The Quarter Millennium of Vacheron Co...

Geneva, Apr 03, 2005

LOT 41

Vacheron & Constantin, Genève, No. 501912, case No. 328065, Ref. 4261, made in 1954. Extremely fine and unique, large, extra-flat, minute-repeating, platinum and diamond-set gentleman's wristwatch with a platinum Vacheron & Constantin buckle. Accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity.

CHF 300,000 - 350,000

EUR 200,000 - 230,000 / USD 250,000 - 300,000

Sold: CHF 286,750

C. Three-body, solid, polished, rounded bezel, teardrop lugs.D. Matte, brushed, silvered,, with round and baguette diamondindexes. White gold "bâton" hands. M. Cal. 13??? J.M.V., 3.1 mmthick, rhodium-plated, "fausses côtes" decoration, 29 jewels,straight line lever escapement, cut bimetallic balance adjustedto temperatures and two positions, flat balance-spring, indexregulator, repeating on gongs via a slide on the band.Dial, case and movement signed.Diam. 37 mm. Thickness: 5.8 mm.

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Grading System
Case: 2

Very good

Movement: 2

Very good

Dial: 2 - 01


Towards the mid-20 th century, Vacheron Constantin produced only 36 examples of minute-repeating wristwatches, in pink, yellow, white gold and in platinum: 17 examples beginning in 1942, 9 beginning in 1944 and 10 beginning in 1951. Of these, only ten examples of large extra-flat minute-repeating wristwatches had a 13''' movement (3.1 thickness, total thickness without glass 5.8 mm): 8 in yellow gold, one in pink gold, and two in platinum, including the present watch. A similar watch, bearing the number 501910, was sold by Antiquorum, October 11 and 12, 2003, lot 140. Collectors and professionals the world over consider this model to be the most beautiful minute-repeating wristwatch made during the last seventy years. The teardrop lugs of these models are a unique and distinctive characteristic of the company?s wristwatches, and were used for watches ranging from the simple timepiece (Ref. 4218, Ref. 4412) to the most complicated (Ref. 4241 with full calendar and moon phases; Ref. 4261 with minute-repeat). What is a Minute Repeater? A minute repeating watch tells the time both visually and audibly. A slide on the side of the case, usually near the 9, will activate two hammers in the movement. These hammers strike two gongs curled within the case. First one hammer strikes a gong of lower tonality; it counts out the hours. Then both hammers strike both gongs alternatively to count out the quarter hours after that hour, and then the second hammer alone striking a gong of higher tonality counts out the minutes after that quarter hour. The repeating mechanism was developed by Daniel Quare, who in 1687 patented a mechanism that sounded the hours and the quarter hours. The early repeaters used bells. At the end of the 18th cen-tury, two bent-wire gongs became the more popular mechanism. The first minute repeater wristwatch was produced by Omega in 1892; it was a model with a round-shaped case. Since that time, most watchmakers and manufacturers have created quarter and minute repeating watches. From the beginning of the 20th century many of the most important creators, watchmakers or manu-facturers, have produced minute repeating wristwatches, always in limited editions, for the most sophisticated collectors in the world. For a similar watch in pink gold, see lot 142 and in yellow gold, see lot 226.