Service: Vacheron Constantin K1050/8

I do like Vacheron Constantin movements – they are very well made, and very intricate. What puts me off is that I can’t get any spare parts whatsoever. I can buy brake parts for an Aston Martin that speeds along at 250 km/h freely, but buying spare parts for VC watches is apparently too dangerous for the public…

So, I have to dive in without any recourse to parts.

The case back with the movement comes out of the case.

The 18k gold case has a serial number and a case reference.

Bottom side – the dial washer is missing.

From a craftsmanship point of view, there is nothing between a Patek Philippe movement and this one.

228 degrees amplitude isn’t too hot.

The gear train bridge removed.

The bottom plate with the keyless works. Note that both escape wheel and fourth wheel have cap jewels from both sides. Nicely done.

The parts cleaned and ready for assembly – you get a good idea of the scale of this movement now. Not something you want to put together after a cup of coffee.

The balance jewels go in first. The markings on the cock indicate that the beat rate is adjusted by turning the balance weights.

The top plate is back together, and the movement is ticking again.

288 degrees amplitude is much better, and I’m a happy bunny.

Now I can put together the bottom plate. No wire springs, just like it should be.

I fit a new dial washer. At least that’s a generic part 😉

All back together. A very stylish dress watch. But don’t buy one, you won’t be able to get any parts whatsoever. And Vacheron Constantin will roger you senseless if you dare to give them the watch for a service. Shame, really.

10 thoughts on “Service: Vacheron Constantin K1050/8

  1. Hi,

    Great report. As a fellow watchmaker I love reading these and learning new things.

    Regarding the missing hour wheel washer, I believe this is intended by Vacheron Constantin. If I recall correctly, hour wheel washers are not allowed according to the Geneva Seal criteria. I know that on other high-end watches such as Patek Philippe watches, the end-shake of the hour wheel is limited by the minute hand (the bottom of the minute hand limits the movement of the hour wheel) and there is no washer either. I’m not specifically familiar with this movement, but it could very well be the same.

  2. I love Vacheron movements – absolutely beautiful finish. Every piece with lovely anglage and a deep polish.

  3. Hi Christian,

    Looking at the photo of the cleaned parts in the tub, I see the balance still mounted. Do you leave it assembled for cleaning due to a complication, or am I seeing it incorrectly ?

    Also, does the comment above from Patrick mean that IWC and Jaeger now join Omega et al in the Swatch Group as members in the “don’t bother we won’t give you parts” gang.

    • After I remove the jewels, I put the balance and cock back on the plate to avoid damage to the staff and hairspring in the cleaning machine.
      VC have never supplied parts.

  4. I can verify the price of a Vacheron service can be painful. However, they *will* create any part for you from scratch if they do not have the part in stock, even for vintage pieces, which I view as a strong commitment to their work and the future of VC timepieces.

  5. Hello!
    Did you have to regulate it? How do you do that? Just rotate them in pairs? then check in different positions for the dynamic poise? That would be a nightmare!

    Thank you!

    • Hi Bogdan,

      Yes, you have to move the regulators in pairs. If you move them in the same angle, you don’t have to re-check poising. If the positional variation is fine, you’re home dry.

  6. I get that wire springs are too “pedestrian” for high end watches, but at least they’re easily replaceable with a baggy of generic wires if anything happens to them. Like fly off into another dimension.

    Also what an odd pallet fork.

    • The pallet fork is so oddly shaped to save space – that means the gear train can go “around the corner”, and the movement needs to be less wide.

  7. Great review. However as you stated it´s a shame but not only with VC; all Richemont owned brands do not sell any spare parts. That´s why I stopped to buy or recommend any watches from Richemont brands. They all want you to send the watch for service to their own studios and the strategy is to pull the money out of the customers pocket.

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