For over 20 years, the collection ‘Historique’ by Vacheron Constantin is regularly extended by historically relevant watches of the Maison, models like the Cornes de Vache from 1955, the American from 1921 or the Fine from 1955. Since a crucial horological passion of founder Jean-Marc Vacheron has been in the technical making of calendar watches, it was about time in 2017 to finally dedicate these references a place in this prestige collection. The brand decided to pick the first wristwatch of Vacheron Constantin with a triple calendar, the Triple Calendar reference 4240 from 1942.
In the 1940s, this complication was en vogue – however it was a difficult period for Swiss brands due to the Great Depression and political tensions. So, it was not the time for elegant dress-watches but instead, military watches with more functional features took over. But it was just these calendar-models of this era that got around and contributed significantly to the success of Vacheron Constantin in the 20th century. They are highly coveted by collectors and hardly seen at auctions.
If you do get your hands on one you will spot how detailed they have worked on the re-edition Historique Triple Calendrier 1942. The case has now like then a triple gadroon, meaning a border of the caseband. The ‘claw’ style lugs have been applied onto the case so perfectly smooth, as if case and lugs would have been made from one piece. The vintage watches in comparison however show a little less smooth transition from case to lug.
The Triple Calendar from 1942 came with a yellow gold, rose gold and steel version. Surprisingly they decided for a steel version only in terms of the 1942 re-edition. At the same time in 2017, Vacheron Constantin also presented two re-editions of the Triple Calendrier 1948, limited and in rose gold. So possibly they deliberately wanted to yield precedence to the special editions in terms of a gold upgrade. Ironically, 1942 has been the more crisis suffering year, so steel a synonym for a more unstable economically period.
The hand-wound calibre 4400 QC (quantième complet) runs the hours, minutes and small second at 6 o’clock. The day- and month indications in the aperture below 12 o’clock are hand-typed in a succulent burgundy colour. There is a second version in dark blue with a matching blue leather strap. We have a two-tone silvered dial which is typical of the 1940s. The center has been sunburst satin-finished.
The Arabic numerals ‚5‘ and ‚7‘ had to give way to the small seconds and appear little left out. Maybe here, they should have not copied from the original and find an elegant, modern solution. It would have been more aesthetic and also interesting to see the reactions of connoisseurs of vintage references. The crown however has not survived the ravages of time and luckily received some more volume.
The Historique Triple Calendrier 1942 reference 3110V/000A-B425 comes with a brown Mississippiensis alligator leather strap at a price of EUR 19.300.