September 2015

Research projet with EPFL+ECAL Lab for Vacheron Constantin


Chronogramme: A voyage through time’s memory 

The uninterrupted 260-year history of Vacheron Constantin is not only an expression of the manufacturer’s constant evolution of virtuosity, know-how and creativity, but also bears witness to the evolution of our own society. A collection of nearly 350 meters of documents, the earliest dating back to 1755, recounts the desires of each period, the emergence of new knowledge and the birth of intercontinental exchange. These exceptional archives are also physical memories of each watch piece—century after century—and constitute a world heritage of immeasurable value. Vacheron Constantin initiated a research partnership with EPFL to guarantee the long-term preservation of this world heritage and to revive the slumbering knowledge held within. The collaboration between manufacturer and academic laboratories is progressively opening the doors to new ways of expressing the richness of this heritage. The Digital Humanities Lab, in collaboration with Vacheron Constantin’s Heritage Department, has developed digitization principles for ancient handwriting recognition. Together with semantic text mining, the researchers are able to constitute a coherent historical narrative. EPFL+ECAL Lab’s role is to bring these newly vivified archives back to life. Three custom interactive designs offer invitations to voyage through this universe, redefining our relationship with the digital—in the service of the manufacturer’s history and values.

Objet: concept de Marlo & Isaure
Photo: Cédric Widmer