Chosen with patience and talent by the Maison’s heritage department specialists, vintage watches covering the 20th century are now part of the aptly named “Les Collectionneurs” collection. The latter continues to evolve over time and is regularly offered for sale to brand aficionados at dedicated events organised in Vacheron Constantin boutiques around the world. “Les Collectionneurs” models all come with a digital certification of authenticity with Blockchain technology and a two-year guarantee – an offer unmatched in the watchmaking world. Between 8th June – 8th August, 2021, the Collection will be available in London.
- Eleven vintage watches spanning the 20th century;
- London, from 8th June to 8th August 2021
- Models sourced by Vacheron Constantin’s experts, then restored and delivered with a digital certification of authenticity with Blockchain technology and a two-year guarantee.
When vintage is second nature
The notion of vintage is second nature to Vacheron Constantin. It is expressed through a strong attachment to everything relating to its heritage. In more than 265 years of existence, the Maison has accumulated a unique set of archives in the field of time measurement. Engaged in uninterrupted production since its origins, the Manufacture is also able to take care of – and restore if necessary – any timepiece from its workshops, whatever its age. A closer look at its archives and its private collection of more than 1,500 timepieces offers an excellent insight into this historical depth and the means used to nurture it. From the watchmakers and craftspeople of its restoration workshop to the historians of the Style & Heritage team, the experts at Vacheron Constantin possess all the necessary skills to best honour this vintage watchmaking service that now enjoys such an excellent reputation.
Vacheron Constantin wanted to unite connoisseurs and aficionados of the Maison around their passion for vintage timepieces, leading to the creation of “Les Collectionneurs”: an approach consisting in using the Manufacture’s considerable resources to gather and restore a series of historical Vacheron Constantin pieces, subsequently offered for sale at dedicated events in Vacheron Constantin boutiques around the world.
“”Les Collectionneurs” represents another facet of Vacheron Constantin,” comments Christian Selmoni, Style & Heritage Director. “The collection perpetuates this precious link between past and present, enabling our clientele of connoisseurs and collectors to acquire restored vintage pieces directly through the Maison, which is a real guarantee. As for the events organised around the world to unveil these pieces, they attract both seasoned collectors and young generations eager to delve more deeply into watchmaking history.”
Watches ready for a new life
The Vacheron Constantin Heritage team works to bring together these vintage watches, whether pocket or wristwatches. The objective is to create a representative range of timepieces offered by Vacheron Constantin over the years. All kinds of channels are used in order to locate them: auction rooms, personal contacts with private individuals – bearing in mind that an expert eye is decisive in the choice of these timepieces, be they simple or striking models, calendars or chronographs… Pocket watches mainly covering the years 1910 to 1930 and wristwatches prior to 1970 – with a preference for the period from 1940 to 1960 – are then subjected to a dual appraisal. First of all, a historical evaluation is undertaken in order to authenticate the piece with reference to the in-house archives, which have been listing cases and movements by serial number for a century and a half. Then comes the technical assessment aimed at determining which interventions may be necessary, from simply cleaning the timepiece, to its restoration – the objective being to preserve these timepieces in a state as close as possible to that of their origins. If necessary, they are restored to working order using period components, of which Vacheron Constantin maintains a large stock, or else reproduced the old-fashioned way and in identical form within the Manufacture. Once the process is complete, each timepiece is accompanied by a digital certificate of authenticity and a two-year guarantee, the latter being the same as that delivered with all models within the Maison’s standard collections.
Models unveiled at dedicated events
Throughout the year, Vacheron Constantin organises special events or exhibitions of historical models from its private collection in its boutiques. These are all special experiences that give connoisseurs an opportunity to discover this “Les Collectionneurs” collection; and Vacheron Constantin‘s experts a chance to share the history related to the “experience” of these models. Thanks to its extremely well documented archives, the Maison can retrace the destiny of these timepieces that have survived through the ages as testimony to their time and to its watchmaking expertise. Rare and doubtless unique for those who cherish them, these Vacheron Constantin timepieces bearing the patina of age as a badge of honour are thus ready for a new life.
18K yellow gold minute-repeater gentleman’s wristwatch (Inv. ref 11761) – 1951
Tear-drop lugs soldered to the middle. Silvered dial, circular guilloché hour-circle, 4/4 Roman numerals and 8 lapidated and pointed indexes, external pearled minute-circle. Yellow gold pointed baton hands.An exception grand complication, the reference 4261 combines an impressive thinness and superb aesthetics.The minute repeater mechanism was the third type of complication to be miniaturised enough to fit into the space of a wristwatch after the calendar and the chronograph mechanisms. It has been developed around 1930. The model 4261 was the first ultra-thin minute repeater produced by Vacheron Constantin. When it was launched in 1943 it was considered as one of the thinnest minute repeaters ever made. Less than 40 pieces were produced between 1944-1951, in yellow gold, pink gold and platinum. This watch is one of the last pieces produced. The reference 4261 is most probably the most sought-after Vacheron Constantin timepieces, from the collector’s perspective.
18K yellow gold open-face worldtime pocket watch (Inv. Ref 10394) – 1949
Silvered dial made in 3 parts. 24 hours disk divided in two zones, dark blue zone for the night hours and silvered for the daylight hours. external fixed disk graduated with the name of 41 cities and placesIn 1932 the Vacheron Constantin first World Time pocket watch displays the Cottier system capable of displaying the 24 time zones on the same dial, rotating with the movement. The Maison assigns model ref 3372 to this brand new watch. Watches indicating 24 time-zones were progressively named “Universal time, “international time” (ref. Vacheron Constantin archives) and then “World time” for most contemporary watches. In 1936 seeking to show that the complication was worth perfecting. Vacheron Constantin presented two new version of its international time model whose featured 31 international cities for reference 3650. In 1946 Vacheron Constantin assigned reference 4414 to the world time model with a dial comprising 41 cities. This reference was ordered by famous watches collectors as well as the Agnelli family in 1941. King Farouk of Egypt in 1946 or 52nd United States secretary of States John Foster Dulles who received a world time 4414 model from dramatist and diplomat Mrs Clare Booth Luce in 1955. Vacheron Constantin Worldtime watches are not indexed on political/state time zones but under the Meridian for each of 24 time zones (a kind of geographic hour). Following this concept, each time zone is spaced by 15° longitude.