Vacheron&Constantin from the '50s. Need some help...
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  1. #1
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    Confused Vacheron&Constantin from the '50s. Need some help...

    Hello to everybody here,
    I'm writing this message as I would love to receive suggestions and opinions from you about this old watch.
    It was the 1st "important" watch of my father. He received it from his father as a gift for his university degree.
    It was sold in Italy (my family is italian) in 1955 or 1956. It measures 33.5mm diameter.
    Apparently the dial was replaced, not sure though (missing "swiss" at 6 o'clock and missing accent on "geneve". It is my intention to send this watch, in the next weeks, to the Maison for a complete restoration has it has a big sentimental value for me.
    I haven't opened the case so I cannot tell which reference it is or what movement is inside.
    I am planning to have the case opened in the boutique in Sao Paulo in the next few weeks (as I'm going in Brazil for the next few months).
    I'll be able to post some pictures of the movement after that.

    In the meanwhile, any useful information or suggestions about the watch would be much appreciated.

    I have uploaded some pictures. Sorry that I was not able to focus some of them.
    Here are the links:

    EDIT: I received a system message warning that I cannot insert neither links neither pictures as I have only 3 post. What can I do (either than write more post) ??


    Thanks for your help!

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    Re: Vacheron&Constantin from the '50s. Need some help...

    I'm trying again to post images...
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    Re: Vacheron&Constantin from the '50s. Need some help...

    I doubt that the dial was replaced, because if it would have been swapped out for a V&C dial, either while being serviced at V&C or a watchmaker with access to genuine V&C dials, it certainly wouldn't have the accent missing. Two possible explanations come to my mind: 1. The missing accent has simply faded, the battered crystal makes it hard to see, or there is some mechanical damage to the coat of paint in this area. 2. It's a redial- the original dial has been inaccurately repainted.
    I wouldn't worry that much about the missing "Swiss" marking. Many watches from many brands, with fully original dials, lack this mark for one good reason- it wasn't obligatory. Yes, it was necessary for some markets, but not all. Truth be told, I don't know whether V&C has been marking all watches with the "Swiss" at 6 o'clock, or were there exceptions due to the marking not being an obligatory feature.
    If you're planning to have it restored by V&C, be prepared for a rather horrifying expense. Also, keep in mind, that having the manufacturer restore a watch is no guarantee of a good result. Overpolishing the case and a bad redial are not something that happens rarely. Of course, I wouldn't expect any company like JLC, V&C or Patek to mess up a restoration. I don't know to what extent do you want your watch to be restored, but whatever will it be, keep an eye on the progress of it.
    Anyway, it's a gorgeous watch, and since it's of sentimental value, it's special all the more.
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    Re: Vacheron&Constantin from the '50s. Need some help...

    Thanks a lot for your suggestions. Your assumptions are plausible and logical, thanks.
    About the restoration at V&C, I thought that this was the best way to "give e new life" to the watch. I will ask not to polish the case, as it seems to me in very good conditions, and I will be really disappointed if they make a bad redial or some other "bad" thing.... after a "rather horrifying expense"

    By the way, when you write "I don't know to what extent do you want your watch to be restored, but whatever will it be, keep an eye on the progress of it." What do you mean? I am not an expert so I will ask V&C to do whatever they think is necessary to restore the watch.... or do I have to do something different?
    Thanks!

    Any idea on what reference this watch is? Or what calibre is working inside?

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    Re: Vacheron&Constantin from the '50s. Need some help...

    What I meant, is that "restoration" can mean different things. The basics are: movement service, new crystal(it's essential for this watch, because the current one is cracked, scratched and battered). Well, that's when you have a watch serviced at an independent watchmaker.
    For factory service, I'll use the example of Zenith- full movement overhaul, replacing worn parts, case and bracelet(if on a bracelet) buffing/polishing, adjusting, quality control. No mention of the dial, though. Vacheron Constantin (that's what they're called now, they removed the "&" from their name somewhere in the 1970s) does not give an accurate description of watch maintenance and restoration services offered. So I didn't know, whether you only want to get the movement serviced and the crystal replaced, or do you want to have it fully overhauled. So you need to ask them about the details of a basic service, that's for sure. And the cost of that- costs of servicing the watch at V&C are somewhere between $1500 and $4500, so I've heard. Probably depends on the watch.
    A redial "horror story" that I've heard, was about Longines. They were supposed to clean the dial, and repainted it instead... The quality of factory redials done by Omega seems to have a rather bad reputation as well. Now, I think that it would be most unlikely for V&C to do such stuff, they're too "high-end" to afford any incompetence, I guess.
    As to the movement... Either an in-house calibre, and about these from V&C I know little, or a movement by LeCoultre (used also by Patek)
    Last edited by mkws; October 25th, 2015 at 23:41.
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    Re: Vacheron&Constantin from the '50s. Need some help...

    It's a genuine VC to me. Nice watch. Sell your house and do a restauration at VC.

    Regards

    edit: Do you have better pics?

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    Re: Vacheron&Constantin from the '50s. Need some help...

    Quote Originally Posted by mkws View Post
    What I meant, is that "restoration" can mean different things. The basics are: movement service, new crystal(it's essential for this watch, because the current one is cracked, scratched and battered). Well, that's when you have a watch serviced at an independent watchmaker.
    For factory service, I'll use the example of Zenith- full movement overhaul, replacing worn parts, case and bracelet(if on a bracelet) buffing/polishing, adjusting, quality control. No mention of the dial, though. Vacheron Constantin (that's what they're called now, they removed the "&" from their name somewhere in the 1970s) does not give an accurate description of watch maintenance and restoration services offered. So I didn't know, whether you only want to get the movement serviced and the crystal replaced, or do you want to have it fully overhauled. So you need to ask them about the details of a basic service, that's for sure. And the cost of that- costs of servicing the watch at V&C are somewhere between $1500 and $4500, so I've heard. Probably depends on the watch.
    A redial "horror story" that I've heard, was about Longines. They were supposed to clean the dial, and repainted it instead... The quality of factory redials done by Omega seems to have a rather bad reputation as well. Now, I think that it would be most unlikely for V&C to do such stuff, they're too "high-end" to afford any incompetence, I guess.
    As to the movement... Either an in-house calibre, and about these from V&C I know little, or a movement by LeCoultre (used also by Patek)
    Ah, ok! Yes, I would like a complete restoration. I think it's the best way to start the "new life" of this watch. I'm planning to leave the watch in the boutique VC in Sao Paulo in the next weeks. As soon as I receive an estimate from Swiss I will post it here and ask for your suggestions. The crystal (plexiglass?) is battered. The dial is "faded" at 3 o'clock position. The rest looks fine to me. The case looks fine too. The crown "moves" a little but works. The watch is running and apparently gains 1 min/day. The strap is not VC and I would like to receive a replacement with an original one with its buckle.


    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchKiss View Post
    It's a genuine VC to me. Nice watch. Sell your house and do a restauration at VC.
    Regards
    edit: Do you have better pics?
    "Sell your house and do a restauration at VC"

    I'm posting few more images. Any idea about the reference of this watch or caliber installed in?
    Thanks again.

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    Re: Vacheron&Constantin from the '50s. Need some help...

    Hi GiaMa,

    How special that you will be the third generation to own this watch.
    You ask if we have an idea on the caliber of this watch, without seeing the movement we can only guess. Based on your quoted purchase date of 1955 and with reference to the dial I would take a stab at it being a caliber P453/3B. Looks like there is a hallmark on the back of one of the lugs, could well be a solid gold watch. Its possible you could have a caliber 1001 but I feel safer with the P453/3B. Please post a photo once the back is off.



    P.s dont hold me to this movement :)

    Regards

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    Re: Vacheron&Constantin from the '50s. Need some help...

    Quote Originally Posted by James A View Post
    Hi GiaMa,

    How special that you will be the third generation to own this watch.
    You ask if we have an idea on the caliber of this watch, without seeing the movement we can only guess. Based on your quoted purchase date of 1955 and with reference to the dial I would take a stab at it being a caliber P453/3B. Looks like there is a hallmark on the back of one of the lugs, could well be a solid gold watch. Its possible you could have a caliber 1001 but I feel safer with the P453/3B. Please post a photo once the back is off.

    P.s dont hold me to this movement :)

    Regards
    How beautiful... thanks for your guess! I'll post pictures as soon as someone will open it. I'm really curious.
    Yes... I really feel this opportunity to wear this watch as a "special occasion" and a kind of "survival to the passing years".
    It reminds me to the slogan of Patek Philippe: "You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation".

    And yes again, there are a couple of hallmarks; one in the back of one of the lugs (picture number 2 in this thread) and one on the case "near" a lug (picture number 4).

  11. #10
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    Re: Vacheron&Constantin from the '50s. Need some help...

    I agree with mkws accent has simply faded.

    To me, it's not a redial.

    Open it ! ;)

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