Vacheron & Constantin Military Corps of Engineers rare chronograph pocket watch in solid silver in fine running condition. White enameled Arabic numbered dial signed Corps of Engineers U.S.A. Vacheron & Constantin Geneve. The watch has luminescent skeleton hands, with some bit of lume missing, sunk seconds dial at number six position, blue steel chronograph hand and is stem wind and stem set with crown activating the center chronograph hand. The solid silver case with hinged cuvette engraved Vacheron & Constantin Geneve has a 20 jewel, gilt finish lever escapement #3819XX movement signed and numbered Vacheron & Constantin Geneve with Maltese Cross logo. Case is 52 mm in diameter with engraving on back Corps of Engineers U.S.A No. 514. Case number is 235700 and is in excellent condition. We have not polished the silver case on purpose.
In early spring of 1918, the AEF American Expeditionary Force set up an order for 5,000 Vacheron & Constantin pocket watches. Most ordered were 60 second chronographs. These watches were designated for the Corps of Engineers to be used mainly for the supervision of railroad operations in France. Orders for at least 10,000 watches were tendered from other fine Swiss brands for time only watches, however only Vacheron & Constantin, one of the top most respected high quality watch houses was engaged for chronographs. Of the 5,000 ordered, 3,289 had been delivered by the end of conflict that deployed over 1.2 million American troops in WW1. Timing of military actions was crucial and only the best timepieces would be employed. Shipping was unreliable at the time and supplies were much more convenient from one of the best manufacturers in Switzerland, which was Vacheron & Constantin.
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