VACHERON CONSTANTIN Historiques Triple Calendrier 1942 and 1948
It should be well noted, always, that VACHERON CONSTANTIN is the oldest Swiss watch-manufactory. Over the course of time, the brand has made (and still does) the history of watch-making, just think of the "Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600" and you will immediately understand how much tradition and expertise this maison can actually boast. To pass on its history and its innovations, VACHERON CONSTANTIN created the "Historique" collection, which includes re-interpretations of some of the most-famous watches from the manufactory. The purpose of this collection is to re-interpret in a modern way some of the masterpieces from the past by re-shaping their size, materials and movements. The style of these watches is distinctly and deliberately vintage. The two watches we will be talking about today belong to this very same collection: the Triple Calendrier 1942 and the Triple Calendrier 1948 (two re-editions of the perpetual calendars from the 40s). Usually in the "Historique" collection only noble materials are used (mainly gold and platinum), but this time, at least with the 1942 model, steel was chosen instead, making at least one version of the Triple Calendrier slightly more affordable. This is quite a change for the maison. Both models are equipped with calibers moulded around the 4400 QC calibre, they share similar dials, but have different "claw" lugs. Both timepieces are also certified with the Geneva Seal, but let's take a look at these watches individually.
VACHERON CONSTANTIN Historiques Triple Calendrier 1942
The Historiques Triple Calendrier 1942 is inspired by reference 4240 that debuted in 1942. The original model came in 3 variants (yellow gold, rose gold and steel), while this re-edition is only available in steel. The watch remains very faithful to the original model, it features the same claw lugs and the case-back sports a triple knurling; these are the characteristics that made its predecessor famous and iconic. The case size is quite contained (40mm in diameter and 10,35mm in thickness), waterproofness is guaranteed up to 3 relative bars (approximately up to 30m of depth) and there is a sapphire crystal on the case-back too. Like many other vintage remakes, this timepiece comes with a "box" sapphire crystal that imitates the acrylic crystal of the original watch. The caliber is obviously manual, it guarantees up to 65 hours of power reserve with a 4Hz frequency (28,800 alternations per hour) and is, of course, “in-house built” (i.e. fully developed and manufactured within VACHERON CONSTANTIN’s labs).
The name "Triple Calendrier" comes from the presence of the complete calendar complication. In two small windows located under the "Vacheron Constantin" logo are the month and the day of the week, while a red-pointed hand shows the day of the month. At 6 o'clock are the small seconds. This last feature is very interesting and is perhaps the one that gives this timepiece its very own "vintage" character. Today, the small seconds, are present on a few watches only and this is a pity in my opinion, as they allow the attention of the observer to move around to the different areas of the dial, thus forcing you to notice the presence of many more details and providing a greater sense of complexity of the item itself. The retro-chic elegance is then accentuated by the satin finish of the dial and the dotting of the external disc. You can purchase two different versions of the Triple Calendrier 1942, which differ only because of the color of the numbers on the dial (i.e. blue or wine). To complete the whole picture, the strap is available in brown and dark blue "Mississipiens" alligator leather, with a steel buckle in the shape of an half Malta cross. The selling price has been set at 19,800 euro.
VACHERON CONSTANTIN Historiques Triple Calendrier 1948
The Historiques Triple Calendrier 1948 is made of 4N rose gold in a shade similar to the original model and is produced in two limited editions of 200 specimens each. The timepiece re-interprets the 4240L reference introduced in 1948. The caliber mounted on this watch is the manual 4400 QCL (derived from the 4400 QC caliber), it can boast the same features as the above-mentioned model, but it also sports the astronomical complication of the moon phases within the small seconds at 6 o’clock (the letter "L" indicates this complication). Although there are many features shared with the 1942 model, the 1948 version presents details and finishes such as the use of Roman numerals at 3, 9 and 12 o'clock instead of traditional Arab numbers. The remaining hours feature tetrahedral indexes that create interesting lights and shadows tricks with the wrist movement, there is also a triple side "convexity" of the case and the less accentuated lugs. The dial has a different satin finish, slightly darker than that of the 1942, which perfectly matches the delicate and elegant tone of the 4N rose gold.
Again, there are two available versions of this timepiece; one with blue coloured indexes and moon phases background and another version in wine color, with a dark blue or brown alligator leather strap. As far as I'm concerned, the wine colour version is far more beautiful than its blue counterpart; the dark red tone better matches the rose gold shade and provides a feeling of "warmth" and superior elegance. Very often, these are the feelings that prove the success or failure of a specific model. A watch is not just an item, but it should transmit emotions to those who can perceive them. The selling price is 35,400 euro.
The two new VACHERON CONSTANTIN Triple Calendrier watches represent the modern revival of two milestones in the history of haute-horlogerie. Just like their predecessors, they are extremely elegant and "clean" as if they belonged to a world that has now disappeared. It's like looking at a sculpture by Canova or Michelangelo, because it seems as if these timepieces came from somewhere we are no longer familiar with. These watches are a feast for the eyes and will be an even nicer feast for the eyes of their lucky owners. The preferred version is, undoubtedly, the Triple Calendrier 1948 in rose gold. Whoever decides to buy such a watch is well-aware of what they will be wearing around their wrist, so they prefer, in my opinion, to get their hands on an item that takes inspiration from the original models and best shows the beauty and the classical quality that this watch is able to transmit.
(Photo credit: courtesy of VACHERON CONSTANTIN)
Andrea Frigerio @Horbiter®