VC's first single-handed watch

Remember that wonderous Philosophia piece unique?  Besides a tourbillon escapement, minute repetition and moon phases, it reveals the progress of time rather casually, with a single hand - a paradox of less precision in an age that demands exactitude.

Philosophia wasn't, however, the first such example of a single-handed watch by Vacheron Constantin.  One other was created as a piece unique in 1950.  While far less complex, it shares the same paradoxical nature as evidenced by the owner's inscriptions.

VC's first single-handed watch

The French inscription on the back translates as: "Use the hour, it will not come again", while the Latin phrase "Utere, Non Reditura" means "Use, Not Return".  According to Antiquorum's auction notes, the customer actually supplied their own diamonds.  The 54mm case is made from 20k gold and the movement is described as 17-lignes ultra-thin with 18 jewels.  Pretty nifty watch heart.
Re: VC's first single-handed watch
11/27/2012 - 04:41
Dean, Do they teach Latin out West?? Utere, non reditura means " Use the Hour, It will not come again" It actually means "Use it, it will not come back." But it was a motto found on sundials and therefore the first tranlation regarding time passing is, I believe, the correct interpretation. As for the French text, ironically it comes from the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, from his Meditations (Pensés pour moi-meme) about life and death. Sometimes in the French "bientot" or "soon" is used instead of "En un instant" In English it translates as; (I'll try and do this as poetically as I can angel ) "In a moment's time you will have forgotten all things, In an instant, the world will have forgotten you" Lovely watch! Joseph
Joseph to the rescue!
11/27/2012 - 05:35
Many thanks, mon ami...so much for machine translation blush.  Your far more romantic (and accurate) rendering adds greatly to my appreciation of the piece and its mysterious owner.In a moment's time you will have forgotten all things, In an instant the world will have forgotten you. crying
Thank's Dean,
11/27/2012 - 06:08
You flatter me! It's such a beautiful watch and the quotations are so poignant. I think it was the original owner who was the real romantic and philosopher. Perhaps that watch should have been called "Philosoph" He clearly had read Marcus Aurelius whose many thoughts and comments are real gems to live by. Warm Regards, Joseph
interesting watch with its 10 min increments!
11/27/2012 - 10:48
2
Wonderful idea with the ruby that is holding the hand.
11/27/2012 - 11:25
Thanks, Dean for showing that special watch and thanks Joseph for the enlightment of the Latin parts. One of my all time favorit Vacheron Constantin watches is the Philosophia watch. The person who ordered it seems to be a very well educated man an it is so subtle in many ways and yet it is having a profound impact on most people who sees it. It is interesting to compare it with this piece from the fifties. To very different ways of making a Cabinotier watch. Both buyers have certainly succeded in making a statement that is different from the norm. 
Thanks for sharing this piece, Dean
11/27/2012 - 16:00
And thanks to both you and Joseph for the translations.  I learn so much loitering her at THL. BR, Robert
it wasn't unique as there is another example with
11/27/2012 - 16:01
different hand and monogram on  the back. But what's interesting is that both watches have the same inscriptions on the dial and back!Ref 4582
Another Ref. 4582!!
11/27/2012 - 16:22
Alex, any details on the year and where this other example went?  Same reference number, perhaps they were a matching pair!  Now we have two mystery philosophers; "C" and "LH"
Now this is a real fascinoma!!
11/27/2012 - 20:43
I wonder if the 2 owners were the same or related? But it's also really interesting as to why those particular quotations. The one in French from Marcus Aurelius is quite sombre. There are many others not so pregnant with doom. The Latin one familiar on sundials is also interesting, but there are many good ones from which to choose. here are a few: Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all its sons away. Utere, non numera. (Use the hours, don't count them.) Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat. (All hours wound; the last one kills.) Lente hora, celeriter anni. (An hour passes slowly, but the years go by quickly.) Omnes aequales sola virtute discrepantes. (All hours are the same — they are distinguished only by good deeds.) Semper amicis hora (Always time for friends.) Nunc est bibendum (Now is the time to drink) Horas non numero nisi serenas (I count only the happy hours) Mach' es wie die Sonnenuhr: zähl' die heitren Stunden nur! (Do like a sundial and count only the sunny hours!) I think if we ever get an Hour Lounge watch it should have the inscription: Semper amicis hora BTW Dean, would you be so kind as to provide the reference link for that watch. Thanks. Joseph
"Semper amicis hora"
11/28/2012 - 00:17
Love it, +1 for the Lounge/Club watch!  Joseph, if you search Antiquorum's database for that ref number, it should pop up.
Thanks Dean
11/28/2012 - 04:46
I found it. Did you notice the price? Whoa momma!!
Before an auction at Antiquorum......
11/28/2012 - 11:10
there is a list of special pieces they are offering at the event.  The ref 4582 is listed and described as follows:   "Pocket watch collectors will also be delighted by the Vacheron & Constantin Ref. 4582 (lot 338), sold to H. Thommeu on February 7, 1950. This exceptional piece is a unique and large 20K yellow gold keyless dress watch with single hand and special champleve enamel and diamond-set dial - the only watch with single-hand ever made by Vacheron & Constantin."   Here is the link:http://www.antiquorum.com/news/antiquorum-to-offer-an-exceptional-and-rare-collection-of-erotic-watches-in-geneva-on-march-27/     I did actually believe that Antiqouorum when making statements like this had consulted Vacheron Constantin. Is it just me who is naive or do other loungers feel that it's a misleading description?          
Re: Before an auction at Antiquorum......
11/28/2012 - 13:33
It was probably an honest mistake, Kent. I would think that Alex's resources are a bit more extensive than Antiquorum's. They may have even spoken to someone at VC who didn't know there was another one. I don't really know. But perhaps they should have prefaced their claim with "As far as we have been able to determine" I wonder where the second piece is now? Best, Joseph