VACHERON CONSTANTIN. AN EXCEPTIONAL, MONUMENTAL AND HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT 20K GOLD OPENFACE TWO-TRAIN TRIP 7 1/2 MINUTE REPEATING GRANDE AND PETITE SONNERIE CHRONOGRAPH CLOCKWATCH
SIGNED VACHERON & CONSTANTIN, GENEVE, SUISSE, MOVEMENT NO, 375551, CASE NO. 231922, MADE FOR JAMES WARD PACKARD IN 1918
Nickel-finished two-train lever movement, 43 jewels, wolf's tooth winding, bi-metallic compensation balance, micrometer regulator, trip minute repeating on two gongs activated through the pendant, three levers in the band for lock/unlock of chronograph function, grande/petite sonnerie and strike/silent, gold cuvette inscribed FABRIQUÉ POUR James Ward Packard, Warren, Ohio, 1918 PAR VACHERON & CONSTANTIN, GENÈVE - SUISSE, white enamel dial, Roman numerals, two subsidiary dials indicating constant seconds and 30 minute register, heavy and finely chased case, turning pendant and bow, five-joint knuckle, case back with engine-turned center framing the blue enameled monogram JWP, case, cuvette, dial and movement signed
Founded in 1755 Vacheron Constantin stands as the oldest watch manufacture in Geneva. Fifteen years after its founding this famed firm produced its first complicated timepieces. Over the years of its uninterrupted production Vacheron Constantin has remained dedicated to being at the forefront of technical innovation and design as the company motto indicates. "Do better if possible and that is always possible". At twenty-four years old Jean-Marc Vacheron established his workshop in the Swiss quarter of Saint-Gervais. In 1785 Jean-Marc's son Abraham took control of the company and in 1819 Vacheron formed a partnership with Francois Constantin giving us Vacheron Constantin.
The present watch is without question one of the most significant Vacheron Constantin watches to ever come to market. The watch, manufactured to Packard's specific instructions, is unique in every way. No other clockwatch with trip repeat, grande and petite sonnerie, chronograph and half-quarter repeating is known to exist. Due to the complexities of making a clockwatch, manufacturers or the collectors ordering such watches would always add moon phases and a perpetual calendar to the package.
It is interesting to note that the other known clockwatches manufactured by Vacheron Constantin are in addition fitted with a perpetual calendar and a split seconds chronograph. Other significant Vacheron Constantin watches to be offered at public auction in recent years include those made specifically for King Farouk of Egypt during the early 20th century.
Packard, one of the most influential collectors of our time, purchased watches manufactured by the most exclusive manufacturers. There is no documented account of exactly how many watches Packard purchased and from which firms. The present watch, unrecorded or documented in any literature, confirms that Packard did not only buy Patek Philippe watches but he also viewed Vacheron Constantin with the same reverence.
According to Vacheron Constantin's record books the present watch, manufactured with blue enamel monogram and forged from 20k gold was sold to Packard in 1919 for 3,320 Swiss Francs.
In exceptional overall condition, the present watch, as with the previous lot must have been stored away for over 60 years with no human contact at all. It may also be assumed that the hand written operating instructions could have been drafted by Packard's own hand.
Fresh to the market and historically highly important the present lot is without question one of the greatest Vacheron Constantin ever to be offered at auction.