Vacheron Constantin. An 18k Gold Wristwatch with Original Box.
Model: Chronomètre Royal
Movement No: 509xxx
Cal. 12’’’ P1008BS mechanical movement, 19 jewels, silvered matte dial, applied gold prism and double baton numerals, outer minute divisions, center seconds, circular water-resistant case, replaced crown, “Maltese Cross” lugs, screw back engraved “Chronomètre Royal”, case, dial, and movement signed.
Starting in the middle of the 19th Century, watch manufacturers began submitting watches for chronometer competitions to determine not only which brand could produce the most precise timekeeping piece, but to advance and test new research in building precise movements. The winners of these competitions would be also be published, increasing awareness of the brand and boosting sales of regular production models. In 1907 Vacheron Constantin launched the Chronomètre Royal model, a precision pocketwatch that would also be a part of their regular production. Despite having a simple design, no case decoration (aside from an occasional guilloche finish), and movements with a simple finish (as opposed to the standard high grade finish), the watch was a success.
In 1953 Vacheron Constantin launched the first Chronomètre Royal wristwatch, also with a simple dial and case design. The watch contained either a 1007BS movement (for a subsidiary seconds dial) or 1008BS movement (for sweep center seconds), which featured hacking seconds – BS referring to Balance Stop. The movement was a highly finished Jaeger-LeCoultre 488/SBR, recognized as one of the most beautiful chronometer movement made for a wristwatch. Unlike the Chronomètre Royal pocket watches, the movements of the wristwatches were finished and decorated.
The Chronomètre Royal was produced as a number of different references, each with different design variations. The present watch is a fine example of a reference 6111, which featured the unusual “Maltese Cross” lugs, giving the watch the playful charm that is characteristic of vintage Vacheron Constantin watches. Originally advertised as a watch for a demanding clientele, created by the same experts who produced winning chronometers at the observatory trials, the Chronomètre Royal is a classic Vacheron Constantin dress watch with precise timekeeping ability. The present example is in mint condition, with crisp engraving on the back and a beautifully aged dial and gold case and the original fitted box.