At SIHH in Geneva this year, there were some brands that surprised for how few new watches they presented, and others who surprised for the richness of their product launches. Vacheron Constantin definitely came in the second category, with five new calibres making 2015 a milestone year for the brand. 2015 is Vacheron Constantin’s 260th anniversary, and there will be major celebrations in September and more watches then and throughout the year, but the new watches presented to mark the occasion at SIHH already included a totally new line, Harmony, with models including some interesting complications for women.
Harmony is based on a cushion-shaped case design with beautiful flowing lines and multiple faceting, while dial design was inspired by the décor of Jean-Marc Vacheron’s first identified timepiece in 1755. All the pieces are finished to Vacheron Constantin’s habitually high levels of quality, with circular graining, 45° bevelling of bridge edges, Côtes de Genève and differentiated black and mirror-finish polish types.
The Harmony Ultra-Thin Grand Complication Chronograph is powered by the new Calibre 3500, the thinnest of its type (monopusher split-second chronograph) in the world, just 5.2 mm thick with 459 components. The watch is truly beautiful on both dial side and reverse, a monopusher design with a peripheral rotor powering the self-winding movement, mounted on ball bearings and providing a good view of the calibre. One of the new features of this piece is a system that blocks movement of the oscillating weight when the spring is already fully wound, reducing unnecessary friction and increasing the time before maintenance is necessary. This system also prevents the mainspring from reaching an excessive tension: in practical terms, just the best, central parts of the watch’s power reserve are used to ensure optimum precision. The watch has a power reserve of over 50 hours. Follow this link for a selection of split-second chronograph watches.
The chronograph has the split-second function, a classic complication in which the two chronograph second hands begin running together when the pusher is pressed. Another press of the pusher marks an intermediate time, one hand stopping to enable you to take a reading, while the other continues on its path. Another push on the button makes the hand that has stopped catch up with the other and they continue running together. The process can be continued indefinitely. The dial has a small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock, a 60-minute counter at 3 o’clock, a power reserve indicator, and a deep red tachymeter scale. The blue Arabic numerals coordinate with the blued chronograph hands, with leaf-type hands for hours and minutes.
The ultra-thin case is in platinum, 8.4 mm thick, and size 42 x 52 mm, with a blue alligator leather strap. Just 10 pieces of this watch will be made for the 260th anniversary year. The watch bears the Hallmark of Geneva, and a special decorative scroll motif on the oscillating weight again based on Jean-Marc Vacheron’s 1755 pocket watch, known as fleurisanne engraving and reserved for the anniversary models. The watch is reference 5400S/000P-B057, and it is available only in Vacheron Constantin boutiques. It is delivered with a magnifying glass in the anniversary presentation box.