For Christian Selmoni, Vacheron Constantin’s director of fashion and heritage, the watches the model releases in its Historiques line are among the many most troublesome ones to design in your complete assortment.
Regardless of the issue, although, Vacheron Constantin focuses on taking parts of its long gone and revamping them for beautiful use in a really actual and trendy current. This conventional maker has been producing timepieces uninterruptedly since 1755 and it usually attracts on that heritage for the fashions within the Historiques assortment mannequin.
An important instance is the Historiques American 1921 Small.
The origins of the “1921,” as collectors and followers of the fashion are wont to name it, lie within the so-called driver’s watch fashion, which allowed the driving force of a (for the time) newfangled car to see the time with out taking eyes off the highway.
“The American 1921 mannequin could be thought of one of many earliest driver’s watches,” Selmoni defined to me in Paris through the official launch of the most recent Historiques 1921 assortment mannequin. “A couple of examples of the same watch have been made in 1919.”
The 1919 examples have been a bit totally different than the 1921 fashions we’re accustomed to right now: the crown was on the left aspect of the highest lugs and the subsidiary seconds dial was at 6 o’clock – in distinction to each of these parts now positioned on the fitting aspect of the watch, with the subsidiary seconds at three o’clock.
The motion was most probably initially designed for a pendant watch, whose crown was positioned at 12 o’clock. Then the crown was shifted barely to the left, whereas the subsidiary seconds counter was consequently moved from 6 to five o’clock.
In 1921, Vacheron Constantin switched these parts to the fitting for the serial model of the watch. And the mix of cushion-shaped case with a crown positioned unconventionally at 11 o’clock made for a very placing timepiece.
Selmoni confirmed, “The present fashions inside the Historiques assortment are based mostly on the design of 1921.”
The “American” connection
Whereas the earliest origins of this watch are automotive at their supply, you might ask the place the “American” within the identify of this watch comes from, and also you’d be proper to take action.
The primary mannequin inspiring the Historiques American 1921 was issued in an version of 12 items, its crown now positioned at 1 o’clock.
And, curiously, the preliminary three items have been bought to purchasers in the US; the primary proprietor was Reverend S. Parkes Cadman, a outstanding clergyman, newspaper author, and pioneering Christian radio broadcaster of the 1920s and 1930s, an outspoken opponent of anti-Semitism and racial intolerance. “He needed to have the ability to ship a sermon with out turning his wrist to see the time,” Vacheron Constantin’s charming new CEO Louis Ferla defined. “The thought was to offset the time in order that it might be simply and discretely seen.”
Two extra have been purchased in 1928 by an American shopper, bringing the grand whole of American homeowners of the primary 12 items to 5 – which is motive sufficient to name this mannequin the “1921 American.” The 12 items have been revamped a ten-year interval, with the final mannequin delivered in 1931.
At this time’s American 1921
“From the start I’ve been a giant fan of the 1921 watch, it’s what I really like within the Historiques assortment,” stated Selmoni. “In fact we’re a basic model, however we prefer to revisit this twist that we’ve from the previous.”
The visually arresting 1921 American is maybe Vacheron Constantin’s most recognizable mannequin. Amongst connoisseurs it definitely is among the hottest – which permits us to forgive the Geneva-based firm many reissues of it, most notably the 40 mm measurement in gold and platinum obtainable till now.
Whereas 40 mm may sound like an affordable measurement, its cushion-shaped case wears fairly largely even on giant wrists. The model selected that measurement again in 2008 through the period of bigger watches, and it proved to achieve success.
However now that the fascinating measurement of wristwatches has as soon as once more headed right into a extra basic period, Vacheron Constantin felt it was certainly time to revamp this basic to make a unisex mannequin – particularly as a result of ladies have proven nice curiosity in it over time, however have been largely unable to put on the 40 mm model.
“It was very troublesome to design a unisex watch,” Selmoni revealed. “The primary threat is that you find yourself pleasing neither ladies nor males.”
Now supplied in 36.5 mm pink gold, it’s a very straightforward watch to put on whether or not you might be male or feminine (“it’s an incredible mid-size,” Ferla interjected at this level, “not too large and never too small.”). In truth, Vacheron Constantin’s personal representatives don’t hesitate to name this an ideal dandy watch: “classical but quirky.”
The asymmetrical sizing is good on any wrist, an on the spot reminder to any connoisseur of Vacheron Constantin of the model’s illustrious previous, which extends into its fantastic current.
Whereas it pays nearly direct homage to the bizarre mannequin launched in 1921, it has additionally been up to date in accordance with trendy manufacturing strategies and shopper expectations: it’s water-proof to 30 meters and outfitted with scratch resistant sapphire crystal relatively than easy glass, which was the fabric obtainable within the 1920s.
Moreover, it was given a sapphire crystal case again permitting the wearer to see the gorgeous in-house caliber at will.
And, in fact, it’s stamped with the Geneva Seal.
New CEO, romantic new strategy
As the brand new CEO of Vacheron Constantin, Louis Ferla, graciously took the time to clarify to me in Paris through the launch of the most recent version of the American 1921, “Having tales to inform and constructing on them is essential for Vacheron Constantin, we have to romance a bit extra.
“The Historiques line all the time offers us with a possibility to speak about our heritage and our know-how. And I all the time put innovation along with heritage.
“Having 260 years of historical past is an incredible asset, however it’s good to repeatedly innovate to shock and have interaction your purchasers.”
For extra info, please go to www.vacheron-constantin.com/en/watches/historiques/historiques-american-1921-small-model.
Fast Information Historiques American 1921 Small Mannequin
Case: 36.5 x 7.25 mm, pink gold
Motion: manually wound Vacheron Constantin Caliber 4400 AS; 65-hour energy reserve, Seal of Geneva, 28,800 vph/four Hz frequency
Capabilities: hours, minutes, seconds
Worth: €29,500 (together with tax)
* This text was first printed on October 19, 2017 at Vacheron Constantin’s New Historiques American 1921 Small: Transforming The Traditional Into The Modern.