RECOMMENDED READING: Vacheron Constantin are removing the dangers of buying vintage watchesTime+Tide
Towards the end of last year I was fortunate enough to experience the Vacheron Constantin Les Collectionneurs watches in the metal. They are a shining example of something that many watch manufacturers are looking to execute — exceptional pre-owned pieces sold by the manufacturer. The program has been running for a number of years now, where the brand will buy back pristine examples of vintage Vacheron Constantin watches, either at auction or from private collections, before they restore the watches at their factory and offer them for sale with a full archival extract, warranty and authenticity guarantee. In essence, Vacheron Constantin are eliminating many of the pitfalls that vintage watch enthusiasts face when they look to add another piece to their collection.
One of the most striking watches I saw at the new Vacheron Constantin boutique in Collins Street, Melbourne, was the ref. 4178 dual-register chronograph in pink gold from 1942. This was mentioned by the brand as one of their most historically important chronographs, as well as one of the most collectible, thanks to the 36mm diameter, sensationally proportioned dial and charmingly shaped lugs. Interestingly, the same ref. 4178 (albeit with a slightly different dial configuration) was reviewed by Bexsonn when it was available at the London Vacheron Constantin boutique, and they arrived at the similarly slack-jawed conclusion that I came to. Read their full review right here.