Vacheron Constantin - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII Geneva Friday, November 3, 2023 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Vacheron Constantin
    Year: 1999
    Reference No: 43060/2
    Movement No: 861'368
    Case No: 701'868
    Model Name: Audubon Birds of America - Roseate Spoonbill
    Material: 18k yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, cal 1120/2, 36 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: 18k yellow gold Vacheron Constantin pin buckle
    Dimensions: 38.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Vacheron Constantin Extract from the Archives confirming the present timepiece to be part of the "Audubon" Collection

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Vacheron Constantin Audubon “Birds of America” is a delightful watch that invites us to step back, take a deep breath and appreciate crafts that require time and patience.

    The cloisonné enamel dial by renowned enamel artist Muriel Sechaud, is inspired by the works of 19th Century American ornithologist, naturalist and painter John J. Audubon and his book Birds of America. He was notable for his expansive studies to document all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats. His major work, a color-plate book entitled Birds of America (1827–1839), is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed. Audubon identified 25 new species. Vacheron Constantin's Audubon – Birds of America (launched in 1996) was a series of ten watches depicting ten different birds and made in 10 examples each.

    The present example depicts the Roseate Spoonbill as drawn by Muriel Sechaud in 1998 (as signed on the dial) and is one of only 3 “Audubons” with the whole scenic background and not only the birds. However, a discreet "AP" signature on the bottom right adds an element of intrigue as these initial stands for Anita Porchet and dials made in her ateliers have this signature. Following research with Vacheron Constantin it is believed that the dial was most certainly made by Muriel Sechaud but finished in the workshops of Anita Porchet making this example an unbelievably rare piece as it is the first time that these artists were to make a dial together. Cloisonné enameling is an ancient technique used throughout history to decorate jewelry, religious objects, and vessels. The intricate work begins with the enameller painstakingly laying out the design with fine gold wire, then adding successive layers of enamel to each region within the wire design to achieve the desired color, then fired in a kiln.

    The dial is not the only work of art in this watch, the movement, hidden behind a hinged back, opens to reveal a beautifully finished movement bearing the prestigious Geneva seal. The rotor of the extra slim caliber 1120 has furthermore been elegantly skeletonized and engraved. Preserved in superb condition the present watch is a physical proof that haute horlogerie and art can be one.

  • 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. 43060/2
A wonderfully attractive yellow gold wristwatch with cloisonné enamel dial signed by Muriel Sechaud and AP (Anita Porchet ateliers) made in tribute to Jean-Jacques Audubon’s “Birds of America: the Roseate Spoonbill, part of a limited edition of 10 pieces

38.5mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

CHF25,000 - 50,000 

Sold for CHF59,690

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The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII

Geneva Auction 3 - 4 November 2023