a look at the unique Vacheron Constantin tourbillon made for Asprey

One of Vacheron Constantin's first tourbillon movements was made in 1904. Few of these movements were cased in pocket watches and sold, the majority being only used for Obseratory trials where the brand often obtained a 1st prize.

Here are 2 examples:

1929: made by James Pellaton, 1st prize at the Genva Observatory in 1931

a look at the unique Vacheron Constantin tourbillon made for Asprey

or this gorgeous movement from the early (40s) for which I do not have further information

a look at the unique Vacheron Constantin tourbillon made for Asprey

In the early 90s a series of tourbillon calibers were commissoned by different retailers in pocket watch format in rose gold cases, each with a unique case decoration, dial and movement engraving. The following watch was made for the London based jeweler Asprey in 1991 using a tourbillon caliber from 1943.

Having spent some time with it all I can say is that I am at awe at the quality of the finish and the superb tourbillon cage and bridges. I'm not a great fan of the dial though....

a look at the unique Vacheron Constantin tourbillon made for Asprey

a look at the unique Vacheron Constantin tourbillon made for Asprey

a look at the unique Vacheron Constantin tourbillon made for Asprey

a look at the unique Vacheron Constantin tourbillon made for Asprey

a look at the unique Vacheron Constantin tourbillon made for Asprey

the caliber has a guilloche motif which is hidden under the caseback!
a look at the unique Vacheron Constantin tourbillon made for Asprey

a look at the unique Vacheron Constantin tourbillon made for Asprey

a look at the unique Vacheron Constantin tourbillon made for Asprey

a look at the unique Vacheron Constantin tourbillon made for Asprey

a look at the unique Vacheron Constantin tourbillon made for Asprey

a look at the unique Vacheron Constantin tourbillon made for Asprey

a look at the unique Vacheron Constantin tourbillon made for Asprey

Thanks for posting
03/08/2010 - 20:28
Unlike you, I actually like to guilloche and the layout of the dial... The only thing I don't like is the color - salmon and yellow gold don't go very well IMO. If it had been white/silver it would have looked very nice. Other thing I don't like is VC's name on the case on the front - it is already on the dial, why a second time?
in fact the case is rose gold not yellow (nt)
03/09/2010 - 10:22
e
oops - thanks for pointing out
03/09/2010 - 11:22
on paper the salmon dial and pink gold should be a good match, but in pictures it still looks wrong to me...
Love the caseback - the way the tourbillon cage is encompassed...
03/08/2010 - 21:33
by the case! The guilochage underneath the caseback is to die for...  
the work on the tourbillon bridge and cage is stunning! (nt)
03/09/2010 - 14:45
nt
The great JLC calibre 170
03/10/2010 - 02:09
The unknown tourbillon shown on your second black and white picture, as well as the decorated one in the 1990's-cased pocket watch are Jaeger LeCoultre calibre 170. In total, Jaeger LeCoultre produced 26 of these movements between 1948 and 1954 (other sources say 27) In addition to the #464257 and #464271 which you present here, at least 4 other V&C labelled calibre 170 are known: #464269 (which won the 1948 chronometry contest from Neuchatel Observatory, now in pink gold case), #464255 (white gold and diamond set case), and an other example in white gold with open face (case N°614924, movement# unknown) all cased and sold around 1990-1995 Also, #464270, which to my knowledge is the only example I can find of this calibre being cased and sold at the actual period when the movements were produced by Jaeger LeCoultre. These movements were made initially for the purpose of timing contests, hence the limited production and likely no real intent to case / sell them at the time. I don't know if it is a good or bad thing to have cased and sold them in the 1990's. In a way, it helps to give visibility to these marvels, and allowed a few lucky ones to become owners of these beauties, but maybe it would not have been a bad thing to sell the movements purely in a display casing, in the original spirit (as my feeling is that the 1990's cases are already a bit dated viewed today, and are not really consistent in style with the era when the movements were made). Also, economics put aside, I think Vacheron could have kept #464269 for its museum, as it is of a fairly significant historical value. Thank you for presenting this very seldom seen watch !
Welcome to the Lounge Clavi!
03/11/2010 - 15:03
Thanks for the very informative post on the JLC calibre 170 based movements, I learned a lot. It would have been interesting if the movements were sold by themselves, I might even be able to afford one someday.  But I think more people would prefer it being encased and seeing both the movement at work and the results on the dial side. I agree that VC should probably of kept a movement of historical value for it's own museum. Best Regards, Dan