Accompanied by a Vacheron Constantin Certificate of Authenticity dated March 10th, 2016, and a Vacheron Constantin Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1951. Further accompanied by a Vacheron Constantin presentation box.
Found late last year in the United States, this watch represents one of most exciting fresh to market vintage Vacheron Constantin discoveries of the 21st century. The reference 4261 is one of the rarest and most desirable trophies in today’s collectors market, and this watch does not fail to impress on every level. To begin, this watch features a case with case number 318000, believed to be the first platinum 4261 ever produced and made in 1951. Furthermore, it has a possibly unique sector-style dial with an unusual and attractive configuration. It is described in the Vacheron Constantin certificate as having a “vertical satined, circular ‘guilloché’ hour-circle. 4/4 Roman numerals and 8 faceted and pointed indexes in white gold with an external pearled minute-circle”. It is likely that this is a unique example within the coveted 4261 family.
Due to the extreme cost and complexity of minute repeating wristwatch production in the mid-20th century, only an exceedingly small number of such horological masterpieces were ever made by an even smaller number of watch manufacturers. With the creation of reference 4261 in the early 1940s, Vacheron Constantin surpassed this technical challenge by adding yet another horological complexity: an ultra-thin extra flat caliber with a thickness of only 5.25 mm, thus combining two complications requiring special manufacturing know-how and tremendous skills.
Distinguished by its large 36 mm ultra-slim case and the stylish tear-drop lugs, this exceptional timepiece is certainly one of the most elegant minute repeating wristwatches made in the golden era of vintage watchmaking.
In production until the mid-1950s, reference 4261 was made in two series: one fitted with a 12''' caliber movement, generally identified by the subsidiary seconds and a case with a diameter of 34 mm or, such as the present watch, with the 13''' movement without subsidiary seconds and the thinner but larger 36 mm case. It is commonly believed that a combined total of less than 40 reference 4261s were made, cased first in yellow and pink gold and later in platinum, with a variety of dial colors and designs. However it would appear that less than a third of the entire production was finished with the 13''' movement and without subsidiary seconds.
The watch offered here for sale is one of the exceedingly few examples of this model to appear in public and doubtlessly one of the finest, outstanding for its case material, dial configuration, exceptional repeating tone, and of course its condition. The inside strap side of the 11 o’clock lug, upon close inspection, reveals the number 000 (last 3 digits of the case number) confirming the originality of the lugs. As the certificate states, this watch was made with ‘drop-shaped lugs soldered to the middle.’
Consigned by an American gentleman, fresh to the market and of exceptional rarity and quality, this watch is the epitome of the finest 20th century watchmaking and represents the ultimate trophy for the collector of unique timepieces.