4217 | white gold
This white gold, Vacheron Constantin reference 4217, from the 1950s, is the embodiment of a classical dress watch. Its refined style and aesthetic are typical of the period from Vacheron Constantin, with the overall appeal of the watch being enhanced through its exceptional condition and completeness, which offer a unique insight into how these would have appeared originally.
Vacheron Constantin boasts a lengthy and uninterrupted history, dating back to 1755. The firm’s founder, Jean-Marc Vacheron, was one of many cabinotier watchmakers who specialised in the production of complex components. Upon partnering with François Constantin, Vacheron Constantin became widely known for upholding the finest horological traditions - enamelling, piercing, engraving and engine-turning.
Looking at this reference 4217, it's easy to see why Vacheron Constantin have a special appeal to collectors. Considered to be one of the members of the "Holy Trinity" of watchmaking, the brand's archives reveal a rich and varied history of both classical design and high quality manufacture, few can match.
The latter can also be said for its choice of suppliers, with evidence suggesting the dial of this reference 4217 was made by Stern Frères, a specialist dial maker who also provided dials for Patek Philippe during the period, amongst others. On the inside caseback, the Poinçon de Maître No.5 (known as the "Key of Geneva"), with a number "4" located within, also indicates that the case was made by none other than Antoine Gerlach - a prominent Geneva-based case-maker, perhaps better known for producing a number of recognisable cases for Patek Philippe, including the futuristic design of the ref. 3448.
The overall design of the ref. 4217 is balanced and refined. The dial is clean and understated, featuring "Vacheron Constantin" and "Genève" at 12 o’clock, which sits beneath an applied Maltese cross. In keeping with this classic styling, the stick hands correspond harmoniously with the dial, and complement the matching applied hour markers.
The 33.5mm case has a thin, rounded bezel and arched concave lugs, which offer a distinctive charisma to an otherwise classical design, and also enhance the overall presence of the watch on the wrist. With a lug width of 20mm, the watch wears larger than its dimensions would otherwise suggest, whilst retaining an understated profile.
The watch also has its original crown and snap-on caseback, which is correctly hallmarked and signed inside. The case appears unpolished, retaining sharp edges and vertical brushing on the case sides and caseback. A crisp hallmark is visible on the left hand side of the case.
Powered by a manually-wound P454/5B calibre (signed “Vacheron & Constantin“), the movement is rhodium plated with Côtes de Genève embellishment and 18-jewels. This highly-finished movement with straight-line lever escapement further features a monometallic Glucydor balance with timing screws adjusted for temperature and a self-compensating Breguet balance spring. The movement is also stamped with two Geneva Seals, attesting to both the quality of the construction and finishing.
This Vacheron Constantin ref. 4217 is accompanied by its original leather box and Certificate of Origin, confirming the case and movement numbers. It comes on a grained Tokyo leather strap and corresponding white gold Vacheron tang buckle.
|Movement:||manually-wound calibre P454/5B|
|Functions:||hours, minutes, centre seconds|
|Features:||white dial, arched concave lugs, unpolished case
|Case:||33.5mm white gold|
|Strap:||Tokyo strap, white gold Vacheron Constantin tang buckle|
|Box & papers:||Original Vacheron Constantin box, Certificate of Origin|
The case shows virtually no signs of wear throughout and appears unpolished. The dial is similarly well-preserved, with no signs of intervention or previous exposure to the elements. The inside caseback is also free of any markings beyond those which were stamped originally. Whilst the P454/5B calibre movement of this vintage Vacheron Constantin remains untouched, it's running very well and shows no signs of wear.
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