"Examined By Vacheron & Constantin"

Dec 20, 2011,07:39 AM

To conclude this examination of the Corps of Engineers pocket chronographs, I'd like to address a semi-ersatz version marked on the cuvette as "Examined By Vacheron & Constantin Genève".  As previously discussed, the delivery order for pocket chronographs was extremely ambitious and V&C never did fully complete the requested number.  While Nardin's ebauches were marked as V&C pieces, these "Examined By" watches did not extend that pretense.

Even the dial, while conforming to other Corps of Engineers models in every other aspect, is quite obviously missing the prestigious appellation "Vacheron & Constantin".

On the commercial side, V&C had a long tradition of providing what they called "second quality" timepieces under a different brand name beginning with Girod-Colombey in 1819 up to the Trident brand in 1902. This practice evolved to supplied pieces marked "Fabrique Pour Vacheron & Constantin". These "Examined By" chronographs are clearly a military equivalent!

The silver cases are indeed provided by the same supplier as the "normal" Corps of Engineers watches; Huguenin Freres (HF). They seem to be utilizing excess stock as the EXAMINED BY script appears squeezed into position above Vacheron & Constantin as an afterthought; not even of the same gothic style.

It is the movement that gives it all away. Bearing the trademark of Valjoux, the caliber 42 is an adequate workhorse. Taking the "Examined By" label at face value, one assumes that some sort of post-production quality inspection was undertaken to assure the military recipients that each timepiece was worthy of it's important tasks.

My lingering question is whether these "Examined By" versions were counted in the total production numbers demanded by V&C's contract with the American Expeditionary Force? I suspect so...


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A brief study of the Corps of Engineers pocket chronographs

 By: Tick Talk : December 6th, 2011-10:17
With the creation of the American Heritage Project in support of VC’s newly opened New York Boutique, there has been renewed interest in historic timepieces with American connections. Most ubiquitous perhaps are the Corps of Engineers silver-cased pocket ...  

That's some fine detective work! [nt]

 By: aaronm : December 6th, 2011-11:03
No message body

I did, I did enjoy this history lesson.

 By: respo : December 6th, 2011-11:46
This is great stuff. Thank you for this update and for your detective work. As you stated, "The intricate relationship between Swiss manufactures is always fascinating." The same could be said about the development of the cal. 1003 (VC) and cal. 2003 (AP)... 

Pin-Set Movement

 By: Tick Talk : December 6th, 2011-12:25
All of the V&C chronographs were "pin-set", which identifies the little button you noticed to the left of the crown. Normal winding was accomplished with the crown but setting the time required that you first depress the pin which engaged the hands to... 

Really neat detective work.

 By: grigo : December 6th, 2011-11:52
I found this little history lesson very interesting. It was a lot of fun to read. Best regards, George

"Examined By Vacheron & Constantin"

 By: Tick Talk : December 20th, 2011-07:39
To conclude this examination of the Corps of Engineers pocket chronographs, I'd like to address a semi-ersatz version marked on the cuvette as "Examined By Vacheron & Constantin Gen è ve ". As previously discussed, the delivery order for pocket chronograp...  

More pictures

 By: Tick Talk : December 20th, 2011-07:42
Sorry, I was premature in hitting the "insert" button!...  

I just had that same watch delivered!

 By: papazulu : January 30th, 2012-15:16
Looks like I fell for the oldest trick, bad pictures and not looking properly. I´ve just bought that watch! The seconds hand has been replaced in the meantime. It´s clearly not as stated, a Vacheron & Constantin watch! Vacheron & Constantin 250968073590 R... 

Ouch...I think you can make a case

 By: Tick Talk : January 30th, 2012-17:41
with the seller or fleabay to return the watch for being "not as described". Too bad you didn't see this post first :-(

Eyes wide shut would be the correct definition

 By: papazulu : January 31st, 2012-04:41
At the moment, i don´t know what to do, on one hand the watch is rare, maybe even rarer than the watches with original V&C movements, yet on the other hand I do feel like I´ve been "taken for a ride". What would Vacheron & Constantin say... 

Very nice investigationa work

 By: Watchlover78 : December 21st, 2011-06:47
Thank you for letting us know! Best regards, Baxter