Introducing the new Historiques model: American 1921

a full feature article to follow soon but meanwhile here's the press release:

“Historiques American 1921” 

Introducing the new Historiques model: American 1921

The Les Historiques line was born out of the desire to highlight the richness of Vacheron Constantin’s heritage by reviving emblematic legendary models conveying the brand’s spirit and savoir-faire in contemporary reinterpretations.

So, following last year’s presentation of the reinterpretation of the Chronomètre Royal 1907 to celebrate that watch’s 100th anniversary, Vacheron Constantin is now presenting the Historiques American 1921. This timepiece is inspired by an avant-garde cushion-shaped wristwatch featuring a crown at one o’clock and produced in very limited numbers by the Geneva-based manufacture specifically for the American market during the Roaring Twenties.

Respecting the spirit of that era, Vacheron Constantin has once again returned to basics by combining creativity and historical accuracy. The new Historiques American 1921, therefore, pays homage to the bold style of the 1920’s.

Classically inspired, elegant, unpretentious but original, and a real dandy of a watch, this model features a case that is faithful to the original and still cushion-shaped, but now crafted in 18K pink gold and with a diameter of 40 mm. Its most distinguishing characteristic is the diagonal reading of the time, with the crown positioned at one o’clock like the original model.

The dial, with its sand-blasted finish, has 12 Arabic numerals painted in black and a minute-track, also painted in black. The Breguet hour and minute hands are in black oxidized 18K gold. The seconds-counter hand at 4 o’clock, however, is baton-shaped, though also in black oxidized 18K gold. 

Introducing the new Historiques model: American 1921

The case, featuring a slightly convex sapphire crystal, has a transparent back through which one can admire the exceptional finishing of the brand new manual-winding 4400 movement, developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin and stamped with the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva. The movement, which is 28 mm in diameter and 2.8 mm high, indicates hours and minutes, with the seconds on a subdial, and has a frequency of 28,800 vibrations / hour and a power reserve of around 65 hours. 

Introducing the new Historiques model: American 1921

Water-resistant to 3 bar, the approximate equivalent of 30 metres, this new model comes on a dark-brown, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, square-scaled alligator leather strap adorned with an 18K pink gold buckle in the shape of a half Maltese cross. 

Introducing the new Historiques model: American 1921

The production of the Historiques American 1921 will be limited. It should particularly appeal to connoisseurs and to enthusiasts of bold, classical Haute Horlogerie timepieces looking for watches that whet their curiosity due to the timelessness of their aesthetic and functional qualities. 

Introducing the new Historiques model: American 1921

Introducing the new Historiques model: American 1921

Technical data 

Reference 82035/000R-9359

Movement 4400, developed and produced Vacheron Constantin
Stamped with the Hallmark of Geneva

Energy Mechanical, manual-winding

Height of movement 2.8 mm

Diameter of movement 28.00 mm

Jewels 21 rubies

Frequency 28,800 vibrations/hour

Indications Hours, minutes and off-centre small seconds

Power reserve Approx. 65 hours

Case 18K 5N pink gold
40.00 mm in diameter
Convex sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on inside
Cushion-shaped round opening
Transparent back with screws, sapphire crystal, off-centre crown

Water-resistance 3 bar, equivalent to 30 metres

Dial Sand-blasted finishing
Black painted Arabic numerals
Painted minute-track
Maltese cross: polished 18K 5N pink gold
Hour and minute hands: black oxidized 18K gold
Seconds hand: black oxidized 18K gold, baton-shaped

Strap Hand-stitched, saddle-finish, square-scaled brown alligator leather

Clasp 18K 5N pink gold buckle with polished half Maltese cross

10/31/2008 - 11:17
10/31/2008 - 12:20
10/31/2008 - 17:02
10/31/2008 - 17:33
10/31/2008 - 18:39
10/31/2008 - 22:59
11/01/2008 - 12:22
Love it!
10/31/2008 - 11:17
It truly is a magnificent watch.
Sorry, may be I need to see it in real BUT after a quick glance
10/31/2008 - 11:59

it does not speak to me

Why can't they make it just the usual way? LOL!
10/31/2008 - 12:18
Makes me dizzy  but it's an elegant watch!
I like it very much but...
10/31/2008 - 12:20
...would have preferred without the maltese cross on the dial. Bernard
I know that there are folks already coveting this piece
10/31/2008 - 12:24
and it will be a fave for many collectors.  It is interesting to note that this watch appears to be extremely attractive to the ladies as further evidenced by Tacha's enthusiastic response. For me, I prefer the QP variation that we saw here and at the Shanghai boutique. Alex, perhaps you can share with everyone the distribution plans for this new piece.  Will it, like its predecessor, be for the American market or will it be available globally? Cheers, Duncan
Re: I know that there are folks already coveting this piece
10/31/2008 - 12:56
It would be even more attractive if it was offered in a smaller size (for ladies). 40mm is huge! It's a little less than the width of my wrist...
Admittedly, I have never met you and don't know about...
11/01/2008 - 01:54
your wrist but I have seen the watch on some pretty petite wrists and it still looks good.  The watch is quite slim and sits well, even on slim wrists.  It is large enough to make a bit of a statement but not so much so that it looks tacky or outrageous.  Perhaps the best thing to do is try it for yourself and then see how you feel about it. Cheers, Duncan
with such a name the American 1921 will be pre launched in the
10/31/2008 - 12:57
US starting Dec and the rest of the world in April
Any ideas of pricing...
10/31/2008 - 13:03
...and if, different versions ?
currently available only in RG at a price of approx
10/31/2008 - 13:21
Fantastic watch...
10/31/2008 - 15:50
Thats the first VC to really interest me in a long time.  Great size, the shape is very cool, nice looking movement, the offset dial is really interesting and I love rose gold!  Unfortunately, my local VC dealer went out of business earlier this year.  I guess I'll have to search for another AD to see one in person.  Any idea how many will be made?  It it going to be a standard production piece in the Historique line or a limited edition? Best regards, Dino
this is a "standard" production piece but only about 100-150 should
10/31/2008 - 16:47
be made each year. Good to have you back Dino
Re: this is a "standard" production piece but only about 100-150 should
10/31/2008 - 17:46
Thanks for the production info. I have always been a fan of VC's Historique line so its nice to see another model is in production. Also its good to be back here at the forum.  Just been kind of tied up and recently, and I strayed to a sister brand as my nearest VC dealer closed earlier in the year.   Best regards, Dino
what a halloween surprise. beautiful .... the les historiques line to
10/31/2008 - 15:48
come in chronograph will be worth waiting for. despite cutting all budgets for watches till the crisis is over, i may break this resolution if the chronograph is launched. :)
a chronograph will be launched in the Historiques collection but my
10/31/2008 - 16:51
gut feeling is that VC will hold back until their inhouse manual wind chrono movement is launched which is still some time off so you can still stick to your resolution... until you see some of the new SIHH 2009 models that is
Re: caliber 4400
10/31/2008 - 17:02
Alex, can you share some of the design philosophy for this new movement?  I'm interested in the plates vs bridges and the choice of a relatively high-beat frequency.  Also, it's quite a large manual wind...perhaps to "fill out" larger case designs. Regarding the watch itself...funny how we were just discussing it's progeniture a few days ago.  With the watch positioned on it's side as in the pictures, it appears as if all the dial details are on the top half.  The photographer compensates by positioning the hands to fill the vacant lower half, thus giving the picture balance.
I'm working on a full feature article on this and you'll have all the
10/31/2008 - 17:11
info in it. Just give me a few more weeks :-)
Re: I'm working on a full feature article on this and you'll have all the
10/31/2008 - 17:33
i am waiting with a lot of appetence mr Alex as for the watch imo it is a very beatiful compination of elegance and quality
Oh my God!
10/31/2008 - 17:33
That's so beautiful even though it's a kind of replica,  it still carries a lot new personality !!! I want one Thanks  Doc
10/31/2008 - 18:39

Very nice, very original, very... VC As Doc said, this watch has so much personality and flair, and the breguet numbers go perfectly with the funky cushion case.  And RG/brown strap combo is perfect for this watch! As much as I am a fan of platinum, this baby wouldn't look as fun if it was in PT/WG version (on that one, I think I disagree with you Duncan, I prefer this simple version to the QP). I'm a HUGE fan of the sand-blast finish on the dial. Size at 40mm is great... And the movement... yummy! This new 4400 is stunning, I really love the use of plates by VC (looking forward to your new article Alex). Really, it seems that VC got it 100% right on every detail, and this might result in another classic! Nobody else than VC could have come up with this baby! As much as I am a fan of this watch, at the moment I would not consider buying one. Forget the economic downturn and all the depressing stuff, but to me (and of course, this is for me only) this would make a nice 7th or 8th piece in my collection, there are others (including a few VCs) that I would prefer to have before this one. It's a "very nice to have", but not a "must have". At least for the moment... One thing: while the position of the dial makes it perfect to read time (don't even need to move your wrist!) for most of us, this is not a watch that the lefties will be enjoying... Thanks Alex Cheers,  Francois

I think this wouldn't bother lefties :-)
10/31/2008 - 20:07
We tend to be very adaptable people. We do not have the choice; try to use a dessert fork or a can opener with your left hand and you will see! As far as I am concerned I wear watches on the left wrist and if I didn't, I would be glad to change my habits for this beauty But it was nice of you to think about us.
I know your pain
10/31/2008 - 20:48
I'm not a lefty, but my wife is... and she doesn't like our can opener, scissors, etc. as you said, this watch is nice enough to go unto the wrong wrist...
Lefties of the world ...unite!!
10/31/2008 - 21:21
Well, Francois, I'm a leftie (most of the time) and I wear my watch on the right wrist, so this watch would be a bit of a problem. I thought about it as soon as I saw it but its unlikely VC will make one with the tilt the other way. How many watches with crowns at the 9 o'clock position are there? Ahh haa! My point exactly Regards, Joseph
Finally, my Prince has arrived!
10/31/2008 - 18:47
Unusual shape, just the right size, manual winder,easy to read, time only/small seconds and affordable! Lovin' it, Miki
you're right, the price is another great thing about this watch!
10/31/2008 - 18:55

you get a lot of "Shazam!!" for your buck!

April Fool!!! Oops, forgot, it's Halloween. And this watch is real..
10/31/2008 - 19:37

..... and very interesting.  As I sit & type this I note that, wearing a watch on the left hand, the 1:30 position is about where one's gaze drops down to for the first look at the wrist for the time.  And now 1:30 is 12:00.  Perhaps there's a point to this madness.  You can bet this is one VC that the average person will point to your wrist & exclaim, "What the heck is that?"  Often a VC is so quiet in its appearance that only the owner knows & loves it.  Nicholas

I beleive the point for the 45 degree shift was to emulate
10/31/2008 - 20:33
what they called "drivers watches". These were very popular during the 30's. I allowed you to read the time without taking your hand off the wheel. Gruen had one that was extremely popular, the watch was curved in the back and it was worn on the side of the wrist. I personally like the look of the Vacheron much better. John
Another interesting point....
11/01/2008 - 16:13
about the origianl watch was the sub-dial positioned at 6 o'clock.  This was because of the pocketwatch movement, which required the seconds sub-dial be opposite the winding stem.
A stunning watch !
10/31/2008 - 22:59
I love it, its design, the caliber, its modern interpretation of this classic... OMG ! Another tentation ! Thanks Alex for the detailed post. Fr.Xavier
Re: Introducing the new Historiques model: American 1921
11/01/2008 - 02:26
This is a really stunning watch, a very interesting concept which is amazingly well executed with what looks like an exceptional movement.  The price is right too. But would I buy one or wear one? No. Its not on my list of must have watches and its a little too quirky for my taste. I was never a big fan of cushion shaped watches til I bought a Salterello and now I'm a believer. But if VC wanted to bring back a cushion-shaped watch, here are two I would have preferred: JB Blue Tachometer, Ref. 4111 1937 Monopoussoir (Single button) Chronograph Ref. 2990 from 1929
Cushion Chrono
11/01/2008 - 14:20
After a little more researche' I found that VC had already "reincarnated" a cushion-shaped chrono. Here is a photo (from Cologni's "Memoires des Marques, Vacheron Constantin"). It was released in 2000 with a Calibre 1145. Joseph
It is very nice except...
11/01/2008 - 14:48
...the mentions "CHRONOGRAPHE" and "Edition Limitée". Bernard
and even worse the chronograph is cam controlled and not column
11/01/2008 - 14:58
wheel  A disgrace considering VC has its name on the dial.
There are a few more in the closet....
11/01/2008 - 16:29

that is, movements that are best kept in the dark!  For instance, this:

what's that? (nt)
11/01/2008 - 17:54
Cal. 1130
11/01/2008 - 19:05
Based on  F. Piguet's cal. 9.51, 19 jewel automatic found in the Phidias and some dress watches.  Although slim, it's an underperforming movement that beats at a leisurely 21,600 vph and fails to display the expected VC embellishments.  All-in-all, a poor replacement for the much-loved 1121. The first clue on spotting (and avoiding) this movement is the undersized date window set closer to the center of the dial.
Re: and even worse the chronograph is cam controlled and not column
11/01/2008 - 21:41
I agree, its a real pity. I wonder what they were thinking (or smoking ?) JB
JB, the 1st chrono you are suggesting was reintroduced back in
11/01/2008 - 14:22
the 1990s.  It was part of Les Historiques and was the Medicus.  It was available in rose gold, platinum, and skeleton or non skeleton versions.  IMHO it was a very handsome watch (in the non skeleton version) but many people were dissappointed that the movement was not a column wheel design chronograph movement.  Sorry, I do not have a picture but I'm sure others might have one.  Best regards, Dino
Love it!
11/01/2008 - 12:22
What a stunning piece! I love the cushion shape, the old fashion dial, the caliber (obviously), and... the shift! This could seem weird at a first glance, but I think it's really useful when you have your hands on the wheel or a keyboard. It's a very original touch for a classic piece.
Alex, what is the reason the dial is arranged in such a way?
11/01/2008 - 16:24
Don't like the arrangement of the dial. Regards Ling
the original model from 1921 had this dial and crown layout (nt)
11/01/2008 - 17:53
Yes, why was it make in such a way in 1921?
11/02/2008 - 01:13
I personally feel that it is not practical to read time. May be it is just fashionable, just like left hand crown? Regards Ling
I don't know, maybe just a test in design? (nt)
11/02/2008 - 09:35
Re: I don't know, maybe just a test in design? (nt)
11/03/2008 - 23:19
An intriguing question...the reference books only indicate that this model was ordered for the American market and the factory classified it as an "oversized display" type of watch.  The so-called Driver's watches had a very different design; where the watch was worn on the side of the wrist rather than on top. If you pretend to hold a steering wheel, you can see how the Driver's concept worked, whereas this canted dial doesn't really help while driving unless you twist your wrist inwards, which can actually be painful.  With a normal watch, you move your arm in an arc towards your body, which places the display in direct (and comfortable) view. The only position that seems to improve readability is with your arm stretched out ahead with palms down, where it's large angled display is more readable than a conventional dial.  So perhaps this is a "Diver's" watch!
The more I look at this, the more I love it!
11/02/2008 - 04:12
I wasn't so sure at first glance, but after having looked at the photos daily since you posted them, the more I see of this watch, the more I want to see one IRL.  I agree with those who have said that this wouldn't work in another metal; I don't know why but for me at least, cushion cases seem to work best with pink gold.  One thing though - I'd like to see it without the subdial. Might be a cleaner look.
I don'l like it as i didn't like...
11/02/2008 - 10:18
the perpetual calendar. VC makes new stuff with old stuff and i consider that Patek is better at this game. Moreover, 40mm is way too big.
It's a nice watch like it is, but...
11/02/2008 - 16:42
I do not really like it for 2 main reasons: 1. the size: I find it too large for that kind of watch position 2. the replica: I do not like replicas except if there is something new in the spirit of the watch. I share Jerôme's mind. I think there is room enough for VC to develop other styles... Cheers
For right-handed wearers?
11/08/2008 - 18:02
Another clue as to the purpose of this canted design was found in the online version of Antiquorums Quarter Millenium catalog:So called “American” Vacheron & Constantin, Genève, No. 394192, case No. 245206. Made in 1921. Very fine, rare and unusual, cushion-shaped, 18K yellow gold gentleman's wristwatch with movement and dial diagonally set in the case for a right-handed wearer. This comment did not make the printed catalog.