I think the unclear picture is why you haven't gotten any feedback yet. We would need to see very good close-up (macro) pictures of the text, hour markers, and overall dial before commenting.
Though I do not recall ever seeing a dial with 4 Maltese Cross symbols on it being used as the 3,6,9 and 12 o'clock hour markers.
do you have movement picture?
I have never seen that dial design with 4 maltese crosses either.
You should provide the model and s/n's to check on its authenticity and to see if the dial was redone, with the crosses, not just refininished.
Oh, I forgot.
I have never seen that particular font on a Vacheron watch either , but I suspect my knowledge is far from complete.
The rest is still not clear enough or close enough for me to make additional comments. We'd love to see details of any area that is printed - the text and the minute markers/ring.
Thanks! The reference number is 4466 and I found the four Maltese cross dial in a post here called "1950 catalog". About the font I am uncertain. I pulled the trigger anyway now, as the seller accepted my offer. Unfortunately I will not see the watch till December because it will be sent to USA, whereas I live in Europe but maybe I can provid ein a week or so better pics of the dial.
The bigger "Swiss" is just a refraction to my eyes but my biggest concern is now that the accent on Geneve is missing, which shouldn't be at that time, right?
I'm glad you brought up the accent over the second "e" in Genéve because my white face VC 1972 has the accent and my black face Overseas does not. I think I saw a white face Overseas 1 with the accent but none of the black face OS1s had the accent. None of the new Overseas 4500s have the accent either. Any ideas why? (I thought it was because of the difficulty in seeing it on black faces with a white accent...but since it's been dropped from the new ones, that doesn't seem likely.)
For the vast majority of vintage watches that are printed, there is an accent above the second "e". (With VC there is no absolute, 100%, when it comes to any one specific detail).
Some dials use champleve enamelling or other process that makes the accent very difficult to produce...so it is missing.
About 2-3 years ago, VC decided to drop the accent on all production. My understanding (as a non-French speaker) is that it is not required when the word is all in capital letters (i.e. GENEVE).
I do not know why it is not on your Gen. 1 OS. Perhaps its related to an aesthetics decision, due to the arc that the letters are printed on?
on accent and Geneve can be found here and another link within. I'm sticking with the theory that variations from different suppliers are the reason for original dials to have or not have the accent on vintage watches. Sean added a footnote a month following the original post that further explains modern dials.
Here is a catalog photo of the 4466 with Maltese Cross markers:
and another without:
Speaking of dial variations, note how one has AUTOMATIC on the dial and the other does not!
Refreshers are always helpfful as I find that forget a detail or two over time.
I'm glad Sean chimed in on use of the accent and that it should be used in proper French spelling, especially in the age of computers. Interesting that VC has decided not to use the accent a couple of years ago.
It seems that this wasn't a hard and fast rule for vintage watches, and I agree with you that it could be due to the discretion of different dial manufacturers (though I believe the vast majority had the accent).
Bill's question about his OS from the second half of the 90s is interesting, as it is not that old and unless it was an aesthetic issue...I don't know why it was not on these OS dials but the OS dials with arabic numerals for the same generation do have the accent (where the text is on a straight line, not on a curve).
I received the watch (or better pcitures of the watch) and unfortunately was the "swiss" terribly repainted and not just clumsy looking due to the refraction, so I had to send it back. A pity, cause I think this is one of the more desirable models of Vacheron from this time (speaking of simple models). Thanks for all the help!