Spotlight on the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

ARTICLE DATE 10/04/2019
Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

As its name suggests, the Historiques American 1921 watch is a modern reissue of a vintage Vacheron Constantin timepiece. Featuring a unique dial layout and case structure, the original model which the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 is based upon was made for a very specific audience in mind. Let’s find out more.

Brief History of the American 1921

For the last two decades, Vacheron Constantin has been diving into its archives to reissue important vintage watch models as part of the Historiques collection. The Historiques collection is Vacheron Constantin’s way of introducing its iconic watch designs from yesteryear to a new audience.

A particularly intriguing vintage watch design from Vacheron Constantin is a driving watch made for the American market during the Roaring Twenties. As car ownership flourished in the United States in the 1920s, Vacheron Constantin saw the opportunity for a luxury watch that would be legible while driving. According to the brand, the original American 1921 was created “for an American client with a passion for cars.”

The original Vacheron Constantin Driving Watch from the 1920s (Image: Antiquorum)

The Vacheron developed the watch so that a driver could easily read the time while keeping his hands on the steering wheel without having to twist his wrist. As such, the dial was positioned in a diagonal fashion. Consequently, the movement inside the watch rotated accordingly to accommodate the unique dial layout. Due to the 45-degree counter-clockwise rotation of the movement, the winding crown now sat at the upper corner of the case on top of the 12-hour numeral, giving the watch a distinctive profile.

The modern tribute to the vintage Vacheron timepiece

Since the watch model was created during the height of the Art Deco period, the American timepiece sported cushion-shaped cases popular during the era. Vacheron Constantin made two versions of this watch in the twenties. The first had its movement turned counterclockwise and the other clockwise. Vacheron maintains that very few of these original American driving watches were ever made–less than 25 pieces in total–making them highly collectible in the vintage watch market.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 in Pink Gold

In 2008, Vacheron Constantin debuted the Historiques American 1921 as a tribute to those original driving watches. The appealing watch model is still part of the brand’s current lineup, available in a range of precious metals, sizes, and dial styles.

A particularly popular version of the Historiques American 1921 is the pink gold version, ref. 82035/000R-9359. The watch features a 40.00 x 45.98mm cushion-shaped case in 18k pink gold, with the winding crown positioned on the upper right-hand corner.

Pink Gold Historiques American 1921 82035/000R-9359

In honor of the original models, the dial of the Historiques American 1921 is, of course, rotated at a 45-degree angle. The silver-plated metal dial is home to black oxidized gold Breguet hands at the center. Black painted Arabic numerals sweep around the dial. Wedged between 2 and 4 o’clock is the running seconds indicator. Plus, a black railroad minute track runs around the outer edge. Topping the dial is a slightly convex sapphire crystal, which adds to the curviness of the watch’s silhouette.

Completing the look of the elegant Art Deco style fine timepiece is a black leather strap, fitted with a rose gold tang buckle shaped to look like Vacheron Constantin’s signature Maltese cross emblem.

Vacheron Constantin Caliber 4400 AS

Powering the Historiques American 1921 is the manual-winding Caliber 4400 AS, developed and crafted in-house by Vacheron Constantin.

In true Vacheron fashion (which is one part of the so-called Holy Trinity of Swiss watchmakers alongside Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet), the movement boasts exquisite finishing and decoration. What’s more, it even bears the coveted Geneva Seal as a testament to its top-tier quality. Caliber 4400 AS operates at a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour and provides a 65-hour power reserve. The movement is visible via the sapphire crystal window on the rose gold caseback.

Caliber 4400 AS visible through the sapphire caseback

The Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 ref. 82035/000R-9359 is a handsome tribute to an avant-garde vintage watch that effortlessly combined utility and elegance. In fact, Vacheron Constantin received the 2009 Watch of the Year prize for the Historiques American 1921. A fine timepiece with an intriguing history and a unique design, the Historiques American 1921 in pink gold is perfect for the gentleman who cherishes Art Deco style with a twist.