Vacheron Constantin: The timeless allure of the Historiques American 1921

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 nods to the retro aesthetics and the Roaring Twenties

Forget the customary night out and make it an evening to remember with a trip to a vinyl record shop, a cocktail at a bar just like those notorious speakeasies of the Twenties, and lest we forget, a glamourous yet understated number–cloche hats, pleated skirts and tailcoats matched with wide satin stripe dress pants optional, but highly recommended

Indeed, very few decades can match the verve and vivacity of the Twenties. Some say it was an era of excesses, while others argue it was a period of dramatic political and social change. Still, one thing’s for sure: it was a time of artistic and cultural resurgence defined by audacity and defiance of conventions. Now, what can be a more exciting period to relive?

It is no surprise then that many inventive minds would look to this period for inspiration – Swiss watchmaking maison brand Vacheron Constantin included. A decade and a turning point in history provided the Maison with a fresh perspective in design. Enter the Historiques American 1921, a timepiece created in 1919, a year Vacheron Constantin was dabbling in cases of smaller sizes and varying sizes. Two years later, the Maison would create a series of these more delicate but uniquely structured models specifically for the American market. The avant-garde design was admired for its innovativeness and for brilliantly combining the boldness of its approach with the restraint of its lines. A century on, the American 1921 prevails as one of Vacheron Constantin’s most outstanding and defining creations, one that demonstrates the Maison’s ability to embrace modernity while staying true to its heritage.

On Jessica: Historiques American 1921 in 36.5mm white gold case by Vacheron Constantin,
brown embellished sleeveless cocktail dress by Ralph Lauren,
On Kenji: Historiques American 1921 in 40mm white gold case by Vacheron Constantin,
black suede jacket and white shirt by Ralph Lauren,
Location: The Aubrey, Mandarin Oriental

Its distinctive design is what makes the Historiques American 1921 unique. With an elegantly understated cushion-shaped case defining its look, its innovative stage-setting approach to the path of time where the dial is arranged from a 45-degree clockwise rotation allows the wearer to read time from a diagonal angle. The crown is placed between 1 and 2 o’clock in the upper right-hand corner of the case. By virtue of its dial set up, the timepiece got the attention of driving enthusiasts who could then read the time without taking their hands off the steering wheel. It was sensible as it was aesthetically appealing.

This year, the Historiques American 1921 model celebrates a milestone. It marks its 100th year with three new interpretations that will no doubt earn the approval of vintage watch collectors and connoisseurs and likewise grab the attention of those who might want a unique-looking watch. Two models in white gold – 36.5mm and 40mm versions – and a 40mm 100-piece limited edition from the Collection Excellence Platine is made in platinum and equipped with a manual-winding movement. The timepieces are the embodiment of sophistication and a work of design genius.

On Jessica: Historiques American 1921 in 36.5mm white gold case by Vacheron Constantin, brown jersey midi dress by Fendi
On Kenji: Historiques American 1921 in 40mm white gold case by Vacheron Constantin, grey striped mohair-blend sweater by Fendi
Car: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ghost

Vacheron Constantin acknowledges that while it is enviable to have a long and uninterrupted history of watchmaking, it cannot achieve true greatness by resting on its laurels. Instead, it needs to perfect the art of balancing boldness and subtlety, tradition and modernity, and indeed the Maison accomplishes that beautifully with the American 1921. Through these timepieces, Vacheron Constantin is creating classics with a twist, and these watches stand as a testament of how the Maison respects its heritage and the art of traditional watchmaking, all while it endeavours to surprise even its most ardent patrons.

The evening wears on, and wine glasses clink endlessly as one vinyl record is played after another. The conversation flows just as effortlessly as the tunes from your favourite songs and you forget time. But as you come to your senses, you both look down to that exquisite timepiece sitting perfectly on your wrists, and while you’re slightly surprised by the ungodly hour, you decide that this might just be the best evening you’ve had in a long time. 

Photography / Ricky Lo
Videography / Chan To
Photo assistant / Kelvin Sim, Alston Chan, Jason Li

Stylist / Alex Loong
Stylist assistant / Vivian Li

Makeup / Littlewhite 
Hair / Jean

Also see: Prime time: The ultimate 2021 watches report

In this Story: #watches & #jewellery