Psst! Wanna buy a watch?That counterfeiter’s come-on, the bane of watchmakers from Beijing to Manhattan, will never be heard about the latest Vacheron Constantin.

The world’s oldest continuously running watch company defies its usual conservatism with Quai de l’Ile, a timepiece that combines anti-forgery measures with a striking level of personalization. The Swiss company linked up with security experts and artists whose designs include the Swiss passport and national currencies. A transparent film, used in banknotes to guarantee authenticity (and until now unavailable for other purposes), is pinned beneath the watch’s sapphire crystal. More important are the things you can touch and see, starting with the watch’s customizable seven-piece center. Buyers use a touch screen to build their dream watch, with choices in metals, dials and finishes that yield nearly four hundred possibilities. The Quai de l’Ile’s real achievement is its beauty: It snares eyeballs from ten feet away, yet with no trace of vulgar flash. And considering the watch community’s buzz over the Vacheron, there’s a practical consideration: This timepiece is almost certain to hold its value or appreciate. In these uncertain days, a watch lover might dump some stocks and mark time on a Quai de l’Ile until the coast is clear.


Vacheron Constantin Quai de l’Ile

Diameter: 41 mm

Movement: Self-winding

Case: Pink gold

Price: $29,900–$49,900; add 20 percent for customization

Contact: 877-862-7555,