Last week, I published this story about the unique Vacheron Constantin minute repeater with retrograde calendar hitting the block this upcoming weekend at Phillips in Geneva. Since then, I’ve had a number of great conversations with Christian Selmoni, the style and heritage director at Vacheron Constantin about this watch’s story and why it’s so special. One of the things that sets the so-called “Don Pancho” apart is how meticulous the documentation is on the backend. This both allows us to have faith in the authenticity of the watch and enabled Vacheron to restore the movement and create the new dial in faithful ways. You gotta love people who keep good records.
Christian was kind enough to share some of the many documents that Vacheron used to verify the authenticity of the Don Pancho, down to many of its most unique and unusual characteristics. This includes original sketches and descriptions from the earliest days of the project through to the letters back and forth between Vacheron HQ and Brooking in Madrid. This is very cool stuff, and not the kind of supporting material that you get to see very often out in the open.
Let’s walk through the documents one-by-one, tracing the story of the Don Pancho. (Note: The letters are in French, so I’ve paraphrased or quoted in English translation where helpful.)