Let’s just get down to what makes horo-heads swoon over Vacheron Constantin. We have just the words to tickle your micro-mechanical fancy. Two column-wheels and its lateral clutch mechanism. These are integral system components to the calibre 3500, housed within the new watch by the world’s oldest Maison, the Traditionnelle split-seconds chronograph ultra-thin excellence Platine.
Highly appreciated by collectors, the Collection Excellence Platine is exclusively composed of limited editions crafted from 950 platinum: case, bezel, dial, crown and folding clasp are forged in this noble metal, right the way through to the alligator leather strap sewn using woven platinum and silk thread. The other elements of the watch, such as the 18K white gold hands and hour-markers, reflect the same refined universe. While the 42.5 mm-diameter case ensures the watch radiates an assertive presence on the wrist, its pure lines and very sober dial lend it an aura of unmistakable distinction.
To power this split-seconds chronograph, Vacheron Constantin has chosen Calibre 3500, a movement launched in 2015 to mark the 260th anniversary of the Manufacture. Comprising 473 elements and beating at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3 Hz), it has a 48-hour power reserve.
Its distinctive design makes this ultra-thin self-winding movement one of the thinnest for this type of complication (5.2 mm), enabling the watch to maintain a modest overall thickness of just 10.72 mm. The creation of an extremely thin non-spherical differential made it possible to retain the power-reserve indication without affecting the movement thickness.
This self-winding movement is also equipped with a 22K gold peripheral oscillating weight, adorned with motifs inspired by the Maltese cross. Mounted on ball bearings, this unusual construction provides a perfectly clear view of Caliber 3500, entirely hand decorated. This peripheral structure also serves to preserve its exceptional slimness.
This calibre pays tribute to the historic construction of Haute Horlogerie chronographs with its two column-wheels and its lateral clutch mechanism. This classic construction is further enriched by numerous technically advanced features, including the use of the “friction” technique for the lateral clutch mechanism. This patented improvement makes it possible to mitigate any potential jerking of the hands once the chronograph has begun running. This system thus enables smoother activation of the chronograph function and guarantees greater durability of the mechanism.
Finally, the dragging-display 60-minute counter reduces the loss of amplitude generally observed when the chronograph function is activated. When the chronograph function is stopped, this type of display also provides a more legible indication of the time.
The use of a split-seconds chronograph is ideal for measuring two different times. When the crown is pressed, the centre sweep-seconds hand and the split-seconds hand began running while remaining superimposed. Activating the push-piece at 2 o’clock makes the split-seconds stop, while the sweep-seconds hand continues running. A first time can thus be memorised. Another press on the 2 o’clock push-piece enables the split-seconds hand to catch up with and once again place it itself over the seconds hand. The operation may be repeated as many times as necessary to ensure several successive timings during the same event.
The Collection Excellence Platine concept welcomes a new model: the Traditionnelle split-seconds chronograph ultra-thin Collection Excellence Platine watch, produced in an individually numbered 15-piece limited edition. The 42.5 mm-diameter case with its elegantly understated design houses in-house self-winding 3500 calibre, developed to mark the 260th anniversary of Vacheron Constantin. This ultra-thin movement is notably distinguished by the “friction” technique used for the lateral clutch mechanism. A rare complication, the split-seconds chronograph function is controlled by a dedicated push-piece positioned at 2 o’clock.
Enough said, kindly excuse us while we dab away the drool from our chins.