For the fourth year running, Vacheron Constantin’s vintage timepiece showcase Les Collectionneurs is touring the world and this month the pieces have arrived in Singapore for a limited time only. Les Collectionneurs is where you’ll find, and have the chance to own, some of the rarest, most sought after, most iconic models ever made by Vacheron Constantin.
Specialists from the manufacture’s heritage department devote their time to researching and locating antique and vintage Vacheron Constantin timepieces around the world. Some are acquired for the maison’s archives and museum, others are purchased, serviced and restored, and then re-certified to be sold through Les Collectionneurs.
With an incredibly sophisticated and meticulously preserved archival system, the manufacture can tell you with remarkable accuracy where, when and even why a specific timepiece was made.
"Les Collectionneurs represents another facet of Vacheron Constantin," comments style and heritage director, Christian Selmoni. “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.”
This year, the selection spans vintage watches covering the entire 20th century and include complicated models as well as time-only pieces, pocket watches as well as wristwatches. With each tour of Les Collectionneurs, Selmoni’s team learns more and more about tastes and preferences of collectors from the different regions, which better allows them to curate pieces that appeal to specific audiences.
One major highlight is the ultra-thin minute repeater Ref. 4261 in yellow gold. Launched in 1943, this reference was the first ultra-thin minute repeater produced by Vacheron Constantin. At that time it was considered one of the thinnest repeaters on the market. Dating back to 1951, this piece was among the final pieces produced out of a total of just 40 ever made. Some key features of the 50s you’ll find are those beautiful soldered teardrop lugs and stylised indexes. Price on request.
Pocket watch collectors should not miss the Ref. 4414 world timer which functions on Louis Cottier’s original system combining a fixed cities disc and a moving 24-hours disc. Introduced in 1946, Vacheron Constantin added a total of 41 cities to the cities disc, where Singapore and Saigon shared the same time zones, as did Paris and London. This piece, made in 1949, is made in 18K yellow gold with a mix of trapezoidal indexes, Arabic numerals, and star-shaped indexes. Price also on request.
An interesting blast from the past is the square cased Ref. 6440Q ($60,000) nicknamed Cioccolatone by Italian collectors due to its resemblance to little chocolate squares. This also happens to be one of the most sought after vintage Vacheron Constantin watches from the 50s and 60s, and the watch that provided the blueprint for a modern remake known as the Toledo 1952.
Chronograph aficionados will definitely recognise the historical Ref. 4178 ($67,500), here in yellow gold with beautiful welded lugs, bi-compax counters, and gold dot indexes. Produced in 1946, it offers the early 50s watchmaking style that's all the rage today.
In addition to these star pieces, some under-the-radar sleeper hits include a yellow gold model known as Ref. 3507 ($17,200) and nicknamed the Prince. This mid-sized watch with integrated lugs dates back to 1936 and you’ll notice exceptional attention to detail paid on the crown which sits perfectly flush with the case.
Then there’s Ref. 4658 ($26,900), a rectangular wristwatch with a tented sapphire crystal creating optical illusion over the dial.
Ladies won’t be disappointed as well. Options include a downsized Overseas quartz model in two-tone steel and gold ($19,400), as well as a classic round model in yellow gold with a black "Duco" lacquer dial nicknamed the Queen ($20,900).
Those with a penchant for skeleton watches might even consider the Ref. 36004 which runs on the legendary Calibre 1003 which is famously no bigger than a Swiss 20 cent coin.
Alongside Les Collectionneurs, Vacheron Constantin is presenting Diptyques – A History of Collaboration, a special exhibition that celebrates landmark collaborations between the maison and external specialists. A total of 17 watches are on display, from the incomparable Marc Chagall wristwatch done by master enameller Anita Porchet, to the aluminium pocket watch made with the Aluminum Company of America, ALCOA.
You’ll also discover exquisite precious timepieces produced with master jewellers such as Verger Frères, artists like Raymond Moretti, and one-of-a-kind pieces from the Métiers d’Arts Les Masques series as well.
Vacheron Constantin's Diptyques – A History of Collaboration and the Les Collectionneurs showcase are exhibiting at its Singapore boutiques throughout March. From 1st to 17th March at the Ion Orchard boutique, it moves to the Marina Bay Sands boutique from 18th to 31st March. Drop by when you can before the watches move onwards with the tour.
Vacheron Constantin Ion Orchard
1 – 17 March, 10am to 9.30pm daily
2 Orchard Turn #02-07 Singapore 238801
Vacheron Constantin Marina Bay Sands
18 – 31 March, 11am to 10pm daily
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue #B2M-238 Singapore 018972