Can someone identify this lovely watch?

I received a Vacheron ladies' pocket watch as a wedding gift several years ago with a romantic story attached - about a maiden aunt who returned home to Germany to visit family and "stopped by" Geneva to purchase a watch over one hundred years ago.  The watch still functions perfectly, keeping time moderately well (it loses a few minutes through the day).  I would appreciate so much understanding the true provenance of this piece.  I have no intention of ever selling it - it is exquisite.

It is 18 K gold, marked No. 6600, Remontoir, Cylindre 10 Rubis, Vacheron, Geneve (with the accent grave on the second e).

Can someone identify this lovely watch?

Can someone identify this lovely watch?

Can someone identify this lovely watch?

great story and welcome :-)Can you please tell me if there are
07/03/2008 - 12:26

any numbers inscribed on the movement?  Can you also give me o the numbers in the inside of the case cover?

Re: great story and welcome :-)Can you please tell me if there are
07/03/2008 - 16:13

Inside the case cover is an oval with "K 18" stamped inside.  Below that is a faint stamp shape similar to the outline of a human head or like headphones, an arched line above and two lightning shaped lines below.  Beneath this follows the stamped number 6600.  To the right of the case between the K 18 and the 6600 is a hand-engraved series of characters in two rows: 2543 and 635B.  Using a jeweler's loop my husband also found a small cursive letter R engraved below the 6 but separated from the rest of the series.

Inside the movement cover are again the oval with "K 18" with the number 6600 below it.  Hand-engraved and visible only with the loop is the series "AB9117 17."  On the movement itself is a double scallop decoration and the capital letters R and A.

Thank you so much for your assistance.  The relative who gave it to me has since died, and neither she nor anyone else in the family has any knowledge of this piece.  It is invaluable to me, as are all the family inheritances I've received, but I believe this is probably the crown jewel of my collection.

OK this is a bit complicated :-) could you please post a
07/03/2008 - 16:24

scan?

What would you like me to scan?
07/03/2008 - 17:26

Would a flatbed scanner work well enough?

Here are more photos
07/03/2008 - 17:45

I hope they help.  I quickly realized I couldn't use the scanner without harming the watch.

Movement decoration.....
07/03/2008 - 18:57

I always thought that style of wavy line decoration was strictly on American-made movements?  I'm not a PW expert by any means but also it appears the case is not V&C marked which might also mean an American or contract case.  I recall from reading the Antiquorum's catalog that the factory was always plagued by many copies using the Vacheron name.  Another clue might be the accent on the wrong letter in Genève?

Regarding the family story attached to the watch, I recall hearing many similar stories related on the popular TV show Antiques Roadshow, which are often found inaccurate by the experts.  Sometimes the true history of the watch is much more interesting though!  The best thing is that, no matter what, you enjoy and treasure the piece for it's beauty.

Re: Movement decoration.....
07/03/2008 - 19:51

The accent is on the correct letter in Geneve (I don't unfortunately, know enough about computers to type it properly).  I am ignorant as to the other properties of the watch.  Thanks for your help.

By the way
07/03/2008 - 21:04

I have been searching other posts for any photos that might look like my watch and read many members' understandable disgust with "BS artists" using the forum for Ebay research.  I am a physician and often find myself frustrated by others' "curbside consults," and wanted to post this reply to show my respect for your time and energy on my behalf.

In that spirit, I just wanted to emphasize that I do own this watch (and wear it often in remembrance of my family - we only recently sold the family's last remaining 18th century house in New York State) and that I do not wish to sell it.  Even if it turns out to be a fraud and not the exquisite Vacheron I had hoped it to be, I will still value it for its contribution to my heritage and do very much appreciate your assistance.

In that spirit....
07/04/2008 - 01:05

I can tell you that remontoir is simply French for stem-winding as opposed to key-winding.  I have seen several similar movements that are mass-produced in Switzerland for Elgin and other American brands.

Re: In that spirit....
07/04/2008 - 03:13

Thank you so much for your help - everyone.  I will continue my search elsewhere and dream in the meantime that it could have been an ebauche Vacheron movement in a case made by another jeweler.  My jeweler tells me that it is a fine movement, and I have been impressed that it still works after almost 150 years.

I wish you all well.  Thanks again for your helpful information.  I'll visit again sometime.

don't go yet! I'm still researching your watch :-) (nt)
07/04/2008 - 12:25

e

I just got confirmation from VC that
07/04/2008 - 13:48

unfortunately your watch is not a genuine VC. Sorry for the bad news.

The fact that neither the dial nor movement were signed and that as Dean said the movement did have an "American type" finishing didn't look right and now VC has confirmed.

In any event its a great heirloom and hope it will bring many happy moments. 

A sign of the times....
07/04/2008 - 18:26

As our friend posted, the watch has great visual appeal and still works well.  This shows that some care was put into the manufacture and assembly of this piece over 100 years ago, even though another's name was attached!

It makes me wonder how difficult the watch industry must have been back then, before mass media and marketing allowed the brands to "splash" their products into the minds of potential customers.  Word of mouth established a manufacturer's reputation, which Francois Constantin so astutely recognized and worked tirelessly to procure.  A hint of frustration can be seen in this response to a letter received by Vacheron in 1850, enquiring about an illegitimate watch brand:

"There is no maker of horology by the name of Vacheron Freres. There are many watches with this name, but they are imitations of secondary quality. There are a great many people who, not wishing to give themselves the trouble of making a name, find it useful to use that of another."

Re: A sign of the times....
07/05/2008 - 18:00

Thanks very much to you all.  I appreciate your time and effort and wish you all well.