vintage caliber 454 like you've never seen and a great compliment

here is a loose translation of a post made on French watch discussion site Forumamontres by a watchmaker (Loup à l'Oeil) who had just finished servicing a vintage Vacheron Constantin watch with caliber 454. I thought it would be of interest to you to have the point of view of a watchmaker who obviously works on many different calibers from different brands.

Scans used with permission.

"As I screw the case back on, I wonder once you have a watch like this what can you want after? Not an easy choice! Everything you can hope for this caliber has: beveling, circular graining, polish, Geneva waves and all completely flawless. For fun I tried looking for a component which could have been better made, well... nada, nothing, niet. This watch is pure joy"

winding stem:

vintage caliber 454 like you've never seen and a great compliment

Under dial

vintage caliber 454 like you've never seen and a great compliment

plate movement side, the big round hole is for the barrel, bottom right for the escapement. Notice the impecable perlage

vintage caliber 454 like you've never seen and a great compliment

vintage caliber 454 like you've never seen and a great compliment

vintage caliber 454 like you've never seen and a great compliment

vintage caliber 454 like you've never seen and a great compliment

vintage caliber 454 like you've never seen and a great compliment

vintage caliber 454 like you've never seen and a great compliment

vintage caliber 454 like you've never seen and a great compliment

vintage caliber 454 like you've never seen and a great compliment

vintage caliber 454 like you've never seen and a great compliment

vintage caliber 454 like you've never seen and a great compliment

Wonderful 454 caliber!
10/25/2007 - 14:58

What you have inside (hidden most of the time at this period) is much more beautiful than the visible part, i.e. the dial!!!, and this is a good example with these pics.

Patrice

Re: vintage caliber 454 like you've never seen and a great compliment
10/25/2007 - 19:22

Hi Alex,

Do you if there is any difference between the Cal. 454 and 453?

Thanks,

Joseph

454 has central seconds and 453 has sub seconds at 6 (nt)
10/25/2007 - 19:39

e

Hi Joseph,
10/25/2007 - 19:46

Cal 454 is central second while Cal 453 is small second in subdial.

If you are asking for any difference in finishing, I'd guess that they should be in the same level of beauty.

Jian

Re: Hi Joseph,
10/26/2007 - 03:41

Hi Alex and Jian

Thanks very much for your replies.

I suspected that that was the only difference but I thought I would check with those more knowledgeable than I.

Best Regards,

Joseph

are all of them finished this way? i have always found this movement..
10/25/2007 - 19:28

beautiful with the bridge across, but didn't know that the base plate is finished this well too. i should be looking for those tear drop lugs pieces more seriously. :)

yup!! amazing huh? :-)
10/25/2007 - 19:40

.

So beautiful!
10/25/2007 - 19:37

I'm happy to know that my new baby has so much beautiful details inside!

Ref.4217, c.1950, RG

Thanks Alex! You made my day, again!

Jian

Gorgeous watch Jian, and it looks pristine. You are a man of
10/25/2007 - 19:42

taste

Thanks Alex! I think I'm lucky to have some knowledgeable friends. :-)
10/25/2007 - 19:51

e

:-)
10/25/2007 - 22:55

Understated beauty and elegance. A classic. Congrats, Jian! (nt)
10/26/2007 - 03:40

k

Thank you, Kazumi! Ref. 4217 is realy timeless classic, IMHO. (nt)
10/26/2007 - 19:25

e

Thanks Alex!! Already readed on FAM...
10/25/2007 - 23:07

...but it's a real pleasure to see again this pictures!!!

Re: vintage caliber 454 like you've never seen and a great compliment
10/26/2007 - 01:08

Another highly interesting post… It is really amazing the level of finishing and the attention to details, especially when the finished work is not to be exposed. I really like the fact that VC is trying to acheive perfection just for the sake of it (if that makes sense)... How much difference in terms of movement finishing is there between VC and some of the independents such as Philippe Dufour and Roger Smith?

I would say that the finish is closer to Dufour's than Smith's. Dufour
10/26/2007 - 13:00

has a typical Genevan finishing which is very visual and he has admited that the movement of the Simplicity was based in both conception and finish on pieces from the 50s.

Many elements are similar to the vintage VC movements: perlage, impecable Geneva waves, beveling, black polish etc...however Dufour designed his movement to truly show his finishing skills and you can see the ingoing and out going angles which are extremely difficult.

I don't have the sufficient expertise to say which has a higher degree of finish but I would think that Dufour's is of a higher standard.

Smith has a typical English gilt finish which lacks the flamboyance of the Genevan finish so tyou can't really compare. Hopwever when at basel this year Roger had seen the cal 2450 he was truly surprised and stunned by the extremely high degree of finish!!

For more information on the finish of modern VC calibers
10/26/2007 - 13:06

click on the link below:

http://www.thehourlounge.com/index.php?module=Thread&action=view&threadid=3591&id=3592

Also have a look at the "Try a Little Slenderness" Watch Time article  in the Press Corner where they discuss the finish of caliber 1400

The Simplicity is really a beautiful time piece
10/26/2007 - 13:58

.

interesting - cheers for the info :-) (nt)
10/26/2007 - 15:40