A photo in this book stirs the most enthusiastic attention : the tonneau shaped wristwatch displayed from photo archive number 3620 with the date of 1936 has unique characteristics. The design of the dial offers a superb readability. The photo is not sufficient for the manufacturer to retrieve its traceability at that stage.
The watch surfaces a few years ago after spending more than 60 years in a vault in South America. The dial is different from that of the archive photo but the watch has the same rare features : the retrograde calendar, the trigger of the repeating on the right side, the crown at the top. It was then discovered that it is made in 18K yellow gold and that it bears the monogram of its owner, FR.M.LL.
Now having the serial numbers of movement and case, Vacheron Constantin finds the letters received in period from their client, which have resulted in this extraordinary feat of joining in a wristwatch the retrograde date and the minute repeater. The retrograde date is a hand that automatically switches from position 31 to position 1 at the end of the month by the release of a spring. The client had commissioned two dials, which explains the difference with the archive photo.
The direct customer was a Madrid retailer whose name is written on the dial. The end customer, who from December 1935 provided the sketches of his requirements, was a Spaniard who had made his fortune in the mines of Chile. His first name was Francisco and his watch is now identified as the Vacheron Constantin Don Pancho. He may not have fully appreciated to what extent the combination of complications in a wristwatch is a technical feat. After four years of development and settings, the watch was delivered in January 1940.
Out of its vault, Don Pancho's watch was in its original configuration but soiled by poor storage conditions. Vacheron Constantin repaired the mechanism by reusing the original components as much as possible. An identical dial has been created with the only difference of replacing radium by another material for filling the numerals.
Accompanied by its original dial and by duplicates of the archive documents, the Don Pancho watch is estimated CHF 400K for sale by Phillips in Geneva on May 11, lot 109. Please play the video shared by the auction house in association with Bacs and Russo.
SOLD for CHF 600K before fees