Icons of the Vintage World17 March 2023
Never has the world of watches and watch collecting been more present in the mainstream consciousness. Whether from the perspective of purist watch passion, stylish accessories or a vehicle for investment; everybody is talking about watches. Not all brands, however, are equal or equally well known with certain brands dominating the narrative of what’s hot or not. Today Monaco Legend Group shares four pieces from iconic brands that are both hugely important and incredibly rare.
Vacheron Constantin has had a significant resurgence with its modern watches in recent years. In-line with the rise in popularity of integrated bracelet sports watches, VC’s Overseas and a remake of the legendary reference 222 are some of the hottest modern watches on the market. Away from these modern watches with long waiting lists are important pieces from Vacheron’s past, including this incredible steel calendar watch. Dating to the mid-1940s, this reference 4240 is very rare in steel and is coming directly from the collection of Hodinkee founder Ben Clymer. The watch displays the day, date and month with the calendars in red — both on the day and month discs and the date that is around the outer edge of the dial. Understood to be made in no more than 50 pieces, we believe that this is a very special watch indeed.
“The moment I saw it, I immediately fell in love with this calendar from Vacheron et Constantin. I believe that this dial configuration, with the Arabic enamel numbers, is one of the most beautiful looking and rarest ever produced. With the red calendars and dates on the dial, it is astonishing. The watch is preserved in original and perfect condition and comes from a prominent collector and tastemaker, Ben Clymer. Also worthy of note is the fact that Vacheron used this exact model for a re-edition seven or eight years ago. We also have one of the re-editions in the catalogue and the attention to detail when recreating this 50s watch is incredible. Although slightly larger, the modern interpretation, also in steel with the same exact configuration of dial, is a testament to how highly regarded the vintage watch was by Vacheron.”
Monaco Legend Group is delighted to announce that it is also selling a stunning yellow-gold minute repeater watch in incredible condition by Vacheron et Constantin. This incredible watch, with two-tone dial remains in stunning condition, having been preserved in perfect condition in the past, with crisp hallmarks.
“Of around a dozen minute repeater Vacherons that I’ve seen in my career, in pink gold, platinum and yellow gold, this watch is for sure the best preserved example I’ve ever encountered. I’m very proud to have it for the auction as it has been sitting in a very prominent collection since Christie’s sold it a number of years ago. The sound of the minute repeater, when activated, is certainly one of the nicest I have heard on a 1950s case. This is a majestic example a minute repeater from Vacheron.”
Like Vacheron’s Overseas, Audemars Piguet is perhaps best known for its Royal Oak. Audemars Piguet has always been highly thought of as a manufacturer of incredible complications and in fact it is still regarded as such. We are delighted to be offering one of the most incredible AP calendars we have ever had the pleasure of handling. Dating to 1954, the reference 5514BA is a full calendar with moon phases. The silvery-white dial is well balanced with four subsidiary dials for the date, days of the week and the months, the moon phases aperture and yellow-gold baton hands that complement the applied yellow-gold baton hour markers.
“Not only is this Audemars housed in one of the nicest and rarest cases that I’ve seen, especially with the moon phases and the calendar, but this particular example I wanted to include in the auction because it’s incredibly well preserved. The watch is truly in fantastic condition, the dial still has all the raised enamel on the registers and it’s really one of the nicest I’ve seen. This complicated AP is fresh to the market and comes from the original owner family that used to live in the USA and the watch is barely used and is crisp in every aspect. This is absolutely one of the most elegant calendar moon phases that Audemars Piguet ever produced.”
Omega has made many beautiful Calatrava-style watches over the years, but we believe that we may have found the most beautiful and rarest to ever have been made. This platinum chromometer-grade watch was manufactured in 1947 and is housed in a 37.5 mm case. It shouldn’t be underestimated how big this was for the 1940s, when the average size for a watch was closer to 32 mm. As well as housing the important red gilt chronometer movement, the watch has diamond set hour markers as was common with precious metal watches in the mid-20th century. We believe that this watch is most likely unique, due to the fact that the quarter-hour markers are set with two emeralds at twelve, three, six and nine.
“This example is an extremely rare oversized chronometer by Omega. It is extremely very rare to find such an example in platinum, with such a large case, but more than that is the fact that this is one of very few known with the centre seconds instead of the sub seconds, which most of these chronometers had. We have the extract from the archives and I believe that the watch is unique due to the emerald quarter indexes. The combination of emerald indexes on dials in platinum cases was made in tiny numbers by major brands and we know of only one watch by Patek Philippe, which actually is in my collection, in platinum with emerald indexes at 9 and 12 and is stated on the certificate as such. There was also a Rolex, a small boy-size Date, that was sold many years ago in auction and is in one of the Mondani books, that has the 12 and 9 markers in Arabic emeralds. The combination of emeralds and diamonds with a platinum watch is always a sign of excellence and distinguishes these watches as the rarest made by any brand.”
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