I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: one of the great weaknesses of my generation (Y and over) is the un-appreciation of subtlety. For the most part, we like flash. Rolex knows this. I believe deep in my core that the Stella dial OPs released last year were aimed squarely at my demographic. That’s no bad thing; I believe everyone into watches should simply buy what makes them happy. If that’s a pink OP, pink Richard Mille, or pink Aventador, more power to you. However, I can’t help but feel that in some small way we’re losing the ability to appreciate the charms of more understated (but no less important or competent) pieces. That niche is squarely where this VC 4072 excels above almost everything.
The 4072 chronograph comes from 1938, when Vacheron embodied pure elegance. The reference comes in varied dials, scales, pushers, and metals, but just 1178 examples were produced in total. At its core, the 4072 is an undersized (35mm, modern standards I mean), two-register, dressy, and manual chrono. The subdials feature a running seconds and 30 minute count. This 4072 sports a tachy and mileage scale arrangement, quite unique. The movement is a cal 492, which is based on the Valjoux 22 but finished by VC’s hands. One extra detail worth noting: the subdial hands are matched (blue steel) to the main chronograph hand. Just a small superfluous bit of extra attention that lets you know someone cared deeply.
Considering that this example is just over 75 years old, it looks about half that. The 18K YG has acheived a deep lustre; I’ve always loved pre-1970s yellow gold metallurgy. I swear they all have a deeper shine than modern blends. I digress. For what is probably quite a soft alloy, the case is superb. Sharp bevels, only lightly marked back, and stout lugs. Its movement shows little corrosion and is operating well. The dial shows just the tiniest discolouration in the chrono subdial and between scales, but it almost isn’t worth mentioning. The watch is in particularly great shape. Don’t you dare restore it. It comes from a well-renowned retailer with an extract of archive.
Find this 4072 here from The Keystone for 40000 USD.