September 14, 2023
Swiss watchmaker Vacheron Constantin is shining a light on both climate change’s impact on northern ecosystems and the resilience of the horology label's products.
Working with American artist Zaria Forman, the brand’s latest “One of Not Many” campaign– a series that since 2018 has highlighted individuals who reflect the maison’s values — reveals the shifts occurring in Arctic landscapes. The creative is shown capturing melting glaciers, crumbling icebergs and warming black sand beaches at the top of the world, all the while donning a timepiece from the Overseas collection, which like her, overcomes the elements without missing a beat.
“The quest for excellence and a taste for adventure, passion and innovation, elegance and tradition, art and culture in all their forms have characterized the spirit of our Maison since its founding in 1755,” said Louis Ferla, CEO of Vacheron Constantin, in a statement.
“This visionary, sensitive and demanding outlook is reflected in Zaria Forman's artistic approach and territory of expression,” Mr. Ferla said. “She is a socially committed artist keenly aware that art conveys emotions and eager to share beauty with the public.”
In the newest “One of Many” addition, the delicate nature of the planet is on full display as Ms. Forman boats through Iceland’s Jökulsárlón on the southeast coast.
The lagoon is filled with icebergs from Breiðamerkurjökull, a glacier in Vatnajökull National Park. Though in the face of the climate emergency at hand this kind of landscape is delicate, the watch on Ms. Forman’s wrist is not.
“I am pretty much in a state of constant awe when traversing landscapes,” said Ms. Forman, in a statement.
“I wanted to express that, in all its authenticity,” she said. “The fragility of ice contrasts the reliability of an Overseas watch.
“Both tell time, and their intricacies, excellence and beauty run parallel.”
The campaign shows the timepiece glinting in the blue light, working around the clock despite the plunging temperatures and wet conditions.
With adaptable designs, and interchangeable bracelets and buckle systems, the Overseas collection watches are flexibly made and self-winding, complementing the necessary travel of activists like Ms. Forman — the 40-hour power reserve also falls in line with this lifestyle.
As four Overseas creations were unveiled at Watched and Wonders Geneva (see story), a newer and slimmer model is revealed in the campaign in honor of the artist’s work in the Arctic. A pink gold livery and sunburst blue dial mimic the Polar Night shortly-lived sunrises that bathe the icy region in shades of peach and frost.
In the slot, Ms. Forman sports the timepiece and others from the collection, each of which blends into the precious landscape that she is so adamant about preserving.
The luxury watch appears in every shot, from the creative environmentalist’s photography stage where she takes pictures of the places she wants to draw attention to, to her process of drawing pastel recreations of the images in her studio.
“It all begins with an experience seeing the landscape,” says Ms. Forman, in the video.
“The remote places that I draw are so vast and awe-inspiring,” she continues. “I want to recreate the wonder of witnessing a glacier up close.
“The large-scale drawings envelope the viewer, transporting them to that place and time.”
Visuals of classically Nordic scenes ensue as Ms. Forman discusses her methods. Volcanic coastlines soaked in salt water stretch across the frame while, fall after fall, stands rugged and green.
Iceland’s Reynisfjara, famously isolated roads and Fellsfjara make an appearance, as footage cuts to the artist observing the drifting icebergs and creating.
Glittering in both natural and indoor lighting, Vacheron Constantin’s own craft shines, grounding the brand in both an activist and adventurous context, all while extending the five-year-old “One of Many” campaign (see story).
“Stirring emotions, bearing witness to the natural world, attention to detail and beauty — these are the things about Vacheron Constantin that I admire,” said Ms. Formand, in a statement.
“We share the same passion for the world around us and the same interest in the passage of time, and all that entails,” she said. “Time is the key element in both Vacheron Constantin’s work and my own.
“We are both in a process of creation and preservation.”
Running out of time
Vacheron Constantin is not the first in its luxury category to tie its creations to the work of environmentalists.
Swiss watchmaker Rolex recently celebrated the ecofeminism happening in Nepal’s Himalayan Mountains (see story), and has been shedding light on the importance of architects embracing biophilic design (see story).
Other maisons like Swiss jeweler Chopard are focusing on their products rather than outside forces for sustainability pushes, from selling watches that support a company-founded conservation organization (see story) to crafting circular items (see story).
This latest campaign on the part of Vacheron Constantin not only observes the release of a timepiece that can support expeditions and climate action, but also showcases the bond that it shares with its new One of Not Many appointee.
Zaria Forman joins Vacheron Constantin's One of Not Many community
In their joint spotlight, the brand and the artist bring consumers a little closer to Scandinavia’s vulnerable wonders while positioning the Overseas watch as something that, unlike the ice caps, can withstand the test of time.