Rare/curious Escapement on a Vacheron Constantin Watch

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Siyuan Gu, Oct 11, 2019.

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  1. Siyuan Gu

    Siyuan Gu Registered User
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    Feb 8, 2017
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    This past morning in Skinner auction activity, I was bidding on a curious on 18K Vacheron Constantin pocket watch.
    I should have bid more but I throw in too much money on pocket watches recently. So I underbid while I did not recognize the secret of this curious escapement on a Vacheron Constantin!

    From the pictures attached, I do not know much on the setting of the detent and how it would work?
    Someone has ever seen any similarity or has the intuition about the mechanism 'echappement a Refsort or Prejsort or Rejsort'?
    What does it mean by the French word xxxsort' anyway?

    I presume someone on the forum must also bid/win or indeed with better knowledge.
    Thank you for advise! At least I may learn something even without owning the watch.

    1240452_view 04_04.jpg 1240452_view 05_05.jpg
     
  2. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
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    You probably should have bought this one.

    It is spring detent chronometer, just as it says on the cuvette. Swiss detent chronometers are unusual but they are almost always the pivoted type. This one is a spring detent, and these are very, very rare. Add into that the Vacheron name and it is a super nice item.

    In typical Swiss fashion it has a regulator rather being free sprung as the English would have done it.
     
  3. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Siyuan Gu,

    Dr. Jon has identified the escapement for you, although I wonder what the jewel hole in the red circle is doing. The French word is 'Ressort' ('spring'). Any pocket watch with a detent escapement is unusual, and as he says, a Swiss example with a spring detent is a rare beast indeed.

    1240452_view 05_05_edit.jpg

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  4. Siyuan Gu

    Siyuan Gu Registered User
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    Feb 8, 2017
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    Thanks for quick reply, Dr. Jon.
    Same question as Graham's red circle, what are these 2 bridge caps (marked in blue circles in my pic) for respectively?

    My detent watches including Arnold, Potter and other earlier makers drained my pocket....
    I have a Patrick Norris English watch with rare pivot detent for Englishmen. British Museum has the same movement but no dial or case...
    This VC would be a nice example to show the other side of story ----------when Swiss watchmaking adapted the English type of detent, am I correct? :)

    Capture.JPG
     
  5. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
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    Ah!!! They show that I had it wrong!!. They are the pivots for the escape wheel and for the pivoted detent, which I missed but should have seen, my bad.

    The spring which I incorrectly identified as thedetent is actually the return spring for the pivoted detent in the form invented by Berthoud about 80 years before this watch was made. Here is view on one in a watch of mine by Rosssel but also marked "Resort Chronometre".

    469994-d737f3b10c8a0415a3579ddfd4b84ce3.jpg

    It is very stylish.

    I date these to the late 1870's.

    Bare_detent_s.jpg
     
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  6. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Dr. Jon,

    Ah, it was the long spring that deceived me as well. I confess I'm more familiar with the English ones, (I have two on the bench at the moment!).

    Well spotted!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  7. tick talk

    tick talk Registered User

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    The serial 82708 puts the watch around 1860. They may have made it on order. That period was very difficult for sales according to VC's annales. Paris was their best market and Georges Auguste Leschot was busy transforming the company to mechanized production. They'd introduced stem winding in 1855 and couldn't make enough straight-line lever watches, so this piece didn't showcase their latest. But from today's perspective it is very unusual and interesting. I'm most curious about the cuvette CHRONOMETRE inscription as this watch pre-dates the Geneva Observatory trials by more than a decade. Perhaps they were following the English practice of the time to ascribe chronometer status to detent watches?
     
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  8. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
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    Exactly, and the Swiss continued to peddle pivoted detent watches they called "Chronometers". 1860 is a very reasonable date for this watch and I should have checked..

    That is also a better date for my Rossel Bautte. Thanks
     
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  9. tick talk

    tick talk Registered User

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    I can even pin it down a little closer on the basis of correspondence referencing delivery of Nr. 82699 in 1857.
     

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