The phrase ‘avant garde’ gets thrown about in the world of watchmaking like ‘promoting synergy’ at a corporate headquarters, but there are very few timepieces that really live up to it. Vacheron’s iconic American is most definitely one of that elite few.
The cushion-shaped case might be pretty classical, a silhouette defined by the Art Deco style of the 1920s, but that’s about as far as it goes. The entire dial is off-kilter, slanted so that the 12 is pointing roughly at 1:30. Conversely the crown has been shifted in the opposite direction and is perched on the sloping corner of the case.
Originally the unique dial of the American was meant to allow it to be read while driving but, let’s be honest, that’s got very little to do with why we love it. There’s simply nothing else quite like it, taking an otherwise classic style and transforming it into a piece equal parts beautiful and eccentric.
It’s not hard to see why it’s been one of Vacheron Constantin’s most emblematic pieces and this latest version is no different. It’s 36.5mm pink gold case might seem a tad small for anyone overcompensating for their insecurities, but it gives it much more of a vintage feel and still works as a unisex watch.
A truly distinctive timepiece, the Historiques revival of the American 1921 is an exceptional watch both due to its innate beauty and its actually avant garde subversion of watchmaking norms. It might be small, but it’s also perfectly formed; www.vacheronconstantin.com
Price: €30,400 (with a brown and additional red strap)
- Faithful remake of Vacheron Constantin’s legendary 1921 model
- 5mm cushion-shaped pink gold case
- Manual-wind movement caliber 4400 AS (Hallmark of Geneva certified); 65-hour power reserve
- Unique diagonally-slanted dial and off-centre crown