Tag Archives: vacheron constantin historiques american 1921

Who Won the Public Prize for Watch Of The Year 2009?

Swiss published magazine Montres Passion gives out two awards each year to watches. Being that Switzerland is the mecca for watchmaking, it’s common for the Swiss people to be interested in and knowledgeable about luxury watches. So, each year there is an award given to a certain watch that the public votes on. This year’s winner is a sporty women’s watch by Parmigiana called the Pershing Asteria.

This is a totally different watch in all ways compared to the one that the actual magazine voted for, which was the Historiques 1921 by Vacheron Constantin.

The pershing Asteria is a large watch, with a case that measures 42mm wide by 13mm in thickness and is made from 18K white gold or stainless steel. This watch is elegant and sporty; reflective of the partnership between a high-end Italian yacht manufacturer and the Parmigiani brand. This collection of Pershing watches was produced in 2008 and comes in both men’s watches and women’s models.

The mother of pearl dial has all the features seen in a diving watch, like a unidirectional bezel and tells the story of the magic of the oceanic underworld. For example, on the dial are two little sea creatures that sit next to the chronograph subdials: a small octopus as the counterweight (not able to be seen in the angle of this image), while a starfish is the seconds hand/ dial for the time.

The functionality of this watch is more than initially meets the eye. There are hours, minutes and small seconds, located at the 3 o’clock position; the date display window, 1/4 second chronograph, a 30-minute counter and a 12- hour counter. The watch runs on a self-winding PF334 movement, created entirely by Parmigiani.

The band seen in this image is a white Epsom calf leather strap made by Hermes, with blue stitching; finished with a folding buckle and safety clasp. Another choice is a steel bracelet mounted on a natural rubber strap with satin-finished central links and comes with an adjustable safety deployment clasp. This particular watch also comes in a variety of levels of precious jewels.

Métiers d’Art Les Masques Collection by Vacheron Constantin

Luxury Swiss watchmaker Vacheron Constantin and the Barbier-Mueller Museum in Geneva partnered to create some of the most unique watches in the world. Using ancient tribal masks displayed in the museum, the designers from Vacheron replicated these masks and their meanings and created a four-piece series called the Métiers d’Art Les Masques collection.

The actual creation of these watches is an enormous feat in the world of watchmaking. Each mask measures about 20mm but had to be miniaturized to only a few mm. Which tools and materials should be used to do this were huge questions. With help from the Geneva Engineering School and laser technology each mask was able to be replicated in three dimensions and figure out the best possible position for placing the mask on the watch dial. It was decided that the masks would be carved from gold and it was a painstaking process to get all the details and expressions fixed on such a tiny workspace.

A special technique using specially-treated glass creates the transparent illusion that the masks are floating on the dial, while a customized metallization process on the sapphire crystal creates a unique tint that is particular to each individual mask.  The color tints are as follow: green for the Chinese mask, blue for the Alaskan mask, purple for the Indonesian mask and brown for the Congolese mask.

Vacheron used an automatic Calibre 2460G4 movement, so that the time can be read without any hands, which would interfere with the showcasing of the mask. The time indications rotate around the discs: hours on the top left, minutes on the top right, day on bottom left and date on bottom right.

Each mask: a Facial Mask from Indonesia, a Zangs Bag Facial Mask from China, a Pendant Mask from Mexico, and a Ngontang Mask from Africa tells its own story and comes with a poem. The watchmaker decided to include the poem as well and the words actually circle the sapphire dial in letters of gold and can only be read when the light hits the watch in a certain angle.

Here is an English translation (from French) of the poems:

The Chinese funeral mask

The light is concentrated
in the gold where I close my eyes
through my eyelids I see
the sleep of my descendants
I slip into their dreams
to give them my news
and light up the impasses
where adversity lies in wait

The Alaskan Frontal Mask

If I stick out my tongue
it is to show the trust I have in you
following your movements
on the sea between storms and in forests between
vast conifers on which your
genealogical myths will be inscribed

The Congolese Etoumbi-Mahongwe Mask

They wanted to deepen the shadow
where you will set your eyes
so that the flashes of sun and flames
will penetrate further
with their arrows to tattoo
not only your face and skin of your whole body
but the secrets of your night

The Indonesian Mask Wayang Topeng theatre
Bewitcher I observe
the shapes of girls who pass
my eyebrows are like a bird ready to take wing
and circle its prey
my moustache like a serpent

Luxury Watch Timepiece Trends 2009: Blasts from the Past

luxury-watch-timepieces-traditionsMakers of premium watches really know how to pay their dues to their traditions. And what better way to pay homage to classic watch designs than to release new watches based on the old ones? Here are three commemorative timepieces that were adapted from classic designs, only more modern, advanced and expensive.

A Twenties Timepiece

The first of the three watches is a design straight out of the Roaring Twenties: the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921. It hearkens back to a time when cars were still a fairly new invention, and the ‘modern’ aesthetic was very different from the one we have today.

It owes its distinctive cushion shape – the square with its sides bulging slightly outward – and its unusual orientation to its time context. This design was one of the first to be called a ‘driver’s watch,’ a timepiece designed specifically for automobile drivers. Tilting the whole thing to 1 o’clock allowed drivers to tell time with both hands on the wheel.

watch-brands-blast-from-the-pastFaithful to Tradition

The commemorative collection from prestigious Audemars Piguet is, unsurprisingly, named Tradition. This same collection got quite a few updates at SIHH 2009, most notably the Tradition Perpetual Calendar Minute Repeater.

Like the Vacheron Constantin tribute, this Audemars Piguet watch commemorates one of their earlier designs – a pocket watch with the same cushion shape from 1923. Cushion contours were apparently a big thing back in the 1920’s, and big names like AP seem to be making it just as big a trend almost a century later.

A Vintage Haul

Even high-end watch companies usually limit their commemorative releases to just one or two models. Schaffhausen, Switzerland-based International Watch Company, more popularly IWC, releases not just one or two but six updates to some of their oldest and most timeless designs. Going in chronological order, they revived

  • The Special Pilot’s Watch, a design first released in 1936;
  • The Portuguese, whose first incarnation debuted in 1939;
  • The Ingenieur, a watch dating all the way back to 1955;
  • The Aquatimer, a popular creation from 1967;
  • The Da Vinci, first released in 1969; and
  • The Portofino, an iconic design from 1984watches-2009-timepieces

It’s no wonder that IWC should revive those six designs in particular. They were some of the company’s most popular models, and each one helped cement IWC’s reputation as a purveyor of high-end timepieces.

Even if 2009 marks some of the most modern advances in timekeeping technology, it’s also a great year for combining horology and history.