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Historiques American 1921, 100 years of boldness and a playful twist

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Historiques American 1921, 100 years of boldness and a playful twist

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1920 Vac Historiques Am21 Cep 82035 000p B748 Lfst1.jpg

Source Credit:  Content and images from Vacheron Constantin Media.  Read the original article - https://presslounge.vacheron-constantin.com/historiques-american-1921-100-years-of-boldness-and-a-playful-twist/

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  • Vacheron Constantin is celebrating the 100th anniversary of a historic watch nicknamed the American 1921 produced primarily for the American market in a very limited number of pieces.
  • The unbridled creativity of the Roaring Twenties embodied in a cushioned case, an atypical diagonal display and an off-centre crown.
  • For vintage watch collectors and connoisseurs, a signature design expressed through three new variations: two white gold models and a 100-piece Collection Excellence Platine limited edition.
  • A manual-winding in-house movement, Calibre 4400 AS, with a 65-hour power reserve.
  • A watch that has become an icon, appreciated for its ‘classic with a twist’ look.

Geneva, April 7th 2021 – In 1921, Vacheron Constantin seized the powerful momentum of the Roaring Twenties to create a watch with an avant-garde design produced primarily for the American market. In 2021, the Maison is celebrating the anniversary of this icon, particularly appreciated by collectors and connoisseurs of Haute Horlogerie, with three new interpretations of the American 1921 model. A contemporary take on a legendary watch, honouring the visionary boldness of the Manufacture. These novelties presented at Watches & Wonders 2021, as well as the historical models epitomize the Maison’s ‘classic with a twist’ theme for 2021. They embody Vacheron Constantin’s creative energy, guided by an identity that celebrates heritage and dares to deliver the unexpected.

It is distinguished by its elegant and classic yet quirkily original appearance. More than just a watch, it is a symbol, an emblematic expression of Vacheron Constantin’s creativity. Introduced exactly a century ago, the American 1921 model is one of the most outstanding landmarks in the heritage of the Manufacture, which celebrates its avant-garde spirit through three new variations dedicated to vintage watch collectors and connoisseurs. A cushion-type case, the diagonal display, the crown positioned between 1 and 2 o’clock are all visual twists testifying to an aesthetic that appeals as much by its offset design as its timeless nature. Three new versions of the American 1921 are presented to mark the 100th anniversary: two models in 18K white gold and a 100-piece limited edition from the Collection Excellence Platine, powered by the in-house manual-winding movement, Calibre 4400 AS. With its generous 28.50 mm diameter magnified by the transparency of the sapphire caseback, this calibre is offset from its usual axis, while its imposing barrel ensures an approximately 65-hour (three-day) power reserve.

A Roaring Twenties icon
The origin of the watch can be even traced back to 1919. At the time, the Maison experimented with numerous case shapes, always in small series. The wristwatch became then a genre in its own, which found its style notably in the shapes it adopted, especially the cushion one. Few pieces were manufactured in 1919. Two years later, Vacheron Constantin produced another small series for the USA, hence named American 1921, which defined the re-design of the current Historiques model.

Behind the unusual design of the 1920s creation lies the quintessence of the Roaring Twenties, which for nearly a decade brought a wind of renewal to the United States and Europe. Synonymous with artistic and cultural effervescence, the period was a time for boldness and overturning conventions. Economic growth was in full swing; a scantily clad Josephine Baker danced wearing a barely-there banana skirt; clubs and dance halls throbbed to the sound of Charleston dance music and jazz; the surrealists took centre stage on the art scene… In Vacheron Constantin’s workshops, the powerful inventive surge of these years also gave rise to new perspectives. At a time when pocket watches were beginning to give way to wristwatches, the miniaturisation of watch movements paved the way for a burst of creativity. All kinds of fanciful touches were permissible on the wrist, as witnessed by the vintage 1921 model, a clever blend of sobriety and irreverence in a classic with a twist.

A sought-after watch
The American 1921 model stands out first and foremost in terms of design, with an elegantly understated cushion-shaped case defining its look. It is also distinguished by a stage-setting approach to the path of time. Unexpectedly offset by means of a 45-degree counter-clockwise rotation, the calibre enables a diagonal reading of time, while the crown is placed between 1 and 2 o’clock in the upper right-hand corner of the case. The result is a watch that is as strikingly original as it is appealing.

The initial versions produced were notably appreciated by driving enthusiasts who could thus read the time at a glance without having to take their hands from the steering wheel. The perfect gentleman driver’s watch, it was also adopted by elegant and avant-garde circles. A look through the archives reveals that two such watches belonged to American writer and clergyman Samuel Parkes-Cadman. Renowned for his fight for racial equality and the struggle against anti-Semitism, the man was a pioneer at heart. He is notably known to have been one of the first to use radio to broadcast his sermons to several million listeners; and is thought to have opted for this watch because it allowed him to read the time easily and discreetly while preaching. One of the two timepieces he owned is now part of Vacheron Constantin’s heritage collection. This extremely rare model served as direct inspiration for the three new timepieces presented in 2021.

Historiques American 1921 – white gold 40 mm
With its 18K white gold case, offset dial and crown boldly positioned between 1 and 2 o’clock, this American 1921 model reprises the aesthetic codes first outlined 100 years ago in the Vacheron Constantin workshops. The chic retro look of this watch for the vintage-loving dandy adorns the wrist with its generous 40 mm proportions framing a finely grained silver-toned dial. This extremely pared-down face bears Arabic numerals and a black-painted minutes track, along with slender 18K gold Breguet-type hands and a baton-type hand on the seconds counter – all three in black. This distinctive appearance is complemented by a brown calf leather strap crafted in the Milan-based workshops of Serapian, the Italian leather goods company founded in 1928.

Visible through the sapphire crystal caseback, the manual-winding Vacheron Constantin Calibre 4400 AS is offset from its usual axis. This reliable and accurate in-house movement, developed in 2008, drives the display of hours, minutes and small seconds while ensuring a comfortable 65-hour power reserve. It is graced with hand-crafted finishes reflecting the noblest Haute Horlogerie traditions.

Historiques American 1921 – white gold 36.5 mm
With its 36.5mm case, the American 1921 fits even the slimmest of wrists. Sculpted in 18K white gold, its slender silhouette frames a grained silver-toned dial with black-painted Arabic numerals and a snailed small seconds counter with slender black 18K gold open-tipped hours and minutes hands. Adding a retro touch in tune with the original design, the circumference of the dial is accentuated by a minutes track.

Beating off the hours, minutes and small seconds, the manual-winding Vacheron Constantin Calibre 4400 AS is also offset from its traditional axis and extended by a crown positioned at 1:30 am. In addition to a comfortable 65-hour autonomy, this in-house movement features hand-crafted decorations visible through the transparent caseback and typical of Haute Horlogerie timepieces such as this new American 1921 watch. The finishing touch is set by two dark brown or burgundy straps in patinated calf leather, crafted by Italian leather goods manufacturer Serapian.

Historiques American 1921 Collection Excellence Platine
Entirely sculpted in 950 platinum, the American 1921 Collection Excellence Platine comes in a 100-piece individually numbered limited edition available exclusively in Vacheron Constantin boutiques.

The well-proportioned 40 mm case in 950 platinum frames a 950 platinum dial with a sandblasted finish, punctuated by applied 18K white gold hour-markers and a minutes track reminiscent of traditional watch designs. Sandblasting the dial is a particularly sophisticated operation on an inalterable material such as platinum. The crown and buckle also feature the unique brilliance of this rare metal, while the platinum and silk thread stitching on the dark blue alligator strap constitutes a final refined detail.

Behind the scenes, watchmaking sophistication is the order of the day with a manual-winding Vacheron Constantin Calibre 4400 AS which, in addition to driving displays of the hours, minutes and small seconds, offers a comfortable 65-hour power reserve. Visible through the sapphire caseback, this movement reveals delicately hand-finished details representing the unmistakable signature of an Haute Horlogerie watch.

Classic with a Twist
Vacheron Constantin’s creativity has always remained closely attuned to its time while evoking its memories. This byword for elegance, adopted by each watchmaker, artisan and designer throughout the years and centuries, celebrates heritage and dares to explore the unexpected. Poised at the intersection between technical virtuosity and aesthetic refinement, the enduring allure of Vacheron Constantin timepieces makes its way unscathed through passing eras. Because timelessness cannot be achieved merely by complying with the canons of traditional watchmaking, each creation is tinged with a touch of boldness revealed in the smallest details. Special displays, offset indications, specific chamfering of all components, hand-crafted finishing and the complexity of a mechanism are just a few examples of this expertise. The result is a very personal field of expression where technique and style converge in a subtle harmony between the conventional and the atypical.

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Sum-up

With its cushion-shaped case, diagonal time display and crown positioned between 1 and 2 o’clock, the Historiques American 1921 model is one of the iconic watches in Vacheron Constantin’s heritage. Produced for the American market between 1919 and 1921 as a very limited number of models, this avant-garde watch embodies the boldness and creativity characteristic of the Roaring Twenties. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of this legendary design, the Maison is reinterpreting this historic watch in three variations, powered by in-house manual-winding Calibre 4400 AS. Two white gold models in 40 mm and 36.5 mm diameters are complemented by straps in patinated calf leather, crafted in Milan by Italian leather goods company Serapian. A third model is part of the Collection Excellence Platine in a 100-piece individually numbered limited edition.

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TECHNICAL DATA

Historiques American 1921 – 40 mm

Reference 82035/000G-B735

Calibre
4400 AS

Developed and crafted by Vacheron Constantin Mechanical, manual-winding
28.6 mm (12 ½ ‘’’) diameter, 2.8 mm thick
Approximately 65 hours of power reserve
4 Hz (28,800 vibrations/hour)
127 components
21 jewels
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece

Indications
Hours, minutes

Small seconds

Case
18K white gold

40 mm diameter, 8.06 mm thick
Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
Water-resistance tested at a pressure of 3 bar (approx. 30 metres)

Dial
Grained silver-toned dial

Snailed small seconds counter
Black painted Arabic numerals and minutes track
18K gold blackened hours, minutes and seconds hands
Applied Maltese cross in polished 18K white gold

Strap
Dark brown calf leather with Serapian patina, calf leather inner shell, tone on tone stitching

Buckle
18K white gold buckle
Polished half Maltese cross-shaped

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TECHNICAL DATA

Historiques American 1921 – 36.5 mm

Reference 1100S/000G-B734

Calibre
4400 AS

Developed and crafted by Vacheron Constantin Mechanical, manual-winding
28.6 mm (12 ½ ‘’’) diameter, 2.8 mm thick
Approximately 65 hours of power reserve
4 Hz (28,800 vibrations/hour)
127 components
21 jewels
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece

Indications
Hours, minutes

Small seconds

Case
18K white gold

36.5 mm diameter, 7.41 mm thick
Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
Water-resistance tested at a pressure of 3 bar (approx. 30 metres)

Dial
Finely grained silver-toned dial

Snailed small seconds counter
Black painted Arabic numerals and minutes track
18K gold blackened hours, minutes and seconds hands
Applied Maltese cross in polished 18K white gold

Strap
Dark brown calf leather with Serapian patina, calf leather inner shell, tone on tone stitching

Delivered with a second burgundy calf leather strap

Buckle
18K white gold buckle

Polished half Maltese cross-shaped

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TECHNICAL DATA

Historiques American 1921 – Collection Excellence Platine

Reference 82035/000P-B748

Calibre
4400 AS

Developed and crafted by Vacheron Constantin Mechanical, manual-winding
28.6 mm (12 ½ ‘’’) diameter, 2.8 mm thick
Approximately 65 hours of power reserve
4 Hz (28,800 vibrations/hour)
127 components
21 jewels
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece

Indications
Hours, minutes

Small seconds

Case
950 platinum

40 mm diameter, 8.06 mm thick
Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
Water-resistance tested at a pressure of 3 bar (approx. 30 metres)

Dial
950 platinum, sand-blasted

“Pt950” hallmark at 3 o’clock
Sandblasted small seconds counter
18K white gold Arabic numerals, minutes track, hours and minutes hands
Blued steel small seconds hand
Applied Maltese cross in polished 18K white gold

Strap
Dark blue Mississippiensis alligator leather with alligator inner shell, hand-stitched with platinum 950 and silk, saddle-finish, large square scales

Buckle
950 platinum buckle

Polished half Maltese cross-shaped

Limited edition of 100 individually numbered piecesAvailable exclusively from Vacheron Constantin boutiques.

Source Credit:  Content and images from Vacheron Constantin Media.  Read the original article - https://presslounge.vacheron-constantin.com/historiques-american-1921-100-years-of-boldness-and-a-playful-twist/

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