While I am a watch admirer, I am by no means an enthusiast and honestly, the name Vacheron Constantin meant nothing to me (silly me). A bit of web searching quickly opened by eyes. This site without a doubt seems to be the most authoritative.
I was also able to find a fantastic Swiss watch maker local to me (and in this case Swiss is referring to both the watch AND the maker ) who was able to get the watch in great condition. Fortunately, the stem and one other minor piece were the only 2 pieces needing to be replaced. The dial was repainted beautifully. For now, I put an aftermarket band on it that I hope to upgrade some day.
After many months, I got the piece back. I wanted to post the pictures to share my good fortune and ask for any information I could find. I think I am looking at a 1002 calibre. From the serial number, I think this dates back to between 1915 and 1920 but I may be completely misinterpreting what I have read.
This watch has generated a lot of discussion in the family. They were not at all wealthy so it is unclear, where this came from. He was a US pilot in WWII stationed in N Africa and Europe so we are speculating that may have had something to do with it. We wish we knew about it when he was still alive!
Enjoy the pics and I welcome any comments or information. Thanks!