V&C Tank - Any Inofrmation

Hi all,

I just boughted this well used Vacheron Constantin.

I have never seen any model like these nor the movement.

Could any one of you give me some help to identify this specific model.

Pictures attached.

Your help is much appreciated.


Nice vintage piece
08/26/2015 - 13:19

Hi jsflog, welcome to THL.

Your watch was made in the late 1930s or early 1940s.  I have a watch with the same rectangular movement. 

Nice vintage piece

So does another collector on THL. http://www.thehourlounge.com/en/vacheron-constantin-discussions/new-acquisition-next-626389

Can you confirm the serial numbers are:

Case #: 263347

Movement #: 421052

The movement is pre-JLC and a beauty.  I got mine because of the rare 6-bridge design, nobody makes them like this anymore.

Congratulations, Dan

Re: Nice vintage piece
08/29/2015 - 00:03

Hi Dan,

Thanks for your help

The serial numbers are:  case: 264847, movement: 421052.

So do you believe this movement was developed by V&C, previously to JLC?


Joao Santos

Alex, can you check the serial numbers on this watch?
08/29/2015 - 04:29

I'm quite sure it is before the SAPIC days (when JLC and VC were under combined ownership under the SAPIC holding company).  But that does not necessarily mean the movement was totally developed by V&C.  It could have been, or it could have been developed by somebody else (even JLC as a non-corporate related entity).

Again, to get to that level of information...I would rely on Alex or other more knowledgeable Loungers.

BR, Dan

Re: Re: Nice vintage piece
08/29/2015 - 18:47

Hi Dan, Thanks for all your help.

I just got back the watch from my watchmaker, which gave the watch a good clean.

I am sending a phto of the clean dial.

You can see it has been well used, but still marvelous.

In his opinion this movement was based in a Girard Perregaux movement, but with some modifications / improvements from V&C.

Hope Alex can give me some more details.



João Santos




Dial cleaned up nicely, looks great! (nt)
08/30/2015 - 10:57
shaped movements
08/31/2015 - 23:57

Hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful late summer.  We're back in town for a few weeks now and I'm catching up with all the posts.

Alex's must-read series of articles; Vacheron Constantin and the Tonneau 100 Years of Creativity, features some early tonneau movement photos in Part II, but unfortunately this one isn't there.  The article explains that V&C began using oval-shaped movements in 1927 and then in 1932 introduced tonneau-shaped calibers.

VC's history with shaped calibers begins even earlier.  In 1915 the Manufacture developed their first rectangular movement named 20x5 for its dimensions but known internally as "tuyau" for pipe.  It was just a project that sat unused until 1919 when Verger Frères ordered a dozen and thus was born the famous "baguette" caliber.  Today's Caliber 1005 is a direct descendent and holds the laurel as longest-produced movement for VC.  It wasn't until 1929 that JLC responded with their Caliber 101.

VC's history of using supplied ebauches and components was brought on by economic challenges before and during the Great Depression.  As Charles Constantin described it, prices for their products in the market place began depreciating while the export of unassembled Swiss movements was further choking demand for their expensive finished products abroad.  The response came in 1926 when a trust of ebauche manufacturers was established that became, in 1931, Superholding horlogère Suisse.  Immediately, V&C began to receive complete escapement kits through this organization.

By 1935 the form movement for men's wristwatches was in demand but V&C was financially unable to construct one themselves.  They engaged with La Générale, a watchmaking factory in Reconvilliers, to use their specialty tonneau machine and created the movement named 20x26.  FWIW, this company was founded by Omega in 1880 (Louis Brandt & Fil) and manufactured Helvetia watches for them from 1885.

Joao, your movement numbers place the date of manufacture in the late 1930s, although I haven't been able to find a match for the case shape.  Alex should be able to provide exact info from the archives.  Thanks for sharing smiley.

Great to have you back my friend
09/01/2015 - 01:50

and definitely "one of the more knowledgeable Loungers" smiley

Thanks for this additional information!

Re: shaped movements
09/01/2015 - 15:30

Thanks for all those details.

I already requested an Extract from the Arquives frm V&C.

As soon as I got it, I will inform off the details.



Re: Re: shaped movements
09/09/2015 - 13:06

Dear All,

Please find attached copy of the extract from the arquives.

Vacheron identified the model as "Photo 3856" and the movement as 458.

The manufacture date is 1938.

Does anyone has ever heard about this model and the movement in square shape?

Thanks for your help.


These are rare watches
09/14/2015 - 11:24

so I do not believe there is a lot of information available about them.

Photo 3856 refers to the photographic records VC kept for their watches.  The Reference number system VC uses is original based on these numbered photograph records.

My records show that there is also a round Cal. 458 movement, in addition to thie 458 tonneau movement.

At last, found a listing for this ref
09/14/2015 - 19:37

From Antiquorum, in gold.  Our OP's watch is very interesting and adds to the catalog of V&C idiosyncrasies.  Image, at the same time there were both round 9 ligne caliber 458 based on JLC ebauche, and tonneau 9 ligne caliber 458 from I suppose La Generale surprise

At last, found a listing for this ref

Re: At last, found a listing for this ref
09/14/2015 - 21:41

Very nice vintage VC. Beautifully crafted! Thank you for sharing your purchase with us!


Re: At last, found a listing for this ref
09/18/2015 - 18:37


Thanks for your research and all the positive coments.