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The Best of the Best 2003: Watches - Vacheron Constantin

James D. Malcolmson

Even a watch novice can recognize that there is something special about Vacheron Constantin’s 247 with a 31-day retrograde calendar. The platinum timepiece ($29,000) can be interpreted as a single-piece declaration that Vacheron Constantin, the world’s oldest continually operating watch company, is completely up-to-date in its sense of design. Watch lovers on every level are drawn to its retrograde date hand and cutaway “open works” dial features. Though reminiscent of the company’s famous elaborately engraved skeleton models, the 247 has minimal engraving work on the visible movement. The exceptional finish of the 247’s movement provides plenty of visual interest on its own, catering to those experienced collectors who prize their Vacherons precisely for that detailed finishing that usually goes unseen.

As with so many premium limited edition timepieces, the 18-month production of just 247 pieces was presold well before delivery. This has not, however, stopped dedicated collectors from trying to obtain one. Just ask Guatemala President Alfonso Portillo Cabrera, whose bidding war with singer Enrique Iglesias over a 247 made headlines in that impoverished country. Not only did he lose the watch, but he’s still smarting politically.
 
Vacheron Constantin, 212.713.0707, www.vacheron-constantin.com

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