100 years is a long time by any reckoning and an impressive milestone for any design still considered iconic. The Vacheron Constantin American 1921, one of the stalwarts of the brand’s impressive heritage collection, is one such design.
Created way back in, you guessed it, 1921, the American is defined by its angled dial, an off-kilter touch that we’d probably assume would make it a driving watch today. After all, it makes the time easier to read with your hands on the steering wheel.
There is however still some debate as to whether the American 21 actually is a driving watch. It would have made them an early adopter in the infant days of the automobile, and early sketches don’t reference it at all. It’s a bit of an enigma, really.
But that hasn’t stopped the slanted dial becoming an instant classic of the Roaring 20s and beyond and indeed Vacheron Constantin has, over the years, reinterpreted the design in a few different ways. For the American 21’s 100th anniversary however, they’ve kept things relatively straightforward… just better looking than ever. That’s right, the Historiques American 1921 is back, and in style.
The Historiques American 1921 is relatively similar to the original watch. It has the same cushion case with the crown situated at the corner and the same dial tilted 45 degrees to the right. In this instance however, Vacheron has rendered the beautiful case in both white gold and platinum.
Both white gold versions offer the same silver grained dial with flowing black numerals and small seconds indicator. The main difference is the size, with one offered in the classical 40mm, the other in 36.5mm. The latter is also offered on a burgundy strap along with the dark brown of the larger version, hinting that Vacheron consider it a women’s watch. Don’t let that put you off though; I’d actually opt for the smaller version myself.
The third version is available exclusively in a 40mm platinum case, complete with a similar dial to the other versions just with white gold indexes instead for a more subdued, tone-on-tone look. The subdial however is the same, for the sake of readability.
All three watches are equipped with the same 4400 AS movement with that corner-mounted crown and a solid 65-hour power reserve. It’s a stunner, viewable through the sapphire caseback and a masterclass in the standards required for the Hallmark of Geneva, a certification of consummate finishing quality.
Both white gold versions are offered in non-limited numbers, while the platinum is limited to just 100 pieces. Given that the latter is by far the more handsome of the watches, 100 is probably not going to be enough to satisfy collectors. But hey, what a way to celebrate an anniversary.
Price & Specs:
Model: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921
Ref: 82035/000G-B735 (18K white gold, grained silver-toned dial, dark-brown leather strap)
1100S/000G-B734 (18K white gold, finely grained silver-toned dial, dark-brown leather strap & a second burgundy calf leather strap)
82035/000P-B748 (950 platinum, 950 platinum sand-blasted dial, dark-blue alligator leather strap)
Case/Dial: 40mm diameter x 8.06mm height (ref. 82035/000G-B735, 82035/000P-B748),
36.5mm diameter x 7.21mm height (ref. 1100S/000G-B734), 18K white gold or 950 platinum
Movement: In-house Vacheron Constantin Calibre 4400 AS, hand-wound, 21 jewels
Water Resistance: 30m (3 bar)
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power Reserve: 65h
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Strap: Leather or alligator leather
Price/Availability: £25,800 (1100S/000G-B734), £31,200 (82035/000G-B735), £43,300 (82035/000P-B748, limited to 100 individually numbered pieces)
More details at Vacheron Constantin.