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Vacheron Constantin. A Fine and Rare 18k Gold Automatic Double Retrograde Wristwatch Depicting the Chinese Zodiac
Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more
Vacheron Constantin. A Fine and Rare 18k Gold Automatic Double Retrograde Wristwatch Depicting the Chinese Zodiac


Vacheron Constantin. A Fine and Rare 18k Gold Automatic Double Retrograde Wristwatch Depicting the Chinese Zodiac
Signed Vacheron Constantin, Genève, Gerard Mercator 1594-1994 Model, Ref. 43050, Movement No. 861'291, Case No. 684'302, Manufactured in 1998
Cal. 1120/2 automatic movement, 36 jewels, 21k gold-edged rotor engraved 1594-Gerard Mercator-1994, enamel dial depicting the Chinese Zodiac, Arabic numerals on two retrograde sectors for hours and minutes, time indicated by hands resembling the legs of an early hand-held compass used by Gerard Mercator, circular case, stepped lugs, sapphire crystal display back, case, dial, and movement signed
36mm diam.
Special Notice

Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.

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Lot Essay

The present watch is part of a limited series of watches, launched in 1994 in honor of the famous cartographer and humanist Gerardus Mercator on the 400th anniversary of his death.

Gerardus Mercator

Born in 1512 in Flanders (now Belgium), Gerardus Mercator was educated in the Netherlands and received his training in Christian doctrine and Latin. He went on to study the humanities and philosophy, and at that time began to doubt his religion due to the conflict between the biblical account of the origin of the universe and that of Aristotle. Mercator began to study geography, mathematics, and astronomy, and went on to construct a terrestrial globe with its celestial counterpart. He became known as the foremost geographer of his time, but with his fame came an arrest in 1544 on charges of heresy. He was released after seven months, and continued his studies. Public recognition came after he perfected his "Mercator Projection", which plotted straight lines over long distances, and allowed mariners to steer a course without having to constantly adjust compass readings. The last project he worked on was a series of publications, to describe the creation of the world up to the present time, to be called "Atlas". This project was never fully completed, with some sections being published after his death in 1594.

The Vacheron Constantin Mercator Collection

Produced over ten years, between 1994 and 2004, the Vacheron Constantin Mercator collection featured various dials that were made for different markets. They included a map of Africa/Europe/Asia, a map of North America, the Chinese Zodiac, and several others. All of the dials were made by Jean and Lucie Genbrugge, enamellers of Broechem Belgium.

The Chinese Zodiac

The present watch features a dial depicting the Twelve Zodiac Animals, each of which represents a particular year for the Chinese, as well as characteristics of people born in that year. The animals are: a rat, an ox, a tiger, a rabbit, a dragon, a snake, a horse, a goat, a monkey, a rooster, a dog, and a pig.

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