Vacheron Constantin - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII Geneva Friday, November 3, 2023 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Vacheron Constantin
    Year: 1996
    Reference No: 43050
    Movement No: 798'172
    Case No: 666'593
    Model Name: Mercator
    Material: 18k yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1120/2, 36 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: 18k yellow gold Vacheron Constantin deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Vacheron Constantin Certificate of Authenticity and handling instructions, a booklet on the history of Mercator and the watch and service papers from 2016.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Directly inspired by the double retrograde hands of the Bras en l’Air models of the 30s, the Mercator is one of the timepieces from the 1990s that best represents Vacheron Constantin's ethos of the time: a mix of high horology and métiers d’art with a dash of audacity.

    Launched in 1994 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the celebrated Flemish/German cartographer’s passing, Gerard Mercator (1512-1594), the Vacheron Constantin Mercator can be considered an elegant and equally avant-garde timepiece with its two retrograde hands and engraved dial. In 1569 the cartographer developed a projection that now bears his name and still used today, which rendered the configuration of the terrestrial globe on to a flat surface and became the standard for nautical purposes.

    Originally launched as a limited edition featuring cloisonné enamel dials representing the Americas or Europe/Asia/Africa, the brand soon presented examples with engraved dials featuring the same maps.

    Housing the extra flat caliber 1120, modified for a bi-retrograde time indication, the hands - in the shape of a compass - progress divergently across two arc-shaped zones, one graduated from 1 to 12 hours and the other from 0 to 60 minutes. Each hand returns instantly to zero on exactly completing one half day and one hour respectively.

    The present Mercator in yellow gold and yellow gold engraved dial (justly reminiscent of an old parchment) represents the map of the Americas as drawn by Mercator.

  • 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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Ref. 43050
An avant garde and ingenious yellow gold wristwatch with retrograde hours and minutes hands, engraved dial representing the map of the Americas and warranty, made to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Gerardus Mercator

36mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

CHF15,000 - 30,000 

Sold for CHF40,640

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The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII

Geneva Auction 3 - 4 November 2023