Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques Chronograph, 47101, Salmon Dial, Platinum

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The Vacheron Constantin Ref. 47101 was introduced in 1989, as part of the brand’s Historiques collection - paying tribute to the Genevan watchmaker’s archives. This example features an engine-turned salmon dial and is part of a small handful cased in platinum. Considered by many to be one of the most beautifully refined chronographs ever made, it would make an excellent addition to any collection.


As you might expect, what makes a watch neo-vintage is open to discussion. The logical place to start is at the end of the Quartz Crisis, in the aftermath of a period when the core purpose of mechanical watchmaking had come under threat. Tom Chng, the founder of the Singapore Watch Club, reckons that this event “gave the mechanical watch a new purpose to survive and thrive, not one of necessity, but desirability. For the industry at large, the 1980s was an era of glorious renaissance.” It’s the pieces from this period onwards that we consider to be neo-vintage, with the category probably no longer applying for anything which was made in the last fifteen years or so.

What makes these pieces, and many others, fall under the neo-vintage umbrella is that they combine both vintage and modern influences, by virtue of the transitional period in which they were produced. This tension is clear in several areas, notably aesthetics, materials, manufacturing techniques and the scale of production. At the higher end, things were moving from a more artisanal, hand-made approach to one which relied more heavily on machinery, technology, and innovation.