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Rare Watches: Vacheron Constantin Minute Repeater Ref 4261, circa 1951

by Peter Chong on March 14, 2018

The Vacheron Constantin Les Collectionneurs, is an interesting service by VC which brings vintage watches to collectors. The watches are authenticated and certified, serviced at the factory, with a fresh 2 year warranty to collectors. A travelling collection collection goes around the world to showcase these watches, and we recently caught this exquisite and rare selection of 18 travelling vintage timepieces, exclusively at the Vacheron Constantin Singapore ION Orchard Boutique. You are invited to view these pieces, from 8 March – 27 April 2018.  We feature one of the pieces, a Vacheron Constantin Minute Repeater circa 1951 vintage.


We have covered the Les Collectionneurs when VC launched the service. More information here.


Vacheron Constantin Ref  4261 vintage Minute Repeater. Almost perfect visuals. Elegant beauty personified.


We dropped in recently at the Singapore Ion Boutique, and while all the pieces being shown were amazing, this particular minute repeater captivated our attention and heart.



The model is a Vacheron Constantin Ref 4261. VC’s Style and Heritage Director Christian Selmoni told us that very few of these movements were made from 1945 to 1951. The example we photographed was sold in 1951.



The case is magnificent. Achingly beautiful might be a good descriptor. Elegant, classy, and perfectly proportioned. The case diameter is 36mm, which is rather large for a watch in those days.



The dial is a silvered with a guilloché circular pattern forming a band under the appliqué markers. The markers for 12, 3, 6 and 9 are in roman and the rest are lapidated and pointed indices. The minutes are marked with appliqué gold pearls. The hands are sleek yellow gold pointed batons.

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The dial is magnificent. All elements are superbly balanced.


The lugs are teardrop shaped fancy lugs which are highly sought after by vintage collectors.


The lugs are teardrop shaped and are an elegant attachment which is soldered to the case.


The case is a three-body construction, with a thin bezel with two steps. The bassined middle is fitted with the repeater slide at 9 o’clock. The back is pressed and flat. The watch as photographed carried some identification stickers on the back. We have blanked out the stickers leaving only the current retail price of S$527,700 inclusive of GST.



The movement is not visible, with the snap on case back. Selmoni tells us it is definitely from an ebauche made in the Valee de Joux, probably V. Piguet. Using a minute repeater ebauche was common practice even among the top houses in those days. The minute repeater is manual wind, with 29 jewels, and a Swiss lever escapement, cut bimetallic compensation balance with a flat balance spring, a simple regulator, recessed escaped wheel. The movement plates are in maillechot with Côtes de Genève decoration.

How does it sound? Well, the recording below was done in a very noisy room. The strikes have quite a good volume, but the harmonics are not as clean and clear as the latter VCs, like this one which reveiewed.



On the wrist, the thin case is comfortable, and the 36mm diameter feels thoroughly modern, though visually the vintage feel is apparent. But the amazing proportions and beauty of the visuals is amazing.

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Half a million bucks feels great on the wrist.


See this watch and others at the Vacheron Constantin Boutique in ION Orchard, from 8 March – 27 April 2018.

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