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THE WATCHISMO TIMES WATCH BLOG A reliquary of obscure timepieces from bygone eras as well as the cutting-edge watch designs of today.

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Marlon Brando's 1954 On The Waterfront Vacheron & Constantin Watch Auction

Marlon Brando's 1954 On The Waterfront Vacheron & Constantin Watch AuctionI wonder what Eva Gabor gave Eddie Albert for Green Acres...perhaps a Porky Pig watch?

Antiquorum will be auctioning this Vacheron Constantin, Geneve, Ref. 4877. Produced in 1954, it was gifted to Marlon Brando by Zsa Zsa Gabor to commemorate the theatrical release of "On the Waterfront", for which Mr. Brando won an Oscar. It is a fine and rare 18K yellow gold wristwatch with patent guilloche dial and engraved case back, "To Marlon - Love - Zsa Zsa - June 24, 1954". Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000


Marlon Brando's 1954 On The Waterfront Vacheron & Constantin Watch Auction
Auction: September 17, 2009

First Session: begins at 11 am
Second Session: begins at 2pm
Antiquorum Auctioneers
The New York TimeZone
595 Madison Avenue, 5th fl.
New York, NY 10022, USA
Tel: +1 212 750 1103

via TimeZone

Related Famous Timepieces at The Watchismo Times;
Gandhi's Wristwatch Auction
Albert Einstein's Wristwatch Auction


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"Minute Man" by David Colman for The New York Times

From this weekend's New York Times "T" Magazine;

MINUTE MAN
WHO HAS TIME FOR COMPLICATED WATCHES? NOT DAVID COLMAN.

It was one thing when the cellphone replaced the cigarette. But now killer apps have replaced killer abs, and the chicest parties throng with guys showing how they can make their iPhones look like Magic 8 Balls. It’s enough to make a man long for the days when all you heard from even the costliest accessory was the faint tick of a sleek watch.

But these days, the watch thing is also complicated — literally. Watches, like phones, are now viaducts of nonessential information. And the more complications (as extraneous indicators are called in the trade), the rarer and more expensive the timepiece. Moon phases, leap years, multiple time zones, multiple-dial chronographs, depth meters, power reserves. One very cool watch, Meccanico, by de Grisogono, looks like an old-fashioned L.C.D. but is in fact mechanical, made of fluorescent green pieces that move in and out of slots to create those squared-off numbers. In a similar vein, Audemars Piguet has recreated the old-school chronograph with its Royal Oak Carbon Concept. Tricked out with ceramic, titanium and carbon with a special ‘‘linear chronograph,’’ the little time machine looks like something James Bond would use to stop a ‘‘Quantum of Solace.’’ Or, at the very least, maybe it could tell him when to duck to avoid one. It also features the most sublime and silly complication of all: the tourbillon, which is so complicated, almost metacomplicated, that I can’t understand what it really is or does, and have given up trying. If someone who does understand tries to explain it to you, move away quickly or you and your watch can kiss a few hours goodbye.

de Grisogono Meccanico (prev feature->link)

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Carbon Concept
(previous feature->link)

I can tell you this: it was invented at the turn of the 19th century by Abraham-Louis Breguet, one of history’s great watchmakers. In an effort to minimize the effects of gravity and instability on the pocketwatch and keep time more accurately, he devised a rotating cage for the escapement (please don’t ask) and balance wheel (ditto).

No one seems positive, however, that gravity is that big a problem for today’s watches. Even so, the tourbillon remains the last word in superfluous virtuosity, and whatever it does and whether it really uperfluous virtuosity, and whatever it does and whether it really does it or not, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and all the other best names make them, and they all cost as much as taking out a hit on your boss. So choose wisely.

Just to give you the most for your money, watchmakers put extra ingenuity in showing tourbillons whirling and whooshing away. The young and ambitious watch house Greubel Forsey makes, among others, a remarkable Quadruple Tourbillon that resembles a modern version of the Antikythera Mechanism, the ancient clocklike device recovered more than a century ago from an ancient Mediterranean shipwreck. Using X-ray tomography that allows them to peer through the centuries of corrosion and buildup, scientists have discovered that the fabled, mysterious 2,100-year-old thingamajig was able to keep track of, for starters, the four-year cycle of the Olympic Games, the frequency of solar eclipses and the entire Metonic calendar year (which was more like two decades).

Greubel Forsey Quadruple Tourbillon
(previous features->link)

Antikythera Mechanism
(previous feature->link)

So complications are nothing new. Lately, though, some watchmakers have forsaken the Old World charm of a 19th-century face for the midcentury masculinity that has made ‘‘Mad Men’’ such a hit. These include Vacheron Constantin’s fully customizable Quai de l’Ile (created by the same man who designed the Swiss bank notes), Girard- Perregaux’s Vintage 1945 Off-Center Hour, Patek Philippe’s newest version of its superthin Grand Complication and the one-handed watch by the ultrastylish Swiss watchmaker Jaquet Droz.

Vacheron Constantin Quai de l’Ile

Girard Perregaux 1945 Off-Center Hour & Minute

Jaquet Droz One-handed Numerus Clausus

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy understands the power of simplicity: the first lady of France made her flashy husband lose the chunky Rolex and gave him a simple, sleek Patek Philippe. It became an instant symbol of his newly understated presidential élan.

Then again, customizable watches like Vacheron Constantin’s choose-your-owncomplications beauty may soon be the 21st century’s most desirable status symbol. But if that’s the case, why can’t it be customized to indicate worthier complications? The size of my carbon footprint? My biceps? My bank balance? The sky-high number of my I.Q., or my discreetly low number of friends on Facebook? Or why not one that keeps track of my calorie intake, my stress level and my dry cleaning? You know, something more like a … wristwife.

But as any potential mate would soon discover, I also come fully loaded with complications.

Original article on The New York Times-->LINK

See also;
All Watch Complication Posts
All Tourbillon Posts


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Unusual Vacheron Constantin 1930-1972

Unusual Vacheron Constantin 1930-19721940s "Square"

Some 'out of the ordinary' vintage Vacheron Constantin wristwatches circa 1930-1970...


Unusual Vacheron Constantin 1930-19721938 Asymmetric Oval

Unusual Vacheron Constantin 1930-19721970s with Hidden Lugs


Unusual Vacheron Constantin 1930-1972Modernist Circle-Square

Unusual Vacheron Constantin 1930-19721930 "Montre à Volets" with Shutters
Previously featured here-->Link

Many featured above were from Antiquorum auctions.



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Skeletons in the Closet

Skeletons in the ClosetSkeleton watches seem to be everywhere lately, especially with the growing appreciation for highly complicated watches and the desire to see their mechanisms through the dial. Next week at the New York Antiquorum auction, there will be some very special skeletonized models available including the first five watches listed here. Above is the IWC Skeletal Minute Repeater. Click photos for close-ups.

Skeletons in the ClosetPatek Philippe Ellipse Squelette

Skeletons in the Closet Vacheron Constantin Squelette

Skeletons in the ClosetParmigiani Fleurier Bugatti

Skeletons in the ClosetJaeger LeCoultre Reverso Platinum #1

Skeletons in the ClosetAnother skeletonized Reverso

Skeletons in the ClosetAlain Silberstein Kronosaphir 97

Skeletons in the ClosetB.R.M. Bi-Rotor

Skeletons in the ClosetCorum Golden Bridge

Skeletons in the Closet
Skeletons in the ClosetEarly 1900 Zenith Silver Skeleton

Photos of Vacheron, Parmigiani & IWC by Mike Disher of TimeZone
Antiquorum 2007 Important Wristwatches, Pocket Watches & Clocks Auction-->Link


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Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin

Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin'L’Esprit des Cabinotiers' - The one-of-a-kind mystery clock that literally emerges from a hatching sphere - Created for the 250th anniversary of Vacheron Constantin.

The incubating clockwork consists of a golden sphere engraved by hand according to the sky chart drawn by Robert de Vaugondy (1723-1786), cartographer and geographer to Louis XV and creator of two large globes, one celestial and the other terrestrial. The sphere is composed of eight mechanical petals symbolizing the lotus flower, which may be progressively opened by means of an extremely sophisticated spring mechanism. The keys to the mystery and its revelation are known exclusively to the one owner of the object. The automata flower delicately reveals its heart, a timepiece endowed with a wide range of functions and complications (detailed below photos). Sold at auction for nearly $2,000,000.


Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin

Technical specifications

GLOBE

Materials: 18-carat 750 pink gold (5N)
Diameter: 220 mm
Form and construction: Globe divided into a fixed half-sphere and 8 petals opening by means of 16 connecting rods linked to the telescopic shaft (on tiny sapphire balls) carrying the timepiece, driven by the mechanical motor housed within the base.
Finishing: The outside of the globe is in natural polished gold and features a depiction of the position of the stars on September 17th 1755 (date of the first document mentioning the existence of the House of Vacheron), decorated with a hand engraving inspired by the work of Robert de Vaugondy. The inside, enhanced by slender polished gold ribs, is finely satin-brushed.

CLOCK

Materials: 18-carat 750 pink gold (5N), Corundum
Diameter and thickness: 145 mm, 70 mm
Shape and construction: A cylinder and 2 sapphire crystal domes connected by a frame in 5N pink gold. An openworked support links the clock to the telescopic shaft at the centre of the sphere. Two holes for winding and time-setting are drilled into the rear dome.
Glasses: Sapphire crystal, glareproofed on both faces.

DIALS

Dial material: 18-carat yellow gold
Material for appliques: 18-carat pink gold (5N)
Dial description: Silvered with special 250th anniversary hand-guilloch? motif, minute disc encircling the dial in silvered 18-carat gold with engraved indications. ?Grand feu? miniature enamelled 12-segment outer disc.

Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin

MOVEMENT

Indications & functions :
1. Hour on 12-hour display
2. Minutes
3. Deadbeat seconds
4. Hour on 24-hour display
5. Power reserve
6. Name of the day
7. Date of the day (perpetual)
8. Name of the month
9. Number of the year within the leap-year cycle
10. Equation of time
11. Age of the moon
12. Phases of the moon
13. Temperature
14. Astronomical calendar giving the position of the sun according to the Gregorian calendar. This mechanism was built on the basis of calculations by the mathematician Charles Etienne Louis CAMUS (1699-1768) and the watchmaking mechanical engineer Antide JANVIER (1751-1835).
15. Hours and quarters striking automatically in passing and on request, with the possibility of preventing the automatic striking.

Other technical characteristics:

Energy: Mechanical, twin-barrel, manual key winding
Regulating organs: Mono-metallic balance. Isochronous balance-spring ending in a Phillips curve, micrometric index (patented by Vacheron Constantin in 1884), Straight-line lever escapement with constant force system applied each second to the escape-wheel. This system precisely measures out the energy required for the regulator to perform 5 vibrations of an ideal and invariable amplitude.
Frequency: 18,000 vibrations per hour
Power reserve: Over seven days

Main dimensions:
Caging diameter: 125 mm
Total diameter: 129 mm
Total thickness: 41 mm


via The Purists --> Link
Quarter Millennieum of Vacheron Constantin auction --> Link

Related posts;
Christiaan van der Klauuw Astronomical Watches --> Link
Sethosphere Globe Clock --> Link


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Marlon Brando's 1954 On The Waterfront Vacheron & Constantin Watch Auction"Minute Man" by David Colman for The New York TimesUnusual Vacheron Constantin 1930-1972Skeletons in the ClosetHatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin

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