Why these featherweight aluminum beauties have been a personal favorite was documented some time ago here: My First Pocket Watch. The watch featured in that post had the familiar caliber 439 aluminum movement that I thought was exclusive to this model.
But then that Assouline book came along to mess things up. You see, the disassembled aluminum movement they presented is a completely different caliber!
Probably a prototype, I thought, as this style of movement could not be found in any other reference materials. But then something interesting was spotted at a recent online auction and before you know it I had the mysterious item in hand.
Yes, indeed, there were two versions of the fabled aluminum caliber. This early model from 1938 was patterned on an existing pocket watch movement. There were subtle differences in the case and dial; however, it was absolutely V&C.
The back had a dedication for 25 years good service with the Saguenay Electric Company of Canada. Unfortunately, the inscription was dated 1932, which was several years before the aluminum watch was actually in production. Furthermore, the Saguenay Electric Company was had only been in operation for five years by 1932. A more significant hitch was that the case and movement numbers, although correct for the aluminum series of watches, did not marry-up in VC's archival records.
Alas, it had to be returned . Although I believe there are plausible explanations for all these difficulties, without the possibility for a Certificate of Authenticity it was just an expensive curiosity.
Still, I was able to study the piece and confirm the existence of a previously unknown-to-me V&C aluminum watch...a worthwhile adventure .