Hip to be Square

The lyrics of a 1986 Huey Lewis song seem apropos to the words of British philosopher Alan Wilson Watts that Alex posted earlier.  Huey sang these lyrics mocking the yuppies of the 1980s:

It's not too hard to figure out, you see it everyday
And those that were the farthest out have gone the other way
You see them on the freeway, It don't look like a lot of fun
But don't you try to fight it; "An idea who's time has come."
Don't tell me that I'm crazy
Don't tell me I'm nowhere
Take it from me
It's hip to be a square


Without discussing the deeper meaning of his lyrics, I'd also like to say "its hip to be square"; a watch case with square angles that is! cool

Any fascination with the non-curvilinear form will inevitably draw one to V&C of the 1940s and 50s.  I hope these two recent examples from the Tick Talk cabinet properly illustrate their qualities.

Earliest is this Ref. 4166, manufactured in 1945.  The lucious pink gold case, measuring 35 x 22 mm, is perfectly complimented by a salmon-pink two-tone galvanized dial; a process that V&C elevated to an art form.  The movement is the shaped Caliber 435; 11-lignes, 17 jewels, and 18,000 vph, based on the JLC Caliber 438.  This original example has yet to see the polisher's wheel and displays a melody of textures and lines.  As expected, the lugs are a powerful part of its visual presence.  Thankfully, I had a period PG bracelet laying around that has now found a home with this 4166.

Hip to be Square

Hip to be Square

Hip to be Square

The next example is the ubiquitous Ref. 4108.  I say that because this square wonder was in production for an unusually long time by V&C standards; from late 1930s until the mid 1950s, and appeared in platinum, yellow, and white gold.  Measuring a tidy 33 x 25 mm, the design is characterized by its massive polished flat bezel.  The original issue featured a 9-ligne Caliber 458, which was superceded in this 1953 version by one of my favorites; the Cal. 1001 (a JLC 818-based ebauche), still beating at a relaxed 18,000 vph.

Once again the dial is the star; a even more sophisticated example combining galvanized satin finish with high-gloss electroplating.  Add the teeny 18k applied indexes and one cannot help but be impressed and charmed at the same time heart.

Hip to be Square

Hip to be Square

Hip to be Square

So what say you; is it "hip to be square"?  enlightened  Please share your own examples...
someone who listens to Huey Lewis and wears VC can only be a
11/13/2012 - 10:15
man of taste cool I'm normally not a fan of square watches but your 4166 with those prominent lugs is a beauty
I'm not hip or hype as i don't have a square watch but your new
11/13/2012 - 11:02
acquisition looks really pristine! Wear it in best of health
Congrats on yet another one Dean...
11/13/2012 - 11:53
You and JB are on fire these days - VC should think about opening a Boutique for the VC-crazy Canucks... Two fine VC vintage specimen, but I prefer the first - I love the lugs, and the round glass gives the watch a lovely silhouette... Wear it in good health! Francois
You're Hip to the Square, Dean - with these two new pieces of yours
11/13/2012 - 13:15
Really happy for you - you're living the dream of yours. So cool. Congratulations!
Definitely!
11/13/2012 - 18:34
Two beautiful pieces, Dean.  I love the mix of new and old incoming into your collection these days.  I wish I had a square contribution to make.  But I do dream of square -- the Historiques Ultra-fine 1968 to be precise -- so I am right there with you on this post. Congratulations! Robert
Cogratulations Dean!
11/13/2012 - 19:04
Two lovely watches. I really like the rectangular one with the 2 toned dial. The curved lugs and crystal are outstanding! Wear them in goodhealth! Joseph
The lonely 4108
11/13/2012 - 19:50
Agreed Joseph, the 4166 is a magical piece with a wonderful shaped movement.  It was the dial of the other watch that was its attraction, although back in 1994 Antiquorum has quite a selection of 4108's on the block which really illustrated the variety within a single reference: This rather rough example confirms the highly unusual satin and gloss finish that I find so fascinating: The same dial also appeared in the Ref. 6065; another Hip to be Square candidate with more ornate decoration: And I'm no longer surprised to find, during this era, close similarities with the other Great Houses.  Here are interpretations on the theme by Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe:
Re: The lonely 4108
11/14/2012 - 03:35
My personal contribution with an  Audmears Piguet from the 30ies 18K pink gold with an amazing yellow gold two-tone dial featuring an embossed Audemars Piguet naming and a railway...
Berny, can you help me
11/14/2012 - 03:53
with a theory.  What is the casemaker's mark in your AP?  My 4108 is Key #1, which is Ed. Wenger SA of Geneva (Wenger knives?).  I'm trying to learn if the same casemaker is responsible for these shared case designs. Beautiful watch, BTW heart.  The Romans with "railroad" minute track are classic!
Re: Berny, can you help me
11/14/2012 - 23:47
I will keep you posted.
WOW!! What a fabulous watch, Berny!
11/14/2012 - 20:49
I love the dial! How about a photo holding up the watch with the clock in the Musée D'Orsay in the background? cheekycool Regards, Joseph
Re: WOW!! What a fabulous watch, Berny!
11/14/2012 - 23:47
Thank you, Joseph. It is lovely.
Great watches, Dean.
11/13/2012 - 20:34
Congratulations on your find. I hope that you might consider to take your OS off sometimes, so that these two beauties can get some wrist-time. I really like the diversity of the styles from the 40- and the 50s. The box for the ref 4108 looks to be from the right time-period.  Regarding calibers and caliber forms. I do as many others find it appealing that the form of the movement is the same as the case. That I think gives the ref 4166 a bit extra, compared to the ref 4108. However in my collection there is only one of four watches with a square case that has that extra feature. Just a wet dream of mine: Imagine a Toledo from the 50s with triple calendar based on an ebauche JLC 486 reworked by V&C. Best wishes to you and to your two new “children” 
Dean breaks out into song...
11/13/2012 - 23:16
A great introduction for the stars of the show! As I've come to expect; everything is perfectly described and illustrated. Enjoyed the script thoroughly. Much appreciated! Best wishes Tony