V/C Pocket Watch Help Needed Please.

I have tried to get any information about a pocket watch my mother gave me.  She got it from her mother who got it from her sister.  The watch originally was owned by my Uncle who bought it in Pittsburg PA.  The inside of the watch says J.R. Reed Co., Pitts. P.A.  Heres what I have been able to find out about it.  It was made somewhere in the early 1900's.  Its serial number is 325643.  Its a hunter case.  14K gold and I think has its orginal watch chain.  Thanks for any information anyone out there in watch land can provide.  Any information would help including value for insurance purposes, where it was made or where I can find this information.  V/C Pocket Watch Help Needed Please.
Re: V/C Pocket Watch Help Needed Please.
04/17/2010 - 05:02
oops here are some other pictures.  I forgot to mention that the watch runs perfectly.  I find that amazing considering it hasn't been touched in 20 years.
I can see that the watch is from USA.
04/17/2010 - 14:33
This because Vacheron&Constantin exported complete watches, that were put together in Switzerland as traditional, but more often movements, dials and even cases separately to just USA around end 1800 of and beginning of 1900. These watches are very seldom recorded at VacheronConstantin register as complete VC's. OTH, all movements and cases are registered at VC, but they can't because above reasons, tell when the watch was created all time. I myself has one of that kind, bought from USA. I personally don't care especially, but if one should be honest, it's not a genuine Vacheron&Constantin because it's created outside the factory, which at that time was at the famouse island in Geneva,  where now la Maison Vacheron Constantin is, at Quai de l’Ile, with it's exclusive boutique and The Museum. Here also all registers are. I have shown it Vacheron Constantin Museum and they told me that it was a genuine movement and a genuine case but the parts were exported to USA, so the complete watch is not registered. For me and many other, probably most V&C pocket watch aficionados, this is a true Vacheron&Constantin. Your movement serial number hints that it's from around 1910. I belive it would be the same story about yours, and your watch has a history that is just magnificent. Take good care of it and enjoy it! Thanks for having a look Doc
Vacheron & Constantin Commercial Venture in USA
04/17/2010 - 17:03
I'll hazard a guess that there were far more VC pocket watch dials/movements encased in USA-made cases in both 14 and 18K gold sold to delighted customers from the late 19th until the mid 20th century than 100% complete VC models. Jewelers such as the renowned J.E. Caldwell & Co. of Philadelphia sold a substantial number of said pocket watches, cased by EER (18K, Primarily) with some models (dials) bearing the house brand and some bearing the VC brand on the dial.  I have a VC (dial and movement labeled VC) PW with a Keystone brand 14K case, made in the 1940's with a cal. V439 movement. Some say that it was excessive duties charged on complete Swiss watches that resulted in dials and movements being imported to the USA and cased locally.  As you know, LeCoultre, was very active in the movement/case process for US-sold watches.  In fact, it is very hard to find a full Swiss LeCoultre model nowadays as most are USA-cased.  BTW Jaeger-LeCoultre had a commercial relationship with VC at the time. Finally, while it might be true (as Doc states) that the USA-cased VC watches are not registered en Suisse, thousands of customers bought them in the USA as the real McCoy and Vacheron & Constantin (or their agents and assigns) manufactured the dials and movements and sold them as a legitimate commercial venture, and in turn were sold by legitimate jewelers to appreciative customers.  Robert
Vacheron & Constantin Commercial Venture in USA
04/17/2010 - 17:04
I'll hazard a guess that there were far more VC pocket watch dials/movements encased in USA-made cases in both 14 and 18K gold sold to delighted customers from the late 19th until the mid 20th century than 100% complete VC models. Jewelers such as the renowned J.E. Caldwell & Co. of Philadelphia sold a substantial number of said pocket watches, cased by EER (18K, Primarily) with some models (dials) bearing the house brand and some bearing the VC brand on the dial.  I have a VC (dial and movement labeled VC) PW with a Keystone brand 14K case, made in the 1940's with a cal. V439 movement. Some say that it was excessive duties charged on complete Swiss watches that resulted in dials and movements being imported to the USA and cased locally.  As you know, LeCoultre, was very active in the movement/case process for US-sold watches.  In fact, it is very hard to find a full Swiss LeCoultre model nowadays as most are USA-cased.  BTW Jaeger-LeCoultre had a commercial relationship with VC at the time. Finally, while it might be true (as Doc states) that the USA-cased VC watches are not registered en Suisse, thousands of customers bought them in the USA as the real McCoy and Vacheron & Constantin (or their agents and assigns) manufactured the dials and movements and sold them as a legitimate commercial venture, and in turn were sold by legitimate jewelers to appreciative customers.  Robert
Contract Watches
04/17/2010 - 19:03
There has been some prior discussion about the vast number of private label Vacheron pocket watches made for American retailers click here to see the post.  A very interesting category of collecting; one wonders why the European private label watches seem to be given more respect! I realize here we are specifically talking about contract cases with V&C dials and movements, which is a bit different than the private label watches.  They both share the problem Doc mentioned in that the factory only has records of the movements so provenance is a bit tricky to establish, and perhaps impossible for some.
Hi Dean,
04/18/2010 - 23:55
Yes it's strange about the American vs European models. This one is a most respeted Vacheron&Constantin. And still it's three different names!! First it's a Vacheron&Constantin, then it's Verger Frères and to finish it all who built the case  and last the jewler that sold it was Marchak. Perhaps it helped that it was Verger that was the retailer for V&C in Paris and in the end was owned to 100% by V&C Cheers Doc
Hey Doc! I can't get enough of that....
04/19/2010 - 06:17
awesome montre à volets .  Anything from the partnership between Verger Freres and Vacheron Constantin is outstanding and yours is so complete and beautiful.   There was a "poche surprise" made by VF for American retailer Charlton & Co. in the Art of VC catalog, but it seems most were for the European market.  Charlton was a very impressive New York jeweler and also labeled one of the rare Vacheron Bras-en-l'Air pocket watches from Verger. Photo courtesy of The Hour Lounge click here to see the post