Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques Chronograph 47111 - Salmon Guilloché dial
'The big three,' 'the holy trinity of watches' or 'the holy trinity of Swiss watchmaking,' regardless of the name, there's a mutual agreement that Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet occupy the podium of watchmaking excellence. Well, that was certainly the case at this concept's inception during the 1970s (today there are plenty of other watchmakers who can challenge this trio), an era of tumultuous unease for mechanical watchmaking. Quartz was taking over, many legacy brands were shifting their attention to other business opportunities, while others simply were forced to shut up shop. But the trio at the top maintained their operation and thus prestige, and as watch collecting surged in the 1990s, each seemingly went from strength to strength.
One of the more nuanced and less discussed of the three is Vacheron Constantin. It's seen as the thinking collector's choice, and right on the cusp of the nineties, they called upon the Lemania 2310 – an ébauche calibre famed for its widespread adoption by many top manufacturers – to power their latest creation, the Les Historiques ref. 47101. As its series name suggests, the Historiques collection was established to honour noteworthy pieces from their archive. In the case of the 47101, Vacheron recalled the 1940s and the 4178, wildly regarded as one of the most stunning chronographs, full stop. Tear-drop lugs, metal hands, a tachymeter scale, rectangular pushers, and a mix of baton/Arabic numerals make this twin register mid-sized chronograph the supreme expression of classically inspired grace. The series includes the 47101 and the 47111, which share most attributes, only carrying minor adjustments such as a screw caseback and a slightly updated movement. During its lifespan, yellow gold was the most prevalent metal, yet there was also a small run of platinum-cased examples. Dials were produced in a variety of colours, from off-white, black, and the coverted salmon. It is thought only 300 platinum watches were assembled, with the majority fitted with silver dials, around 60 for the salmon and just 25 for a limited edition run of black dials aimed at the Japanese market.
Few case and dial combinations are as sophisticated as a white metal with a salmon dial. A beautiful fusion of unassuming versatility and bewitching allure, the humble salmon has been a favourite of discerning collectors for as long as watches have been on people's wrists (in fact, in pockets as well). They offer a rose-tinted view of timekeeping, and when the pinkish dial hue is adorned with a Vacheron Constantin signature, rest assured bundles of charm are also on the menu. Bursting with retro-vintage character and enduring refinement, the Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques 47111 is one of the personality-rich greats. This example dates from 2002 and is rendered in platinum.
This piece is much more than just its lustrous dial colour, with the watch's exterior possessing nuance and beauty, and it's all thanks to those defining tear-drop lugs. Extending through the case to the edge of the bezel, this flaring set complete in a polished finish respectfully follows a comparative form to this model's 1940s founding father, the Vacheron 4178. Unequivocally carrying mid-century cues, these lugs are complemented by a thin case band with a traditional-style chamfered bezel. Smooth rounded rectangular pushers and an appropriately sized crown occupy the right side of the case of this 36mm chronograph.
Some refer to the dial configuration of this 47111/000P as one of the most beautifully designed dials ever produced, and I'm not about to challenge that. This engine-turned sigma dial cuts zero corners, with its twin registers, baton markers, and matching hands conveying pure class. The mid-century inspiration is inescapable, from the subtle railroad tachymeter scale to the leaf hands for the sub-registers. And how about that hue? Frequently dials referred to as salmon possess more dominant pink tones, often featuring sectoring or two tones, but this is a true salmon. Hints of warming orange and peach exemplify elegance when married with the depth of the vertical wave guilloché. There are two influential elements of impactful contrast to observe here, first occurs because of the paused engine turning for the sub-registers and tachymeter scale, and the second is the black printing throughout; a decisive design intention which contextualises and elevates the entire chicness of the piece immeasurably. In a similar vein is the presence of the applied Arabic twelve and six markers. As the registers deliver horizontal symmetry, these key elements ensure the balance continues vertically, re-iterating the holistic attention to detail of this modest platinum Vacheron.
Powering this piece is the Vacheron cal. 1140, a thoroughly hand-finished evolution of the Lemania 2310. This nickel-finished movement comes with 21 jewels, a self-compensating Breguet spring, a swan-neck regulator and is adjusted to 5 positions. Enjoy the chamfering and finishing in all its beauty through the sapphire display screwed case back.
How It Wears
At 36mm across, you may assume this 47111 could appear reduced on larger wrist sizes, yet, as is the case with many watches, the case width is only half the story; and all credit goes to those fantastic tear drop lugs working their magic, this time extending the span of platinum across the wrist resulting in a versatile wearer for a plethora of wrists. As already alluded to, the white metal with this pure salmon dial and accompanying white furniture are excellent. Not as common as a colour as silver and black but arguably comparably versatile, this rare 47111 Vacheron delivers old-world charm with distinction.
This Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques 47111/000P dates from 2002 and is sold with an extract from the Vacheron archive and its original platinum pin buckle. The watch is sold in fantastic condition, with no prominent dents or scratches, meaning it still possesses those important lug details and crisp, deep engravings throughout.
If you desire to take a closer look at this precious timepiece, don't hesitate to contact us and make an appointment. We are based in Ghent, Belgium.
No stock is kept on site.
* Every watch is delivered in a Mr WATCHLEY Membrane Protection Box for a safe transportation in addition to its original set *
|Size (Case)||36 mm|
|Bracelet||Mr Watchley grained Midnight Blue|
|Papers||Extract from archive|