Collector GuideVacheron Constantin Time-Only Movements of the 20th Century – A Complete Catalog of Serially-Produced Large-Format Round Calibers

This guide is a one-stop reference for Vacheron Constantin’s serially-produced, large-format, round, time-only wristwatch movements of the 20th century. As such, this guide should help the collector of vintage Vacheron Constantin dress watches which were, to use the era’s lingo, intended for gentlemen.

The Era of Serial Production With Jaeger-LeCoultre

Well into the 1920s, Vacheron Constantin produced unique wrist watch movements by hand. Parts could not be interchanged between any two movements. Many of these carry the “AR” caliber reference and derive from pocket watch calibers.

Starting around 1928, Vacheron Constantin began serial production of wrist watches by using ébauche (or base) movements from Jaeger-LeCoultre. This collaboration allowed Vacheron Constantin’s to use interchangeable movement parts for the first time and to increase annual production from around 1000 to over 10,000 piece per year. In 1938 Vacheron and Jaeger-LeCoultre formalized a joint venture that ran into the 1990s.

When Vacheron joined the Vendôme Luxury Group, a subsidiary of Richemont, in 1996, Vacheron’s time-only movement production began to move in-house. With the exception of the cal. 1003 and 1120 ultra-thin movements which are still produced today, the movements included in this guide were phased out before the dawn of the 21st century.

With Vacheron Constantin, upgraded movements are indicated by the caliber number followed by /1, /2, and so on; sometimes you’ll see /5B for example. We do not catalog those upgrades (yet), and most collectors accept that the upgrades were typically small tweaks.

Please note that this guide will be updated whenever we learn of new details or obtain more accurate information. If you happen to know how we might improve this guide, please let us know.

Go Directly to Specific Manual-Winding Calibres
453 | 454 | 1007 | 1008 | 1001 | 1002 | 1014 | 1003

Go Directly to Specific Auto-Winding Calibres
477 | 498 | 499 | 1019 | 1071 | 1070 | 1072 | 1120

Standard Thickness Manual-Winding Calibres (1940s – 1960s)

Calibre 453 Sub-Seconds (1940s into 1960s)

  • Based on Jaeger-LeCoultre Ébauche 450
  • time-only three-hand with sub seconds
  • manual winding
  • 17 jewels (some examples have 18 jewels and carry the Geneva Seal)
  • 28.8mm wide x 4mm thick
  • 18,800 VPH

Calibre 454 Center-Seconds (1940s into 1960s)

  • Based on Jaeger-LeCoultre Ébauche 450
  • time-only three-hand with center seconds (main bridge altered to carry the extra gears)
  • manual winding
  • 17 jewels (some have 18 jewels and the Geneva Seal)
  • 28.8mm wide x 5mm thick (1mm thicker than 453 due to added gears for central seconds)
  • 18,800 VPH

Calibre 1007/BS Sub-Seconds (first issued in 1953)

  • Based on Jaeger-LeCoultre Ébauche 450
  • a 453 finished to a higher level for use in Chronometer Royal models first launched in 1953
  • time-only three-hand with sub seconds
  • manual winding (adds hacking, indicated by “BS” for “balance stop”)
  • 19 jewels and carries Geneva Seal
  • 28.8mm wide x 4mm thick
  • 18,800 VPH
  • COSC certified upon release and regularly competed in chronometer trials

Calibre 1008/BS Centrer-Seconds (first issued in 1953)

  • Based on Jaeger-LeCoultre Ébauche 450
  • a 453 finished to a higher level for use in Chronometer Royal models first launched in 1953
  • time-only three-hand with center seconds
  • manual winding (adds hacking, indicated by “BS” for “balance stop”)
  • 19 jewels and carries Geneva Seal
  • 28.8mm wide x 4mm thick
  • 18,800 VPH
  • COSC certified upon release and regularly competed in chronometer trials

Note – The 45x series movements formed the basis for Vacheron Constnatin’s calibre 485 and 495 triple-calendar movements found in watches dating from the 1940s.

Thin Manual-Winding (1950s – late 1970s)

Calibre K 1001 Thin Manual-Winding with Sub-Seconds (1950s – late 1970s)

  • base production by Jaelger-LeCoultre exclusively for Vacheron Constantin
  • 18 Jewels
  • 5 bridges
  • /1 adds free-sprung Gyromax balance wheel, fuller finishing level, Geneva Seal

Calibre K 1002 Thin Manual-Winding with Center-Seconds (1950s – late 1970s)

  • based on Jaeger-LeCoultre 819
  • same as K 1001 with center-seconds (extended gear train from sub-seconds position)
  • /2 adds freespring Gyromax balance wheel, fuller finishing level, geneval seal

Calibre K 1014 Manual-Winding Sub-Seconds (1970 – late 1990s)

  • collapses the five-bridge layout of the K 1001 into three bridges
  • based on Jaeger-LeCoultre 818
  • not known to have carried the Geneva Seal
  • 21 jewels
  • /2 upgraded version in regular use in early Historqiues Collection, which launched in 1990

The Mysterious Vacheron Constantin Calibre 1040 (never existed)

Sellers sometimes list calibre 1040 for Vacheron watches, but as far as we know this calbire never existed. This is likely a verbal/aural confusion with 1014, though confusion may also arise from the Lemania/Omega cal. 1040, which is a rather famous movement.

K 1003 – Ultra-Thin Manual-Winding (1955-present)

  • based on Jaeger-LeCoultre 839 (and later 849)
  • 1.64mm tall (thinnest traditionally produced movement ever)
  • manually wound
  • hours and minutes
  • highly modified components, including a hanging mainspring (single sided mount)
  • 18 jewels (sometimes with 19 jewels, as with the 849 base movements)

Auto-Winding Calibres – (1950s – present)

Calibre 477 Center-Seconds (1951)

  • 3-hand with center-seconds
  • auto-winding with bumper rotor (doesn’t rotate all the way around due to Rolex patent restrictions)
  • lever escapement
  • beryllium balance with timing screws and is adjusted for temperatures
  • self-compensating Breguet balance spring
  • 17 jewels
  • 18,800 VPH
  • 12 linges / 27mm diameter

Calibre 498 Sub-Seconds & 499 Center-Seconds (1954-56 – quite rare)

  • 3-hand (498 sub-seconds, 499 center-seconds)
  • auto-winding with 360-degree rotation, unidirectional (powers only in one direction)
  • lever escapement
  • beryllium balance with timing screws and is adjusted for temperatures
  • self-compensating Breguet balance spring
  • 17 jewels
  • 18,800 VPH

Calibre 1019 Center-Seconds (1956-59)

  • 3-hand with center-seconds
  • auto-winding with 360-degree rotation, bi-directional (powers in both directions)
  • lever escapement
  • beryllium balance with timing screws and is adjusted for temperatures
  • self-compensating Breguet balance spring
  • 21 jewels
  • 18,800 VPH

Calibre 1071 Center-Seconds (1959-1969)

  • 3-hand with center-seconds
  • auto-winding with 360-degree rotation, bi-directional (powers in both directions)
  • lever escapement, Gyromax balance (timing screws) in beryllium, swan-neck micrometer regulator
  • 18K gold-edged rotor with ruby roller bearings
  • shock absorbing system
  • 29 jewels
  • 18,800 VPH
  • 18k gold winding rotor

Calibre 1070 Sub-Seconds (very rare)

  • Same as the 1071 but with a sub-seconds rather than a central-seconds.
  • It’s very difficult to find any watches with a cal. 1070.
  • A beautiful example is detailed by its owner here.

Calibre 1072 Center-Seconds w/ Date (1960s into the 1980s)

  • a 1071 with a date-wheel complication
  • rather common on 35mm watches in the 1960s, including many steel references
  • well regarded for having a beautifully engraved 18k gold winding rotor

Calibre 1120 – Ultra-Thin Auto-Winding (1967-present)

  • based on Jaeger-LeCoultre 920
  • auto-winding with 360-degree rotation, bi-directional (powers in both directions)
  • 36 jewels
  • Geneva Seal
  • note: since 2016, the 1120 has formed the basis for most of Vacheron’s complicated movements