Philippe Dufour comments on the Caliber 1400

No need to present Philippe Dufour, one of the biggest independent watchmakers and the one considered to have the most exquisit movement finish.

In a recent discussion with Dufour on different brands and their movements he lauded Vacheron Constantin's caliber 1400 which he had taken some time to examine (his daughter used to work for VC) and according to him the movement is very well constructed and the movement finish is among the best available in series production. He also said that the bridge shapes had been made in a way which would make finishing difficult but which would also be a showpiece of the finishing talents of the watchmakers at VC! His only negative comment was that the movement was too small.

Philippe Dufour comments on the Caliber 1400

Kari Voutilainen and Roger Smith both had a chance to have a look at caliber 2475 at Basel last year (granted they only could see the movement through the display back) and both complimented the movement finish which was to them top notch and even surprising for a serial production piece!

Philippe Dufour comments on the Caliber 1400

cal 2475 underdial:

Philippe Dufour comments on the Caliber 1400 

How important is movement finish for you?

I read somewhere that VC polished its movement to a great deal
12/18/2007 - 11:29

not because they only want to get geneva sela, but also to make sure the movement can last a long time. It's also to make the movement more precise. In this case, movement finsihing is important. It also looks pretty!

Very interesting,
12/18/2007 - 14:04

and confirming the high standard quality managed by VC through time.

It's another "stone" in their garden to admire.

Re: Philippe Dufour comments on the Caliber 1400
12/18/2007 - 18:20

It is a great compliment to VC when someone like Philippe Dufour gives such good comments. As far as finishing goes, I think it is important for the beauty of the movement. Without good finishing these movements would not look like the mechanical gems that they are. I feel that good finishing on some parts is more important than good finishing on other parts. The reason for this is because high finishing quality of parts which move and create friction can help to increase the life of these parts greatly. Other parts which do not move and create friction are not as important to finish to as high a degree because the better finishing does not increase the life of these parts. However, I feel that it is still great for excellent companies like VC to finish every part off to perfection even if it is only for asthetic reasons. This maintains the highest standards of craftsmanship which you expect from a top notch manufacturer like VC.

Best Regards,


I'm 100% with Mike
12/18/2007 - 22:54

And to have the real experts such as Dufour and my DEAR Mr. Smith appreciate the movements and finishing of VC, this is really one of the best compliments VC can receive!

I am not enough expert...
12/19/2007 - 09:33

...but I think Mister Dufour is a really reliable and nice watchmaker

VC calibers, in my little knowledge have always worked well, form the entry range to the most complicated calibers!

It's one of the reasons why I love VC!

becoming more important by the day...
12/19/2007 - 11:58

the extreme of meticulous finishing i have seen in person is kari voutilainen's observatory watch, and it is this simple time only watch that made me realise how finishing can enhance a watch desirability by a great leap and raises the bar for even serial produced watches for me. i cannot help but share my excitement of this piece as i have been thinking about it all the time, the sheer depth and sheen of  a simple movement elevated by handcrafted skills is what i would define as art. it is simply beyond my limited vocabulary to describe and urge u to have a look it where possible. of course importantly, the watch design is art deco of VC's strain.

i believe that for the con-com segment (a new term learnt from the for connoisseur-consumer), it is becoming more important because consumers like us (though i can barely pass as a connoiseur, more of a appreciator) besides paying for heritage, name, technicality and raliability, aesthetics is the most important. it is how one "falls head over heels" and spills over to ownership. and a piece with such good finishing can be appreciated over and over, from various angles and different objects in the watch, in economic term, it increases utility and of course justifies the high price we are paying for them.

Hi Aaron agree with you 100% but I do have a problem with the term
12/19/2007 - 12:05

"consummer" which makes me think of consummer goods meaning mass production objects meant to be used and discarded. I like to see the WIS as aficionados, collectors, passionate lovers etc... but definately not as consummers, it would take all the emotion out of watch collecting...

thanks for the correction. i have too much econs embeded, collector...
12/19/2007 - 12:12

is a better word in this context.

no worries, posted the same under Bernard Cheongs post on TP :-) (nt)
12/19/2007 - 12:59


Re: Philippe Dufour comments on the Caliber 1400
12/19/2007 - 17:03

It’s not everything that attracts watch enthusiasts, but movement finish is one of the aspects one shall consider when choosing a watch, because it makes rather visible / noticeable differences for none-professionals like the most of us as well as for professional watchmakers. Setting aside watches’ design and comfort to wear, cutting accuracy and architecture of movements seem to play essential roles for me. However, I myself am not able to judge movement quality by just observing visible parts. Who know cycloid is better than other wheel designs, or movement architectures are superior to those of others? Only those who designed and finished may know. Compared with these technical differences, movement finish is rather easily appreciated by many of watch fans, and in that sense, finish quality is an important aspects in movement quality. Negative side of obsessing with finish quality, IMHO, is some modern finish works are done for aesthetical purpose and not essentially necessary. (I love the beautifully finished movement, though.)

Important words from a highly respected watchmaker...
12/19/2007 - 22:07

And I think highly finished movement does not only show remarkable engineering skills but also is as mentioned before, in the case of moving parts, important for the accuracy and increasing of their lifespan. And aesthetic wise, since most of the watches today do have sapphire back, it is even more important to see these beautifully engineered parts in their nicest outfit.

I am all for nice finish!!


Re: Philippe Dufour comments on the Caliber 1400
12/25/2007 - 10:23


The curve that the plate is beautiful as for the splendor of this movement as for me.

And a beautiful tone to hear and the touch to reach the finger-tip are the greatest charm subtly when I turned a crown.

I expect the reproduction of a simple hand manual movement and the rectangular hand manual movement of the size from 28mm to around 30mm if possible.

Of course by the layout of the plate that VC is classic.

Best regards