Vintage 4073 - Repost with pictures

Hello I am reposting with pictues this time:

in the meantime I learned that the watch was made in 1953. At the time VC was not consistently applying the Geneva Hallmark on the movements.

Also I finally found the caseback numbers on the body; they are on the base of the lower left lug.

Does anyone know why there were 453/3B with 17 jewels and 453/3B with 18 jewels? I would have expected a different movement number.




I am new to the forum and it was about time I started my Vacheron & Constantin collection; Here is what I found. A gold vintage 4073 with a 18 jewel 453/3B movement. Unfortunately it has no box, no papers. I finally got to see it today. Here are my first impressions: Case number : 337462 / 4073 Movement: 520798 / P453/3B

- No Geneva seal; however I have seen lots of pictures of such movements without a Geneva seal; 
- I read somewhere that the last 3 numbers of the case number should be printed on the inside of the body; could not find that either. I have also seen pictures of watches without that number.
- 18 jewel? All P453/3B I have seen have 17 jewel... This is very strange.
What do you think? Does anyone know what would be the date of this watch?

Looking forward to reading your comments ! Manu

Vintage 4073 - Repost with pictures

Vintage 4073 - Repost with pictures

Welcome to the wonderfully zany world of V&C
07/03/2013 - 04:31
The only rule is there are no rules enlightened.  Can be frustrating if you seek absolute answers so better to learn the nuances.  The 18th jewel was a cap stone on the escape wheel and while this often appears on the Geneva Seal movements, it was not a requirement.
I always thought the 18th jewel was for...
07/05/2013 - 19:21
the "dial side" of the center wheel? 17 jewel V&C movements have a cap jewel on the "movement side" of the escape wheel.  So it is taken away from the dial side of the center wheel (a metal bushing is used instead.  I believe having a both sides of the center wheel jeweled is not required for the Geneva Seal, though I personally like it.)  I just thought when they decided to use an 18th jewel, it would be the pivot jewel for the center wheel.   But it could be a cap jewel for the "dial side" of the escape wheel as well. BR, Dan
Cap jewels on a 17-jewel movement?
07/08/2013 - 18:47
Dan, where did you learn that 17-jewel V&C movements had cap jewels?  Where did they lose the jewel from?  I'd like to follow this up as it wouldn't be usual practice, which would be to just have pivot jewels on the escape wheel.  Cap jewels were mostly decorative additions from the basic 17 of a so-called "fully jeweled" movement.
Re: Cap jewels on a 17-jewel movement?
07/09/2013 - 04:07
Hi Dean, Here is one on my wife's cal 466/3B. I believe this was not an uncommon practice, the 17 jewel cal 453 also has a cap jewel on the escape wheel. Walt Odet's article on Timezone in 2002 also mentions this: A removable metal bushing is used on the dial side pivot of the center wheel.  This is why I prefer 18 jewel (or higher) versions of VC movements.  It may not be a practical issue, but from the design intent - it appeals to me more. BR, Dan
Thanks Dan :-)
07/09/2013 - 07:58
“With 17 jewels, the watch uses a cap jewel on the escape wheel upper pivot, but a replaceable bushing on the lower center wheel pivot.  Although this was common practice, Vacheron’s finest movement of the day would have been 18 jewels with a jewel in this high-load position.”  Walt Odets, Vintage Vacheron   Thanks for sharing this interesting info Dan.  Your preference for the 18 jewel movement is very practical indeed as I would suspect less frequent maintenance required with a properly jeweled lower center wheel pivot!
Re: Vintage 4073 - Repost with pictures
07/06/2013 - 01:13
What a gorgeous movent. Prior to the 1950's lots of Patek calibers didn't have the Geneva Seal. At around 1952, Patek placed the Geneva seal on all it's movements that I know of but am not sure. In the 1950's  some Vacherons had the Geneva Seal, some did'nt. In the 1960's almost all Vacherons had the Geneva Seal. However, don't think for a minute that your movement was not as well finished and decorated as a PP, not at all. Perhaps since Vacheron sourced their ebauches from Jaeger Le Coultre? Or perhaps because PP was by the 1950's a bigger company with deeper resources. The caliber you are showing was pretty much chronometer quality in timekeeping! and every bit the quality of a PP of the same time period, irregardless of the Geneva Seal or not.
Cal 453 and its variations.
07/06/2013 - 21:30
V 453 453/2C 453/3B 453/3BW 453/3C Please notice this is not my photos but photos from my archive. I have posted these so that it is possible to see how many variations there are and this list it not necessarily complete. Kent