Advice on repairs for vintage 1952 Cal 466/3B

I recently inherited my grandfather's vintage VC gold watch (mediocre photo attached) with a 466/3B calibre and a "disco volente" back. It was given to him by my uncle in 1952 in Naples, Italy while my uncle served in the U.S. Navy. After much reseearch, it appears that this is very unique piece. I have only seen it once before on this forum several years ago.

After years of neglect (primarily water damage), it is now ready to be restored in Geneva. Customer service reports that beyond a complete service, it will need a new crown, barrel bridge, and reinforcement of its Horn's holes.

My quesion for this group involves the optional interventions suggested by VC: Does anyone believe dial restoration is worth the cost?

Also, VC suggests I replace the aftermarket band with an alligator Mississipiensis strap and a replacement gold VC pin buckle at a pretty steep price as well. 

I know it is personal preference, but if it was your watch...what would you do?

Thanks everyone, David

As you say, a matter of choice, but here is my two cents...
06/23/2015 - 21:19

If it were me, I would want it to be as original as possible.  I think an original strap and buckle would be a must.  As for dial restoration, that is harder.  It is hard to tell from that photo, but I like a vintage dial to show some age.  If it looks "old", but does not look "damaged", I would probably leave it.  If it looks damaged, I would probably have it done.  One critical thing for me on restoration is that it be done by Vacheron, so that it remains authentic.  At least, that is what I would do, assuming that paying for the service was not a hardship.  It really comes down to the meaning of the watch for you.

As an aside, I have not done this and would be interested in other members' feedback, but will they allow you to request the markings on the dial of the watch be kept the same - for example, Vacheron & Constantin, the accent marks on Geneve, and "swiss" or "swiss made" (or lack thereof)?  For me, I would desparately want them to be "authentic" to the period of the watch.  I don't know if that is standard, but anecdotal evidence suggests that they sometimes keep it the same, but that it sometimes changes.  This seems to be the sort of thing one may be able to request.

Re: As you say, a matter of choice, but here is my two cents...
06/24/2015 - 15:31

Thank you jtodd. VC is doing the servicing. My VC contact and I agree I will pass on the dial restoration. Here is a link to a post from 2007 that is my identical watch with better photography and a view of the calibre:

A local watchmaker commented to me he believes this model was likely designed by VC for the Italian market and made in very small quantities. 

I can't really see from your photo if the dial is damaged, if just a few spots and you can
06/24/2015 - 10:37

live with it then I wouldn't touch it.

As for strap I don't really care to pay the premium attached to having the name of the brand on it but I do like having a buckle. I believe VC offered you the vintage style buckle which is quite expensive but the half Maltese cross as found on the modern ones is quite unique

Re: I can't really see from your photo if the dial is damaged, if just a few spots and you can
06/24/2015 - 15:37

Agree. As for the buckle, I have about 11 months to decide. Sounds like the folks in white coats in Geneva are quite backed up with other work.

i also asked if VC would be willing to provide some "before and after" digital photography of the repair and restoration. I hope they can do that!

Thanks again...