“Chronogram”, a journey through the memory of time

January 2016

“Chronogram”, a journey through the memory of time - Big

On the occasion of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2016 (SIHH), Vacheron Constantin unveiled the results of the “Chronogram” research project undertaken in collaboration with two EPFL laboratories (the Digital Humanities Lab and the EPFL+ECAL Lab) in order to transform the exceptional body of company archives into an information system and highlight its outstanding value.

More than 350 linear metres of documents accumulated since 1775 contain the memory of Vacheron Constantin. In 2014, the Manufacture entered into a partnership with two laboratories at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) to ensure the sustainability of these archives and give them a new lease on life.

The EPFL Digital Humanities Lab has worked for almost two years on developing new digitisation and automatic transcription technologies capable of turning Vacheron Constantin’s vast documentation into a full-fledged archival information system. The EPFL+ECAL Lab, basing its work on the results of research into the principles of visual language and representation, has developed devices that effectively convert this Big Data heritage from the past into a consultation experience exploring the potential of emerging technologies. . Three devices – respectively inspired by the art of masks, the fencing helmet and panoramic binoculars – enable spectators to immerse themselves into the history of Vacheron Constantin.