A very rare, fine and attractive limited-edition platinum chronograph wristwatch of the famous Swiss watch brand Vacheron Constantin, founded in 1755. Limited edition launched in 2000. Case made of 950 platinum, 37 x 37mm, 11.8mm thick, sapphire caseback. Matte silvered open-worked ‘sigma’ dial with recessed (sunken) counters and peripheral ring with pulsometer scale, solid 18k white gold hands and applied indexes. Caliber 1145SQ, hand-wound, skeletonized and hand-engraved, power reserve up to 40 hours. Functions – indication of time in hours and minutes, small seconds hand at 9 o’clock, chronograph with central seconds hand and 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock. Black leather strap, Vacheron Constantin half Maltese cross-shaped 18k white gold triple folding clasp. Limited edition of 30 pieces. 

Lot essay 

Vacheron Constantin introduced the Medicus Chronograph series in 2000, long before the vintage style watch trend began to dominate watch design. The watch got its name “Medicus” due to the presence of a 30-pulse heart rate scale, which has a clear medical feel. The design of this watch was created as a reproduction of the historical Ref. 3768 cushion-shaped chronograph wristwatches with pulsometer scale produced by the brand in the 1930s. 

The Medicus Chronograph watch, launched by the brand in 2000, received a 37mm case instead of the original 33mm, and a modern chronograph in its caliber 1145. This is based on the hand-wound movement-blank 1872, supplied by the Nouvelle Lémania factory, the same one that is known as the ‘moonwatch’ second-generation caliber. Its defining feature is the absence of the classic column wheel. Cam eccentrics are used instead to control the chronograph action. It is incredible to find exactly this caliber in the Vacheron Constantin collection as the brand’s hand-wound chronograph watches usually use 2310 or 2320 Nouvelle Lémania movement-blanks, with their characteristic column wheel. Besides the cams being used instead of the column wheel, the calibers are almost identical. Apparently, the Medicus Chronograph is the only Vacheron Constantin wristwatch series to use the caliber 1145 in its normal or skeletonized form, which certainly increases the collector’s appeal of this model.

The caliber 1145SQ is beautifully skeletonized in the traditional Baroque style, engraved with floral ornaments and swirls. The barrel is skeletonized with the Maltese cross motif, the emblem of the brand.

In total, the brand presented three Medicus Chronograph references. The main classical Ref. 47150/000R-8916 was made in 18k rose gold with a matte silvered dial as a limited edition of 90 pieces. Ref. 47151/000P-8917 in platinum (10 pieces), and Ref.47151/000R-8918 in rose gold (30 pieces), were both with rose gold-plated skeleton movements. Finally, Ref. 47152/000R-8918 was in rose gold (10 pieces), and 47152/000P-8917 in platinum (30 pieces; the present lot), both with rhodium-plated skeleton movements. A total of 170 examples were produced in the Medicus series.

The caliber 1145SQ is beautifully skeletonized in the traditional Baroque style, engraved with floral ornaments and swirls. The barrel is skeletonized with the Maltese cross motif, the emblem of the brand. The chronograph-work is finished in a classic traditional manner with straight grinded steel parts and polished bevels. The rocking bridge of the chronograph gear wheel, originally made by Nouvelle Lémania of nickel silver, is also engraved and rhodium plated. The thoughtful, meticulously-crafted finishing undoubtedly makes this piece very attractive, further enhanced by the fact that it is an extremely rare skeletonized version of an instrumental medical chronograph. 

Reasons to bid 

The Vacheron Constantin Medicus Chronograph Skeleton Platinum Limited Edition Ref. 47152/000P-8917 would appear to be a fine purchase for the collector who seeks a refined traditional mechanical chronograph of a historically important design from a world-famous watch brand, one of the market leaders in haute horlogerie and complicated timepieces. The undoubted advantage of the present watch is the combination of the outstanding technical characteristics of the caliber 1145SQ, one of the most reliable and efficient hand-wound chronograph movements, featuring a lateral clutch, and excellent aesthetics with skeleton execution. The present example features a platinum case of an unusual cushion shape, produced in a limited edition only of 30 pieces and significantly increasing the perceived value of the watch as a collectible.