Chronometer accolades in 1952

I happen to have a copy of the Journal Suisse d'Horlogerie from April 1953, in which the results of the previous year's Observatory Chronometer Competitions were published. I scanned the proud advertisement which V&C placed just inside of the front cover. And if any of you should happen to own a 1952 Chronometre Royal, feel free to contact me, and I will send a large, hi-resolution scan which you can either save to disk and/or print out.

All the best for the New Year to Alex and all of the forum members!

Tony C.

Chronometer accolades in 1952
WOW definately great results. Thanks for the find! (nt)
12/31/2008 - 09:53
Yes, for once VC advertised, but
12/31/2008 - 13:55
to tell the truth they were not especially either interested or successful in their few tests! This book which I can recommend, shows it repedetdly and the real truth was, as it's printed in this book, This discussion we had many, many times, why the "cheaper and simplier" watches were more frequently tested. The truth was/is VC and PP and AP just didn't care, except when the customer asked. Compare with today and a few VC's at COSC, and 600.000 Rolexes or something Who cares Thanks anyhow for a very nice find Tony, and a Happy New Year ! Doc
A distinction...
12/31/2008 - 17:16
Hello Doc – Thank you for your contribution to the discussion. I do have that excellent book, and it is a favorite of mine (though I have not read it “cover to cover”). While I do agree with your basic point, I believe that you are confusing two issues in your post. The “simple” chronometer tests mentioned in the text of your second scan were those which certified the watches as chronometers. And it is of course true that Rolex and Omega (in particular) were far more interested in seeking out and receiving such certifications for marketing purposes than were the higher end manufacturers. It is also undeniably true that the companies which made the higher end watches could have easily received such certificates for most of their watches had they chosen to submit them. And, as you suggest, no serious observers believe that the “officially certified chronometers” of the day were better watches (or even as good) as the offerings of AP, PP, and V&C, etc. However, the scan which I posted, and your first scan, both refer to the actual competition, in which each participating manufacturer would presumably enter their very best watches in an effort to show just how close to perfect accuracy they might achieve. And obviously, as your chart shows, Patek Philippe hardly “ignored” those competitions – they took them quite seriously! So while even the competitions for the prizes might not have been so important for most of the high-end manufacturers, they were distinctly different, and in some sense more meaningful than the ordinary test which allowed Omega and Rolex to print the results on so many of the dials of their watches. All the best for the New Year! Tony C.
Hi Tony, your post is very unusual,
12/31/2008 - 23:14
because it's the opposite that we are used to from VC That's why I wanted to illustrate how unusual it was! I also here openly declare that I haven't read the book all the way, who has ? They were really proud and also used it as a sale argument! This I think was when they were pressing harder on their identity during the merger with JLC. Otherwise it has always been, still in some way is: " A good wine sells itself ",  I don't know who in the company who said it, but I know it was as late as in the 1940's ! Whish you all good in the future your friend  Doc
Observatory Competitions Were Very Important....
01/03/2009 - 22:57
to V&C!  Thanks Tony for this peek into history.  Even over here in the colonies, V&C was eager to share their sucess at the competitions as shown in this 1922 ad from the Toronto Globe & Mail posted a few weeks ago: Some further info obtained from Cologni's Secrets of Vacheron Constantin reveal that following WWII the factory resumed their great interest in the Observatory Competitions.  In 1947, 19 pieces were submitted to the Geneva contest and 13 won first prize in their class.  In 1948, eight V&C watches were submitted to the Neuchatel international competition  and all won first prize.  1949 saw the legendary master tuner Edmond Olivier present several watches at the Geneva Observatory competition, which set new records for accuracy (see pictures pg. 212-213 of Olivier at work). We could certainly have a lively discussion about how the quartz movement affected the relevancy of chronometer competitions and resulted in a shift from the mechanics of watchmaking to the aesthetics, but I'll leave that topic to Doc