Vacheron Constantin continues to push the boundaries in 2021. Though many maisons have held back and revealed mainly commercial offerings, VC has chosen to go big. The new Les Cabinotiers Armillary tourbillon perpetual calendar – Planetaria lead the crop. But our top VC picks are a bit more down to earth. Here are out best from their novelties list: The new Historiques American 1921, the new Traditionnelle split-seconds chronograph ultra-thin, and the set of three Métiers d’Art Tribute to great Portugese explorers.
Best from VC this W&W 2021
This is a really impressive year for VC. In addition to the three picks we have selected, their novelties also include two new Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra Thin – one with a captivating blue dial and the other in a skeleton dial, the Overseas Tourbillon (previously released in stainless steel), now in pink gold , new self winding Égérie collection, and a top top level Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Tourbillon Sky Chart Leo Constellation Jewellery.
As usual, we will be bringing you the comprehensive reviews with hands-on review when we get to handle and photograph the watches. To date, we have already encountered two of the 1921 models, and the review will be out soon.
Historiques American 1921
At the top of our list is the edition of the Historiques American 1921, celebrating its 100 years in a new white gold case. Three new models are proposed – two white gold models in different sizes (36.5mm square and 40m square) and a new 100-piece Collection Excellence Platine limited edition. The earlier renditions, which will still continue to be available in the VC catalog is executed in pink gold.
The design is now iconic, and even today, is distinguished as a classic and elegant render yet quirky and original. The design is a symbol of VC’s ingenuity and though it was introduced a century ago, it remains fresh and avantgarde. The cushion shaped display, loosely a square proportions with the crown between 1 and 2 o’clock presents an unusual aesthetic.
The movement in all three new models is the manual-winding in-house movement, Calibre 4400 AS, with a 65-hour power reserve. This movement is remains unchanged from the pink gold versions.
Traditionnelle Split-seconds Chronograph Ultra-thin
This is a truly magnificent watchmaker’s watch – the split second chronograph rendered in ultra thin guise – making two highly complicated disciplines and combining into one. The base of the Traditionelle Split-seconds Chronograph Ultra-thin is the Caliber 3500, first seen in the Harmony Split-seconds Chronograph Ultra-thin in 2015. But for the first time, this magnificent movement is fitted into a round case of 42.5mm diameter. Making it ultra classical, particularly so when respecting the aesthetics of VC’s Traditionelle design language.
The C.3500 is superbly complicated. The movement was first shown in 2015, and is an in-house developement based on taken from historical cues from the Lemania 2310 ebauche. This is evident from the shape of the bridges, but the similarity ends there. The VC Caliber 3500 sports a peripheral winding rotor, when the Lemania is a hand wound movement. Also the split seconds chronograph works, is of course also completely in-house.
This new split seconds chronograph will be part of the Collection Excellence Platine, encased in a solid 950 platinum case, and produced in an individually numbered 15 piece limited edition. As is usual for this collection, the attention to detail goes even to the strap which is stiched with platinum and silk thread.
Métiers d’Art Tribute to Great Portugese Explorers: Bartolomeu Dias, Vasco da Gama and Pedro Álvares Cabral
And finally, a series of three ten-piece limited editions Métiers d’Art Tribute to Portugese sailors Bartolomeu Dias, Vasco da Gama and Pedro Álvares Cabral. The series is part of the miniature masterpieces executed in painted grand feu enamel dials, and was first seen as the incredible Mask series and Chinese Zodiac series and the Savoirs Enluminés , all with superlative hand crafted artisanal work.
This new series is inspired by a map from 1519 Miller Atlas, of which a reproduction is kept in the Portuguese Maritime Museum (Museu de Marinha – Lisbon).
Each dial shows a part of the world and the routes taken by each of the three explorers. The enamel technique used to illustrate these maps is a very involved process requiring an unusually high level of skill and some luck.
The movement used is the caliber 1120, used in all the other Métiers d’Art watches, and has an off-centre display of the hours and minutes, leaving ample space to express the Maison’s artistic crafts.
So here are the top picks from the rather huge and varied (and very interesting) releases from Vacheron Constantin this year. And will look forward to encountering more of these novelties as they pass through our little island. In the meantime, stay tuned for a review of the Historiques American 1921 in the next couple of weeks.