Vintage Help: Cal 453

Dear all.  This is my first post.  I found my way here through some of your active members who are also active on other forum sites.  Thanks for welcoming me.

I'm on a hunt (maybe for a while longer) to learn what I can about Vintage Vacheron.  I have learned much already from your site.

Today I'd like to learn by asking for your education around this specific watch.

It is a Cal 453 currently for sale.  Movement number is 441143.  Case number (or serial number?) is 281622.

There is one more number in the write up (33930).  I don't know what this number is meant to represent.  Maybe seller's inventory number???

 Cal 453  Cal 453


First: As can be seen from the pictures (if i can figure out how to post them), this Cal 453 does NOT have a swan neck.  On this site, I read that a few were made without . . . but one discussion said that these ALL should have a movement number starting 47 . . . . Should I worry?  Does this (no swan neck) affect the value of the watch.

Second: the sub seconds has a black hand (and gold for the hour and minutes). Is this original.

Third: Using all of the numbers provided, can anyone estimate the date?

Finally: value -- what is the best way to determine a fair price for this watch.

01/29/2016 - 20:35
01/29/2016 - 20:50
01/30/2016 - 15:30
01/30/2016 - 22:56
Pictures are too small
01/29/2016 - 20:50

Nope. Pictures are too small.  I'll work on that.

01/30/2016 - 15:30

Welcome to the Lounge. Always happy to see new members.  I would try again with the pictures. If they are normal size, it will help. Alex may be able to help with approximate date based on the case and movement markings. More likely, and more importantly, he should be able to verify that there belong together. As far as case markings, there is a great thread somewhere for decoding case markings. I think Dean (ticktalk) was the author. On value, the best bet is to search for auction results - Antiquorum, Sotheby's, Christies, etc.  Welcome and glad to meet you.

Re: Vintage Help: Cal 453
01/30/2016 - 17:19

 Cal 453

Re: Vintage Help: Cal 453
01/30/2016 - 17:20

 Cal 453

Much better
01/30/2016 - 22:56

Have you any pictures of the inside of the case back?

Could 33930 be a reference? It popped up on a similar watch on a popular online auction site.

Hi and Welcome to THL!
02/01/2016 - 15:01

The serial numbers date the watch as being in made sometime in the 1940s.  (Based on a movement # 441143 and case # of 281622).

Older versions of this movement do not have the Swan's Neck micro-regulator, while the later versions have the Swan's Neck.  (I have a personal softness for the look and functionality of the Swan Neck).  Yours appears to be an earlier model of the movement so I would not necessarily be worried if it is originally designed this way, but as I said...I have a personal preference for the Swan's Neck.

Something that does concern me a little is the othe number you mentioned that is inscribed on the case back, 33930.  In the 1940s, Ref. #s had 4-digits.  I do not recall a Ref. 33930, but Ref. #s close to this one were used in the 1970s/80s. 

I would contact VC's Concierge in the US (can be reached through VC's website) and ask them to check the numbers.  Alex can do this as well if he is not catching up on a lot of work after SIHH.  I would want this information before making a decision.

The black (or is it blued) seconds hand may or may not be original.  VC made so many variations and exceptions over the year, it is difficult to say for sure if the hand is original.  I do not see a "swiss" mark at the bottom of the dial, it may be covered by the case?

I would be cautious, especially if I am not familiar with the seller.

BR, Dan


I've looked at the fleabay listing
02/01/2016 - 18:08

and believe 33930 is the dealer's inventory number, nothing to do with the watch.

Re: Vintage Help: Cal 453
02/04/2016 - 04:36

Thanks everyone.  I learn something every time I am here.  In this instance I learned that -- as careful as I thought I was being to ID this watch -- I totally overlooked the missing "SWISS" marking.  I need a checklist!  What I really need, most likely, is to find a very knowledgeable and very honest dealer to help me through this search. 


Again, thank you all.