Some advice on vintage chronos please
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  1. #1
    Member DilliTime's Avatar
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    Some advice on vintage chronos please

    I have been collecting watches for a few years, but in the last couple of years have moved increasingly into vintage pieces. There are a wealth of beautiful vintage chronographs out there, and indeed I already have one such piece in a lovely 1940s Bovet chrono with Venus 170.

    I am however not familiar at all with servicing of vintage chrono movements, and I have restrained myself in purchasing any more chronos for that reason. You can get fantastic value in vintage Valjoux/Landeron/Venus, but I always feel like you'd have to pay more than the purchase price of the watch for a service. For the really nice pieces that I've got my eyes on - Universal Geneves, Record Geneves, Gallets etc - it's not too much of a problem. But when I see a cool no-name Landeron for well under $1000 I tend to stay clear for fear of purchasing a white elephant.

    So please can experienced hands enlighten me on this, with the following in mind:

    • How much more difficult is it to find someone capable of a service?
    • Are there certain movements that tend to be more easily/cheaply serviced?
    • Conversely, are there those that are notoriously difficult/expensive? (and I hope you don't tell me the Venus 170 is one of these.....)


    Your experiences would all be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Member morningtundra's Avatar
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    Some advice on vintage chronos please

    You can find watchmakers that specialize in servicing vintage chronos. I've used several.

    Prices have ranged from ~us$300 to ~$us$750 for labor only (clean, oil,adjust).

    Labor for inhouse movements is not necessarily more expensive but parts tend to be.

    Later Valjoux have plenty of parts available.

    Landeron and Venus have some interchangeable parts (between movements not between brands) which helps.

    PM me if you want a referral.


    Sent from my cracked, broken hand wound phone. IG @morning_tundra
    Last edited by morningtundra; August 11th, 2017 at 19:42.
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    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: Some advice on vintage chronos please

    The movements you mentioned are all relatively common, parts tend to be available, and experienced watchmakers are totally comfortable with them. There are some less common in-house movements (e.g. Angelus) where parts might be harder to find, but not impossible.

    You also mentioned the concern that a service may cost almost as much as the watch. This may be true for entry-level chronographs such Landeron models with small plated cases. However, I think this is an entirely separate issue and you are conflating two different things. I don't think it's difficult to find someone to service them, so you can certainly be comfortable collecting these models if you like them. But you may not feel it's worth the investment to maintain them. Frankly, I do feel that way, which is why I tend to focus on vintage chronographs that are more desirable/collectible even though the up-front cost is higher.
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    Re: Some advice on vintage chronos please

    don't know of any interchangeable parts between Venus & Landeron @morningtundra ?

    Landeron: parts are relatively easily available, as these were used by hundreds of off-brand assemblers, many 18k examples have been decased to salvage the (little) gold in them, so donor movements are relatively easy to find; beware of the (rare) column wheel calibers 39 & 42; parts are very scarce.

    Venus: overall decent supply of parts, although the (quite often needed) hour hammer for the cals. 152 & 178 have become rare and expensive.

    Valjoux: parts for the "younger" cals. 7733/34/36 are widely available; some parts for the 71/22 and 72/23 families are getting scarce; complete Breguet balances quite rare.

    Excelsior Park 04/40 parts (used in many Gallet) are hard to find, even mainsprings aren't available anymore, so you need a watchmaker that can modify the barrels.

    Angelus & Martell/UG: can be a nightmare

    Agree w/ Dan re. choosing desirable/collectible brands - service & repair costs for "off brand" or Chronographe Suisse Landeron chronographs are often way higher than market values for complete & running watches.
    Last edited by WatchFred; August 11th, 2017 at 16:29.

  6. #5
    Member morningtundra's Avatar
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    Re: Some advice on vintage chronos please

    Quote Originally Posted by WatchFred View Post
    don't know of any interchangeable parts between Venus & Landeron @morningtundra ?
    Sorry, edited for clarity...


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  7. #6
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    Re: Some advice on vintage chronos please

    Quote Originally Posted by morningtundra View Post
    Sorry, edited for clarity...


    Sent from my cracked, broken hand wound phone. IG @morning_tundra
    got u now, helps a lot w/ the much rarer Venus, as many parts from 15x and 175/178 are interchangeable !

  8. #7
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    Re: Some advice on vintage chronos please

    really a great answer!

    +1
    Quote Originally Posted by WatchFred View Post
    don't know of any interchangeable parts between Venus & Landeron @morningtundra ?

    Landeron: parts are relatively easily available, as these were used by hundreds of off-brand assemblers, many 18k examples have been decased to salvage the (little) gold in them, so donor movements are relatively easy to find; beware of the (rare) column wheel calibers 39 & 42; parts are very scarce.

    Venus: overall decent supply of parts, although the (quite often needed) hour hammer for the cals. 152 & 178 have become rare and expensive.

    Valjoux: parts for the "younger" cals. 7733/34/36 are widely available; some parts for the 71/22 and 72/23 families are getting scarce; complete Breguet balances quite rare.

    Excelsior Park 04/40 parts (used in many Gallet) are hard to find, even mainsprings aren't available anymore, so you need a watchmaker that can modify the barrels.

    Angelus & Martell/UG: can be a nightmare

    Agree w/ Dan re. choosing desirable/collectible brands - service & repair costs for "off brand" or Chronographe Suisse Landeron chronographs are often way higher than market values for complete & running watches.

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