I see four issues in the photos, and you've identified one. From Alex's article on the history of VC chronographs, part II, the 4072 was available into the early 1970s, which means it may just be possible that it is late enough to have a dial minus the & ampersand. Serial numbers will establish the year of completion.
BUT, there are those 3 other issues . Anyone care to jump in?
I am not seeing "SWISS" below 6 o'clock?
Thanks, that is issue #2. There is a shadow of something under 6 o'clock, maybe edge damage or printing. The multiple scales on this dial may have forced SWISS to the periphery where it is now obscured by the bezel - not uncommon. Seller must confirm if its present or not, perferably with a photo.
FWIW, the serial numbers, obtained from the listing, date the watch to about 1948, within the & era. This still leaves a possibility that VC themselves reprinted the dial without the ampersand, but one thing tells me not...
The absence of "Swiss" is not necessarily conclusive. VC appears to have issued a considerable number of watches in the 1940s and 1950s without a Swiss at the bottom of the dial. In some VC models e.g. the 4735 (wedding cake), Swiss appears on none of the dials that I have seen to date (four) and with chronographs/triple dates, it is 50:50.
I think that this is quite an important point as, depending on the correct answer, we could either be (1) buying watches which we think have original, untouched dials but which have actually been refinished or (2) passing over a perfectly good original vintage VC in the mistaken belief that without a 'Swiss' at the bottom of the dial, it is a refinish.
I wonder if La Maison has pronounced on this matter at any time in the past?
I haven't come across any rules from VC re SWISS or no SWISS, but agree it is not definitive. In the absence of a proclamation from the Manufacture, the collector's community will have to share our observation and make our own judgements. This is one reason why discussions on authenticity and originality don't usually focus on a single element, but on a totality of indicators.
I wonder if the elaborately guilloche'd dials like the Wedding Cake made it impractical to put the SWISS on, or if it is there and hidden under the bezel? If it truly isn't present on an original dial, I wonder how the watch then complied with Swiss legislation on marking country of origin?
This info translated from the article Aux origiines du Swiss made horloger, posted at Swissinfo.ch:
Meanwhile, the need to better protect the values claimed by the Swiss watch - quality, reliability, durability - led the Swiss government to establish in 1880 a first law on the protection of industrial and commercial trade marks. Only later, in the course of the 20th century, that SWISS MADE found its definitive location on either side of the figure 6 at the bottom of the dial. On the question of adopting another language; "From a graphical point of view, the English word, very brief, was well suited because it takes very little space on the dial", said Jean-Michel Piguet. Finally, in 1971 SWISS MADE acquired legal status.
Wikipedia references state that, at least until 1971, SUISSE; SWISS; SWITZERLAND; and MADE IN SWITZERLAND were also accepted, and while I always hesitate to use this source it does conform to my own observations. There are V&C pocket watches legitimately signed GENEVE - SUISSE (and GENEVA, but that's another topic, along with the accent).
The 1971 ordanance (Swiss Federal Council Article 50 of the Federal Act, revised August 28, 1992) concerning the protection of trade-marks decrees reads as follows:
Article 5 : Marking indications of origin b) on watch dials
The appellations mentioned in Article 3, 1st and 4th paragraphs may be applied only to dials which are intended for watches in the sense of article 1 a. The indication "Swiss dial" or its translation may be applied to the back of Swiss dials, which are not intended for Swiss watches in the sense of article 1 a.
Article 3 : Conditions of using the name "Swiss"
The name "Switzerland", indications such as "Swiss, "Swiss product", "manufactured in Switzerland", "Swiss quality" or other appellations which contain the name "Swiss" or "Switzerland" or which may be confused therewith may be used solely for Swiss watches or watch movements.
I'm new to the forum and new to VC but I'll take a stab (gotta start somewhere) I'm of the "better overdo it than not :D' mindset,
From the guide (written by Alex on The Hour Lounge and also mentioned by tick-talk in previous post) mentions that 4072 was made until the early 1970s (safe to assume cut off is 1975?), I don't see it as being missing & unless it was re-dialled or fixed later on in it's life. To my understanding (and correct me if I'm wrong) even some models into the 1970s still had the & in Vacheron & Constantin due to VC having excess dials (is this true or just internet myth?)? I would def. request the serial and case number.
Next the lugs (or claws :D) seem to be too thin, due to my experience I'm unsure whether there was a variation in cases or not, but most models (and especially the ones in the guide) seem to have thicker lugs.
As for Swiss, could this be a bad angle on the photo itself, either that, or as mentioned previously by jtodd, it should be there.
I havn't seen Roman Numerals paired with the spear hour markers, just Roman numerals and straight hour markers.
The only other thing I could add is the space between VC and Geneve, it appears closer together on sample photos.
Again total newbie so my opinion is probobly 99% wrong and 1% right (if even that :D) can't wait to see what an expert says :)
Glad you decided to jump in . To your first question; "some models into the 1970s still had the & in Vacheron & Constantin due to VC having excess dials (is this true or just internet myth?)" Search here for vintage catalogs that members have been kind enough to post. You will find that, indeed, even in the late 70s catalogs featured watches with both "Vacheron Constantin" and Vacheron & Constantin". I have one from 1976 showing this combination.
The thin lugs are typical and look right to me but others may feel differently. You have focused in on the name and hour markers, which I agree deserve more scrutiny. When a dial is refinished, the good ones will remove the markers and reset them afterwards. I can see on the close-up there seems to be an excess of cement or lacquer around the applied dart index. Would be sloppy for an original dial, or one refinished by VC. Also, the indexes are either very tarnished or pink gold, whereas the hands are yellow gold. Again, not consistent with VC restorations work.
With regards to the name itself, I think the spacing between Vacheron and Constantin is partially obscured by the stop seconds hand. It doesn't raise an alarm, but I'm curious if others can see what appears to be serif fonts? Those are those little tails at the end of each stroke, which should be sans-serif on V&C of this period.
This got me checking around for "known good" high resolution images. At the link below, there is a high resolution image of a CLEARLY unrestored 4072. I used this specifically to look at the font of the name and Geneve and the existence of SWISS on this example. Very definitely some differences.
What I did find interesting as well was that, although the indices seem to be missing, the numerals (12 and 6) do indeed seem to have patinaed to a very similar appearance as the daggers in Hanniba77's photo. Intereting.
Interesting post, thanks to all contributors, I try to give a little contribution to feed the topic, although I don't have a conclusive answer to the main question.
The quality of the printing is good, with nice graces at the edge of the letters composing the VC writing.
Peripheral signs of humidity prove the dial has a certain age.
The middle arm of the last "E" of Geneve is very long and uncommon to my small experience to other dials, maybe that's due the use of a different cliché I'm not aware it was used those times.
Sings around the VI cardinal, being applied, it could be the evidence it was taken off while reprinting the dial.
The minutes of the chrono sub-dial is slighlty off-center.
It's necessary to see the back of the dial and to inspect the front under a grazing light to check further details impossible to find with these 2 pictures.
These are my first impressions :-)
A lovely phrase; "nice graces at the edge of the letters composing the VC writing". I take that to mean you also see a serif font used to spell out VACHERON CONSTANTIN?
my poor English sometimes forces me to translate words probably have a different meaning.
Technically speaking, "grazie", which I've translated in "graces" are those little signs left at the edge of the letters by the handwork of the engraver on the clichè.
Graces (in this meaning) are present regardless the font in any original dial made those times, often in the external scales also; on a very close inspection, they are different one to the other.
I take this chance to thank you for your contributions which are always interesting and knowledgeable.
I'd very much like to learn more about the grazie in engraving. Can you send me a link by pm or here? Cheers!
I have none, sorry.
These info of mine come from what I've learnt thanks to other collectors and many other sources (dial-makers included), although I honestly can't synthesize them in a single text.
I don't know. I have even more doubts than before. Me, I was just thinking abut th "&", but now...
Anyway thanks to everybody for your help.