Vacheron Constantin Harmony Tourbillon Chronograph Caliber 3200
The Harmony Tourbillon Chronograph by Vacheron Constantin comprises an impressive number of assets. Powered by the new hand-winding Vacheron Constantin Caliber 3200, this remarkable timepiece joins the Harmony collection designed to accommodate medium complication and grande complication movements, to the delight of collectors and informed connoisseurs.
Combining the elegance of the monopusher chronograph with the prestige of a stunning tourbillon shaped like the Maltese Cross, this exceptional new model is issued in a highly exclusive series of 26 individually numbered timepieces. Housed in a precious 950 platinum case, Vacheron Constantin Caliber 3200 bearing the Hallmark of Geneva features a bridge hand-engraved with delicate scrolling patterns.
Specially created by the brand designers to set apart the exclusive series dedicated to the 260th
anniversary of the Manufacture, this original motif, also known as “fleurisanne engraving”, is inspired by the arabesques adorning the balance-cock on the oldest pocket watch belonging to the Maison and signed by Jean-Marc Constantin in 1755.
This new movement entirely designed, developed and produced in the Manufacture benefits from a number of technological breakthroughs enhancing the precision and reliability of its complex functions, while improving the user friendliness of this highly sophisticated timepiece. The development of Caliber 3200 began in 2008 with the clear aim of making a classic construction incorporating cutting-edge technologies.
In addition to a traditional architecture, its column wheel and its lateral coupling clutch, the new Caliber 3200 by Vacheron Constantin, driving the hours, minutes, small seconds, tourbillon, monopusher chronograph and power-reserve indications, is particularly innovative.
Among the major evolutions enriching this new chronograph movement equipped with a dragging 45-minute counter – rather than the traditional 30-minute type – is an uncompromisingly dynamic chronograph-activation system devised by the development team.
On traditional constructions, the mechanism is sometimes activated but does not actually start if the pusher is not pressed firmly enough. With this “all or nothing” system, the gears and cams cannot be set into motion without actually starting the mechanism, thereby considerably optimising the durability and reliability of the movement. Moreover, thanks to a new “friction” technique for the lateral coupling clutch, the chronograph seconds hand avoids the little jerk that tends to occur when the chronograph is activated. In addition, the sliding-type lateral pusher ensures improved control of the chronograph functions.
With the aim of substantially enhancing the precision of the operational sequences, the chronograph uses two hammers instead of one for the start, stop and reset functions. Each exercises pressure on the heart-shaped cams, which turn in clockwise or counter-clockwise directions. The hands are thus brought back to zero. The hammers also return to their original place when the blocking-levers resume their initial position.
It is worth noting that the cone-shaped gear between winding pinion and the crown wheel enables extremely smooth, gentle winding, while the spherical differential (also fitted with a cone-shaped gear) serving to indicate the power reserve also prolongs the movement’s life cycle. In another significant breakthrough, contemporary production methods proved useful in designing the chronograph wheels and the friction system, by making it possible to produce an extremely precise wheel profile guaranteeing that clearance between the gears is kept to an absolute minimum thanks to teeth separated by a mere 0.03 mm! Whether visible or hidden from sight, these refined details embody the art of watchmaking upheld by Vacheron Constantin, also showcased in the chronograph gears hollowed in the brand-signature Maltese Cross shape, as well as the column-wheel screw adorned with the same emblem.
Endowed with a generous 65-hour power reserve, this mechanical hand-winding complication movement is composed of 292 parts, all hand-decorated in keeping with the rules of the watchmaking art. So as to offer a clearer view of the fascinating choreography performed by the tourbillon at 12 o’clock, the developers of the Manufacture have made the carriage move in an unusual way. Instead of being driven by the pinion of the seconds wheel, the tourbillon carriage is set into motion by an intermediate wheel of the running seconds display. This configuration enables an extremely broad opening onto the upper plate, thus affording an even more spectacular view of the tourbillon. The Research & Development team also opted for an oscillating frequency of 2.5 Hz (18,000 vph) in order to guarantee a serene cadence. Thanks to this slow, steady pace, the ultra-light tourbillon composed of 49 parts – some of them specular-polished – and weighing just 0.55 grams in all, provides generous views of its airy ballet through an extremely wide opening in the opaline dial, while a small blued screw adorning the Maltese Cross points towards the seconds around its rim.
Admirably revealed within the sculptural shapes of an entirely reinvented cushion-shaped case, this fascinating complication cuts a distinguished figure on the pure, perfectly readable dial. Blue-painted Arabic numerals inspired by the original 1928 model, but reinterpreted in an entirely contemporary expression of elegance, gracefully match the blued hands displaying the chronograph functions. A vivid red minute circle punctuates the dial circumference, swept over by an elegant pair of leaf-type hands.
Exclusive by its very nature, this new model combining two of the most prestigious and highly sought-after complications in the watchmaking world embodies classic elegance matched by a firmly contemporary spirit.