The Harmony Pulsometer Chronograph, introduced by Vacheron Constantin in 2015, is what a pulsometer chronograph should look like, as least as regards the scale. The pulsometer scale at the edge of the dial is subdivided into units as far as is practical, up to a pulse rate of 80. And the chronograph seconds scale is in fifths of seconds, and is uninterrupted all the way around. So many chronographs have incomplete scales (see this page for a selection of chronographs with impaired legibility), that it’s refreshing to see a watch that gets it right.
Harmony was launched in 2015, the 260th anniversary of Vacheron Constantin’s foundation in 1755. It’s not the oldest watch brand – that honour is claimed by Blancpain, 1735 – but it is the oldest watch brand to have been constantly in operation from the start up until today. The Harmony series was inspired by one of the brand’s first wristwatch chronographs, introduced in 1928, which was in fact a pulsometer. The photo below (courtesy of The Hour Lounge) shows reference 3410 dating to 1931.
Case, dial and strap
The pink gold case is graceful and slim, with its cushion shape that is created by a curving caseband, a squarish bezel and a circular dial. It is 42 mm across and 52 mm from top to bottom, and fairly slim at 12.81 mm thick. Water resistance is the standard 3 atm, 30 metres. The strap is in brown alligator leather, with a pink gold folding clasp. The dial, though based on the historical piece, has been totally redesigned with the objective of absolute legibility, visible in the arrangement of scales, and the size of the numerals. In addition to subdials for 45 chronograph minutes (right) and running seconds (left), there is a subdial for power reserve at 6 o’clock, particularly useful on a hand-wound watch.
Inside, Calibre 3300 is a hand-wound movement with 252 parts including 35 jewels, whose development began back in 2008, seven years before the new Harmony collection was presented. Finish is impeccable and traditional, and the decorative highlight is the balance cock in gold with fleurisanne engraving. The brand’s Maltese cross symbol can be seen on the screw at the centre of the column wheel, and on the chronograph gears. The movement runs at 21,600 vibrations per hour, 3 Hertz, and has about 65 hours of power reserve.
The decision to have a single pusher was principally a design consideration, to make the piece as elegant as possible. The chronograph functions are controlled by a column wheel, with a horizontal clutch, but this is more advanced than most horizontal clutches and is based on a friction coupling instead of the usual toothed wheels. This eliminates a feature of horizontal clutch chronographs, the slight jerk of the chronograph seconds hand when it is started. Other innovative features include a new wheel profile to minimize separation between teeth, and a cone-shaped gear between the winding pinion and the crown that enables smooth and pleasant winding. The 45 chronograph minutes counter is of the dragging type.
Price and reference
The Harmony Pulsometer Chronograph by Vacheron Constantin is reference 5300S/000R-B055, a watch with Hallmark of Geneva certification, supplied in a special 260th anniversary presentation box, with magnifying glass, and an anniversary celebration letter signed by Juan-Carlos Torres, CEO of Vacheron Constantin. It is a limited edition of 260 numbered pieces. Price is around $69,000, £64,700.