Chosen with patience and talent by the Maison’s heritage department specialists, vintage watches covering the entire 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 such as the upcoming exhibition at the Vacheron Constantin Collins Street Boutique from November 2019. Les Collectionneurs models all come with a certificate of authenticity and a two-year guarantee – an offer unmatched in the watchmaking world.
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 260 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 watch 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 craftsmen of its restoration workshop to the historians of the Style & Heritage team, the experts at Vacheron Constantin possess all the necessary skills to best serve this vintage watchmaking that now enjoys such an excellent reputation.
Vacheron Constantin quickly felt the need to unite connoisseurs and aficionados of the Maison around this same passion, 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 watch 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 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.
Les Collectionneurs at 88 Collins Street
Nine exclusive Vacheron Constantin restored vintages pieces from Les Collectionneurs will be available from November to January in celebration of the new boutique opening. The pieces from this collection will be available for purchase, come with a 2 year warranty as well as a digital certification of authentication with Blockchain technology that was recently announced by the Maison.
18K Pink Gold 30-Minute Counter Chronograph Wristwatch, 1942
Case: Round-shaped, pressed three-body. Inclined bezel, bassined middle, rectangular-shaped pushers in pink gold at 2 and 4 o’clock, flat case-back rounded on the external diameter, fan-shaped lugs soldered to the middle.
Diameter: 36mm Movement:Caliber13″V434,manualwinding,30-minutecounterchronograph,19jewels.Swissleverescapement, annular b eryllium b alancewith screws, hairspring with terminal curve, simple regulator, recessed escape-wheel, chronograph mechanism with column wheel. Rhodium-plated brass movement, “Cotes de Geneve” decoration and circular graining.
Dial: Two-tone gilt champagne-colored dial, satin-finished, Roman numerals at 6 and 12 o’clock, 8 baton indexes in pink gold. 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, small seconds at 9 o’clock. External minute-track graduated with the fifth of a second. Tachymetric external scale graduated in KM. Pointed baton hands in pink gold, blued steel chronograph hand, seconds hand with counterpoise.
18K Yellow Gold Complete Calendar Gentleman’s Wristwatch, 1945
Case: Round-shaped, two-body, two levels bezel,3″gadroons”middle, correctors on the middle at 2o’clock for the months, and at 4 o’clock for the date. Large beveled flat back, claw lugs soldered to the middle.
Movement: Caliber 12″‘ 1⁄2 – 485A, with date, days of the week and month, small seconds at 6 o’clock, manual winding, 17 jewels, Swiss lever escapement, annular beryllium balance with screws, hairspring with terminal curve, simple regulator, recessed escape wheel. Rhodium-plated brass movement,”Cotes de Geneve” decoration and circular graining.
Dial: Two-tone silvered, yellow gold Arabic numerals at 2, 4, 8, 10 and 12 o’clock and 6 cabochon indexes in yellow gold, day and month indication between 12 o’clock and the centre, in English, date in red Arabic numerals in an external circle. Small seconds at 6 o’clock, external railroad minute-circle. Pointed baton hands in yellow gold, blue steel hand for the date with red lacquered arrow at the end, small seconds with counterpoise.
18K Yellow Gold Gentleman’s Wristwatch, 1949
Case: Round-shaped, pressed three-body. Straight middle, large and stepped bezel, flat beveled case-back, curved lugs integrated to the middle.
Movement: Caliber 12 ” 1⁄2 – 454-58, manual winding, center seconds, 17 jewels. Swiss lever escapement, annular beryllium balance with screws, hairspring with terminal curve, swan’s-neck micrometric regulator, recessed escape- wheel. Rhodium-plated brass movement. “Cotes de Geneve” decoration and circular graining.
Dial: Black duco lacquered, 13 indexes in yellow gold, large rectangular-shaped with pointed ends, gilt external minute track graduated with Arabic numerals, gilt signature”Vacheron&Constantin”- Geneve”under12o’clock.Pointed baton hands in yellow gold, center seconds with counterpoise.