“Les Historiques Poincon de Geneve”
The Vacheron Constantin 43039 "Chambellan" was introduced in 1998 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the caliber 1120, which is derived from the mythical JLC 920. The JLC 920 was first developed by Jaeger LeCoultre in 1967, and was adopted by Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin. It notably powered the first Royal Oak and Nautilus designs, and was also used by Vacheron Constantin within a handful of their ultra-thin designs, from perpetual calendars to time-only watches.
Evidence suggests that only 200 pieces of the reference 43039 "Chambellan" were created, with 120 in yellow gold and 80 in white gold. The manufacture also produced a similar design, with a different dial, between 1996 and 1998. The exposed and finely engraved movement carries the Geneva Seal, which is unique in its accreditation as it focuses on the art of decorating a movement with finesse and skill, in the style of Genevan watchmaking. At the time, only a small handful of movements reached sufficient quality to be attributed the seal.
The cream dial of this reference 43039 is classically understated, with applied index markers and the Maltese cross placed near the top of the dial. Roman Numerals are used at the three, six, nine and twelve o'clock positions, bringing subtle variety and character to the clean design. "Automatic" is placed just above the 6 o'clock marker on the face, indicating that this runs on a self-winding movement.
With this example, the index-markers and hands are manufactured from white gold, as indicated by the “σ SWISS MADE σ” signature at the bottom of the dial. The “σ” symbol, for sigma in Greek, was used as a visual declaration of the use of precious materials on the dial side. It was adopted by a number of manufactures from the ’70s onwards, emphasising the inherent value of a high-quality, mechanical watch.
With a diameter of 35mm, the reference 43039 invokes a vintage impression with its size and slim profile. Thanks to the stepped bezel, straight, elongated lugs and delicately tapering crown, this versatile watch works well on a variety of wrists, with these thoughtful characteristics working harmoniously to provide a striking yet simplistic dress watch.
This reference 43039 is powered by the calibre 1120/2, which can be seen through a sapphire caseback. The movement is finished to a high standard, with exquisite chamfering on all angles, polishing, decoration, and a stylised Vacheron Maltese cross hand engraved into the rotor.
Production of the ultra-thin automatic calibre 1120/2 began in 1968. The movement features 36 working jewels, and four ruby wheels to support the full-diameter rotor, which runs on a beryllium rail for stability. Vacheron Constantin also replaced the free-sprung Gyromax balance from the original Jaeger-LeCoultre movement with an index regulator. The movement also has a 40-hour power reserve.
The reference 43039 comes with a Certificate of Origin and Warranty that shows it was sold in May 1999, and includes a small pamphlet with a list of distributors. The watch is accompanied by a bespoke anthracite grained leather strap, along with its corresponding white gold Vacheron Constantin tang buckle.
If sold within the United Kingdom, this Vacheron Constantin Ref. 43039 will be subject to 20% VAT. Viewings are currently suspended for the time being.