Wrist Game Or Crying Shame: Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques 31110 Will you Flatten' em with Platinum for 6,600 Euros? by Michael StocktonJanuary 22, 2020 MIN READWrist Game Or Crying Shame: Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques 31110
Welcome back to Wrist Game or Crying Shame, where you choose to point your thumb upwards or in the sinister direction at the end of a gladiator-like battle of wills! This week, our contestant is the Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques 31110. But first…
I don’t know what to say other than “thank you” to the new kid on the block, Rob Nudds. You see, yours truly (who is in his early 40s) thought he was still in his mid-20s and did something stupid at the gym and was basically out of commission during the heart of last week. People, if I can leave you with one word of advice it’s this: stretch! So, Rob stepped up big time and delivered last week’s installment with a look at a highly polarizing watch in the Omega Speedmaster Reduced. Well, it seems that more of you than not tend to side with the kleine Speedy as it soared to a relatively convincing 60% “Nice Price” win. Today, we’ll go in a very different direction with a far more formal watch in the Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques 31110… Let’s see if you think it’s worth putting on your Sunday best to pull this one off.
Ah, the 90’s… The decade in which I spent my teens and early 20s takes a lot of heat these days in the media for having been an arbiter of questionable styling, promoting conspicuous consumption, and leaving an overall aftertaste of “meh”. Well, I tend to disagree. This was an era where hair band music was in full rotation before being dethroned by grunge. And there was some serious hip-hop thrown in there as well; one just might call it the golden era. The cars weren’t epic overall, but they were climbing out of the malaise of the 1980s. And when it comes to the car comparison, that’s kind of how I see the watch story during this period. For certain, brands like Rolex were making the same things they’d made for years (and continue to make). But for others, it was a gentle transition away from the era of the slim, quartz-powered period into an era that saw consumers start to appreciate mechanical things once more. Today’s Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques 31110 is one such example of a return to form that would be presented to would-be watch buyers. And what a form it was!
It was during this period that I was fortunate enough to go on a couple of 1-week cruises down to the Caribbean with my family. The stops were the usual suspects such as St. Thomas, Nassau, and St. Martin. As Florida people, the beaches weren’t so interesting to us, so we walked around and if I’m being honest, we spent a lot of time poking around in watch shops. And it was on one of these visits that we found ourselves in the unique A.H. Riise on St. Thomas. With wide-open doors to enjoy the weather, it was (and after looking at their website I see that it still is) a unique place to look at watches. It was here, next to the Patek showcase, that my Dad stumbled upon the Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques 31110.
One might remember that in the early 1990s, that marvel known as the internet didn’t really exist. Therefore, picking up catalogs, seeing advertisements in newspapers, or actually walking into a store were the only real ways of keeping up to speed on the newest watch releases. That’s hard to fathom now, but it truly made wandering from store to store more of an exciting adventure. And so this Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques 31110 was a bit of a revelation. There it sat with its long, ovular case and guilloche-pattern dial looking quite different from almost anything else throughout the multitude of shops. Frankly, it was gorgeous.
With the Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques 31110 and Les Historiques collection, the brand had embarked on creating thoughtful nods to their heritage (the collection still exists in a much smaller form today). While I cannot seem to track down the exact inspiration for this piece, it likely comes from the 1930s or ’40s. But in what was and still is a world largely comprised of round watches, the 31110 stood out for its graceful case shape that drapes beautifully on the wrist. Perhaps you’ll remark that watches other than the circular sort happen to be an acquired taste. My advice, dear readers, is that you acquire some of that taste and score yourselves one of these beauties!
The Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques 31110 was an expensive watch in the early 1990s with pricing somewhere in the upper 4-figures. That was essentially Patek money if you’re wondering. But it was also during a time when almost any brand was open for negotiation. With a beautiful crocodile strap and a Maltese cross buckle, these watches were really stunning. Inside, Vacheron employed the Piguet 8.10 manual wind movement and called it the 1132.2. It’s been nicely finished and adjusted. The result is buttery smooth winding and it’s locked behind a case held by four screws. In my view, this watch is a great example of fine finishing, outside and in. Aside from some gem-set editions, VC offered the 31110 in yellow gold, rose gold, and platinum. My Dad ended up taking home the rose version and I still think it’s one of his most beautiful watches.
One thing that detractors will mention about the 1990s and watches — especially when it comes to the beginning part of the decade — is that diameters were quite small. It’s fair to say that a 40mm Submariner was positively gigantic at this time, so you can begin to imagine the shock that Panerai would bring by the tail-end of the era. The Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques 31110 clocks in at roughly 29mm x 38mm and those numbers are possibly enough to scare most modern men away at the present or to now consider these as ladies’ timepieces. Balderdash, I say! My Dad is an athletic guy and this watch looks fantastic on his wrist.
On a recent podcast (episode #10), Robert-Jan and I spoke about buying what you actually like versus always choosing to travel with the herd. Well, there’s no doubt that choosing a piece such as the Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques 31110 would qualify as unique, but if you take a look at the example we’ve found on Chrono24 by way of Krakow, Poland, I think you’re getting a lot of high-end watchmaking for your money (and if you can couple a visit to Krakow, even better). At €6,600, this 31110 comes in platinum with a white dial, black strap, and matching platinum buckle. The box is included, but there are no papers. Once again, if you can get your head around the size, remind yourself that this is a relatively modern platinum hand wound dress watch from one of the better names in watchmaking history. I think you know where my vote lies, but where do you stand on such a watch?
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About the author
Michael was born in South Florida in the USA. As a full-time role, he works in the Automotive Industry. He's lived and worked in many locations and when he's not cruising at 30,000 feet, he calls Germany home. Michael became… read more
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