The Collectionneurs selection also includes examples of watches that inspired recent additions to the brand’s vintage-linked Historiques collection, such as a complete calendar from 1947 (above), revived in Historiques form last year.
“There’s an important demand for middle complications like calendars and chronographs,” says Selmoni. “These are quite difficult to find, and take a lot of restoration. Because we’ve done this ourselves, we know they’re in pristine condition.”
Vacheron Constantin’s initiative is one further example of the increased influence the vintage marketplace – and the specialist collector community that fuels it – has been exerting upon the contemporary watch business.
Amid skyrocketing auction prices and an ever-more-vibrant scene online and in social media, vintage aficionados have moved from fringe figures in the watch world to become important arbiters of taste and credibility for brands. Marques including TAG Heuer, Omega and Tudor have courted this community avidly, supporting collector events and creating new models designed for their approval. Breitling CEO Georges Kern has also broadcast his interest in vintage models via his Instagram feed, and involved influential collectors in the brand’s relaunch in February.