Automatic calibers 1019, 1070, 1071 and 1072

Several Loungers have the May 2001 issue of the German magazine Chronos, which has a very informative article on the caliber 1019, 1070, 1071 and 1072 family of Vacheron automatic waterproof watches.

Here is a machine translation with some common-sense language and format corrections.  I hope you find it as useful as I have.

Classical Watch Review
Chronos Magazine, 5/2001

Remarkable Automatic Models of Vacheron Constantin

Watches of Vacheron Constantin always belonged to the best which were manufactured in Switzerland. Other manufacturers were inferior to the models of this old-established Geneva manufacturer, along with those of Patek Philippe, and nothing else in design, technology and variety was on the same level. Also, the annual production numbers of these two Geneva watch factories moved in the same orders of magnitude.

The six automatic watches introduced here clarify the variety one can find with the waterproof automatic watches with screw backs of Vacheron Constantin, with their different housings. The automatic calibers were based on reserved ebauches of Jaeger LeCoultre. In-house the individual parts of these works received many revisions and finally transformed to factory calibers of a class which was to be only found with Patek Philippe. Vacheron Constantin was allowed to call itself always, and rightfully, as a factory.

The traditional sales markets of Vacheron Constantin lay at that time in the southern countries of Europe as well as in England, in the Middle East and the USA. Compared to models equipped with hand winding, the models with automatic winding and waterproof housing counted in the minority. Cases in yellow gold were the center of attention; in addition, rose gold came to be used. Variants in high-grade steel were manufactured in small numbers. In their earliest conception, automatic watches came with small seconds (caliber of K 1070), followed by central seconds (K 1071) as well as with date and central seconds (K 1072 and/or K 1072/1), whereby the first mentioned variant ranks today among the absolute rarest pieces. Numerous variants of the housings, dial and pointers occurred, so that even with same reference number a variety of appearances developed.

The oldest mechanism of this contribution belonged to the reference 6073 and was sold at the beginning of the sixties in England. In it works the caliber P 1019/1, which by 1959 had been replaced by the K 1071. The yellow gold reference 6394 Q was supplied in numerous variations. Beside yellow and rose gold with and without date, many dial designs stood in the program. Particularly remarkable was the dial execution with horizontal bars as hourly indices. Common to all models of this reference was the housing with guilloche edges as well as partially inset crown.

The two rare pieces with the same reference number 6592, with and without Q (for Quantieme, or calendar), demonstrate only one part of the variety which one could find under same reference designation with Vacheron Constantin. Similarity to the Patek Philippe Ref. 3440 admits more of a reason for the splendor of this piece.

The Automatics of the reference 6732 Q were also manufactured in numerous versions. The most beautiful belongs in rose gold with Dauphine pointers in rose gold. Models in yellow gold are likewise well-known, not however without date. Under active assistance of Vacheron Constantin in Geneva, a classic watch can be regenerated back to almost new condition.

A watch of the superlative Reference 6782 Q concerns the only Vacheron Constantin which is provided with a turning bezel. In the last ten years only a few have emerged: twice with Antiquorum in Geneva, once with Sotheby´s in Geneva and London, once with Christie´s in New York as well as once on the watch exchange in Munich. This reference was manufactured in approximately 300 copies and only in yellow gold as well as with date, but with different dials and pointers.

The technical data of the caliber K 1072/1 are in the specifications of the Ref. 6782. All the sixties automatic works of Vacheron Constantin were based on reserved ebauches of Jaeger LeCoultre. Jaeger LeCoultre also supplied Audemars Piguet as well as later, also over many years, Patek Philippe. The caliber of P 1019/1 was produced in 1958/59 and possessed rotor winding by means of steel and or ruby balls. The follow-up caliber of K 1070 with small seconds at 6 o’clock contained substantial improvements. With nearly identical basic structure, the plate for the pawl was implemented separately. The rotor moved over four ruby rollers as well as a guilloche weight in 18kt yellow gold. The version with date got the caliber designation K 1072. Starting from 1966 a Gyromax free balance spring finally replaced the screw balance spring used so far. This version did not only receive the caliber designation K 1072/1, but also the processing of the watch work components to achieve the Geneva Seal, which were to be only found at that time with Patek Philippe and partially also with Audemars Piguet.

Caliber of K 1071. Obvious difference to the P 1019/1: Rotor winding with four ruby rollers, guilloche gold segment and KIF Parechoc anti-shock.

Caliber of K 1072/1: Breguet spiral, Gyromax balance spring, rotor with ruby rollers and guilloche gold segment, perlage and anglage of plates and bridges.

Automatic caliber of P 1019/1 with Geneva seal. The rotor runs on four steel balls and possesses a bolted rotor from heavy metal. In addition: Glucydur balance spring with Breguet spiral, swan neck regulator with micrometer screw.

With Vacheron Constantin, the numbering of works and housings occurred sequentially as two separate sets of numbers. While the respective calibers had been supplied by the ebauche manufacturer to certain lot sizes and already provided with factory serial numbers, this does not suggest the exact order of production. So it could occur occasionally that a caliber had been supplied but not finished and mounted in the case for over a year or longer. However the housing numbers were assigned with production of the case at the works. An allocation of caliber and factory serial number gave the complete reference for a watch. Caution is appropriate with the interpretation of the reference designations: the first two numbers are not a reference on the production year, but are based on the sequential numeric collection of the models on the occasion of the photo and production of the catalog, with the reference number of four digits.

Now to the total production numbers for this exclusive watch factory, rated so highly. If one takes the housing number 367070 from the year 1958 up to 433445 of 1968, a difference results of 66,375 for the period of eleven years. From this an annual production volume is calculated of about 6000 watches. Similar values reveal themselves during the evaluation of the factory serial numbers, even when the problems described before are considered. Patek Philippe exhibited the same annual production numbers at that time and had likewise only one automatic caliber with and without date (caliber of 27-460 and/or 27-460 M) in the program.

The deep changes caused by the advance of the quartz work technology did not pass Vacheron Constantin without effect. As a preventive measure the way was considered to even flatter movements. Already before the full effect of this quartz trend, Vacheron Constantin stepped into the forefront of the watch scene in 1967 and presented its super flat automatic caliber K 1120 (with date K 1121). This again was an ebauche of Jaeger LeCoultre, finished in-house as a work of art and exhibited a height of only 2,45 millimeters (with date 3,15 mm). Further technical characteristics were the central rotor, which ran around a beryllium ring on four ruby rollers. The rotor edge held a 21-karat gold segment. In addition, an efficient date change-over switch as well as a Gyromax balance spring was provided. For space reasons however, it was without a seconds display.

Today, the future of Vacheron Constantin offers new chances. Under the roof of the luxury goods company Richemont (to which, since 2000, Jaeger LeCoultre also belongs), old virtues can be aroused to life and the path taken in former times can be successfully travelled again. An important contribution for this might be the planned development of a new, in-house automatic caliber! J. Michael Mehltretter

Data of the Watch Models
Ref.     Model                 Serial      Case       Caliber      Year    Remarks
6073    750 RG               528 022   367 070   P 1019/1   1958   Rotor mit Schwermetallsegment
6592    750 GG               561 443   392 541   K 1071      1962   Rotor mit Goldsegment
6592 Q 750 GG, Datum   570 833   408 150   K 1072      1965   Rotor mit Goldsegment
6394 Q 750 GG, Datum   582 412   409 636   K 1072      1965   Rotor mit Goldsegment
6732 Q 750 RG, Datum   587 210   419 789   K 1072/1   1966   Rotor mit Goldsegment, Gyromax
6782 Q 750 GG, Datum   598 456   433 445   K 1072/1   1968   Rotor mit Goldsegment, Gyromax

Data of the Calibers
Caliber   Functions                       A/H        Jewels   JLC basis caliber       Year
1019/1   Zentralsekunde               18 000   21        499 (498 small sec)   ca. 1955
1070      Kleine Sekunde               18 000   29        871                          1959
1071      Zentralsekunde               18 000   29        872                          1959
1072      Zentralsekunde, Datum   18 000   29        872                          1963
1072/1   Zentralsekunde, Datum   18 000   29        872                          1966

Technical Specifications: Vacheron Constantin Ref. 6782 Q
Manufacturer: Vacheron Constantin, CH-1211 Geneve
Model: Automatic with date and rotating bezel, Ref. 6782 Q
Functions: Central seconds, Date, rotating bezel
Movement: Automatic caliber K 1072/1, Movement No. 598 456, base caliber Jaeger-LeCoultre, Ø 29.0 mm, Height 6.30 mm, 29 Jewels, Gyromax balance spring with 10 adjustable weights, Breguet spiral, KIF shock protection, 18 000 A/h, Rotor with ruby rollers, guilloche Rotor segment in 18kt yellow gold, perlage and anglage on plates and bridges, Geneva seals
Housing: three-part 18kt yellow gold, center section machined from solid block, with rotating bezel, housing number 433 455, screwed case back, O-ring seal, waterproof, special crown
Dial: silvered, applied indexes in gold and Dauphine hands in 18kt yellow gold
Measures/weight: Diameter – 35.5 mm, Height - 11.5 mm, Weight - 69 g
Series number: approx. 300 in yellow gold, in different dials
Delivery period: 1967 to 1973
Re: Magazine Article Translated....
10/21/2008 - 04:46
Thank you very much for that effort! Its a very useful reference article to have and does a great job of describing some very important work at Vacheron. Regards, Joseph
Thanks for posting Dean, very interesting article (nt).
10/21/2008 - 15:29


thanks so much Dean, I'm putting this in the Recommended Threads
10/21/2008 - 19:18
Most welcome
10/25/2008 - 17:47
Thank you, Dean, this is great information. Thank you for sharing. Best regards, Mark
LOL Mark, especially the 6782 reference ;-) nt
10/27/2008 - 16:34