An amazing year at SIHH, and a real double-treat with the new calibers and new look for the Overseas .
I promised to return with more details of the Apollo 14 presentation watch described on New Year’s Day: http://www.thehourlounge.com/en/vacheron-constantin-discussions/new-years-treat-634848.
The owner succeeded in locating a watchsmith to remove the case back and take photographs. These revealed the missing details. This Apollo 14 presentation watch is based on the model reference 6351, which made an appearance in the early 1960s. V&C’s catalog of 1967 disclosed a retail price of $1,395 in platinum and $895 in gold.
There are a few clues to the Apollo watch’s provenance as a special order. The serial number has an unusual appearance, clearly punched with a different set of dies than the reference number.
The secondary case number, consisting of the last three digits of the serial number punched on the inner edge of the case, appears to have been over-stamped and intentionally obscured.
The movement is V&C’s pride, the 17-jewel ultrathin caliber 1003 with Geneva Seal.
With case and movement serial numbers, VC’s Heritage Department were able to verify the piece is from 1971.
Having tied up these loose ends, I’ll close the chapter on this interesting and exciting timepiece which may, according to the owner, find its way to an auction house. I’ll be interested to see how it fares.
Interestingly, the connection between V&C and the Apollo astronauts didn’t begin with this watch. NASA’s website revealed that in 1968 the famous comedian and entertainer, Bob Hope, broadcast his weekly variety show from Houston’s Manned Space Center where he hosted the crew of Apollo 7.
Astronauts Walter Schirra, Don Eisele, and Walter Cunningham subsequently received Vacheron & Constantin watches from Hope as a token of appreciation.
The distinctive reference 6704 also featured the caliber 1003. While Schirra’s watch was on a strap, Cunningham’s watch appeared in a Sotheby’s auction sporting an integrated gold V&C bracelet.