Vintage Vacheron Restoration.

Hello,
I am now 1/2 way through the restoration of my precious Vacheron 6405 dress watch.

I bought the piece because of the following facts - original Vacheron 18K Gold case, original Vacheron dial, original and correct movement (K1001) for the watch.  Basically a 1960s watch that needed a bit of love - however all original - not a mucked around piece.

The negative side was that there were no papers, no box, not the original 18K Vacheron buckle and I suspected the crown may not be original.  The watch came from a recognised Vintage Watch dealer in condition being described as "requiring service and polish."

When the watch arrived I was thrilled.  I instantly became a lover of Vacheron.  Infact I played the snobbish Vacheron video from this site about the guy who was given a 1953 Toledo style watch from his father.  I fell in love with the snobbish classical music and the "values" of the brand.  (Mind you - I think the swap was not very fair! - The original 1953 piece would be worth many times more than the modern version! - oh well - VC can't be blamed fro trying to swipe the vintage piece!)

I immediately set about making the piece "beautiful."

This involved the following:-
1) Organising a full service.  A rare clutch wheel was need but thankfully my watchmaker had a suitable substitute!  He charged me $50- for the part! 
2) I sought an appropriate strap.  The strap needed to be thin - as thin as possible.  In the style of the Vacheron name.  I found a beautiful tan Bros Italian strap! Perfect and thin.
3) Find an appropriate buckle. The original buckle is very hard to find however I did not locate a repro modern version.  OK - this is not the factory correct buckle - but I believe it is honest it use as a nice buckle in the Vacheron style. Very inexpensive at about $20-

The final part of the Vacheron restoration is the polishing.  I have a seperate polisher to my watchmaker. I have today given the piece to my polisher (I only had the watch back from the watchmaker yesterday!)

Photos of work completed so far - Polish still to be completed.  Sorry you can't really see the bennefit of the service.  But it is keeping excellent time.

Opinions please on the buckle and my restoration efforts.


Vintage Vacheron Restoration.

Vintage Vacheron Restoration.

Vintage Vacheron Restoration.

Vintage Vacheron Restoration.

Vintage Vacheron Restoration.
03/02/2011 - 18:08
03/02/2011 - 23:34
03/02/2011 - 23:43
SGM
03/03/2011 - 12:38
Hi Archie
03/02/2011 - 18:08
Congrats on a great watch!  I think you made an excellent decision to secure a specimen with the best dial and working movement as your priority...people considering vintage watches should follow your example .  Sounds like you have the restoration well in hand.  Crown, straps and, to a lesser extent, buckles are periodic replacement items so having non-originals isn't a big handicap IMHO.  Your choice to go with the modern style Malte buckle is the only question I have, as the period buckles were square and might suit the piece better.  FWIW, here are some examples I posted on Purists: From left to right: Original 18k modern RG 16mm; reproduction 18k YG 14mm, original 18k 1970's YG 14mm, original 1960's 18k WG 14mm, original 1950's PG plated 14mm, reproduction 14k PG 1940's 16mm. A typical vintage strap taper was 19, 18 or 17mm at the lugs down to 14mm at the buckle.  Vintage straps are not of the same quality as modern and may be brittle with age.  In this case, I'd suggest that the newer replacements are better!
Re: Hi Archie
03/02/2011 - 23:34
Where can I get these reproduction buckles from?  I would love a fit repro buckle!
Re: Hi Archie
03/02/2011 - 23:43
I would love a better buckle!  Where do I get a repro vintage Vacheron buckle from? I looked around and only found the more modern expample.
Checking authenticity?
03/03/2011 - 12:38

Watch looks fantastic so far, congrats.  Look forward to the finall pics.

I have a question regarding buying any watch without the box, papers, from a watch shop, ebay, etc.  Is there a way to check the watch is the genunine article?  Do VC have a database of all the calibres produced?  What is best to look out for or do when trying to buy in this scenario? Cheers Steve

Re: Checking authenticity?
03/03/2011 - 13:32
You need to be really careful! I bought this piece from a watch dealer I have dealt with for 12+ years. You need to do the following (in the very least) - match watch style to other products they have produced. Match the movement model to the watch model.  In my case I matched ref 6405 to movement K1001.  The dealer advised the watch was from the original owner - dealer advised that case, movement and dial were original to the piece. Dealer advised crown may not be original. Dealer advised piece needed a service and polish. I did a google search on ref 6405 and I found this forum also.  I then found many similar watches with a K1001 movement. Unfortunately Vacheron is not as good as Patek. Vacheron charges $850- to verify a piece is correct however they need to sight the piece. Patek will advise if the movement serial # and watch reference and case serial # are correct for the piece.  This solves 99.9% of problems! I so wish Vacheron would do the same!