Back in 1953 with the Royal Chronometer

For my first post, I would like to step back to 1953.

As an introduction, and because the growth of television is one of the main symbols of the 1950s, I propose that we look back through a black and white TV set.

Back in 1953 with the Royal Chronometer
Even if the resolution was not so good at that time, you may have already recognize the watch that I would like to present you with more details:

The Royal Chronometer ref. 4838

Back in 1953 with the Royal Chronometer

As mentioned by Alex in his excellent article on the Chronometre Royal, the Royal Chronometer was re-introduced in the Vacheron Constantin catalog in 1953. From various searches based on past auctions and VC archives, it appears that my watch is one of the few Royal Chronometers released in this first year.

The reference 4838 was proposed in 2 configurations:
small second at 6

- either small second at 6

Back in 1953 with the Royal Chronometer
credit : Alex

- or central second

Back in 1953 with the Royal Chronometer
What I like with the big central second is that it corresponds with my ideas of what a chronometer should be: and first of all, an accurate watch that enables you to know precisely what time it is.

Its movement is the 1008 BS, based on a Jaeger-Lecoultre ebauche. 5 years later, JLC also released a Chronometer from the same ebauche, a model named Geophysic, but that is another story.

This movement is finished to the highest standard and I often regret that I cannot look at it through a display back. As we could expect, the Royal Chronometer bears the Geneva Mark.

To give you an overview of what this movement looks like, here is the 1007 BS that differs slightly from the 1008 BS by the sub second at 6.

 Back in 1953 with the Royal Chronometer
credit : Alex
And here comes a macro of the 1008 BS.

Back in 1953 with the Royal Chronometer
The design of the watch is a good balance between elegance (very pure dial, pointex hands) and power (large bezel and massive lugs).

Back in 1953 with the Royal Chronometer

The combination of Elegance and Power ! That is exactly what I could expect from a Chronometer watch proposed by Vacheron Constantin.

The dial does not mention that the watch has been awarded Chronometer . It is simply written Vacheron & Constantin Genève at noon below the cross and Swiss at 6.

But if you look at the back, you discover the following engraving:

Back in 1953 with the Royal Chronometer

Please note the ROYAL in capital letters. It seems that they were proud of it Back in 1953 with the Royal Chronometer

Unfortunately, the Chronometer certificate of my watch was lost.

It is a pity and I assume it would have looked like this one:

Back in 1953 with the Royal Chronometer

Finally, I would like to share with you one vintage ad on this 4838 Royal Chronometer, where it says:
"The name of Vacheron & Constantin is the symbol of utmost perfection in watchmaking.
A new, decisive confirmation of this mastery is represented by the creation of the "Royal" Chronometer, whose prestigious precision could be achieved only through the introduction of several important technical innovations.

I imagine that one of this innovations was the hacking second feature proposed by the 1008 BS movement as the 4838 was one of the first civilian watches with this specificity. But there is no detail on that aspect. The main focus is put on the Geneva Mark.

Back in 1953 with the Royal Chronometer
Interesting Engraved Back!
12/13/2009 - 03:17
Nice picture with the B&W TV, when is Ed Sullivan on?   Your caseback shows, once again, how quirky vintage V&C can be.  This adds another variation for the engraved backs of these manual CR's...CHRONOMETRE ROYAL, Chronometre Royal, and now chronometre ROYAL!
Some variations on engraved backs
12/13/2009 - 13:35
Indeed, there are so many different versions! credit : Dan (dshao1), Primetime Watches, johnlydonwatches, Berny, myself Results: - Chronometre Royal - CHRONOMETRE ROYAL - Chronomètre Royal (the grave accent !!!) - chronometre ROYAL And with so many different fonts! Therefore, I was very curious to see the back of the Chronometre Royal that M. Selmoni brought with him at the VC dinner in Paris. And it was engraved "chronometre ROYAL", the same as mine. It seems there are no rules here!
another variation
12/13/2009 - 22:37
This is a vintage Chronomètre Royal that I do not owned anymore but with a different back ! All the best to my fellow loungers, Berny
12/14/2009 - 17:26
Berny, can we have a front shot and movement shot please?  Another fantastic CR variation!!
Re: Teaser!
12/14/2009 - 18:36
As requested. Please notice the very interesting crown (that also exist for smaller diameter V&C). This watch now belongs to gentleman and watch connoisseur. All the best to my fellow loungers, Berny
Re: Back in 1953 with the Royal Chronometer
12/13/2009 - 12:02
Great watch!!! I have a sub-seconds version from 1955.  As you can see the engraving on the back is the more commonly found "Chronometre Royal" version: I thought about the center seconds vs. sub-seconds when I aquired this watch.  Center seconds is easier to read, but I've always loved the look of sub-seconds, and this one is a relatively large and legible sub-seconds display.  It also gives me the room to think about getting a CR with direct center seconds sometime in the future, a la cal. 1072/1 or the Historiques CR 1907 in platinum.  My watch didn't have the Observatory Chronometre documentation either, but I'm hoping VC has records/copies of the information and can release the information or a copy to me when I take the watch in for a full service and Certificate of Authenticity sometime next year.  Your CR looks to be in great shape!  Enjoy it to the utmost, I know I enjoy mine . BR, Dan
Re: Re: Back in 1953 with the Royal Chronometer
12/13/2009 - 14:18
Thank you Dan for your words and the photos of your model. It is another good illustration of the combination of elegance and power with thin lugs that have sharp and angular shapes. A very nice presence. This is a very close design that was used with the ultra thin model that will be reissued next year in the Historiques collection. Regarding the copy of the certificate, you can count on me in order to try to convince VC about it!
Quite an amazing first post! Interesting to note the different
12/14/2009 - 10:37

fonts used on the case back. Gorgeous watch

Thank you Alex
12/15/2009 - 00:05

You should know that your review on the Chronometre Royal has really whetted my appetite for this watch. Therefore, it was fair to dedicate my first post here to it. Regards,

I love your watch...
12/14/2009 - 13:50
...I have the same in Red Gold. I hope to show more when I get it from services. £all the best to my fellow loungers, Berny
Lucky you
12/14/2009 - 23:17
I am really looking forward to seeing this Red Gold version. I hope it will come back soon so that you can share this beauty with us, Best,