Introducing the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Triple Calendrier 1942 & 1948

The new for 2017 Vacheron Constantin Historiques Triple calendrier 1942 and the Historiques Triple calendrier 1948 watches
The new for 2017 Vacheron Constantin Historiques Triple calendrier 1942 and the Historiques Triple calendrier 1948 watches

Remember back in 2015, at the Watches and Wonders show in Hong Kong when Vacheron Constantin gave the world the Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955? This might be a completely biased comment, but it feels like that was a watch that the entire watch community thanked the horological gods for having bestowed upon us. And, quite clearly, it’s been a while since then that there was another watch that received such unanimous approval.

Two days ago, Revolution USA’s editor-in-chief, Keith W. Strandberg was with Vacheron Constantin’s artistic director, Christian Selmoni, who explained the Cornes de Vache saying, “Normally, every couple of years we choose watches from our heritage to be rethought and redesigned. We have built up this [Historiques] collection with simple models with a lot of character in design, like the American 1921.

“Then we came with more complicated pieces, like the Cornes de Vache chronograph. We have great stories when we speak of calendar watches, and we had several ones that we wanted to do, like the ones with triple gadroon case (a case with parallel rounded strips).”

Truth be told, while the 2015 Cornes de Vache is inspired by a historic timepiece from the Vacheron Constantin archives, much was done to it — with graceful subtlety — that’s lead the new version to hold its own ground. Read Wei Koh’s words in having discovered this little-known bit of brilliance and the young lady responsible for the reinterpretation, here.

Vacheron Constatin Chronograph 6087 Cornes de Vache
Vacheron Constantin Cornes de Vache 2015

But, let’s go back to those last few words of Christian’s: Triple gadroon case. Now, if you were to ask Christian for an example of a watch that had this sort of a case, he would very positively point of the ref. 4240, which was introduced in 1942 and made in yellow gold, pink gold or steel. Sotheby’s sold a superbly crisp looking pink gold piece back in June of this year, at their New York sale.

The 4240 was a triple calendar watch that is said to have played a huge part in cementing Vacheron Constantin’s name as a horological powerhouse in that that time frame. Their chronograph masterpieces played a big part too. Particularly, the 4240 had this case that was from the sides, like three rings stacked on top of each other, or rather the proper term for the case was: The triple gadroon case.

Vacheron Constantin ref. 4240 triple calendar watch in 18k pink gold
Vacheron Constantin ref. 4240 triple calendar watch in 18k pink gold (Image: sothebys.com)
Vacheron Constantin ref. 4240 triple calendar watch in steel showing the triple gadroon case side
Vacheron Constantin ref. 4240 triple calendar watch in steel showing the triple gadroon case side (Image: antiquorum.com)

Now, the 4240 had a sibling reference, which Vacheron Constantin introduced 6 years later in 1948. This was the 4240L. The “L” demarcating the introduction of a moonphase complication into the triple calendar movement. This timepiece, too, had the same triple gadroon case.

But, hang on now, why would Christian talk about such a specific case type, from such a specific time period in Vacheron Constantin’s 262 years of existence? The reason we later discovered is that the maison was about to announce two additions to their Historiques collection, which take inspiration directly from the 4240 and its younger sibling, the 4240L.

Vacheron Constantin ref. 4240 triple calendar watch in 18k pink gold
Vacheron Constantin ref. 4240L triple calendar watch in 18k pink gold (Image: sothebys.com)

Meet the all new Historiques Triple calendrier 1942 and the Historiques Triple calendrier 1948. The years attached to the names of each watch, of course, are a nod to the reference watch they are birthed from.

Once the cat was out of the bag, Christian went on to introduce the watches further to Keith, saying: “These are very classic with a twist, which is the triple gadroon. It looks like it’s easy to recreate watches from the past, but I think it is very tricky. On the one side, you have to be faithful to the original, but you have to careful not to make it an exact replica of the past.

“They [the new calendriers] are bigger, 40mm up from 35mm, but we have been careful to honor the heritage. The complete calendars come with new manual movements, which are similar to what the originals were powered by. We have also kept the vintage nature of the timepieces, but reworked them to be contemporary in terms of dimensions, waterproofness and precision.”

The blue accented dial variation of the new for 2017 Historiques Triple calendrier 1942 watch
The blue accented dial variation of the new for 2017 Historiques Triple calendrier 1942 watch

So, what you have with the Historiques Triple calendrier 1942 is a 40mm steel timepiece that will be offered in two dial variations, powered by the newly realized, Poinçon de Genève, caliber 4400 QC. The case, of course, has the triple gadroon sides, which seamlessly flow into a sort of hooked “claw-type” lugs. The last bit of vintage-sauce on the watch is, no doubt, the boxed sapphire crystal that tops it all off.

The blue accented dial variation of the new for 2017 Historiques Triple calendrier 1942 watch
The blue accented dial variation of the new for 2017 Historiques Triple calendrier 1942 watch
The red accented dial variation of the new for 2017 Historiques Triple calendrier 1942 watch
The red accented dial variation of the new for 2017 Historiques Triple calendrier 1942 watch
Lugs on the new for 2017 Historiques Triple calendrier 1942 watch
Lugs on the new for 2017 Historiques Triple calendrier 1942 watch

The Historiques Triple calendrier 1948, while the same 40mm triple gadroon case, will only be produced in 18k pink gold, again in two dial variations. This one will be powered by yet another newly realized caliber, the Poinçon de Genève certified 4400 QCL that builds on the preceding with the moonphase complication. And while the steel Historiques Triple calendrier 1942 will not be limited, the Historiques Triple calendrier 1948 will be limited to a run of just 200 pieces with the “N°X/200” engraved on the back of the watch.

The blue accented dial variation of the new for 2017 Historiques Triple calendrier 1948 watch
The blue accented dial variation of the new for 2017 Historiques Triple calendrier 1948 watch
The red accented dial variation of the new for 2017 Historiques Triple calendrier 1948 watch
The red accented dial variation of the new for 2017 Historiques Triple calendrier 1948 watch
Case side of the Historiques Triple calendrier 1948 watch
Case side of the Historiques Triple calendrier 1948 watch

Today’s announcement in Paris, where Vacheron Constantin is unvelinging the two new calendar watches will, also, include a new version of the Historiques American 1921, named the Historiques American 1921 small model. And as the name suggests, it’s essentially the same great watch, transposed to a smaller dimension.

Again, Christian explained the watch to Keith saying, “We have this great model, the American 1921, and we thought it was time to think about a smaller version of this watch. We tried many different size variations and we went with the 36.5mm, which we thought was a great dimension for this watch that — very importantly — retains the effect it should have when worn on the wrist.

We really did try many different variations, from 38mm down to 34mm, down from the original size, which is 40mm. The size we settled on, 36.5mm, is in the middle of what is termed to be masculine and feminine sized watches, and it doesn’t look like a small watch. Best part is that as a result of the size that worked out in this exercise, we were able to maintain the use of the same caliber that is in the 40mm watch. Had we gone to all the way down to 34mm, we would have had to built completely new movements for the watch.”

Historiques American 1921 small model
The Historiques American 1921 small model

Now since the new American 1921 small model, really is just a smaller version of the original, it’s fair to say that the effect of the watch will be no different, just that it’s going to sit better on smaller wrists. What remains to be said is really about the Historiques Triple calendrier 1942 and 1948 watches. Will they receive the same adoration as 2015’s Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955? Mind you that wasn’t simply a pretty face, it had the achingly beautiful Lemania CH 27 chronograph movement, too (or in Vacheron Constantin speak, the cal. 1142).

From pictures, the Historiques Triple calendrier 1942 and 1948 look extremely promising, but — dammit — there were no caseback images provided in the press pack. But Poinçon de Genève movements from Vacheron Constantin can’t disappoint!

More to come on these new Historiques timepieces on www.Revolution.Watch, very soon.

The two dial variations of the new for 2017 Historiques Triple calendrier 1948 watches
The red accented dial variation of the new for 2017 Historiques Triple calendrier 1948 watch

Technical Specifications

Historiques Triple calendrier 1942 (red accents, ref. 3110V/000A-B425; blue accents, ref. 3110V/000A-B426)

Movement

Manual winding caliber 4400 QC; Hallmark of Geneva certified; hours and minutes; day of the week and month by apertures; date by central hand; 65-hour power reserve

Case

40mm stainless steel; water-resistant to 30m

Strap

Mississippi alligator leather with alligator inner shell, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales with polished half Maltese cross-shaped buckle

Price: CHF20,296 (SGD28,600)

The blue accented dial variation of the new for 2017 Historiques Triple calendrier 1942 watch

Historiques Triple calendrier 1948 red accents, ref. 3100V/000R-B359; blue accents, ref. 3100V/000R-B422)

Movement

Manual winding caliber 4400 QCL; Hallmark of Geneva certified; hours and minutes; day of the week and month by apertures; date by central hand; moonphase indicator; 65-hour power reserve

Case

40mm 18K 4N pink gold; water-resistant to 30m

Strap

Mississippi alligator leather with alligator inner shell, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales with polished half Maltese cross-shaped buckle

Price: CHF36,405 (SGD51,300)

The blue accented dial variation of the new for 2017 Historiques Triple calendrier 1948 watch

Historiques American 1921 small model (ref. 1100S/000R-B430)

Movement

Manual winding caliber 4400 AS; Hallmark of Geneva certified; hours and minutes; small seconds; 65-hour power reserve

Case

36.5mm 18K 4N pink gold; water-resistant to 30m

Strap

Brown Mississippi alligator leather with alligator inner shell, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales with polished half Maltese cross-shaped buckle; delivered with an alternate red leather strap of the same specifications

Price: CHF30,373 (SGD42,800)

The Historiques American 1921 small model