You may recall the announcement last year about Richemont piloting the use of blockchain authentication through the Vacheron Constantin Les Collectionneurs. This new ‘collection’ consists of vintage timepieces (including pocket watches) that have been restored by the brand and are sold with a certificate of authenticity and a two year guarantee as well as being the testing ground for using blockchain. To read more about this collection, go to their page here.
November 2019 saw the opening of Vacheron Constantin’s inaugural Australia boutique in Melbourne and with it, eight Les Collectionneurs pieces. Last week we finally made it down from Sydney to visit, and there were three pieces left, which we share with you today.
Starting with the time-only piece. An 18k yellow gold watch from 1946 (Ref. 4361), it is in a 35.5mm with clawed soldered lugs. The dial is silvered, satin-finished, with 12 indices in yellow gold, baton hands, and a black lacquered minute track surrounding the small seconds. Inside is the manual-wind Calibre V453 with 17 jewels, a Swiss level escapement, rhodium-plated brass movement, hairspring with terminal curve, swan neck regulator, Côtes de Genève decoration, and circular graining.
One of the perks of Les Collectionneurs pieces is that there are small historical details that come with them – this was originally sold in Berlin in 1946. It is priced at AUD 20,500.
The second piece is a chronograph. Originally sold in Turin in 1940 and part of Vacheron Constantin’s ‘Quarter Millenium’ Geneva sale on April 3,2005, this 18k yellow gold Ref. 4083 dates back to 1940. In a 32.5mm sized case with double scroll lugs soldered to the case (interesting lugs being a feature of vintage Vacheron watches), it has a classical look – a two-toned silvered dial with black lacquered Arabic numerals, baton indices, minute track, tachymetre, a 45-minute counter for the chronograph function, blued chronograph hands and yellow baton hour and minute hands. Inside is the manual-wind Calibre 295 with twenty jewels and a Swiss lever escapement. This one will set you back AUD 95,000.
The third watch is a 1945 Ref. 4240 Complete Calendar in 18k yellow gold and perhaps the one that is most familiar to people as being the inspiration for the Historiques Triple calendrier 1942. It has a two tone silvered dial with yellow gold Arabic numerals at 2,4, 8, 10 and 12 o’clock, and six cabochon markers in yellow gold between them. The day and month indications are in English, and the date ring with red Arabic numerals is accompanied by a date hand is blued steel with a red lacquered arrow tip. Next to this is a rail road track for the minutes. There is also a small seconds at 6 o’clock.
The 35mm sized round case is notable for the gadroon (decorative edging formed by parallel rounded strips) case bands and clawed soldered lugs, with the function corrector at 2 o’clock for the months and 4 o’clock for the date. and are manual-wind. Inside is the manual-wind Calibre 485A with a rhodium-plated brass movement with Côtes de Genève and circular graining, Swiss lever escapement, annular beryllium balance with screws, and hairspring with terminal curve. It is priced at AUD 51,500.
As I mentioned, the Melbourne boutique started off with nine vintage pieces, so if you want to take a look, they are at 88 Collins St.