Vacheron & Constantin Cal. K1001/1 18ct 1968 V&C Model Ref 6457

£4,400

100% Genuine & All Original

Fully Restored, Serviced & Guaranteed

A Very Well Cared For and Lightly Used Example

Beautifully Restored Ivory Cream Dial with Subsidiary Seconds Dial

Very High Quality Vacheron & Constantin  Swiss 18ct Gold Watch Case

Ultra-High Grade V&C Calibre K1001, 18 Jewels, Fully Restored Movement

Vacheron & Constantin Model 6457 with Medium Sized 32mm 18ct Gold Case

High Quality Black Lizard Strap with Plain Gold Plated Buckle

All in Absolutely Tip-Top & Beautifully Restored, Stunning Condition

Vacheron & Constantin Presentation Case as shown, Included

VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee

VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty Included*

Free UK Next Day Delivery

Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery

VGW Reference: VC640
Sold 27th Dec '18
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£4,400

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Vacheron & Constantin  

One of the recognised ‘Holy Trinity’ of Swiss watchmaking along with Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet, Vacheron & Constantin is also the world’s oldest ‘Watch Manufacture’, and as such, it has remained in continuous operation since 1755.  But more than this, Vacheron & Constantin is the founding father of a spirit of technical excellence taken so far, it is considered an art. This is known as ‘Haute Horlogerie’ in which Vacheron & Constantin has been the for over 260 years. This tradition defines the Manufacture, evident in the finest quality execution, reflected in a finish which goes far beyond the demands of the ‘Poinçon de Genève’.

Created in 1886 the ‘Seal of the State of Geneva’ is the highest accolade, reserved for only the very finest quality watchmaking. Vacheron & Constantin was the first watchmaker to be allowed to use this hallmark of excellence on its movements.

To the collector, Vacheron & Constantin offers a level of exclusivity which even the more famous Patek Philippe cannot. During the 1940s and through to the 1960s, Vacheron & Constantin only ever produced a maximum of 24 examples of each reference in any one configuration. This means that while it produced a variety of dial and case combinations, colours and designs, each one was strictly limited in number. For the collector, the fact that these watches are seriously undervalued doesn’t go unnoticed either!

Why This Watch Is Important

For much of the history of mechanical watchmaking, greater slimness in watch design was considered not only aesthetically preferable, but also a clear sign of superior talent in watchmaking. Later in the 1950s and through to the 1970s, many watchmakers saw an increase in interest in ‘ultra-slim’ and ‘ultra-thin’ wristwatches. However, due to the many technical challenges in producing such watches, only a very few notable manufacturers achieved significant success in this area. These were Jaeger-LeCoultre, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Vacheron & Constantin.

In 1952, Vacheron & Constantin released the world’s slimmest wristwatch movement and this is the movement you see here in this watch. The Calibre 1001, is just 2.94mm thin!  But much more important than this, many experts consider this to be the finest hand wound movement ever made. It certainly stood the test of time, as it remained in production until the early 1980s. Indeed the Vacheron & Constantin Calibre 1003 released a year or two later, remains in production to this very day, featuring in the Vacheron & Constantin ’Historiques Ultra-Fine 1955’. This is, albeit a ‘modern’ gent’s size watch of  36mm in diameter, which retails in the UK currently for £26,900!

The Dial 

The classic V&C dial design here is totally ageless, totally understated and executed to perfection. Applied single solid gold batons are interspersed with double solid gold batons at 3, 9, and 12. The Ivory Cream dial provides the perfect contrast between the case, original gold ‘index’ hands and the dial furnishings. The applied solid gold V&C ‘Maltese Cross’ brand is undersigned ‘Vacheron & Constantin’. The cross-hair subsidiary seconds dial at 6, complements the dial perfectly. The symmetry and pure class here are matchless and for someone with an eye for classic watch design, totally irresistible. 

Note: This is the original dial which has been restored to the very highest standards by our dial restorers, considered to be the best in the UK. The lens is new, having been replaced with an original new replacement, as part of the restoration.

The Movement

The hand-wound Cal.K1001/1 movement here is utterly beautiful, and put very simply… is a work of art.

During the 1950s and 1960s, ultra-thin, time-only timepieces set a new standard for technical excellence. At the heart of this watch is the ultra high-grade Cal.K1001/1 movement with 18 jewels, which was first produced in 1952 as the world’s thinnest watch movement. Not only this, but it occupies that most rarified atmosphere of  ‘the very highest quality movements ever’.

The sub-seconds Calibre 1001/1 and the centre-seconds Calibre 1001/2 undoubtedly form one of the very best hand-wound, time only movements ever produced. Indeed it was so successful that it formed the basis for Vacheron & Constantin’s success and reputation throughout the 1950s and 1960s. These movements are said to have only ever been matched by the peak of the Calibre 23-300 and 27-AM 400 hand-wound movements from Patek Philippe.

Not only did this movement break new ground for its diminutive dimensions while still performing to the highest standards one expects from a fine Swiss watch, but a major component of this movements appeal was due to it being one of the most aesthetically pleasing movements one is ever likely to see. Its Geneva stripes,  elegant five bridges, a freesprung Gyromax balance, the precise bevelling of each component and use of blued steel screws for no other reason than aesthetics, all mark this movement as something very special. Please take a closer look at this movement, we will say it again, it is a work of art.

This example in amazing condition having just completed a full overhaul and service by our vintage Vacheron & Constantin specialist watchmaker. It is running perfectly and has been calibrated in 5 positions to run within plus 2 seconds per day! This is truly outstanding for any mechanical watch.  This is no idle exaggeration – we have checked and confirmed the test results on our electronic watch timegrapher. This movement also has an excellent power reserve of 42 hours when fully wound.

With care and regular servicing, say every 3 to 4 years, we would fully expect this watch to continue to run very happily for another 50+ years!  We are therefore totally confident in offering this watch with our 12 months’ written warranty*.

The movement is signed ‘Vacheron & Constantin’, ‘Geneve Swiss’ and ’18 Jewels’ with the Calibre number K1001/1, the movement serial number 584961 and Swiss Geneva Hallmarks. The movement serial number dates this watch to 1968.

In addition, this movement carries the most highly regarded ‘Geneva Seal’. This is a distinctive hallmark depicting the Geneva coat of arms, granted by an official body at the Ecole d’Horlogerie de Genève and was only ever placed on movements which were able to achieve the most exacting standards and whose quality and finish conform to most precise and demanding specifications.

*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the list price is paid.

The Watch Case

Vacheron & Constantin has been, from its very early beginnings, the torchbearer of Haute Horlogerie. This is reflected not only in its movements but also in its watch cases. The Vacheron & Constantin model ref 6457 here measures just 7.5mm in depth including the lens. It is the most commercially successful, high-quality ultra slim watch ever produced. The three-piece case design is remarkable for its rigidity and its compactness as its lugs hardly extend any further than the 32mm diameter of its case.

Few realise it today, but for the vast majority of the time the concept of a wristwatch has existed, 32mm was considered the perfect size for a gentleman’s dress watch. And once the current fad for outsized watches is passed, we feel sure these smaller high-end vintage watches will become widely appreciated once again.

Incidentally, we have previously listed a similar model to this, produced by Patek Philippe also from 1968 here in case you would like to take a look.

Inside, the case-back all is as expected, and properly signed, ‘Vacheron & Constantin’ ‘Swiss’ and with the classic Maltese Cross twice, along with Geneva Swiss 18ct hallmarks “18K 0.750″. It also carries the Vacheron & Constantin model number 6457 and the case serial number 414836. Importantly, the heavy case back is of full thickness and has never been engraved.

The unsigned 18ct crown is believed to be original, as we have yet to find a Vacheron & Constantin model ref 6457, or movement calibre K1001, with a signed crown.

As ever, our standard advice applies: Vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.

The Strap & Buckle

A new high quality Black Lizard skin strap has been fitted, along with a plain gold plated buckle, which we feel suits this watch very well. However, if a different colour or style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to oblige free of charge. We carry tan, conker, dark brown and black in stock in plain padded leather, crocodile skin or lizard skin. We can also obtain most types and colours from our partners at ‘Watch Obsession’ within 48hrs. Please take a look at their huge range of 18mm straps if you wish here.

Box and Papers

Although there are no original papers with this watch, the reference numbers, markings, signatures and hallmarks are all correct, dating this watch to 1968. A detailed particulars document will be included with this watch, along with our fully detailed purchase receipt and 12 months’ Warranty*.  A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will also be provided along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If this watch proves to be anything less than totally authentic, or not as described, Vintage Gold Watches of London will offer you a full refund at any time”. As with all our watches, this watch will be sold under our 14 days no quibble sale or return policy.

The watch comes complete with a Vacheron & Constantin Presentation Case.

In Conclusion

A wonderful, iconic and collectable gentleman’s dress watch from one of horology’s most revered names. This will not only make an excellent dress watch but also a practical, accurate and reliable timepiece to use on a daily basis should you so wish. It will provide an excellent investment as well as be something to use, wear, treasure and enjoy!

A word on our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before then restoring these to the highest possible standards. We then offer these at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post sales care and service. This approach means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are some well known stores in West London which are highly successful charging between two to three times the price you see here. We therefore consider our prices to be fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.

We are happy to accept PayPal as this is the quickest method of payment. However, if you would like to pay by UK cheque or by UK bank transfer we will be pleased to assist you with this and pass on a 3% saving to you. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or Bank Wire Transfer we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.

If you have any questions, please call our landline 020 7727 7095 or mobile 07515 949 250 or if calling from overseas our landline number is +44 207 727 7095 or mobile +44 7515 949 250.

Please note, we welcome part exchanges. If you have a watch or small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss.

We will also be happy to Service your watch, Repair your watch or Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.

Please take a look at our other fine vintage gold watches.