With photocopy of Vacheron & Constantin letter dated 10 May 1985 confirming that the present watch in pink gold was manufactured in 1942 and sold in Tangier on 6 March 1945. Furthermore delivered with Vacheron Constantin Extract from the Archives dated 13 July 2015.
Vintage minute repeating wristwatches are amongst the rarest and most desirable trophies in today's collectors market. Due to the extreme cost and complexity of production, 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 mid-1940s, Vacheron Constantin surpassed this technical challenge by adding yet another horological complexity: an ultra-thin calibre with a thickness of only 5.25 mm., thus combining two complications requiring special manufacturing know-how and tremendous skills.
Distinguished by its large, 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 last 70 years.
In production until the mid-1950s, reference 4261 was made in two series: one fitted with a 12''' calibre 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 not even 40 references 4261 was made, cased in yellow and pink gold and platinum, with a variety of dial colours 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, again as the present watch.
Research has revealed that only one other pink gold example with such sector-style dial layout and without subsidiary seconds has appeared in public to date, bearing the succeeding movement and case numbers 446'002 and 276'214, also sold in 1945. The dial of the latter however being in two-tone brushed silvered as opposed to the uniform champagne version of the present watch lead to the conclusion that both are most likely unique pieces within the coveted reference 4261 family.
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 a variety of details: the stylish visual appeal of the large pink gold case combined with the champagne dial, its excellent overall condition and the superb repeating sound.
Consigned by a private collector, fresh to the market and of exceptional rarity and quality, this epitome of finest 20th century watchmaking represents the ultimate trophy for the collector of unique timepieces.
Two examples of reference 4261, however with subsidiary seconds, are illustrated in Franco Cologni's Secrets of Vacheron Constantin, p. 224.