Who was georges-Auguste Leschot?

There has been some talk about Leschot recently and being the 3rd pillar of Vacheron Constantin but unfortunately a pillar rarely talked about I thought it would be interesting to do a short persentation of the man who not only changed the face of Vacheron-Constantin but also of the watch making industry as he was the 1st to design machines which could reproduce interchangeable watch components!

He was the father of mechanisation!!

Who was georges-Auguste Leschot?

In 1839, Vacheron & Constantin hired Georges-Auguste Leschot - and the triumvirate of genius, on which the foundation of Vacheron Constantin was built, was complete – Jean-Marc Vacheron - François Constantin - Georges-Auguste Leschot.

Exceptionally inventive and extremely skilled, Leschot was devoted to the advancement of watchmaking. In less than two years, Leschot conceived and built a range of exclusive machines for Vacheron & Constantin called the Pantograph that were able to manufacture watch parts mechanically thus the components could be copied repeatedly by a machine (therefore being interchangeable), and no longer need to be hand-made as before, thus propelling Vacheron Constantin to the forefront of the industrial age.

Through his position as technical director of Vacheron &Constantin, Leschot turned the company into the world's 1st modern industrial watch manufacture. By 1845 Vacheron & Constantin was not only producing its own calibers but supplying other brands (as prestegious as Breguet) with ebauches.

It was these machines that won Leschot the Societé des Arts' prize for the most significant industrial discovery of the period.

Georges-Auguste Leschot (1800-1884)

1830: Design of the Swiss anchor escapement which his student, Antoine Léchaud, mass produced.

1839: Invention of the pantograph which allows the standardisation and interchangeability of parts on watches fitted with the same calibre.

1876: Gold Medal from the Arts Society for the invention of a hard rock perforator using black diamond chisels. This type of machine has been used to perforate several road and rail tunnels.

Now I got to change my avatar....LOL..nt
05/27/2008 - 17:50


You might say "Leschot In The Dark" ;-)
05/27/2008 - 20:51


Vacheron's Values...
05/27/2008 - 22:24

Alex, your comments on Georges-August Leschot prompted me to go into a few books to research this remarkable gentleman.  While reviewing a book called The Classic Watch (1989 Wellfleet Press), I came across this description of the company Vacheron Constantin:

Then, as now, the company's policy was based on small production numbers and the highest quality.  Movement thinness and classically elegant dials were the outstanding features, and the company's traditional aims were well-known and secure as the dawn of the wristwatch era arrived.

VC certainly maintained those two values of thinness and classic dial design into the 20th century.  The 1003 and 1120 were world-record thin calibers.  This no longer appear to be the case now, but I'm not sure that the "new" look has been adequately defined in the minds of consumers.

The VC website states their "distinctive values" are, Technology, Design and Finishing.  I'm concerned these are not specific enough to create a picture in the minds of people as to what a VC is and what it should look like.  When one thinks Patek, the Calatrava comes first to mind.  Royal Oak for Audemars.  The same visioning exercise for Vacheron produces a very scattered montage in my mind...

One of my few heroes !
05/27/2008 - 22:20


He was a great man, and of great help also in the development of VC
05/28/2008 - 10:20

I saw one of his pantographs at the Boutique, Geneva last year during one of their spot exhibitions.

It's a fantastic tool, and worth seeing it: outstanding!