Heirloom VC pocket watch has been restored!

Hello all-

Back in December I presented to you the 1909 VC minute repeater pocket watch that has been passed down to me from my great-grandfather. Here is that thread: http://www.thehourlounge.com/thread/view/heirloom-vacheron-constantin-minute-repeater-pocket-watch_76160_76160.html

Now I am pleased to announce that the watch has been restored to working order and has been given a new lease on life!

I know that some of you strongly urged that I send the watch to Geneva to have the work done by Vacheron Constantin. As much as we value the watch it was not possible to justify the cost of that approach. Were that my only option I would have had to choose between leaving the watch in its rusty non-working state, or selling it. Those were both poor options. Instead, I found a watchmaker in the U.S. who satisfied me that he has the training and experience to perform the work. I hand delivered the watch to him, and then again travelled across the country to pick up the watch when it was done. It was a very satisfying experience.

I realized that the work done was not a "museum quality" restoration. However, my interest was not the same as that of a museum or that of a serious VC collector. Instead, my interest was to restore the watch to a state of dazzling beauty and flawless functionality, as perceived by me and my descendents. I have achieved that goal. Please don't be angry with me angel.

Now I need to store the watch in such a way that we can enjoy it as often as we like, and yet is secure and healthy for the watch. What I have in mind is to find an airtight box large enough to hold the watch in its original (and now repaired) box, along with a rechargeable cannister of silica dessicant, and to store that box in a fireproof safe.

Your comments are of course welcome.


Re: Heirloom VC pocket watch has been restored!
04/19/2013 - 20:55
Great news, Rick. It pleases me very much tohear of its restoration. You are very fortunate indeed to have such a wonderful souvenir of your family history and such a rare and beautiful timepiece. All the best, Joseph
Pictures please :-)
04/19/2013 - 21:54
You knew that was coming heart
Hi Rick
04/20/2013 - 01:29
I can't wait to see it!!! As Dean said please post some photos
04/20/2013 - 03:58

OK. Here are some pictures. First, here are the full res images from the earlier thread, plus the new ones from this post:  http://imageevent.com/jacobus2/vacheronwatch/

Here are some straightforward "before and after" pictures.



The watchmaker took these two shots before starting work. This one is the perpetual calendar machinery, which he showed me by taking off the dial. This exposed considerable rust:


And here is the back of the movement before repairs:


Here's the back of the movement after cleaning and repair:


And here are a few more "after" shots:




Fascinating PW
04/20/2013 - 14:34
thanks for sharing and may it time only happy moments. PS - are you happy with the minute repeating chimes?
Re: Fascinating PW
04/20/2013 - 19:03
OMG, I should have highlighted the return of the chimes!  My father, in particular, was moved to hear the 2-tone "music" that he remembered as a child. Such a simple thing, but it brought back intense memories, especially of his beloved father. Perhaps I'll try to record the sound and see if I can post a link to an mp3 or something.


Fantastic watch
04/20/2013 - 16:26
Fantastic watch, thank you for sharing with us. Best regards Dje
Thank you Rick
04/20/2013 - 19:04
Wonderful restoration. It looks fantastic! Do you have a watch fob for it? That would be the icing on the cake :-) Use it in the best of health. Perhaps one day you can record the sound from it and upload it as a vieo or audio file. Kind regards, Joseph
Your watchmaker did a great job!
04/21/2013 - 23:55
Amazing. Something to treasure for generations. nt
05/05/2013 - 09:22
Absolutely Beautiful Rick!
04/20/2013 - 15:23
Although many here have recommended you take it back to VC for restoration...it is YOUR watch, so as long as you are happy with the work that your watchmaker did (and the watch looks to be in great shape) - then thats all that matters!  yes I'm very glad to hear that it is now running flawlessly and chiming melodiously heart If you never plan on using the watch, then storing it the way you mentioned should be no problem at all.  But if you think you will take it out on occassion, and get it regulary serviced - then you might want to wind it up once a month to make sure the oils get distributed evenly to the areas that need lubrication. Best Regards, Dan
Re: Absolutely Beautiful Rick!
04/20/2013 - 18:58
Winding it once a month would be a pleasure. I think I need more research and advice about the best long-term care so I can provide detailed, well-founded instructions to be passed along with the watch. I have also considered some way to display the watch - it would of course be much better appreciated if it were somewhere it could be seen. Unlike other types of heirlooms this is not one that can simply be used the way it was originally intended. Perhaps when we are away from home we can simply return it to its safe.


Video and sound
04/20/2013 - 20:27
It doesn't take much to get me going. Per requests here is a little video of the watch chiming: http://imageevent.com/jacobus2/vacheronwatch?p=17&n=1&m=-1&c=3&l=0&w=4&s=0&z=4


What a sweet sound
04/20/2013 - 21:01
Thanks for bringing us closure on this fascinating and important watch yes
Re: Video and sound
04/21/2013 - 01:56
Thanks, Rick A lovely sound indeed! Joseph
Sounds and looks like a very successful restoration - congrats! (nt)
04/21/2013 - 16:18
Rick, it's no wonder that you're pleased...
04/20/2013 - 21:41
What a wonderful transition. Thank you for taking us along to both see and hear the outcome. It's too good to hide away for too longwink. Tony
Re: Heirloom VC pocket watch has been restored!
04/23/2013 - 13:46
Hi Rick, that is one amazing PW. Would you mind commenting in roughly how much it cost for the full restoration?
Re: Re: Heirloom VC pocket watch has been restored!
04/23/2013 - 19:07
I think I'll reply to this in a private message.