangways and an elevator, all entirely in glass with a load-bearing structure in raw concrete.
© Steve McCurry / Vacheron Constantin

Steve McCurry’s perspective
"You find yourself facing this incredible shape, this architecture, this singular design that is also an authentic work of art, a concrete example of human genius. I see it as a perfect match between beauty and precision. Admiring the Manufacture Vacheron Constantin is like setting off on an extraordinary  voyage."



Time for tradition: Chefchaouen, Morocco

For almost 100 years, the inhabitants of this small town have been colouring it in blue. Whatever the explanation behind this tradition, it is perpetuated because locals found it beautiful and draw from it their identity and their distinctiveness, since no other village in the world features such a monochrome beauty, like an ocean in the desert. 
© Steve McCurry / Vacheron Constantin

Steve McCurry's perspective: 
"I have visited a similar blue location in India. There is a poetic story likening this blue city to the skies or heaven. Viewing the town at night from further away provides a magical vantage point where the warm-hued lights give a nice contrast to the blue-painted city." 



Time for conquest: Paris Astronomical Observatory

The Paris Astronomical Observatory is the oldest in the world still in operation. Built in 1667, this centre of knowledge that witnessed the birth of new sciences such as geodesy and meteorology remains firmly closed to the public. Set in a lush green environment at the heart of Paris, its historical dome houses an astronomical telescope pointing towards the sky and drawing the visitor's gaze towards infinite expanses where time and space meet.
© Steve McCurry / Vacheron Constantin

Steve McCurry's perspective:
"This was my first time entering the dome of an observatory. It was fascinating to have the opportunity to visit a place made possible by human curiosity and ingenuity. The Paris Observatory was technologically revolutionary for its time, and is still one of the largest astronomical centers of the world. The Overseas Tour itself is driven by the same curiosity about the world that is at the heart of this location."



Time for perspective: Red Square seen from the GUM roof, Moscow

Overlooking one of the world's most famous squares, the GUM roof represents a technical and architectural feat. Built in 1893, its glass dome with monumental iron arches spans almost 2.5 hectares. Standing at the very top of its majestic vaults means enjoying the privilege of a unique perspective on the Red Square, almost touching the bulb-shaped towers of Saint Basil's Cathedral, and feeling the vibrations or more than one thousand years of history as well as an entire population.
© Steve McCurry / Vacheron Constantin

Steve McCurry's perspective:
"Managing to shoot the Red Square from a new vantage point was made possible by the exceptional access granted to the GUM roof. The square topped by colourful steeples thus revealed itself in a truly unique way. Once night fell, this perspective took on a whole new and even more magical dimension when the GUM glass roof was lit up."



Time for symbolism: Lalibela, Ethiopia

Carved out of rock at the top of a hill in the 13th century, Lalibela was built as a "new Jerusalem". Its 11 buildings symbolise earthly and heavenly Jerusalem with a trench to represent the River Jordan. Free of any ornaments or statues, this rock-hewn site features a roof level with the ground which invites travellers to enter a world of utter simplicity and humility.
© Steve McCurry / Vacheron Constantin

Steve McCurry's perspective:
"Lalibela has a great history, and is distinguishable by its churches which are cut out of solid stone from the top down. It's a unique structure not unlike the pyramids or medieval cathedrals. Though built 700 years ago, this location continues to be a point of pilgrimage today."



Time for confluence: Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Samarkand lies at a strategic geographical and cultural crossroads, on the Silk Route in the direction of China, and it is one of the most ancient inhabited cities of Central Asia. It was successively Greek, Persian, Turkish, Mongolian and Iranian, during the heyday of each of these civilisations. The magnificent mausoleums and other buildings of the necropolis are graced with shimmering ceramic decorations, ornate domes and all the magic of Middle Eastern art that has found its way through the ages to dazzle modern-day travellers.
© Steve McCurry / Vacheron Constantin
© Steve McCurry / Vacheron Constantin

Steve McCurry's perspective:
"Having been there 10 years ago, I was familiar with the location. However, the timeless architecture still holds just as striking and iconic as it did when it was built around 2,500 years ago. The ornate designs and wondrous colors are a marvel to behold."



Time for enchantment: Chand Baori Stepwell, India

This ancient stepwell is a legendary and mesmerizingly beautiful work of art intermingling symbolic ornamentation and optical illusions. Located near a temple in Abhaneri, in the state of Rajasthan, it has been a major centre of social life through the centuries. To reach the water, one must descend countless steps spread over several successive levels. The population regards this itinerary as in invitation to meditate.
© Steve McCurry / Vacheron Constantin

Steve McCurry’s perspective:
"This place immediately reminded me of the graphic work of the artist Maurits Cornelis Escher, notably expressed through his art of creating optical illusions through playing with lines. The Indian women we met there appeared to be lost amid the vastness of the monument. These are definitely the most beautiful and awe-inspiring staircases I have ever seen. The architects worked miracles in creating a work of pure Beauty."



The time for serenity: Leshan Giant Buddha, China

In Sichuan Province, a monumental Buddha has been towering over the Min River for 13 centuries and appears destined to defend it for eternity. A 71metre-high colossus, hewn out of the rock between 713 and 803 AD, was created to protect the sailors braving these rushing waters.
© Steve McCurry / Vacheron Constantin

Steve McCurry’s perspective:
"I have tried to convey through pictures the amazing sum of knowledge possessed by the Chinese at the time this Buddha was sculpted. It was an honour for me to undertake this task, especially as we were fortunate to meet some wonderful people during the photo shoot. What impressed me about this Buddha was its face that shows a neutral and benevolent smile. He observes the world and gazes affectionately at us as if he wished to protect us for all eternity."



The time for rituals: Tsurunoyu, Japan

In Japanese, onsen means "hot spring". It is the name given to thermal baths, regarded as poetic, ritual and sacred places. In the province of Akita, the beauty of the Onsen emanates from the presence of unspoilt yet well mastered natural elements – water, steam and the environment – that never undermine the humble, pared-down simplicity of the establishment. Before immersing in these hot springs bursting forth from the earth, one has to follow a specific ritual paying tribute to the serenity of purification.
© Steve McCurry / Vacheron Constantin

Steve McCurry’s perspective:
"This was one of the most inspirational locations on my photographic journey. When we arrived there, it had been snowing for three days. Everything was shrouded in a mantle of white, as if in a dream. It was truly fascinating to witness this magical contrast between the coldness of the snow and the warmth of the baths."


This is just a preview of an exceptional tour. Do not miss the complete Overseas Tour experience with all the photos shot by Steve Mc Curry and 360° views of the visited sites.



To discover more of the new Vacheron Constantin Overseas models, we also invite you to read our articles on various models:






More pictures of the Overseas timepieces can be found here

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