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Vacheron Constantin Celebrates The 100th Anniversary Of The American 1921 With Piece Unique

HighLifeChannel May 26, 2021

The American 1921 is without a doubt one of the most charismatic watches ever made. With its square case, the crown on the top left corner, and a dial turned half a quarter to the left, it is unlike any other watch. Like no other timepiece, it represents the Roaring Twenties yet hasn’t lost any of its appeal a century later. To mark this unique anniversary, Vacheron Constantin has taken upon itself to make a faithful recreation of the original American 1921. The brand only made 24 of them in their year of launch, of which one resides in Vacheron Constantin’s private collection.

Recreating a watch that was crafted 100 years ago is not an easy task. While technology has advanced, old crafts have disappeared with it. The starting point for this project was Vacheron Constantin’s substantial archives, where they traced how the original model was once built. This provided the team with a starting point. As they wanted to be the piece unique as authentic as possible, historic tools were employed to craft the American 1921, just like its original sibling. To recreate the movement, they first took apart the old one, as this gave them the unique insights needed to remake it again.

Many challenges made this a project to remember. As Vacheron Constantin’s Restoration Workshop is very skilled in restoring watches made in the early days of the manufacture, recreating them all together is quite different. For example, while they often replace the jewels in old movements, manually hollowing out the bridges and the main plate to accommodate them was an entirely new experience. As they want the reproduction to be as close to the original as possible, they even analyzed the gold alloy of the first American 1921. The result is the creation of an identical sibling that showcases the unique abilities of Vacheron Constantin’s Restoration Department. For them, it also served as a rewarding project with a steep learning curve, allowing them to learn old-school crafts by applying almost forgotten know-how and preserving it for the next generation.


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