Lot 110
  • 110


50,000 - 100,000 USD
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  • Vacheron Constantin
Dial: skeletonized, painted chapter ring to the crystal with loss, skeletonized arrow handsCaliber: 30 day movement with constant-force escapement, 27 jewels, patent number 142508Movement number: 416860Case: rectangular contract case composed of glass and silver gilt, raised upon an enameled base with four feetDimensions: 6.5 in x 6 in x 1.5 inSigned: movement signed Vacheron ConstantinAccessories: Vacheron Constantin Extract from the Archives confirming the movement was sold on its own in 1931. Further accompanied by a fitted presentation box signed Van Cleef & Arpels. 


CASECase in overall good condition. Light surface scratches overall consistent with age. Wear to the corners of the base with loss to the black lacquer. DIALThe glass with some light scratches, some fogging to the back in particular. The indexes are slightly worn and the edges less defined, some separation of the pigment from the glass. MOVEMENTMovement in overall good condition with light surface scratches overall, some patina to the brass elements. The movement is running at time of cataloging, however it was not tested for the accuracy of time or duration of the power reserve and may need service at the buyer's discretion. Please note that Sotheby's does not guarantee the future working of the movement.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. All dimensions in catalogue descriptions are approximate. Condition reports may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome. Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. Please note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and leather bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species.NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

**Please be advised that bands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping."

Catalogue Note

Sotheby's is pleased to offer pieces from the Collection of Josef von Sternberg (1894-1969), an Austrian-American filmmaker who may best be known for his discovery and collaboration with actress Marlene Dietrich, and films such as Underworld (1927), Morocco (1930), The Blue Angel (1930), and Shanghai Express (1932).The present lot is an exceptional example of a rare group of pieces produced by Vacheron Constantin in the 1930s. Following the registration of patent number 142508, it is thought that the firm created twelve ebauches for constant force, 30-day escapements such as the present. From that group, it is thought that only five fully cased desk timepieces, such as the present, were finished.

One such example, no. 418068, was sold in 2011 at Antiquorum Geneva for 242,500 CHF. It, too, was cased in a contract Art Deco case. Beyond that, the only additional movement previously offered at auction is movement no. 838970, which was cased in the 1990s and sold by Sotheby's Hong Kong in 2012. 

This design served as the inspiration for Vacheron Constantin's Arca timepiece, launched as a unique piece in 2015. It was created in celebration of the firm's 260th jubilee that year, and featured an identical movement. 

Combining exceptional Hollywood provenance, a stunning Art Deco aesthetic and an impressive technical movement, the present lot is sure to captivate its beholders from an intellectual and visual perspective. 

For similar examples, see Lambelet, C. & Coen, L., L'Univers de Vacheron Constantin, Genève. Page 396 of that text illustrates movement number 416861, one digit off from the present example, and page 399 illustrates the aforementioned movement number 418068. A third example with world time indication is illustrated on page 398.