Vacheron & Constantin Real?

Hello, I would like some input whether the watch listed on EBay is a real V&C or not. There does not seem to be SWISS written on the movement and the dial says "Geneva" and not "Geneve".

Vacheron & Constantin Real?Vacheron & Constantin Real?

Thank you in advance for your input.
It's a Frankenwatch monster
02/07/2014 - 23:48
And the auction ended on January 20th, so why are you asking.  Also, if you look at the other items from this seller you will notice that he is taking random pocket watch movements in this same case, and evidently people are stupid enough to buy them,
Re: It's a Frankenwatch monster
02/08/2014 - 01:51
If I had stumbled across this watch after the auction had ended, I would have asked the same question Rostyv has, as a point of information, just to verify my instincts. I was sincerely curious to see what forum members would have to say about this watch, not about the auction bidders.
I had the same reaction as maberlin at first,
02/08/2014 - 02:38
but reconsidered after learning the fleabay auction had ended, thus not a shill.  Perhaps pics of the watch in question without the auction link would have been better. So, yes, that is a legit V&C movement and dial, plunked into an aftermarket wrist-conversion case.  The line decoration on the bridges was for American tastes, as was the use of Geneva instead of Geneve.  FWIW, Mrs. Tick Talk has an 1874 pendant watch with the selfsame "Geneva" on the dial, plus English "Vve. Vacheron & Cie Successors" engraved on the cuvette instead of "Successeurs", again for the English-speaking market. The patented fine regulator has the earliest patent date of 1884, so we know offhand the ebauche was manufactured between then and the next patent date of 1904.  This is confirmed by the serial number of 297209 which puts it right around 1892. What remains a mystery is why they exist, considering that one can obtain a real V&C for about the price paid for these frankens, and have a true investment enlightened.
Re: I had the same reaction as maberlin at first,
02/08/2014 - 03:48
Thank you for sharing this fascinating information, tick-talk, concerning both Vacheron Constantin's past practices for the American market and this particular watch. (I was suspicious that, the auction seller's claims notwithstanding, the dial and movement were not genuine, though I wasn't sure, since the seller was open about the serial number. In an interesting and unexpected denouement, I see now that my instincts were wrong after all.) I wholeheartedly agree with what you aptly describe as the real mystery here. Since a watch is much more than merely a cased movement, it is indeed curious that when the genuine article is available for similar pricing, watches such as this seem to answer a demand.
Re: Re: I had the same reaction as maberlin at first,
02/08/2014 - 07:41
Thank you all very much for your input. This forum and its members are a wealth of useful information.
Sorry for the late contribution
02/08/2014 - 15:44
I just came across this post. This is another recased pocket watch. The demand for these is curious but I suspect it attracts people who like big wrist watches and then can claim that it's a genuine Vacheron. These movements without cases are not rare. It's possible that some, although perhaps not this one were in gold cases. The cases were removed and sold for the value of the gold. This practice was reasonably common especially during hard times with people who had received the watch as a gift or as a retirement token of service. I agree with Dean about the dates. I traced it to 1894 +/- 1-2 years. A few observations though. The Geneva striping may have been a custom order since not all watches going to America had it. I don't thing any going to the UK had it. They also preferred the French texts on the dial and movement. The placement of the serial number is also a bit uncommom. It's usually on the round bulbous bridge uner the VC name and logo. Another point is the words Patented and the date on the regullator. Usually it's "avance/retard" or "fast/slow". But I have seen it once before, although in French (Marque deposée). The design of the movement with this layout of bridges occurred sometime in the 1880's (i think), although it may have been a few years earlier. It persited well into the 20th century and is recognizable as a VC layout. Just a few cents worth for general interest.
Re: Sorry for the late contribution
02/08/2014 - 18:54
Thank you for your "few cents," JB, worth incalculably more! I always wondered how naked pocketwatch movements came about, and your information regarding Geneva stripes; script language on the dial and movement; placement of the serial number; script on the regulator; and bridges design; all of this detail is fascinating, giving one a fuller picture of the watch. Having confirmed the date of movement manufacture, and providing the reader with valuable context regarding this pocketwatch, your post is welcome, timely, and, like tick-talk's, a prime example of why I so highly value this forum.
Joseph, your welcome comments
02/08/2014 - 20:18
have turned on a light in the dim recesses of my brain enlightened regarding the custom-orders that produced so many private label watches using V&C ebauches.  Of course, I'm thinking now, there must have been a catalog for the merchants to specifiy movement size, decoration, dial printing etc.!   I wonder, plead even, if Alex could prevail upon the wizards inhabiting the Heritage Department to verify this theory and perhaps locate an example for our immense pleasure?
02/08/2014 - 20:41
An excellent idea! I whole-heartedly second the notion of requesting the Heritage Department to enlighten us about the history of Vacheron Constantin custom orders.
Great idea, Dean! (nt)
02/08/2014 - 22:22
will check Dean but AFAIK VC only supplied movements to
02/09/2014 - 11:33
certain of its retailers in the US who then recased these movements under their own name.
Sixty-four private label retailers and counting...
02/09/2014 - 21:59
Hi Alex:  I finally sorted out a list of V&C private labels, that is watches which display the retailer's name on the dial or movement, and have a total of 64 mostly American names.  This is an impressive number and speaks to an organized approach to marketing V&C ebauches to private jewelers. So I suppose the questions of interest are a) if the V&C agents of the period (such as Abry, Roberts, or Longines-Wittnauer in the US) produced order books or relied on ordering documents provided directly from Geneva, and b) what was provided to the Manufacture which guided them in creating dials and engraving movements for these special orders, or c) was this custom work done by the agents in their local markets? Thank-you for your efforts with this obscure request, and in return I can provide the list of private label names which I have to date.  Any additional contributions would be most gratefully accepted, but I would also ask for a picture of the item.  Cheers, ·         James Allan & Co., Charleston, So. Car. ·         Anderson & Houghton, Little Falls, N.Y. ·         Anderton & Eberhardt ·         A.C. Benedict & Co., New-York ·         Chris Bernloehr & Bros., Indianapolis ·         Bigelow, Kennard & Co., Boston ·         Henry Birks & Sons, Montreal ·         Black, Starr & Frost, New York ·         Ira G. Blake & Son, Worcester, Mass. ·         C.R. Boas, Harrisburg, Pa. ·         Frank F. Bonnet, Columbus, Ohio ·         Bowler & Burdick Co., Cleveland, Ohio ·         Boyd Park Jewelry Co., Denver ·         F.W. Bromberg, Birmingham, Ala. ·         J.E. Caldwell & Co., Philadelphia ·         Charlton & Co., New York ·         Cowell & Hubbard Co., Cleveland, Ohio ·         I.G. Dillon & Co., Wheeling, West Va. ·         Geo. A. Disque, Eric, Pa. ·         F.W. Drosten, St. Louis ·         Ellis and Ryrie, Toronto ·         Fabre, Buenos-Aires ·         G.E. Feagans, Joliet, Ill. ·         R. Garbarini, Buenos-Aires ·         E. Gubelin, Lucerne ·         Hamann & Koch ·         Saml. Hammond & Co., New-York ·         Hansel Sloan & Co., Hartford, Conn. ·         Harris & Shafer, Washington D.C. ·         R.A. Heggie & Bro. ·         Hight & Fairfield, Butte, Mont. ·         H.J. Howe, Syracuse, N.Y. ·         Humburch Bros., Rochester, N.Y. ·         F.L. Hunke, Albany, N.Y. ·         E. Jaccard Jewelry Co., St. Louis, Mo. ·         Saml. Kirk & Son Co., Baltimore ·         Thos. Kirkpatrick, New York ·         R. Klarenaar ·         McAllaster & Humburgh, Rochester, N.Y. ·         Mermod Jaccard & Co., St. Louis ·         Nowlan Co. of Richmond, Virginia ·         The Nowlan Co., Richmond, Va. ·         W. C. Potter ·         J.R. Reed & Co., Pittsburgh, Pa. ·         O.L. Rosenkrans & Thatcher Co., Milwaukee, Wiss. ·         Frank B. Ross, Columbus, Ohio ·         C. F. Rudolph ·         Sheafer & Lloyd, Pittsburgh ·         Geo. C. Shreve & Co., San Francisco ·         Hal B. Smith & Co., Logansport, Ind. ·         Spaulding & Co., Chicago ·         H.N. Squire & Sons, New-York ·         Theodore B. Starr Inc., New York ·         J.P. Stevens & Bro., Atlanta, Ga. ·         T.C. Tanke, Buffalo, N.Y. ·         Tiffany & Co. ·         Traub Bros. & Co., Detroit ·         Udall & Ballou, New York ·         Julius C. Walk & Son, Indianapolis ·         Welsh & Bro., Baltimore, Md. ·         Geo. W. Welsh’s Sons ·         Aug. Wetteroth, St. Joseph ·         W.B. Wilcox, Utica, N.Y. ·         William Wise & Son, Brooklyn
Re: Sixty-four private label retailers and counting...
02/10/2014 - 22:31
I am rendered speechless by your scholarship, tick-talk, and your accomplishment here. However you managed to do this, it is awe-inspiring. And your questions are indubitably on point, striking to the heart of the matter regarding what we would like to discover about Vacerhon Constantin's custom orders. You have definitely, painstakingly cut out a substantial piece of work for Alex and others to follow up on, but such is the strength of your contribution here that this post stands very well on its own even without further information. Of course, one dearly hopes that additional information from others is forthcoming . . .
Now Sixty-Six...
02/15/2014 - 06:51
Please add the following: ·         J.B. Trickey & Co., Lincoln, Neb. ·         C.J. Wells, Oneida, N.Y.
Re: Now Sixty-Six...
02/15/2014 - 20:32
Thank you, tick-talk, for keeping this list "alive," quite literally. Growing, indeed! Your contributions here are much appreciated, and, as usual, help to provide an information backbone to this forum, supplementing as well as complementing our moderator's efforts.
Now Seventy-One
03/31/2014 - 22:47
Please update your lists with these addtional V&C American private-label names: Critzer Bros., San Antonio, Texas J.J. Freeman & Co., Toledo, Ohio A.L. Haman & Co. F.M. Herron, Indianapolis Wm. F. Ladd, New York
Now Seventy-nine private label retailers and counting...
05/12/2014 - 16:53

Update to this thread with additional confirmed private label V&C retailers:

  • The Bohm Bristol Co., San Francisco
  • Clark & True, Middletown, Conn.
  • J.W. Cusack, Troy, NY
  • Jose Luiz de Araujo Dias (South America)
  • Carl Ranch's EFTF, Kjobenhavn (Copenhagen)
  • Roehm & Son, Detroit, Mich. (aka R.J.F. Roehm)
  • George B. Rose, La Crosse, Wis.
  • C.L. Ruth, Montgomery, Ala.


Re: Sorry for the late contribution
02/09/2014 - 09:09
Thanks Joseph for your very interesting information on the history of these timepieces. Its was a pleasure reading.
Re: Vacheron & Constantin Real?
04/04/2014 - 02:26
Although not the "full monty" I think it still is a pretty piece.