Salmon 47101 Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques Chronograph

On a recent podcast episode, I voted for this 90s ref. 47101 as the greatest chronograph pusher of all time. Both for how sexy, at home, and stylized the pusher itself is (almost square on wrist, yet oval in profile), but also the feeling of this 2310 backing it up. I know, no one cares, but I really do believe that the 47101 is concretely a modern classic. I’d put it up against a 5070, Datograph, or anything else of its era confidently. It’s thoughtful enough to not be retro, yet a bastion of traditional watchmaking technique. It might just be the most elegant evening dress the 2310 has ever worn. It is estimated that fewer than 300 examples were made in platinum, 60 with this salmon dial.

To me, this is what referencing your history successfully looks like. The way to do inspired design properly is 50/50 leaning on the past vs innovation. You can’t laser scan the past and reproduce it, Omega. That, to my sensibility, is a bit lazy. What does that contribute to the brand? The past already did it, and better. But you can take your greats and translate them through a modern lens to much success. This ref. 47101 is a house that has to fit in in a Victorian neighborhood, but built ground-up with central heating, double glazing, and a Wolf range. Every detail is punched up, tightened, and tweaked to look right today, but still pay respect to the source (ref. 4178). Proportionally it’s ideal at 37mm. The lugs are longer and more voluptuous, the bezel is wider and more harshly angled, and we’ve already been over the pushers. On the dial, Its registers are slightly closer together. The font used for the Arabic 12 and 6 is more modern, and the chronograph tracks have been simplified. It’s quite different side-by-side, but the essence of VC’s history has not been lost.

There are a range of dials and metals to choose from, which will vary from about 40-75K USD today depending on your jam. This salmon dial and platinum case is easily one of the most desirable. I’d put the black dial in yellow gold on a pedestal as well, even though it is one of the more produced. Whatever suits your tastes, I’d opt for the guilloché dial, which sports a relatively uncommon, fine ‘Vieux Panier’ pattern that resembles an artist’s brushstrokes. It isn’t the first place to look for a long-term investment, that segment is better covered by 1518s and 1463s. But if you just love design and watchmaking, this brings a lot of both to the table for a reasonable sum, comparatively. It’s a modern classic at yesterday’s values. Ish.

This example sports a great case, minimal wear from what I can see. The lugs are sharp, I suspect no one has attempted any kind of restoration here. Just worn very carefully throughout its life. It comes with its full set as well as the famous platinum buckle, shaped in the VC cross, from a well-regarded Malaysian retailer.