The Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 ranks among the all-time greats of VC’s historic catalog. Yes, the entire back catalog.
The Historiques American is a *headliner* in the annals of a watchmaker with an unbroken quarter millennium-plus of heritage. The “1921” is that compelling.
Consider the main event: that case. It’s a classic cushion in the mold of its Art Deco inspiration. The 1919 and 1921 “American” models were special bespoke projects for a small number of then-prominent U.S. connoisseurs. Having been spared the ravages of World War I, the America of the Roaring Twenties exhibited an insatiable appetite for innovation, flamboyance, and the visible hallmarks of modernity.
Amid this maelstrom of motorcars, skyscrapers, speak-easies, and jazz, the Vacheron Constantin “American” was in its element. Despite the serendipitous confluence of zeitgeist, art, and horology, only 24 of the two original “American” references were delivered.
Enter the Vacheron Constantin “Les Historiques” collection.
Initiated in the 1990s, Les Historiques was an initiative to select all-time Vacheron greats and offer small production runs of reissue models with modern watchmaking refinements. Never intended as a mass-market play, Les Historiques is a collection for the seasoned watch aficionado.
Vacheron Constantin invested the reborn American 1921 with the best of its past and present expertise.
From the 1919 original, Vacheron’s art department retained the dial. With a silver base, black Breguet numerals, and a circumferential “railroad” chapter ring, the dial recalls the decadent luxury of the last haut-de-gamme pocket watches.
From the 1921, Vacheron retained the case. Its signature element remains the crown positioned at one o’clock. The original off-center arrangement was designed to facilitate easy reading when worn on the left wrist of a motorist.
Mass production of automobiles provided the horsepower that made the twenties roar, and many credit the Vacheron American as the first true “driver’s watch.”
Finally, Vacheron engaged its modern-day manufacture savor faire and endowed the Historiques American 1921 with an in-house case and movement worthy of the latest Geneva Hallmark. The movement is a Vacheron Constantin cal. 4400, and it was developed specifically for this watch. The hand-wound caliber is thin, fills the case back completely, and sports a luxurious 65-hour power reserve.
While Geneva Seal movements are familiar fixtures in Vacheron watches, the post-2012 Seal standards include parallel inspection and approval of cases. Both case and movement are signed with the famed “Poincon.”
This Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 Ref. 82035 is more than a tribute to the Geneva maison’s history; the watch is a bold statement of the firm’s modern mastery of its art and science. See this American 1921 in high-resolution images on www.watchuwant.com Video and content by Tim Mosso.