Vacheron Constantin - The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE Geneva Friday, May 12, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Vacheron Constantin
    Year: 1933
    Movement No: 416'362
    Case No: 257'268
    Material: 18K white and pink gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. RA 17''' 15/12, 18 jewels
    Dimensions: 45mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Vacheron Constantin Extract from the Archives indicating date of production in 1933.
    Literature: For an archival photo please see C. Lambelet & L. Coen, The World of Vacheron Constantin, p.396.

  • Catalogue Essay

    World Time watches are more than a time telling device: they are a window into our history. The rise and fall of global and local powers can be followed by just studying the cities whose time zones are displayed on the dial, many of which are different from one decade to the next.

    The invention of the world time can be attributed to only one genius watchmaker: Louis Cottier. He supplied his system to great Swiss manufactures, Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe or Agassiz to name just a few.

    It is around 1930/1931 that Cottier designed a movement featuring a local time, with the hour and minute hands at center, linked to a rotating 24hour ring, and bordered by a fixed outer dial ring with the names of different cities inscribed on it. The city of choice (local time zone) was placed at the 12 o'clock position with the hours/minutes hand set at local time, the watch would then display the correct time in both hours and minutes, night and day, for every time zone in the world simultaneously, all the while allowing easy and accurate reading of local time, and all on a single dial.

    In December 1932 Vacheron Constantin supplied Cottier with a 17”” calibre on which the latter added his world time mechanism thus making it Vacheron Constantin’s very first world time watch and to the best of our knowledge, the second watch to use the Cottier system. A one off was previously made for Beszanger, a jeweler based in Carouge (some rumors suggest that the base movement used in this piece was supplied by Vacheron Constantin).

    The present watch, in superb condition, housed in a white gold case with a rose gold outer segment and bow with a city ring featuring 31 cities is this historically important watch: Vacheron Constantin’s first world time to see the light of day and the first world time by a major Swiss manufacture.

    The historical importance of this piece cannot be underlined enough. It is a watch that set the benchmark for the design of the world time watches. It is a milestone, an icon and a turning point in the history of horology and is a must have for the sophisticated collector.

  • Artist Biography

    Vacheron Constantin

    Swiss • 1755

    The world's oldest watch brand in continuous operation since its founding in 1755, Vacheron Constantin was the first watch company to manufacture movements with interchangeable parts beginning in 1839. Vacheron's watches are admired for their Latin-influenced case designs, well-balanced proportions and exquisitely finished movements of the highest quality. The Geneva-based manufacturer is known for their highly complicated masterpieces, including the King Farouk Grand Complication made in 1935, the Tour de l'Ile that was the most complicated serially produced wristwatch when introduced in 2005 and the 57260 — the world’s most complicated watch — made in 2015.

    Key vintage models include minute repeating wristwatches such as the references 4261, chronographs such as the references 4178 and 6087 and the oversized Cioccolotone models such as ref. 4737. Collectors also appreciate Vacheron's Chronometer Royal pocket and wristwatches, as well as the '222,' the brand's first luxury sports watch produced from 1977 through 1984.

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A very rare and historically important white and pink gold open face world time pocketwatch

45mm. Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

CHF80,000 - 160,000 

Sold for CHF274,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE

Geneva Auctions 13 – 14 May 2017