Review Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Iconic, art deco and historically relevant – these are some of the words that fit the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 Collection launched at Watches and Wonders 2021. Three pieces, two sizes in white gold and one platinum version revive one of the most recognisable designs of the Genevan brand. We have a comparative look today at all three versions with detailed pictures and hands-on videos. 

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

The diagonal display dial in the cushion-shaped case is the most vivid image I have in memory when vintage Vacheron Constantin comes into discussion. One hundred years ago, the Geneva brand created these legendary pieces for the American market, hence the name. But the modern history is no strange to these models, since the brand has in its recent collections 40 and 36.5 mm versions. The new releases make a switch to white gold (from the 18K 5N pink gold previous versions) and update the platinum variant with volumetric numerals for an even bolder statement.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

The videos below show the watches in detail:

  • Historiques American 1921 – 40 mm

  • Historiques American 1921 – 36.5 mm

  • Historiques American 1921 – Collection Excellence Platine

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

The image above shows on the left the 40mm white gold followed by the gorgeous 36.5mm (lady intended?) white gold and the lines triumphantly closes with the platinum version in 40 mm. I find it hard to make a classification between them since all three have very distinct and strong arguments that highlight the pros and cons in an equal manner. I could not categorise the watches in ladies and gents pieces since I would wear the 36.5 with great pleasure and I know enough ladies that would love the 40mm without regarding it as a gents piece.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921
The platinum version of the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

Not just a cushion-shaped case

While history reveals some series of a non-round similar watch case, the Vacheron Constantin has cemented this shape as it iconic and recognisable design. It is not just the shape but also the lugs, the crown and the entire exterior package that remained imprinted in the collective mind as this brand’s specific.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921
The 40 mm version of the Historiques American 1921

The relative thin lugs are following a fashion style specific to the first decades of the 20th century. The rivets fixation system gives a nice touch to the entire look. The case, regardless of the material, presents a high polish that reflects everything. While in real life it is a super good looking and impressive look, for images, the watches are hard to photograph due to the rounded surfaces.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921
Historiques American 1921 in white gold and 36.5 mm

The statement of the collection is the crown positioned at the top right corner of the case which also represents the 12 o’clock of the series. Slim, with a bombe and embossed Vacheron Constantin logo, the crown offers a facile set and wind. While in theory, the position helps in its use, I found a bit strange and unfamiliar. During the tests I found myself removing the watch from the wrist to set it – that would be also recommendable for any kind of watch (not to damage the stem).

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

Time-honoured classical dial style

Another specific character trait of the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 is the translated dial. The rotation moves the 12 o’clock position to the traditional 1:30. This displacement offers excellent legibility for the lady/gentleman driver/pilot – the intended public of the original series. All three versions are three hands, time-only, with decentralised seconds.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

An absolute traditionalist, the Historiques American 1921 comes with Breguet style hands and three-dimensional numerals. The Collection Excellence Platine hosts white gold applied numerals and hours and minutes hands. The small seconds subdial is fitted with a rather lovely blued steel hand.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

The elements of the platinum version are placed on a sand-blasted platinum base (attested by the PT950 mark near the second’s sub-dial). The rest of the dial elements like the rail-track registers and the seconds’ numerals are printed in black. An exception is the Vacheron Constantin Maltese cross in white gold applied above the printed name. The brilliant example of Haute Horlogerie is limited to only 100 pieces.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

The 40mm and the 36.5 mm white gold versions have an identical dial. Unfortunately, the volumetric lettering is dismissed, being replaced by a printed font. The hands changed with a blackened version, but still in gold.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

The overall grained background remained, except the small seconds’ area that received a circular pattern. The Maltese cross continues to govern the top of the dial.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

As previously stated, the only difference between the 36.5mm version and the bigger 40mm is the exterior size. The dials are identical.

Historiques American 1921 – Collection Excellence Platine

Vacheron Constantin Calibre 4400 AS

The prominent Calibre 4400 AS is a 127 parts manual wound movement. Besides its superb appearance, the 65 hours power reserve movement is bliss in setting and winding. Having gentle handling, I am always impressed by the lovely haptic feedback I get when playing with a watch fitted with this movement. This calibre can be found in the Vacheron Constantin‘s Patrimony pieces, Traditionnelle, Malte and all Historiques American pieces.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

As expected from such a highly regarded wristwatch, the movement is rigorously decorated following the traditional codes. Needless to say, the movements, as the cases, presents the Geneva hallmark. Starting with the nicely engraved and gilded markings, continuing with the off centric sunrayed winding gear, the eyes are attracted by the polished sinks the fits hand-polished screws, a fine executed Cotes de Geneve ended at the chamfered and polished bridges’ edges.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

Between the bridges, but mostly visible under the 4 Hz balance wheel and escapement, the impeccable perlage decorates the main plate, also on the watchmaker’s side. The differences between the back of all three pieces consist of only the precious metal markings and the limited series number of the platinum variant.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

All versions of the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 are fitted with luxurious leather straps and Maltese cross-shaped pin buckles. It worth mentioning that the limited edited platinum comes with a dark blue Mississippiensis alligator leather with alligator inner shell, hand-stitched with platinum 950 and silk, saddle-finish, large square scales strap – fabulous, by all means…

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

On the wrist and conclusions

Characterised by a strong presence, the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 is an unusual breed on the wrist. The dial layout permits a fast time readout, without the need for accommodation. The time can be read with just a fast look without the need to turn the wrist, which permits a relaxed hands-on the wheel position, so sought by the lady and/or gentleman driver. The Collection Excellence Platine adds extra play-with-lights numerals that make it quite interesting.

Collection Excellence Platine

The 36.5mm white gold version is such a comfortable and enjoyable piece. Its reduced sizes make it a strong contender for those appreciating very classic and traditional pieces. I found the wrist feel and comfort to be ideal.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

The 40mm Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 is a more modern and more affordable (in comparison with platinum versions) classic. This would be ideal for those loving the classic look but the bigger wrist size makes the smaller version look strange. The same classic appearance makes a powerful statement on a small wrist. Even on a 5.5 inches wrist, the watch comes with a nice flavour.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 is a fantastic collection that offers a smart selection: from ultra-luxurious platinum to the cute and lovable 36.5mm. The watches are nicely executed, as mentioned before – Geneva seals, both on the case and movement. Due to each one’s specific characteristics, the watches from the 2021’s Historiques American 1921 Collection are created to attract a wide range of collectors. And I still cannot decide which version I love more. Well done Vacheron for this very inspired set.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 Technical Specifications and Price

Historiques American 1921 – 40 mm

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

Price
36,100€ RSP in Germany / £31,200.00 / HK$291,000.00 / J¥4,356,000 / S$53,000.00 / CHF 37’200.00 / $36,800.00

Historiques American 1921 – 36.5 mm

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

Price
29,800€ RSP in Germany / £25,800.00 / HK$240,000.00 / J¥3,608,000 / S$43,600.00 / CHF 30’700.00 / $30,400.00

Historiques American 1921 – Collection Excellence Platine

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

Price
50,000€ RSP in Germany / £43,300.00 / HK$404,000.00 / J¥6,072,000 / S$73,500.00 / CHF 52’000.00 / $51,000.00

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

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 Gallery

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