Could VC be wrong regarding this dial restauration?

Hi everyone,

A few months back, I posted a discussion on this forum where I asked if you would repair this watch from 1947.

Your answers and insights, along with the ones of other people here in Brussels, led me to the decision of going through the restauration of this family timepiece.

So, here am I, today, with a final question/doubt.

After a few exchanges with Vacheron Constantin, they said they couldn't clean the indexes -- they're a bit black -- because someone already intervened and therefore proposed to restore the dial completely themselves.

Nothing wrong about that, until they sent me a picture of what the dial should look like according to them.

As you can clearly see, the "petite seconde" isn't in a circle as it is on my watch.

I searched on the web and found several other VCs from the same era WITH this circle.

I almost 99% sure no jeweller repainted the dial to add a circle around the "petite seconde", as I'm almost sure no one added those engraved concentric circles -- hard to see on the picture, sorry about that -- on the "petite seconde" dial.

Could VC be mistaken here?

Any insight much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

did you provide VC with case and movement
04/19/2016 - 17:54

numbers? If yes then in their archives they have the dial that originally came with your watch and it could well have been the one without the sub seconds dial. However I suggest you ask them this question and make sure it is not a mistake 

Re: did you provide VC with case and movement
04/19/2016 - 18:23

The watch has been sent to the Paris office of VC (via their official dealer here in Brussels) for an estimate of the restauration costs.What troubles me is that they do not look as competent as they (certainly) are in Geneva.One person seems to be in charge of my case, but I do not know how he communicates with Geneva, if he does.And I don't want to restore my wacht with a inapropriate dial for the reference I have...

"Petite seconde" close-up
04/19/2016 - 18:26

Here is a close-up I just made from a picture I had in my computer. You can see the sub dial is at another depth, presents a black circle around it and features engraved concentric circles. All those elements are missing in the VC suggestion.

I'm afraid dial has been repainted
04/19/2016 - 20:24

and badly also. Just look at the subdial paint and more at the indexes positioning which is quite bizarre (that is, asymmetric, especially those interfering with the subdial).

Indexes have been removed, that's an ordinary procedure to repaint a dial.

I agree with Alex's advice to discover the original configuration of the dial.

Just like the thread below this one, a picture of the whole dial would have helped.

Crown also shouldn't be original but you probably know that already.

I agree with Roberto
04/20/2016 - 08:56

The dial looks refnished.  The printing is not clean (some bleeding is apparent).  The seconds hand usually not extend past the inner, sub-seconds, dial AND the indices at 5 and 7 should not extend into the sub-dial.

I believe VC's intent is to return the dial back to its original look, which does not have the black rings, circumference, on it.  The design provided is the only way the seconds hand is in proper proportion to the seconds indices AND the indices at 5 and 7 fit better with the sub-seconds dial.

Just my 2 cents. :-)

BR, Dan

VC Can be wrong...but with digging, you might get a correction
04/21/2016 - 12:22

First off, Alex's advice is key here, and the observations by Roberto and Dan are equally important. In my short career in high horology, I've encountered two situations with Vacheron Constantin where I was given one response that was later amended to a different response.

  1. When I got my MXMLXXII (1972) Asymmetric (ref. 3710), I took photos of the open back case to "see" the movement number. I sent in the photos with the case #, and got the reply that the watch was not in their records. So I took the watch to the watchmaker at the Vacheron Constantin boutique in New York City, and the watchmaker found the movement number in the c. 1055 ébauche. I sent that information with photos I took using my iPhone and a loupe, and VC came back letting me know that they found the records for my watch and it was produced in 2000.
  2. In a query about my Overseas (ref. 42040) I asked when it was made, and while I received the year of manufacture as 1996, the Caliber was listed as 1310. I followed that query up with another asking when the Caliber 1310 was changed to Caliber 1311. The response was that my caliber was 1311.

In both cases there was no "whoops!" or "d'oh!" or "Oups, Au temps pour moi" ot "hoppla!" regarding the first response; just the amended information. Probably, the most important thing, as Alex noted, is to provide the archive department with was much information as you can. With the correct movement number in the case of my ref. 3710 and the improved photos, I was able to get the information I needed.

As a footnote, I noticed that my Patek Phillip ref. 3468 has the word "Swiss" at the face bottom, but both my Vacheron Constantins and Audermars Piguet have "Swiss Made." However, I have noticed that most Vacheron & Constantine just have the word "Swiss" at the bottom.