One of my favorite, vintage, hand-wound, wristwatch, VC movements

The small-seconds Cal 1007/BS and its sibling, the center-seconds Cal 1008/BS are definitely one of my of favorite, vintage, manual-wind, movements from VC.  These are the "highest" end of the evolutionary chain for the Cal 453/454 family.

Cal 1007/BS and Cal 1008/BS were the only manual-wind movements ever used in wristwatch Chronometre Royales, which were introduced in the 1950s.  As such, besides amazing finishing, they were regulated to operate at a very high standard for accuracy (this was pre-COSC).

Also, this was one of the first movements that had a hacking seconds hand feature in a watch for non-military use (which is what the "/BS" in the calibre numbers name designates, "Balance Stop").  I do not know how hacking seconds mechanisms work in modern watches, but Cal. 1007/BS used such a simple device to implement this feature 60 years ago, that I think its charming when looked at through modern eyes. 

One of my favorite, vintage, hand-wound, wristwatch, VC movements

You can see the curved metal hook/lever that is on top of the movement and anchored at one pivot point.  (It almost covers the escapement wheel's cap jewel).  This lever is controlled at one end by pulling the crown out or pushing it back in.  At the other end of the lever, there is a tiny, open-ended spring attached to the bottom of the lever.

One of my favorite, vintage, hand-wound, wristwatch, VC movements


When the crown is in its normal position, the tiny hairspring is positioned inside the circumference of the balance wheel and does not interfere with anything...therefore the watch operates normally.

One of my favorite, vintage, hand-wound, wristwatch, VC movements


But when you pull the crown out, you cause the hook/lever to move around its pivot point, causing the tiny hairspring to move outward and come in physical contact with the balance wheel, thereby stopping the movement creating the hacking seconds feature of the watch!

One of my favorite, vintage, hand-wound, wristwatch, VC movements

One of my favorite, vintage, hand-wound, wristwatch, VC movements One of my favorite, vintage, hand-wound, wristwatch, VC movements


When it comes to beautiful movement finishing, I LOVE the look of black polishing, especially when it is on one of my very favorite watch components (the swan-neck, micro-regulating system).  Black polishing is achieved through polishing a component so fine, smooth and even, that light has no irregularities to reflect back and therefore gives the black/dark appearance.

One of my favorite, vintage, hand-wound, wristwatch, VC movements

Here you can see how the swan-neck looks black when compared with the Geneva Waves finishing of the balance cock below that it sits on.

One of my favorite, vintage, hand-wound, wristwatch, VC movements

03/02/2015 - 14:56
03/02/2015 - 15:43
03/02/2015 - 15:22
03/02/2015 - 15:30
03/03/2015 - 06:09
03/03/2015 - 11:15
03/03/2015 - 15:06
03/03/2015 - 16:38
Re: One of my favorite, vintage, hand-wound, wristwatch, VC movements
03/02/2015 - 06:33

Hi Dan

I love these photos. Do you have any photos of the stem and the mechanisms that wind the watch as well as set time and date?

Thank you


I only have this one in hand
03/02/2015 - 07:04

It is a cropped picture of the keyless winding mechanism. 

I only have this one in hand

The winding system/mechanism is on the "dial side" of a movement and is rarely seen, since it is covered by the dial itself.

I do not take apart any of my VCs, so I don't have many pictures of these components.  The watch in shown in this picture allows me to show this portion of the movement because it has an interesting twist to its design.  But the watch itself was just sent to Geneva for service and I don't expect to see it until 2016.

The same is true for most date setting mechanisms, they are on the "dial side" of the movement, so you won't see pictures of them as often.

BR, Dan

Re: I only have this one in hand
03/02/2015 - 15:53

Hi Dan

Thank you for this photo of the winding mechanism; If you come across any others I'd appreciate your posting them.

I love the photos - even more now since I have been studying them more closely.

Thank you, again, for posting these...


Dan, I can't thank you enough for this post.
03/02/2015 - 14:51

Your explanation and illustrative photos of how the hacking seconds mechanism works are very instructive.  I have never seen images of this in such detail before.  I am very grateful to have these available now to study.  The example of black polishing also is very helpfu as a clarification on teh different plishing techniques that were employed in this movement.

Not to mention that you have landed upon one of my favorite topics, the caliber 1007/BS (and caliber 1008/BS). As you know, I became somewhat obsessed with this caliber and, naturally, the Chronometre Royales from the1950s/early60s.  It is an exquisitely beautiful and well functioning movement.  My CR has become one of my very favorite watches since I found mine in 2014. 

Just so I fully understand what happens when the watch hacks: does the littlle hook at the end of the lever simply come into contact with the balance wheel, and that is enough to stop the balance wheel? The hook does not actually "catch" anything does it?

Terrific job, Dan!



03/02/2015 - 14:56

Keep them coming, Dan! yes


03/02/2015 - 15:43

I believe you have a much stronger technical understanding of watches than I do, so your kind words are highly appreciated! BR, Dan 

Thanks Robert!
03/02/2015 - 15:22

That little hook acts like an open-ended spring, so all it needs to do is come in contact with the balance wheel (the spring is soft, it deflects a little and that creates enough tension to stop the balance wheel with causing any long-term damage to anything).  It does not hook anything, which I think would have a much higher risk of unintentionally catching on something and creating reliability problems.

BR, Dan 

Thank you so much, Dan
03/02/2015 - 15:30

Those are great photos and a clear explanation of the hacking feature.

I can't quite tell what the hook engages when the crown is pulled, though. Is it the balance wheel itself or a flywheel sitting atop the balance wheel?

It would have to be a "gentle engagement" to prevent recurrent forces from amaging the balance wheel mechanism. A sudden stop of that rotating wheel would generate considerable G force.


Re: Thank you so much, Dan
03/02/2015 - 15:38

I saw your reply to Robert after I posted, Dan.

So as I understand it, the "hook" which is made of soft metal come down on top of the balance wheel and slows it to a stop by friction. I that correct?

Thanks Dan

That's exactly how it works :-)
03/02/2015 - 16:03

It is gentle, and even after 60 years, I see no adverse impact on the watch's operation and there are no noticeable marks/scratches on the balance that I have been able to observe with a loop.

Glad you liked the post sir!  BR, Dan 

What a great way to start the week :-)
03/02/2015 - 17:27

Thanks for documenting this important info Dan.  I've never seen such clear pics of the Balancier Stop mechanism!  This upgrade to the base cal 453/454 involved only six parts; an additional lower cap jewel for the escape wheel (IIRC, we've discussed this feature before), revised escape wheel with two pivots, screws and the new jewel, a revised setting lever connected to the crown, plus the "Levier stop" which contacted the balance wheel.

You know I can't resist finding some historical context for this mechanical innovation.  It was the ability of the Swiss lever escapement to "self-start" again in the event the balance wheel was stopped, accidentally or otherwise, which propelled this escapement ahead of the English detent.  If it wasn't for this capability, it would be fair to say that watches worn on the person, inherently subject to much more bumping and jostling than stationary clocks, would not have gained early popularity.

Thanks for adding such relevant details Dean!
03/03/2015 - 02:41

I remember you previously mentioned the number and type of components that were added to the cal 1007/BS / 1008/BS vs. the cal 453/454.

The additional insight and bigger picture look at the Swiss lever escapement's ability to start up again after stoppage is a really great point!

BR, Dan

Re: Thanks for adding such relevant details Dean!
03/03/2015 - 05:34

There is a lot to know and even more to learn about these movements. I had no idea that there were so many different kinds of movements and so many different 'complications'. 

Now, I'm - almost - convinced that I need a 'skeleton' watch so that I can see it working.

These time pieces are addictive...



Wow - awesome
03/03/2015 - 06:09

Thanks Dan - and Dean and others who added to this.

I love the look of the black polish on the regulator mechanism.  That is really great looking.  And as you rightly pointed out, the contrast to the Geneva waves makes it that much more interesting.

Thanks :-) (nt)
03/03/2015 - 11:15
I so much agree with you Dan
03/03/2015 - 15:06

Because of the finish, because of the chronometric qualities, because of the stop second, because of the bridge design, all put together makes for me the best post war caliber. It has everything, I had to have one and so happy I did. I will post photo of the caliber later.

I'm learning but for the moment I do not see anything that compares, some have the finish, some have the chronometric certificate, some have stop seconds but altogether the Chronomètre Royal is unique. What a caliber and so beautiful watches encasing it :)



I'm not surprised François ☺
03/03/2015 - 15:24

Knowing how much you love your CR! . I love mine too and besides what is on the inside, I think the outside is just as beautiful (I love the alpha hands that are only used on CRs).

I believe you are correct, that no other VC movement has that combination of features.  

Though there are other VC movements that I love equally. angelheart

BR, Dan 


Not only VC
03/03/2015 - 22:24

I'll take an example, the Patek 12-120Sc is a wonderful caliber, beautifully finished nice indirect center seconds, but it hasn't the hacking second system, and I think I have taken the best example possible outside VC, that's why the Chronomètre Royal is for me the "king" of post war caliber :) 

The SteveG site is a long time reference, I learned a lot through his wesite, and the CR photos he did. For the hands, I totally agree, I love them too, what a wonderful design.  I could also say that they are the "best" but that would be here totally subjective devil

And all the cases, "Cylindrical", "maltese cross" and "flying saucer" are superb. heart


here are some photos of my CR

Not only VC

Not only VC

I'll say it again, your CR is truly a rarity among rarities.
03/04/2015 - 03:19

The CR was never a common watch, and your's is that much more unique.  Love it!

Thank you, Dan.....
03/03/2015 - 16:38

The 453 family is wonderful, and the 1007 and 1008 calibers are VC's finest expression of it. Here is a photo of the keyless works that I had a watchmaker take when working on one of my vintage movements (454):

Thank you, Dan.....

The design is robust and the finishing is beautiful.



My pleasure, I'm glad you liked it!
03/03/2015 - 17:05

Thanks for the dial side picture, I think the keyless winding system's mechanics and design are quite interesting and seldom seen.  As always, VC finishes these components just as well even though very few people week eve see them!. Perlage may be relatively simple, but I like the look.

I hope you're surviving the NASTY winter?

BR, Dan 

A very nasty winter here in Boston.....
03/03/2015 - 19:22

Are you in the US or back in China now?


I'm in China, but will be back in the US in either April or May
03/04/2015 - 03:17

I'll send you a PM when I am certain about the dates.  There is a big VC Event in Beijing at the end of just trying to decide if we want to be in the US before or after.

Would love to have a GTG somewhere along the East Coast, laugh

Re: I'm in China, but will be back in the US in either April or May
03/04/2015 - 13:23

Hi Dan et al

OK, I think I understand how this 'hook' mechanism works. What other mechanisms are used to stop the watch in order to set time?

I'm sure everyone else but me knows the answer to this but I'd like to know too. ;-)


Hi Dave, I don't know how modern watches are designed to implement hacking seconds
03/04/2015 - 15:38
Re: Hi Dave, I don't know how modern watches are designed to implement hacking seconds
03/06/2015 - 05:08

Well Dan, that's at least two of us...