Manufacture or Modify?

Following up on my Family Reunion post, I've discovered a discrepancy with the Certificate of Authenticity issued for the "Sinatra" watch . When the piece was sent to VC for restoration, they responded with an estimate of the work required and a brief history of the watch, including the information that it began life as a ref 6694 manufactured in 1966 and was then converted to a ref 7262 in 1967 with the addition of a gold bracelet.

Following the case and movement numbers, the CofA lists the "year of manufacture" as 1967 and mentions under "Other characteristics" that it was "modified" from a base model 6694, without reference to the year 1966.

If another person was to rely only on the CofA for the provenance, I believe they would assume that the watch, including case and movement, were manufactured in 1967 and not a year earlier.

My email to VC was promptly answered this morning that the certificate was issued in conformity with the records . It seems to me that the meaning of "manufacture" and "modify" are being confused and the certificate is not an accurate record. I remain concerned...if only 1966 was mentioned somewhere!

This poll is therefore to seek opinions on whether, given the information I've provided, should the Certificate of Authenticity issued by VC be considered in error? Or, am I being unreasonable in this belief and there really is no difference? The weight of your opinions will help me decide the next steps!
View main post only
maybe the 1st info was wrong and that the CoA has the correct
04/23/2009 - 19:14
information. But is it really that important to know if the watch was made in 66 or 67?
Rhetorical?
04/23/2009 - 20:11
Thanks for your input Shady...hope you voted! I did consider your point, but having provided VC the same concerns that are expressed in this post, the reply did not refute or correct my info (which was their info to begin with), just the statement that the certificate "has been issued in conformity with our registers". I sense your question is rhetorical, but let me ask you if you would consider it important to learn the car you just bought was a year older than mentioned on the bill of sale?  When you go to re-sell, how would you represent it?  What if the buyer asked to see your bill of sale...how would you explain the descrepancy? On a more relevant note, what if you saw an auction description of a very tasty VC that you would like to own.  You examine the data and pictures and are satisfied this is the perfect piece for you...it even has a certificate of authenticity so everything must be correct.  Then you learn from another source, lets say a previous owner or the selling dealer or by the serial numbers, that the date of manufacture doesn't line up with your info?  Would that affect your attitude about the piece?  Perhaps now I'm being rhetorical .
If I bought the watch before asking for a certificate I wouldn't
04/23/2009 - 20:17

really care to have the exact date of manufacture because if I did I would have bought a watch that was delivered with a Certificate. What is important to me is to know the watch is authentic and that modifications were made by the factory not theexact year of production. But that's just me...

Re: Manufacture or Modify?
04/23/2009 - 21:43
One problem which indirectly refers to your watch is the fact that the movement and the case are manufactured separately. In some cases(pun unintentional) the difference in year of production may be not years but decades. It's less so with modern watches, but was fairly common in the past. I think you have to accept the year of manufacture as that for the movement. Case and any addition even if manufactured the same year probably have secondary importance. That would be my conjecture, anyway. Regards, Joseph
It's about provenance
04/24/2009 - 00:09
It seems to me that you have a serial history of a movement, case and bracelet that has been referred to by VC in two parts. Perhaps it would be acceptable for you to recognize that in some instance VC modified an original configuration of movement, dial and case to something else - - something interesting and unique - - like what you currently have - - supported by two forms of documentation. I would find that interesting, even more so if you could find out why the changes were made bythe owner(s). Robert
Exactly Robc
04/24/2009 - 01:32
Yes, I take your point.  While the CofA mentions it's origin as a ref 6694, it fails to note the actual date of manufacture for the original watch.  Instead, the date of modification into a ref 7262 is used, even though the original case and movement were  retained.  Some mention of the earlier date on the CofA would seal the provenance beyond doubt or dispute IMHO. Agreed that the history would be nice to know.  I'm not even sure if it was modified at the request of a private owner or from Vacheron stocks!
When Cased?
04/24/2009 - 01:15

With vintage Vacheron pieces as you described, the date of manufacture was determined by the date when the watch was "cased", that is when the movement and case were married to create a watch.  With some models of vintage V&C, the movement was older by several years, whereas the case was the newer creation.  This is why using the date it was "cased" made sense. Now with my piece, it was cased as a reference 6694 in the year 1966.  The modification into a reference 7262  in 1967 did not change it's movement or case number. Now if a modified watch had to be re-cased within a different body with a new serial number, I could understand the change of manufacture date.

When Cased?
04/24/2009 - 01:16

With vintage Vacheron pieces as you described, the date of manufacture was determined by the date when the watch was "cased", that is when the movement and case were married to create a watch.  With some models of vintage V&C, the movement was older by several years, whereas the case was the newer creation.  This is why using the date it was "cased" made sense. Now with my piece, it was cased as a reference 6694 in the year 1966.  The modification into a reference 7262  in 1967 did not change it's movement or case number. Now if a modified watch had to be re-cased within a different body with a new serial number, I could understand the change of manufacture date.

Which year?
04/24/2009 - 01:01
Dean your question made me think of one I have and the answer I have got from VC. This watch I have got the following answer from VC, which perhaps explains a little. Ahh, look at bthose lugs I must show the movement, it's really nice, watch the index! The answer I got from Vacheron Constantin was : "Case and movement are matching. The dial marches the picture. We started the manufacturing the watch in April 1948. We had the watch in inventory in December 1949. The watch was sold to Mr Rosenwasser in Le Havre France for 750.-- francs." So is it a 1948, which I always believed and bought it as, or is it from 1949? I don't think it makes it more easy for you, but it indicates two ways of seeing at the age of a watch   Hej, Doc
Nice Lugs
04/24/2009 - 01:27
Agreed Doc, those are nice lugs....  Superb movement too! Sorry for the previous double post, I was having a computer glitch!   Regarding your watch, I would want to know when it was cased to determine the year of manufacture.  Now VC may not have that information, as we know from Lambelet's book what the archival records look like, so their answer may be the best that can be given for the period. With my piece, I believe they have complete records but have chosen a protocol to follow that, as a collector, leaves me baffled.
Thanks Dean, Alex saw immedeately,
04/24/2009 - 19:38
that they were forerunner to the Malte's ! I had't thought of it, but if you look now, it's quite obvious Cheers Doc
CASE CLOSED
04/30/2009 - 19:18
With Alex's help, I've received some answers that support the majority opinion in this poll.  Vacheron had the policy of dating a watch by when it leaves the factory for sale.  In this case (yes, bad pun), it was conceived in 1966 but did not leave the factory until after it was converted to a ref 7262 in 1967, and thus was "born" in that year. For the info of all the other caliber 107x fans out there... I also asked about an oddity on the CofA for my white gold 6694 that has been pictured on the forum before.  The caliber was described as a 1072 with Gyromax.  My thought was that it should be either a 1072 with swan-neck regulator OR a 1072/1 with Gyromax.  In fact, the watch has a legit 1072 with Gyromax!   Previous information I had was that the 1072 was introduced in 1962 with swan-neck regulator and the Gyromax was added in 1966 with the introduction of the 1072/1.  As a 1963 piece, perhaps this was Vacheron's earliest use of Patek's invention in the 107x family of calibers? ...more trivia for us detail-oriented types .