October 5, 2017
by Zen Love
Vacheron Constantin has released a pair of classic triple calendar watches based on the brand’s own models from the 1940s. The Historiques collection is Vacheron’s home for its popular watches from the past to be reborn, so these are in fact rereleases of specific models with updated modern attributes such as materials, movements, and size. There are actually a number of differences between the two models aside from the addition of a moonphase complication in the case of the limited edition Vacheron Constantin Historiques Triple Calendrier 1948. For the Historiques collection that tends to include a lot of precious metal cases, it is also notable that the non-limited edition Vacheron Constantin Historiques Triple Calendrier 1942 watches are in steel.
The new Historiques Triple Calendrier watches are both rooted in Vacheron’s 4240 watch from what the brand calls a “golden age” for watches with these complications – and aesthetics. The 4240 was popular, and such triple calendar watches are said to have greatly contributed to Vacheron Constantin’s reputation at the time. While the original was 35mm, which would be considered very small for a modern men’s watch, the remakes are larger but remain moderate in size for modern tastes. In fact, both the 1942 and 1948 watches share the same dimensions of 40mm wide by 10.35mm thick, water-resistant to 30m. They might each share measurements, design features, and even base movements, but differences in the dials and cases make them feel like more than just versions of the same watch.
First, the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Triple Calendrier 1942 is in steel with “claw-type” lugs – not to be confused with “horn” lugs, as on the Vacheron Constantin Historique Cornes De Vache 1955 (hands-on here). Both the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Triple Calendrier 1942 and 1948 watches also have cool (in my opinion) textured case sides that I will describe as ribbed, for lack of a better term. Each model also shares the raised “box-type glass” over the dial – since the brand’s info doesn’t make any further reference to the material being used (and they do mention that the caseback’s display window is sapphire), I wonder if they went with some kind of mineral crystal to keep it truer to the vintage originals.
The Vacheron Constantin Historiques Triple Calendrier 1948 comes in a more familiar case in 18K pink gold with traditional lugs – and, of course, includes a moonphase indicator integrated into the 6 o’clock sub-dial. Aside from the moonphase, both the 1942 and 1948 watches share the same functions and base movement, with day and month in rectangular apertures at the top of the dial, the date indicated by a “pointer” hand along the dial’s periphery, and a sub-dial for the seconds at 6 o’clock. Discrete pushers in the side of the case are used to adjust the different calendar (and moonphase for the 1948) data. The Vacheron Constantin Historiques Triple Calendrier 1942 steel watch has printed Arabic numerals for the hour markers, whereas the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Triple Calendrier 1948 gold watch has a mixture of applied Roman numerals and triangular markers.
The hand-wound movement visible through the caseback is Vacheron Constantin’s in-house 4400 QC and 4400 QCL for the moonphase – “L” for lune meaning “moon” in French, of course. As nearly all Vacheron Constantin watches do, the Historiques Triple Calendrier watches carry the Geneva Seal which certifies that not only certain standards of movement finishing and decoration are met, but also a number of other Geneva Seal requirements that you can read all about here. We are talking about a lot of traditional decoration techniques for the 4400 QC movement, but we can basically assume that they are executed to a high standard and will be pleasant to admire.
The 4400 QC operates at 4Hz with a large single barrel offering 65 hours of power reserve. The 4400 QC is made of 225 components, and adding a moonphase for the 4400 QCL brought the total count to 253. The 4400 has been the base for a number of the brand’s movements, and you can see an example of a simpler version here with the Patrimony Collection Excellence Platine watch. In fact, since the additional complications for calendar and moonphase here are found on the front of the movement, the view from the caseback is more or less the same as the simpler time-only watch.
The new 1942 and 1948 watches each have a version with blue accents and one with red (“burgundy”) accents. The red background for the moonphase disc is particularly unusual and interesting, in my opinion. The Vacheron Constantin Historiques Triple Calendrier 1948 with moonphase and in 18K pink gold will be produced as a limited edition of 200 pieces for each version and have a USD price of $33,800. The Vacheron Constantin Historiques Triple Calendrier 1948 in steel will have a price of $18,400. vacheron-constantin.com