Enjoying my 'New' 1970 Vacheron & Constantin Ref.7813

A month or so I bought this timepiece from another forum. I wasn't expecting the joy that it would bring, it holds great time, averaging around -10 to +10 a day and I haven't had to adjust the time since I started wearing it about 2 weeks ago :) This is my first Vacheron & Constantin and the brand was more of a "grail" addition for me, I never though a VC would join my collection. I've been fortunate to have a couple Omegas and other pieces, but this Vacheron holds a special place.   

 

The Vacheron & Constantin Ref. 7813 is in 18k Gold and my example was produced in 1970. It has the Vacheron & Constantin K1014 movement which through some research is a JLC produced movement (it looks like a Jaeger LeCoultre 818 to me) I understand that Vacheron finished up these movements and refined them? I've read a couple discussions back and forth, some praising the movement, while others debate whether it can compare to the 1001, 1002, 1003 line. Although I've never handled these other VC movements, I am really happy with the K1014 that I've received in this watch, it's 'heartbeat' ticks beautifully and keeps great time, if this is a 'good' example and the 1001 to 1003 are superior, I can't wait to handle and see one of these pieces "in the flesh" so to speak :)

I have a couple questions, my first is on amount produced in a specific dial color, was Vacheron still producing a limited run of dials per year in 1970? I've read on other forums that only a specific number in the various colors were produced each year, until about the mid 1970s.

and

Was the reference 7813 introduced in 1970, or prior? I know that the K1014 came out around the 1970s but I havn't had the luck in finding an exact date for either.

Many thanks to Alex and also to Vacheron Constantin :) they were very helpful in determing the watch's date to 1970 :) and I'm looking forward to ordering a "Extract from the Archive" soon to figure out the exact date and some further details. Hopefully in the years to come, I'll be expanding my collection with more Vacheron & Constantin pieces.

Here are some photos :)   Thank you all for your comments and any answers to questions or advice/comments on the piece are greatly appreciated :)

 

Enjoying my 'New' 1970 Vacheron & Constantin Ref.7813 Enjoying my 'New' 1970 Vacheron & Constantin Ref.7813 Enjoying my 'New' 1970 Vacheron & Constantin Ref.7813

welcome to the Lounge! Great looking watch, loved the brushed surfaces. VC doesn't provide
05/21/2015 - 08:36

Production numbers but considering that they were making about 3000 watches in the early 70s the production run was certainly low

Re: Enjoying my 'New' 1970 Vacheron & Constantin Ref.7813
05/21/2015 - 18:06

I like the almost overstated simplicy belying its true comlexity. Very nice!

Dave

Hi Rogi, welcome to THL!
05/22/2015 - 08:09

About cal K1014 (just my opinions):  Years ago I read similar things about it that you did. 

It is based on the JLC 818.  VC's cal 1001/1002 (introduced in 1951) are also based on JLC 818.  The "superiority" is perceived by some to be in the details.  (a side note: all of the Big 3 used ebauches from JLC and others - the LACK of vertical integration was the real secret and traditional practice in Swiss Watchmaking)

The biggest differences appear to be in the number of bridges and balance/regulating systems utilized.

The older cal 1001/1002 had a 5-bridge design, whereas the cal 1014 has a 4-bridge design.  The 5-bridge design requires more time and effort in terms of finishing (more edges, interior angles, etc.).  Also some people think it looks prettier.  But remember, the quality of the finishing on the K1014 is not inferior! 

VC finished all ebauches to the very highest qualities.  But to show off the finishing in its best light, a movement often needs to be designed from the beginning with this in mind.  This is why most of the modern calibres that people today consider to have "the best finishes in the world" (from VC and other Brands) are in-house designs - they were designed with the intent  to show off.  Beautiful vintage watches like yours were meant to be worn as time keeping instruments first, where only watchmakers would ever see the beautiful gem that is inside (and watchmakers view movements quite differently from end-users).

Cal 1001 utiized either a swan's neck regulater or a free-sprung Gyromax balance.  Cal 1014 utizes a more modern micro-regulating system.  Both use the "fun" Matese Cross spring on top of the escapement wheel's cap jewel.  There are pros and cons to these systems in theory, but in actual use...I don't believe there has ever been any statistical proof of one system being better than another.  Though I personally like the look of a Swan's Neck and the theoretical advantages of a free-sprung balance (I'm a mechanical enginnering graduate).  But out of all my watches, there is not correlation between these design differences and actual time-keeping precision.

(Pictures courtesy of Tick-Talk)

Cal 1014:

Hi Rogi, welcome to THL!

 

Cal 1001

Hi Rogi, welcome to THL!

 

Afte all is said and done, I want to convey:  I think your watch is beautiful inside and out (including the patina on the hands)!  Congrats! yes

BR, Dan

 

 

A correction/edit
05/23/2015 - 14:13

I said cal 1001/1002 used a swan's neck regulator.  This is incorrect, it has an index, but no swan's neck.  

Variations of these movements did use the gyromax, free-sprung balance.

Criticism; good for all
05/23/2015 - 19:32

LOL, are you still in the airport?  You've made some important points and just to add, the center seconds 1002 was derived from JLC's 819 center secs ebauche.  The Maltese Cross-shaped spring is a Kif Flector anti-shock device which, although very visible, is also identified in the caliber number K1014.  It is positioned on both the top and bottom balance wheel pivots.  The spring on top of the escape wheel is called Duofix.

We may have to have a playful disagreement regarding the freesprung vs regulated balance.  The freesprung balance, where the balance spring is a fixed length and "free" of adjustments, should offer a more reliable rate over the long term as there are less side-effects than occurs with a hairspring who's length and banking is "regulated" to adjust the rate.  Theory aside; the quality of production, assembly and regulation will determine which watch is which.

I'm glad you are addressing the notion of "superior" movements.  It is a simple fact that some cost more than others to produce, and the Manufactures use less-cost alternatives in their lower-cost offerings.  Simple economics practiced by all who have a wide range of products and well-illustrated in vintage V&C with their 9-ligne family of movements.  What seperates those brands with a coherent vision of their position in the market from those scrambling after sales is that a customer (or aspiring customer) should always be able to identify with the unique brand experience regardless of the price tier of their watch.  In the case of VC, I always think elegance of design and finishing, captured by the term savoir faire.

IMHO, scholars of VC should feel free to question and discuss the various differences, and this will often lead to comparisons and judgements.  When done in a balanced and constructive manner, this is known as criticsm.  The reader should feel free to challenge such comparisons just be be sure they are based on more than internet gossip, and the poster should always operate on the assumption they may be challenged.

I'm all for it my friend!
05/26/2015 - 10:28

Yes, I'm out of the airport.  smiley

I'm all for any discussions, but would suggest it be done in its own seperate thread. 

Alex has always allowed us to speak our minds, as long as it is based on facts and sincere opnions, so I think it could be a series of interesting conversations/discussions.

BR, Dan

Thank you all :) and great discussion.
05/24/2015 - 01:09

Thank you all for the kind comments and for contributing to great information on the K1014, I've learned a lot with posting this topic and soaking in some info. :) please keep  it coming :) it is greatly appreciated.