the Mercator and Explorateur. Other than a few small articles and of course the video here on the site, I know very little about these incredibly interesting timepieces. Please post some scans and information and opinions, any help will be appreciated. Alex is posting the picture that actually got me started a while back. This picture was from an exhibit in Paris that Alex knows very well. Many thanks. Tim
two models represent what I love most in VC: thinking out of the box, alternative time displays and amazing artworks in the dials
The Mercator was launched in 1994 in a yellow gold case with an enemale dial depicting either the Americas or Europe/Africa/Asia and ispired by the maps made by Dutch cartographer Mercator in the 17th century. These pieces were made in 30^pieces each.
A year after the limited enamel dial models VC launched the regular production Mercator models with engraved dials in YG and platinum. Produced until 2004 unofficial sources lead me to believe that aboout 500 Mercator models all dial/case combinations were made!!
Specific Mercator Models were also made for certain markets
One of the main difficulties in the Mercator was of course the making of the dials but also regulating the watch so that the vilolence of the double jump of the hands would not either lower applitude or end up having incorrectly placed hands!
Here's ia past thread on the Mercator models:
The Tribute to the Explorers was launched in 2004 once the Mercator was discontinued. Wandering hour watch with enamel dial on two levels. The first two series had dials representing the adventures of Zeng He and Magellan. Two other models with different dials will be presented in 2008. Total production of all 4 series should be around 240 pieces.
Here's an interesting thread on the history of VCs alternative time displays
In platine or white gold, is it scheduled?
the Mercator (especially the enamel dial models) show up rarely on the secondary markets and prices have been going up. It can be considered small to today's standards with a 36mm case and reading the time can bea bit problematic if you don't have good eyes (but who needs a watch to read tiée right?)
I have yet to see a Tribute to the Explorers on the secondary markets but since the new dial variations will be launched in 2008 you may be able to find one.