The strange saga of the Vacheron Constantin 37010 MCMLXXII : My New Watch

In looking at the history of the VC 37010 I came away with the following sequence:

1. 1972 Prestige de la France was introduced—versions for both men and women.

2. In 1999 The MCMLXII (37010) arrived--a much smaller version of the Prestige de la France (Prestige de la Luxembourg?) and styled with sharp corners—a men's version (mechanical), but there were women's versions as well. (On this forum, Dino944 had one.)

3. At some point they dropped the mens' version and had a number of women's version (all I believe were quartz--but I could be mistaken.)

4. In 2013, the new 1972 Prestige was introduced with both men's and women's version. To me, it looks a lot like the 1972 Prestige de la France. The men's movement is mechanical as was the original version.

To me, it is one of the most unique dress watches I've seen. It's a good alternate for my OS—Plain situation where I may bump into things: The Overseas. Fancy, I'll don the MCMLXII. I can't keep staring at it.

 My New Watch

Just big enough for my wrist.

After wearing my Overseas, this watch is as light as a feather. It's not especially thin like the Prestige models, but it is quite comfortable. From the top view you can get an idea of its width relative to the standard VC leather band:

 My New Watch

Top view

One of the concerns I had with buying this watch was the clasp: it didn't look right compared to other 37010s. The others had a trapzoid shape, while this one appeared to be a plain vanilla tang. That mystery was solved too, as shown in the following pictures:

 My New Watch

Buckle mystery solved...

The band that came with it saw very little use, and I suspect that the original owner got tangled up laching it and just let it languish. The deployant mechanism works fine, but threading the band through the trapazoid is awkward since the rod that goes into the band holes is fixed atop the entry.  Also, the band seems to be a bit short for the average man's wrist—in the bottom left picture above you can see that the tip of the band barely makes it to the band-strap. However, I'm finding that with practice, the band is becoming less of a chore to get on and off. One thing, though; it's very secure. Below shows the band, deployant and trapezoid buckle.

 My New Watch

The Band and deployant

The back of the case is interesting insofar as the MCMLXXII has a somewhat art decco font and four screws holding the back on.

 My New Watch

Back of the case

I had a jeweler open the back of the case for me so that I could get the 6-digit number indicating something about the watch. Unfortunately, my iPhone's camera could not get number clearly, and I had no idea what I was looking for. Later when I called the VC consigliere, she told me where to look; so I'm going to have to get a big magnifying glass and have another go at it.

 My New Watch

Open-heart surgery

I understand that it runs on a calibre 1055, and that is a subject I have loads to learn about.

By the way, does anyone know the screwdrive size of these tiny screws on the back? The jeweler's screwdriver indicated it was a 1.60 something or other. Whatever it is, I want to get a good one. Also a loupe....and a caliper. I better stop.


Re: The strange saga of the Vacheron Constantin 37010 MCMLXXII : My New Watch
02/25/2016 - 04:58

Hi Bill.

You made a great buy once again.

1972 models (including MCMLXXII)

have different characteristics from Overseas models.

Enjoy your watch life!



great watch, its one of those watches that either look great or damn ugly on a wrist! and it
02/25/2016 - 09:14

looks good on yours yes

The Ugly Duckling and the Golden Ratio
02/25/2016 - 11:51

Thanks Alex! Of all of the Vacheron Constantin watches I had seen, the only one I truly did not like was (note past-tense) the MCMLXXII. What turned me around was an article I read about the new 1972 Prestige. I found both the Prestige models of the 1972 (before and after the MCMLXXII) to be quite fetching, and the article noted that the width of the long length of the Prestige was a golden section of the bottom of the sapphire glass.

The golden section (or golden ratio) is one of those phenomenon in art and math that provide an artistic balance. It is generally expressed as:

The Ugly Duckling and the Golden Ratio

Phi, like Pi, is an irrational number, and so it's much easier to cast it in an algorithm and use the returning value rather than write 1.61803398875... knowing that the value is irrational. So I used the following algorithm for finding golden sections: 

goldRatio = function() {return (1+sqrt(5))/2;};

Visually, the golden section looks like this:

The Ugly Duckling and the Golden Ratio

The designers at Vacheron Constantin apparently use the golden section quite a bit as a design tool, and in one of the promotional pictures they show a typical spiral based on the golden ratio that looks like the following image: (The following spiral is directly based on the golden section and not from the hand-drawn one on the white-board shown in the VC promotion.)

The Ugly Duckling and the Golden Ratio

Finally, the Greek letter Phi was selected for the golden ratio formula based on the Greek sculptor Phidias who used the golden ratio in his work. Phidias is in the sport family that led to my Overseas! Hence, my Overseas and MCMLXXII are related.

It's no wonder I finally succumbed to the charms of the MCMLXXII...

Re: The Ugly Duckling and the Golden Ratio
02/29/2016 - 23:29

Thank-you for this interesting diversion.  I'm having trouble seeing the formula, aka rule of thirds, expressed in the Phidias watch design.  Can you illustrate?

Rough measurement
03/01/2016 - 11:49

Hi Dean,

I've been having the same issues. I had read that the width of the top of the new 1972 Prestige consisted of a golden section in relation to the bottom witdth of the glass. However, I'm getting (crudely measured) closer to 1.5 than phi. When I go to NYC today, I'm getting some watch tools and maybe I'll be able to get better measurements.

Rough measurement

The illustration above is a very rough measure using pixels.

Found my Golden Ratio
03/14/2016 - 23:27

The golden section, I believed, was only in the newest version of the 1972 Prestige, but after I did some more careful measurement, I found the same section on my watch, the MCMLXXII (Or the 1972 Asymmetric...for easy speaking) as illustrated.

Found my Golden Ratio

Re: The strange saga of the Vacheron Constantin 37010 MCMLXXII : My New Watch
02/25/2016 - 18:31

Hi Bill

I like everything about your watch - both its trapezoidal shape and the large Roman Numerals appeal to me. BUT I wouldn't want to work on the movement - looks small to me. I inhereted my uncle's Bulova Lindberg; the movement is about the size of a dime! Good eyes and a very steady hand for that...

It looks like a very tight and even weave on both your shirt and jacket. My wife used to work at a weaving mill in Yorkshire; If I went to pick her up I'd talk to the weavers and they'd tell me all sorts of things. Interesting that it's not a bad idea to take your loupe to the tailor's. You'd be surprised how badly some expensive suits are woven...

How's the watchmaking coming along?




Heading for Watchmaker Supplies and VC
02/25/2016 - 20:22


After listenting to your advice, I'm planning a trip to NYC next week to pop in the VC botique to see one of their craftsmen to get the right size screwdriver for the back of my watch. As you noted, Its movements are small and so are the screws holding on the back. Then I'm going to a watchmaking supply store nearby and get the recommended screwdriver and other watchmaking tools.  (I'm going to see if I can take care of the archiving papers or at least find out if they can help me get the right information.) I think I'll need a big magnifying glass and a good loupe as well. Probably calipers too. I'm going to practice (with a different camera than my iPhone) on closeups of the workings. Oh yeah, a simple mechanical clock or watch for practice, too.

Any suggestions for basic watch repair tools? (Don't worry, I'm not touching the workings on either of my VCs just yet!)


Re: Heading for Watchmaker Supplies and VC
02/25/2016 - 23:41

Hi Bill

I suggest a set of Bergeon screwdrivers

#2 and #5 Dumont tweezers.

A movement holder (and Case holder if you wish)

Buy a loupe that suits you; I like the kind that clip on glasses but not everyone does. I like an Optivisor with a 4x lens for most work.

A Presto hand and pinion remover is handy to have.


Pegwood (wooden skewers work just as well and are a LOT cheaper) 

Pithwood (for cleaning screwdrivers and tweezers) You might get some from a watchmaker for nothing. You don't need much.

A dust blower - a rubber bulb one is best

I'd suggest you buy a 6497 - 1 or a 6498 to work on. It's big and easy to see. This is the movement Panerai uses for some of their watches. Also, the 6498 uses the Incabloc springs - much easier to handle than the Novodiac type.

Lots of patience!!!

That's all you need to get started. 

It'll probably set you back about $500 - depends on the quality of the tools.

Good luck and have fun.



PS - below is a good video on the 6498. If you do what they do - except for lubing - you'll learn how to dissassmble and reassemble the movement.




Off to see the Wizards
02/27/2016 - 16:42

I have my appointment set up for Tuesday with the New York City Vacheron Boutique and I'll see their on-site repairman in hopes of finally getting the magic numbers inside for my archive papers. While I'm there I'll find out about the right size screwdriver(s) to get for my 37010 and 42040 (including the band), and then I'm off to the Watchmakers store on West 47th to get  tools suggested by Dave.

This is a lot more fun than getting real work done....

Re: Off to see the Wizards
02/28/2016 - 03:08

Some people actually do this watch stuff for a living - lucky sods!

I love watching peoples faces when I demo the Möbius strip. Math is fun!

Have fun buying tools.


PS - I cased a 6497-1 movement; my wife has claimed it. I told her it would cost $100/hr to have it repaired.

The Wizard
03/02/2016 - 03:07

If you're ever in New York City, schedule a visit to Vacheron Constantin. I think you'll enjoy the experience.


We (my colleague Dr. Rodriguez and I) walked from Grand Central Station to the Vacheron Constantin Boutique up Madison Avenue to the shop at 729. We walked past several other iconic watchmakers on Madison and on the way back on 5th Avenue. My 11 am appointment was to have my VC 1972 legitimized by getting the movement number. They led us up to the "surgery" on the second floor.

The Wizard

Vacheron Constantin Wall Clock in "The Surgery"

The horologer or watch repairman (Alex please correct me on my possible misuse of French) opened up my VC 1972 and set out to work on his amazing workbench:

The Wizard

The Immaculate Workbench

He took my watch and picked the right screwdriver and oppened it up. With a loupe, he was able to read the tiny 6-digit movement number. After closing it up and cleaning it up a bit, he discovered a slight problem in the deployant clasp, fixed it and showed me how to correctly wind the watch and work the deployant. He was able to raise and lower his workbench with the push of a button.

Here's another shot (for my own reference...) of how the workbench layout looked:

The Wizard

Levetating workbench

The shop itself is beautiful, as this picture from the upstairs shows:

The Wizard


So after 20 minutes we were done there and the 1972 was no longer an uncertain heritage.

The Wizard

At the Vacheron Constantin Boutique in NYC

The 1972 is now like a new watch in terms of ease of getting it on and off, and while the Oversease was on my wrist, the 1972 got to ride in the travel case.

The Wizard


I am definitely taking my watch to the VC Botique for servicing. In about a year, I plan to get both my Overses and 1972 serviced (routine) and I will definitely take them to the VC Boutique in NYC.

Then we went to the watch tool store that is in the middle of the diamond district on 47th Street. 


Beginning workbench
03/04/2016 - 00:17

The final stop on our NYC trip was to the Watch Repair shop where I was able to get the tools that had been recommended.

Beginning workbench