Can anyone offer some cal. 454 insights?

I'm considering a vintage V&C with a cal. P454/5C movement, and have some of questions for the experts.

First, what was the difference between the 454/5B and 454/5C movements? I've checked the auction sites, etc., but can't find a clear, consistent distinction. I imagine that any differences were minor, but would be grateful for any insights.

Secondly, this particular movement has a swan-neck regulator. Would that be correct for the 454/5C? My understanding is that the 454/B movements were inconsistent in this regards, so I'm wondering if it would have been the same for the /C version.

Finally, below the gold stamp on the case is the number 41. What does that signify?

Thank you very much in advance for any help which you might be able to provide!


Tony C.

Hi Tony, here is some info on cal 454
11/29/2007 - 15:33

I do not know what the difference between the different calibers 454/XX are, I will search but from what I know the numbers after the slash were slight technical modifications to the original caliber. The modifications not being material enough to designate it with a new caliber number.

Cal 454 has a 28.8 mm ( 12 ½ lignes), diameter and  5mm thickness, anchor escapment, Breguet overcoil, indirect central seconds and in my documentation it is indicated as having a swan neck fine adjustment, it derives from caliber 453. Click on the link below to see the caliber 454 like you never have seen before!

One of the greats
11/29/2007 - 20:03

The cal. 454 is one of the great movements from the golden age. At 29mm it is big. Kinda shocking to see a 466 or 458 at just 20mm (the size of a thumbnail) next to the 454.

The 454/5b has been used from about the late 30's until the early 60's as far as I know. The 454/5b even came in 18 jewel versions, marked with the geneva seal. It may be that the distinction between /5b and /5c had no bearing on 17 versus 18 jewels, or even the geneva seal. Just that of the examples that I have seen, the /5c is rare and always in 17 jewel no seal variants. The /5b seems more common, and sometimes appears with 18 jewels. Also, there are movements marked only 454, without any other designation.

I've never seen nor heard of any type of book which lists the variations of movements or even cases from the golden age of Vacheron wrist watches.

there is an excellent book with such a list, unfortunately it is
11/29/2007 - 21:31

both out of print and in German (a language I haven't studied since high school) called Vacheron Constantin , Eine Berühmte Genfer Nobelmarke by Anton Kreuzer

Thank you for the information...
11/29/2007 - 22:23

From what I've seen, the /5C variation is far less common than the /5B. That doesn't make it more desirable, as I doubt that there is any significant difference between the two. I certainly agree that it is a fine, and important movement. It is also more finely finished than the equally impressive IWC cal. 89 which is the only other one I can think of with a remarkably long life-span.

What about the 41 on the case beneath the gold seal? Any thoughts?



Tony C.

do you have a scan of the case back? (nt)
11/29/2007 - 23:15