Corps of Engineers Military Chronograph Pocket Watch in Silver
Vintage Vacheron & Constantin Corps of Engineers Military Chronograph Pocket Watch in Silver from 1919
The establishment of the American Heritage Project to support VC's recently inaugurated New York Boutique has sparked a renewed fascination with historical timepieces connected to America. Among these, the Corps of Engineers silver-cased pocket chronographs from 1918 to 1920 stand out as particularly prevalent.
Official archives disclose that in May of 1918, the American Expeditionary Force entered into a contract with Vacheron & Constantin for the production of 5,000 watches destined for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This undertaking proved exceptionally ambitious for the manufacturer, and the entire contract was ultimately left unfulfilled. By the conclusion of deliveries in 1920, only 3,289 V&C timepieces had made their way to the Corps.
For an in-depth exploration, please refer to the earlier posts, "The Watch That Went to War, Parts I and II."
In this update, I wish to present the three distinct chronograph movements employed in the series, along with a surprising revelation. Notably, a discernible disparity in movement finish and construction emerged during the production of these Corps chronographs, with the ability to distinguish them by their movement serial numbers:
380xxx featuring a ½ plate, rhodium finish, and capped column-wheel.
381xxx showcasing curved finger bridges and a gilt finish.
382xxx to 386xxx displaying straight finger bridges and a gilt finish.
RA 19”194 ART
engraving on back Corps of Engineers U.S.A No. 896
An extract from the archive has confirmed the date of manufacture as 1919
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