Gaps in VC History

While browsing through the archive photos at the back of The World of Vacheron Constantin, I came across a significant gap in the production timeline.  There are no photographs from 1914 to 1918!  Looking at the reference numbers (page numbers only began with 1923), it appears the gap involves Ref. 1150 to 1554.

The photo history also reveals the true effects of the Great Depression, with extremely limited production in 1931/32.  Sadly, the book's archive ends after 1938  -  the year V&C joined with Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Alex, can you please invite Mr. Bull or the Patrimony Department to comment on the period 1914-18 and enlighten us as to production during that era?  Were the photos destroyed or damaged, or just not provided to Lambelet and Coen for their book?

More importantly, can we implore upon VC to release the remaining reference photos from 1939 at least including the golden era circa 1950s/60s?  This single action would IMHO greatly improve our understanding of the period and provide valuable data for the vintage collector!  Maybe even drive some of the fakes and frankens back into the shadows. 
Hmmm...I'm available if a volunteer is needed to sort through the archives angel.


photos exist from that era but don't know why nothing was
08/20/2011 - 22:19
printed in the book as for photos of pieces from the 50s-60s that shouldn't be a problem but not sure I can post the g^hundreds of photos from references from that time, I'll see what can be done.
That's great Alex...
08/21/2011 - 18:20
you know I'll keep buggin you devil
Re: Gaps in VC History
08/21/2011 - 03:58
Hi Dean, I noticed that too, but attributed it to the fact that there was a war on at the time and perhaps no new production was undertaken (ie new models) . During WWII, for example, no cars were manufactured in the US. Those plants went over to producing war-related vehicles. I also agree with you about ending the archives with 1938. Maybe the authors had a budget they couldn't exceed. Too bad. A good reference for watches after that  period is really lacking. Joseph
Missing Reference Numbers?
08/21/2011 - 18:36
Interesting about the car production during WWII laugh However there is also a gap in the reference numbers, indicating something was indeed produced.  The post-1938 archives would be an outstanding source to fill the tremendous lack of reference materials; they are original and untouched by edits or interpretations, and readily at hand in the vaults of the Maison.  Should we start a letter-writing campaign? devil
VC didn't use reference numbers until 1938. Starting 1904....
08/22/2011 - 11:35
Vacheron Constantin photographed certain pieces of their collection and attributed a photo reference number in increasing order from 1 to 3800. This system was used for the brand’s emblematic pieces from 1904 and 1937. Starting Jan 1, 1938 Vacheron Constantin adopted reference numbers for its watches starting from 4000. Reference numbers starting with 5000, 8000 and 9000 were never used and it is in the mid 70s that the numbering system was modified going from 4 to 5 digits.
Here is what I mean...
08/22/2011 - 18:27
We've discussed the evolution from "photo reference" numbers to "model reference" numbers before, and I recall that you provided an example of the model reference catalog for the 6694 series: click here to see the post.  These catalogs are what we so desperately need yes.
Dean my friend, you don't have to walk long,
08/21/2011 - 21:48
before you can see one from 1914. I, BTW once owned a pw from 1914, and this is from 1916. Yes, it's been to the V&C Museum and confirmed by M Vuilliomenet, former Chief of the V&C Museum and also one of the men behind the Millennium Auction smiley Sorry, I can't find any picture of one from 1915, but have had one! Cheers
Some clues...
08/21/2011 - 22:18
Thanks for sharing Doc!  The gap in the book is over 400 reference numbers between 1914 and 1918. I found an interesting statement in the Watch Time special edition on Vacheron Constantin, in the article Living History profiling the Heritage Department:"The most exciting part, however, are the books that served Vacheron Constantin from the beginning of the 1920s to the 1940s as a production archive." This quote suggests that perhaps VC discontinued the reference album format in the 1940s, but then what was the replacement? BTW, those that have the Lambelet Coen book should check out page 396 for Reference 3373 from 1930, and page 406 for Reference 3241 from 1931 (they are out of order...something not that unusual it seems).  Both are Jump Hour rectangular wrist watches; one ladies and one gentlemens, with notation "modele Robert Cart".  Funny that in many official articles Victorin Piguet has been properly credited when their movement has been used, but Cart has been universally ignored even though his Heures Sautantes is so well known.
Even if 'World of V&C' is a far better book,
08/23/2011 - 23:59
than 'Secrets of V&C', there are much information missing. BTW, that book was composed by the former President of V&C, Mr Proellochs, but the ladies who put it together and wrote it out, Lambelet and Cohen are the names on the book. That information I personally got from Mr Proellochs at a dinner, 2005 or 2006, in Geneva. I have as you know been writing about THE BOOK of V&C, a book where all this 'missing' information would be available, because in that House everything are kept from the very start up to our time. Cheers Doc