Very informative article

May 10, 2010,04:52 AM

Thanks Dean.

I think the chronometry contest next year will be better attended and will also have a higher rate of success, as manufacturers now know what it entails and how the watches should be prepared.


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Vacheron & Constantin Observatory Chronometer

 By: Tick Talk : May 5th, 2010-18:03
Vacheron & Constantin Observatory Chronometer: A Hard Working Watch Vacheron & Constantin, Genève, Chronometre No. 357355, case No. 229365. Completed in 1914. Very fine and rare 18K yellow gold keyless pocket chronometer with Guillaume balance. Awarded Bu...  

Impressive research, Dean...

 By: WHL : May 5th, 2010-19:45
Thank you for writing and posting this well researched article. I especially appreciate the history of the Chronometer competitions from days past and the contrast with today's standards. I hope that the renewed competitions are embraced by the brands. I ... 

Yes it is, Bill (nt)

 By: Tick Talk : May 6th, 2010-08:20


 By: dshao1 : May 5th, 2010-20:07
Hi Dean, This stuff is unbelievable and what I've been looking for! Thank you ever so much for this extremely informative post! I've only read it once. But will have to print it out and go over it very carefully to extract as much of that information and ... 

VC and Chronometer Ratings

 By: Tick Talk : May 6th, 2010-08:33
Thanks Dan Your comments are greatly appreciated, knowing how much of a Chronometre Royal fan you are. I'm looking forward to hearing about your research on the CR pocket watch chronometer ratings. An interesting fact that I haven't yet explored was the p... 

I've sent a message to the Geneva Observatory

 By: dshao1 : May 6th, 2010-19:25
Hi Dean, As you mentioned in the end notes of your research, re-issues of Bulletin de Marche are available if requested. Therefore I sent them an inquiry about two Chronometre Royal watches. Considering the "high production volume", I can understand that ... 

Dan, I am surprised

 By: PoyFR : May 10th, 2010-22:13
On occasions I write to watch companies, some do not bother to reply. But at Vacheron, I always received a reply/replies Sometimes it is a good idea to initiate a communication with a phone call, then you get the person contact details you really ought to... 

I think it may have gotten lost in translation?

 By: dshao1 : May 11th, 2010-01:08
Hi PoyFR, My communications with VC over the past couple of years have ranged from exceeding outstanding to poor. I made these types of inquiries to VC when I sent my watches back to Geneva for full restoration and Certificates of Authenticity. I discover... 

An update

 By: dshao1 : May 11th, 2010-21:30
I've been talking to the VC Concierge in New York about what type of documentation came with 2 vintage Chronometre Royal watches (1908 pocket watch and 1955 wristwatch) that I have and if it was possible to obtain copies of any type of testing results, wh... 

My vintage Chronometer Royal wristwatch from the 1950's

 By: WHL : May 12th, 2010-07:19
came with a COSC certificate, but nothing from the Observatory. This is not as rigorous as the Oberservatory tests, but still a nice to have, and unusual for a watch from that time period. Unfortnately I lost all my paperwork that came with the watch, and... 


 By: Tick Talk : May 12th, 2010-07:21
I feel for you Bill. Perhaps time will dull the loss...

I like having everything accompanying the watch...

 By: WHL : May 12th, 2010-07:43
but not having the accessories doesn't take anything away from the intrinsic greatness of the watch. That vintage Chronometer Royal is still one of my keepers! Bill

are you sure the COSC certificate was not given at a later date as

 By: alex : May 12th, 2010-07:52
COSC was created in 1973 wheras your watch is from the 50s!


 By: WHL : May 12th, 2010-07:56
Now I've got to go find the photo I took of the certificate (which might only be on a computer I no longer have), since I don't have the certificate itself....Do you have access to the papers that accompanied the the early Chronometer Royal wristwatches? ... 

Hi Bill, I recall seeing the timing results of your 1950s CR

 By: dshao1 : May 12th, 2010-16:45
in a post sometime in the past. I do not believe it came from COSC, it came from VC though I'm no longer sure who did the testing. This is also one of the reasons I was surprised that my 1950s CR does not appear to have been tested, or if it was tested in... 

Timed When Serviced

 By: Tick Talk : May 13th, 2010-07:02
I'd speculate that when Bill's watch was serviced or restored, it was also adjusted and a record was provided of the results.

Picture of a similar document?

 By: dshao1 : May 13th, 2010-15:39
Hi Bill, I found this picture of a VC Chronometre Royal "Bulletin de Marche", did your document look something like this? It is blank, which confuses me a little, so I'm not sure if it's authentic. If it is authentic, I don't understand why all CRs wouldn...  

In-house Chronometer Certificates

 By: Tick Talk : May 13th, 2010-17:39
Here is a completed certificate from V&C (image courtesy of Purists). Sorry for the bad focus but I had to enlarge it. I believe these documents were for watches tested in-house. Interesting to note that "especially good" was pre-printed on the blank form...  

I sent an inquiry to the VC concierge

 By: dshao1 : May 13th, 2010-23:28
and we should know, definitively, what these certificates represented pretty soon. BR, Dan

Early COSC certificate

 By: Tick Talk : May 22nd, 2010-07:50
This early COSC certificate for a Rolex shows "Especially Good Results" also pre-printed on the form. The original Observatory Trials only assigned that distinction to movements that scored 80% of available points versus the passing grade of 66%....  

Great post - loved reading it. The research behind it is evident and

 By: 219 : May 6th, 2010-05:55
I am so happy that someone has posted such an informed article on the Timing competitions and why they should return. I can only endorse your views by at least (and certainly no less) than 100 percent (or 1000 points). Great posting and thanks for doing s... 

It's about TIME too...

 By: Tick Talk : May 6th, 2010-08:46
Sorry for the pun, Andrew ;-) It has been frustrating for us gear-heads that, for the past several decades, issues of aesthetics and design overwhelmed the basic fundamentals of good timekeeping. I think a certain defeatism occurred following the quartz c... 

Completely agree. I found it fascinating that the same

 By: 219 : May 7th, 2010-03:05
basic escapement that was winning Observatory trials in the 1940's (JLC Calibre 170) was again winning some 60 years later. Have a look at the escapement and bridge design - extraordinary. Vacheron were one of the clients of the 170 base ebauche who then ... 

I would also chime in with...

 By: watchme : May 10th, 2010-05:38
the fact that many of the "high end" clients between 1870 and 1940 purchased their ebauches from JLC, and to see JLC take first and second place - with the points awarded, considering the above article - makes me stick my chest out proudly for the greatne... 

Very informative article

 By: SJX : May 10th, 2010-04:52
Thanks Dean. I think the chronometry contest next year will be better attended and will also have a higher rate of success, as manufacturers now know what it entails and how the watches should be prepared. - SJX

Lets hope so! (nt)

 By: Tick Talk : May 10th, 2010-07:20

Many thanks for your post. Only a 'few' do the real work

 By: PoyFR : May 10th, 2010-22:07
The information within your post is well prepared, informative and rich. We do not often realize the importance of true and long lasting works as it is often hidden behind materials and hypes. I welcome all those new tests about mechanical watches, they w... 


 By: patrick_y : May 11th, 2010-00:42
Very impressive watch. Vacheron Constantin's claim to fame (as well as Patek Philippe's claim to fame) and success in many parts of the world was directly related to the results of these Swiss Chronometer tests. It's really impressive to see all this info... 

Reissued Observatory Bulletin

 By: Tick Talk : May 20th, 2010-07:45
The Observatory Bulletin arrived yesterday, as reissued by the Geneva Observatory which is now part of the University of Geneva. After they confirmed by email that records of my particular movement existed, for a fee of CHF 200 they sent PDF copies of the...  

Very nice, a great document to go with a VERY special watch!

 By: dshao1 : May 21st, 2010-00:46
Hi Dean, I think having that type of documentation really complements the watch. Congratulations. Have you timed the watch itself to see how it is running now? Any thoughts of having VC restore (if necessary) and trying to regulate it to the best of their... 

Pocket Watch Revival

 By: Tick Talk : May 21st, 2010-16:23
It is pretty impressive that you wear your pocket watch Dan Mine is just hanging in the display cabinet so I'm not too concerned about timing. At 57mm it's a mite big for daily use but I am very tempted to start wearing the X-thin once I buy a few shirts ...  

I've been interested in pocket watches since I was a teenager

 By: dshao1 : May 22nd, 2010-00:02
Hi Dean, The first PW I ever bought was through a catalog store, Service Merchandise, in the late 70s/early 80s. I've always been a little non-conformist The CR, being an antique, is not a watch I plan on using long-term in a daily manner. I just wanted t...