This is thee quintessential Vacheron Constantin chronograph. Of all great VC chronographs, and there are many, only one or two others have influenced future designs or reached the degree of iconography the 4178 has. It stands alongside the 4261 minute repeater, 4737 Cioccolotone, 6087 chronograph, and latter 222 in the pantheon of greats. If you’ve been into wristwatches for any sustained period of time, you’ll know that lug design is a huge part of watch’s character both in how it presents and how it wraps on wrists. I often lament the homogeneity of modern case and lug designs, en masse devoid of the creativity of the last century. This however? The inimitable teardropped proportions of the 4178 are among the best ever; a profile which has stood the test of time and aged, if it were possible, even more gracefully than Dame Helen Mirren.
The reference launched in 1940 and was in production until 1964. It comes here in a 36mm rose gold case with dual registers. It is thought that only 280 pieces were produced in rose gold with this calibre 434 movement (a separate run was also made with the calibre 492), a Valjoux 22 ébauche. The tones of this case are matched in full by a dial finished in pink (on pink) gold with a blued steel handset. It is perfect evidence that to be historically significant, a watch need be nothing more than damn beautiful. Nailing the proportions, dial harmony, and lug profile perfectly is enough. Collectors agree, as values have risen steadily and VC themselves have effectively reissued the reference though their Les Historiques collection.
As if that weren’t motivation enough, the watch we have today has been signed by Türler, one of just a handful known. César Alexander and Jean Henri Türler opened their first watch retail store in Bielle, Switzerland in 1907. By the 1930s, they had expanded throughout nearly all of Europe and sang the praises of watches from their homeland. They had the notable distinction of selling watches to one Sir Winston Churchill. Their notoriety was such that brands like JLC, Blancpain, IWC, UG, Omega, and Vacheron consented to manufacturing signed dials to be retailed through their distribution.
The example presents strong with an honest weathering. Its dial is evenly showing a patina, in very light spotting and in the applied indices. The case has been lightly polished but retains proportion. There is a small degree of ageing around areas that have been worn in its bezel and upper case. There is nothing out of place. Watches like this simply don’t surface in the current market very frequently. It’s an opportunity to own a hugely influential piece of VC’s DNA, a double-signed dial, and great example all bundled together. It comes from a well-regarded Miami retailer.
Find this Türler 4178 here from Menta Watches for 47500 USD.