Vacheron Constantin Hommage Aux Grands Explorateurs “Marco Polo”
Some watches are too young to be considered a classic, yet despite this, they are firmly on their way of achieving this status as the years will pass. A good example of this is the Vacheron Constantin Hommage Aux Grands Explorateurs “Marco Polo.” Paying tribute to the greatest explorers of all time did Vacheron Constantin map out Marco Polo’s travels over the silk road. They do so in cloisonné enamel and dedicate the vast majority of the dial to it.
Creating such a dial is exceptionally complex. All the motifs have to be first outlined by very thin gold wire to prevent the different colors from flowing over in each other. As several layers have to be applied, and the dial has to be exposed to very high temperatures after each time, it requires an incredible finesse to get it right. As Vacheron Constantin only uses dials that are perfect, the rejection rates are very high. This probably also explains that although the brand launched this watch in 2004 as a limited edition of 60 pieces, the watch in the pictures was made in 2014.
The dial also has two levels, which allows displaying the Silk Road in full, from the Mediterranean, through Persia, India, and Mongolia, all the way to China and back. Vacheron Constantin opted for a rare method of telling time, to ensure that hands don’t block the unique dial. For this, they utilized what is called ‘wandering hours.’ Here the hours appear above the lower level of the dial, where its position in relation to the minute markers tells the current time. This is a very elegant solution that makes truly puts the unique dial at center stage, yet without sacrificing the functionality of the watch.
That this Vacheron Constantin is a future classic is also evident from its auction result. This particular watch was sold in 2018 by Phillips and achieved a sales result much higher than its estimate. The hammer fell at CHF72,500, which is far more than its CHF30,000 – 50,000 estimate. This means that all the efforts that Vacheron Constantin put into this watch most certainly appeal to the eye of the connoisseur, who knows that creating this exquisite watch requires incredible skill and perseverance.