Help with a model number

Hello, I am trying to trace a model number for a vacheron watch to posibly keep a stuborn friend from making a mistake, no. 253940, What would the watch be and what would  it look like?

The watch that's being offered is a VC silver wristwatch, the serial dates it to around 1910 which sent my alarm bells ringing as this would make it very rare and a hell of a lot more expensive than the price he has been told.

He's not a total idiot and does know a fair bit about watches, he says it's signed several times, the case back has the maltese cross and VC stamped on it, as well as a hallmark and the model number, the movement has vacheron and constantin written on it and the serial number which as said earlier dates it to around 1910.

I do not have any more information or pictures at this time.

03/14/2008 - 14:32
without scans its impossible to give any valid info but from what you
03/14/2008 - 14:38

describe it could either be a recased pocket watch or a pocket watch to which lugs have been soldered. 

Re: without scans its impossible to give any info but from what you sa
03/14/2008 - 14:49

Hmmm, I don't think so.

Could you elaborate on why you tthink it's a recased pocket watch? The watch is cusion shaped and around 31mm, I thought it may have been just a silver trench watch that has been stamped by a talented watchmaker somewhere along the line.

well silver cased wrist watches by VC are almost inexistant and in
03/14/2008 - 15:02

1910 VC didn't have a wrist was as far as I know. If you say the case is cushion shaped the dates don't match since the cushion was a case shape that became fashionable in the 20s.

You say the case back is stamped with the Maltese cross but is inside the case back signed Vacheron & Constantin?

But once again without scans this is just guess work.

I should add that the movement doesn't look great.....
03/14/2008 - 15:03

I would have thought it would have Geneva bars or something, it looks a bit like a vacheron layout but a bit plain and poor qaulity, I will try and get him to send me some scans.

Here are some scans he sent me
03/14/2008 - 15:27

03/14/2008 - 15:41

Movement number indicates about 1910 and case number about and  of 20's or beginning of 30's.

My personal, belive is that it's not a genuine Vacheron&Constantin,

but put together later..



Is there a possibility the movement could be real
03/14/2008 - 15:49

As the movement does not look like a base calliber movement but like a vacheron layout, like this one here.

03/14/2008 - 15:53

the thing about the case being made later may not be a killer as it was  quite common at the time for watches to be started in 1908 and cased in 1920's 1930's , I have seen examples of this on antiqorum.

I agree with Doc
03/14/2008 - 23:03

I would also really look at the dial, so that we could see if both dial/case and movement can fit.

I'll go with what 3 independant experts and VC say myself
03/15/2008 - 13:27

I think my initial sceptisism influenced some of you,  but the watch is real.

Re: Help with a model number
03/14/2008 - 16:06

A quick update.

He has been informed by a well known UK auction house that it's real from the scans he sent them, he  just needs to take it in for conformation, I may yet owe him a crate of lager and an apology.

after some research it turns out that
03/14/2008 - 16:56

the numbers on case and movement match but the watch was made in 1928 not 1910 which explains the cushion shaped case

Thankyou for doing that research for us.......
03/14/2008 - 17:15

Antiqorum (one of the worlds most prestigious watch auction houses) date several watches with newer serial no. than his newly aquired Vacheron if we look from their archive we see;

Vacheron & Constantin, Geneve, No. 369894, case No. 261174. Made in 1914. Very fine and extremely rare, early, 18K yellow gold gentleman’s wristwatch with winding-crown at 12 o'clock. C. Three-body, solid, polished, case back bearing the initials: "J.B.", flat bezel, concave lugs, top winder.D. Matte silver with painted bâton indexes and Arabic numerals, subsidiary sunk seconds. Yellow gold "Epee"hands.M. Cal. 11 3/4 ''' gilt brass, 17 jewels, straight line lever escapement, cut bimetallic balance, Breguet bal-ance-spring.Dial, case and movement signed.Diam. 29 mm.

So this one is 369 from 1914, my friends' is 349.

And here is another one from 1908;

Vacheron & Constantin, Gen?ve, No. 341034, sold in 1908. Recased in the 1940's, case No. 209893.Fine and rare minute repeating, 18K yellow gold gentleman's wristwatch. C. three-body, solid, polished, overhanging teardrop and curved lugs. D. matte silver with applied yellow gold indexes and Arabic numerals. "B?ton" yellow gold hands. M. 11 ''' rhodium-plated, "fausses-c?tes" decoration, 19 jewels, straight line lever escapement, cut bimetallic balance, adjusted to temperatures, Breguet balance-spring, repeater on gongs by means of a slide on the band.Dial, case and movement signed.Diam. 36 mm.

Which being a 341 is not far off my friends VC 349

So this would probably make my mates watch made in 1908 and completed or recased in 1920's, which is very exiting, because it's the difference between it being worth 2,000 swiss francs or 100,000 , which was initially why I was so sceptical.

Further reserch has to be done, I will keep you posted as to the results, but we are now both very optimistic, but I must stress my friend is not selling the watch yet so please no-one ask, he is very pleased with it.

the information comes directly from the "horse's mouth" meaning
03/14/2008 - 17:21

VC Patrimony department. Could be movement made in 1910 and case in 1928.

Thankyou for that information yet again....
03/14/2008 - 17:28

This of course means what my friend thought was true and this is one of the oldest VC wristwatches in the world and very valuable, I told him to be cautious because I thought he was getting carried away, He has yet again recieved confirmation from another source since I've been typing that last message and from your good self, it does appear that he made the dream purchase we all dream about.

I must now go and eat humble pie.

I am going to ask him if he will let me take some high definition pictures of the watch and post them on hear once a strap is put on it for everyones enjoyment, thanks again.

looking forward in seeing the scans (nt)
03/14/2008 - 17:30


Re: after some research it turns out that
03/14/2008 - 23:26

Alex has much better resources than I have but here's a photo of what I think the dial looks like

You can see the model number, case number and date.

The case number indicates 1926-28. After 1930, the lug bars were much sturdier.

I didn't have a chance to check the number of the movement, but if Alex says they match, then they do.

VC has records of all their watches, including who bought them and when.

Yours looks pretty beat-up though. It wont be cheap to repair it and the only people who should do that is VC. They have designs for all the parts if they need to be manufactured.

Good luck!


Thankyou joseph, that's the exact same case....
03/15/2008 - 13:38

But the movement is much older and  the dial doesn't have sub seconds, the dial is also slighty different with the lettering.

I think you're missing the point on getting it cleaned up, it's valuable because  it's one of the oldest surviving VC wristwatches in the world.

The case is from 1928 and the movement from 1909, simaler watches with newer redone cases have been known to fetch almost half a million swiss francs at auction ten years ago. They were made of more precious metals but my friend has been recieving some very high valuations on his, differing wildly, but all about 30 times more than he paid.

Besides it really doesn't look that bad.

Thankyou for that photo, I think he might send it into VC, just to  get some history about the watch but I don't think he should have any work done, unless they could perhaps make an open ended genuine VC strap for him.

don't want to spoil the party but
03/15/2008 - 13:50

I feel you're getting too excited on price, the watch is in less than optimal condition and is certainly not one of c's 1st writs watches as it was made in 1928 (date of movement is irrelevant here as the movement could have been made for a lady's pendant watch which explains its small size).

anyway wait til you get the estimates from the auction houses...

Re: don't want to spoil the party but
03/15/2008 - 13:58

Alex those estimates were from the auction houses, when I say 40 times what he paid he didn't pay very much for it at all.

Also alex most of the other wristwatches surviving from that time period that the price is based on are recased.

He's not expecting it to be worth 100's of thousands but has been told around 7,000 - 40,000 gbp possibly more. He's asked me not to say how much he paid but it wasn't much at all.

03/15/2008 - 13:59

My friend is not a  rich man, 40 grand is very valuable in his eyes, I'm sure some of you on here wouldn't get out of bed for that.

taht's one hell of a wide estimate! Anyway, hope your friend
03/15/2008 - 14:35

will be happy withhis watch.

Yep, but it's from 3 different people...
03/15/2008 - 14:52

We will see when and if my friend does sell it, I think it would depend on where he sells it, I've advised him to take it to Antiqurom, but he wants to keep it.