Robert dumped a load of questions regarding the manual Chronometre Royal wrist watches that deserve examination, but perhaps better to create a seperate thread from Joseph's new watch just to give both their due attention. Really, the CR deserves an entire book .
The few contributions I can make are highlighted in bold print. Please add and correct as you can, and we will make a collective reference. Photos pillaged from Antiquorum and THL .
Regarding your estimate on when VC began using the Maltese lugs on the CRs, I came across a ref. 6111 with those lugs manufactured in 1957. Now I could use some help from you and the other Chronometre Royal experts.
I am a little confused about the differences among some of the reference numbers of the Chronometre Royals using the calibers 1007BS and 1008BS, even after having reviewed the articles that you cited in your post as well as some past auction catalogues.
Here are the reference numbers of which I am aware and some questions or clarifications I am seeking: 4838 (central seconds, cal. 1008BS, large straight lugs) - Is it the same reference number whether the watch has small or central seconds?
4838 with center and sub-seconds
4907 -I am not sure how this differs from the 4838 -- are they the same reference?
Antiquorum Notes: Ref. 4838: The references 4838, 4858 (cannot locate example of this Ref) and 4907 are innovative both in terms of their shape and their size: 35 mm in diameter. At the time, fashion favored dimensions between 30 and 34 mm in diameter. Another example of this model was sold by Antiquorum Geneva, The Quarter Millennium of Vacheron Constantin, May 3, 2005, Lot 24.
6111 (central seconds, cal. 1008BS, maltese cross lugs)
6110 (same design as 6161, but with cal. 1007BS, small seconds sub-dial)
6161 (central seconds, cal. 1008BS, maltese cross lugs) - Is this reference always smaller than ref. 6111 at 34mm? Is the main difference from the ref. 6161 size, or are there other key differences in case design, etc.?
6075 (central seconds, cal. 1008BS, very short, stubby lugs/integrated bracelet) Is there a distinct correlating ref. # for a small seconds subdial version?
62227 - Is this a real reference? I have only seen one source cite this reference number.
Possibly 6227? No examples found of either.
6340 (central seconds, cal. 1008BS, straight plain lugs). Did this reference ever come with a minutes track on the dial.
These appear to be the XL version of the CR at 37mm case width. Notice one version with tapered crown.
6107 (small seconds subdial)/6108 (central seconds). These references look similar to ref. 6161. I have only seen these cited by one source as ones presented to Eisenhower and Truman. Are these actual references, distinct from the other CR references? Were these the same size 34mm?
Eisenhower’s watch, presented in 1955, was a Ref. 6032 with cal. 453. I cannot verify Hokinkee’s reference to a Truman 6108 with another source. Cannot locate examples of either 6107 or 6108.
Any corrections to the above list of references would be appreciated, most appreciated. Can case sizes be definitively assigned to each reference number or did case sizes vary even within a specific reference number?
As explained by Alex in the past, the Model Reference refers to the case design, including size and shape, but not dial or hands. I haven't personally found any exceptions to this rule.
As you, Joseph, and others are aware, restoration of these pieces can be interesting. I am particularly curious about dial restoration, as I have come across a range of issues on the examples I have seen thus far. If an original dial has been refinished by someone other than VC, can VC restore the refinished dial to at least close to its original state? Would every dial from this period have the word "Swiss" printed on it without exception? I have seen at least one dial that otherwise looks original and unfinished (to my untrained eye, of course) missing the "Swiss" label.
My research indicates the requirement to identify a watch as being manufactured in Switzerland began around 1880 in response to American competition, but wasn’t specific to dials so cases were often marked instead. From the earliest days V&C marked enamel dials with GENEVE then added SWISS at 6 o’clock sometime around 1936. They switched to SWISS MADE in 1972 following a change in legislation. Depending on dial design, the SWISS printing may be hidden underneath the bezel. Also, a newly manufactured dial from VC’s restorations department may incorporate changes from the original; I’ve seen SWISS MADE added and & removed on these.