Service: Vacheron Constantin 6395 calibre 1003

IMG_4121This Vacheron Constantin came to our workshop from California, and Jeannot sent it in as it wasn’t working any more. The winding stem is broken, so the watch can’t be wound any more.IMG_4124The Vacheron Constantin calibre 1003 was developed by Audemars Piguet, together with JLC, and is a super thin movement. It’s only 1.64mm high, and that is not easily achieved.IMG_4125

Here is the culprit – the broken winding stem. I’m lucky, and my supplier has one in stock, together with a new mainspring.IMG_4126

One of the ratchet wheel screws is wrong, as the head is too small.IMG_4128

Somebody made a sizeable scratch on the dial, which is a shame.IMG_4132

It also looks like the dial was restored in 1967.IMG_4133And this is how the miracle is achieved. In order to make such a thin movement, the barrel is only held from the top, and isn’t suspended from the bottom.IMG_4134

Most of the screws have a thread diameter of 0.3mm, which is very small.IMG_4136 The movement has the Geneva seal, so no wire springs, which I absolutely love. Just look at the lovingly shaped yoke spring! IMG_4140

The balance and balance cock.IMG_4143

The escape wheel has its own cock and a capped jewel.IMG_4149 The gear train is also exquisitely made, as there isn’t much height to work with.IMG_4153

The barrel without the mainspring. The whole barrel is suspended around the top centre, and that’s all that holds it in place. With a mainspring less than half a millimetre high, this is another great little feature of this masterpiece.IMG_4292

All the parts are cleaned, and I can start putting the movement back together.IMG_4293The new mainspring. Somebody scratched “V/C” into the barrel lid and onto the bottom plate. These things are beyond my comprehension. Why can it be necessary to scratch such a movement? We all know it’s a Vacheron Constantin – there really is no need to scratch that anywhere…IMG_4294

In order to be able to lubricate the barrel suspension (which is the barrel arbor as well), I take it apart.IMG_4295

No shortcuts taken – the mainspring, even though less than half a millimetre tall, has a slot for the barrel hook.IMG_4297

Now the barrel arbor is screwed back into place.IMG_4299

As the screws are so small, I put them in order on a piece of rodico. IMG_4300

Now the correct screws are back on the ratchet wheel – they must have been put out of order by whoever serviced the watch before (and scratched the plate and barrel lid).IMG_4301

The new winding stem fits nicely. IMG_4307

Considering the size of the movement and its age, this is very good. Also, I have just put the movement back together, and the amplitude will improve in the next couple of days.IMG_4308

Simple, unfussy, and gorgeous. IMG_4309

One last look at the bottom plate before casing.IMG_4310

Dial and hands go back on.IMG_4312

With the case cleaned, and a new crystal, the watch is looking great again.IMG_4526

I manage to get a replacement Speidel bracelet NOS from the States.IMG_4527

As the old bracelet had an eternal calendar, and the new one has a calendar from 1972, I swap the two around.IMG_4529

Back to its old glory.

In my view, a very much underappreciated movement. Compared with the price of a PP Calatrava, I know which watch I would buy. If you know and appreciate watches, there are overpriced brands that you can easily stay away from, and little gems like this that are affordable, if you know about them.

14 thoughts on “Service: Vacheron Constantin 6395 calibre 1003

  1. Lovely movement indeed. Would have purchased a piece with same if only it had an overcoil. Bit of a stickler about that. Understand the height restrictions had to be respected but Patek did manage a slightly taller movement with their 23-300 as you know, which is why they lost the unofficial competition for an ultra thin in those days, as you will know. Greatly undervalued as you indicate, have become a great admirer of Vacheron over the years. And rather pleased many are unaware of the often fabulous quality as it makes these gems affordable for those like me !

  2. You’re so right about VC being a good value vs Patek. A vintage dealer I know has the 1003 and is asking under $2,000. I would buy it but I already have the Audemars version with the 2003 calibre.

  3. I have a Vacheron Constantain with the same 1003 and I would love to see the movement.Do Vacheron Constantain do a custom case back with a saphire display if I sent them the watch ?

    Thank you.

  4. Outstanding Christian!

    Jeannot will be thrilled, as it was a gift from his father, which he will be giving to his son.

    I was wondering if you can tell the age of the watch with any certainty.

    Also, with the winding stem being broken, how many turns are safe for winding, daily, every third day, or??

    • Hard to tell – I’d say 50s, which fits in with the age of the movement, and the re-dial in 67…

      You just wind until you feel a tad more resistance, and then stop. It’s hard to break the winding stem winding – that will most likely have happened through a shock.

      Best regards,

      Christian

    • Vacheron Constantin can provide you with all the information you need on the watch if you give them the case and movement numbers ~(and a fee of course!).

    • A service date is quite normal (we don’t do that, though), and is standard practice. But scratching “V/C” into the plate and barrel lid isn’t on. Maybe the guy cleaned the parts of several watches in one go, and couldn’t tell them apart, so he scratched them? The mind boggles….

      • A lot of older watchmakers were (and some still are!) of the opinion that “if the customer can’t see it, it doesn’t matter”.
        Certainly not good enough.
        Well done with this watch Christian.

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