This new model Vacheron Constantin Chronograph is part of the new Harmony collection. The design and case are going back to a 1928 chronograph from Vacheron Constantin.
The cushion-shaped cases of early 20th century Vacheron Constantin watches have housed some of my most beloved timepieces. The iconic Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 driving watch, re-imagined by the brand a few years ago, still haunts my dreams and mocks my attempts at designing a watch as simple and as captivating with every stroke of ink. But if you actually take the time to go back and study that watch and look at the case that I, like so many, extol, you will notice immediately how different the case of the new Vacheron Constantin Harmony Chronograph actually is. A traditional cushion case is a simple, straightforward way of increasing the visual interest of a single-piece case design. It’s basically a soft square – nothing too complicated at all! What Vacheron Constantin have done with this new wave of Harmony watches, released to celebrate 260 years of non-strop production, is to place the emphasis on sculpture, to draw our attention to the many shapes within shapes that can be seen on this watch. The case looks small and slim, but it is in fact a mid-size piece, sufficient for packing a serious mechanical punch. This is just as well, as the nuts and bolts of the Vacheron Constantin Harmony Chronograph are far from simple.
The sapphire crystal, treated with an anti-reflective coating, is round; the bezel is square; the case is curved to pull the harsher edges of the bezel into itself and to hug the wrist of the wearer. The dial displays the time and chronograph seconds in the center, running seconds at 9, chronograph minutes at 3, and a power reserve indicator at 6. On the periphery of the dial is a “pulsometer” scale rendering the Vacheron Constantin Harmony Chronograph a “doctor’s chronograph.”
This manual wind, pulsometer chronograph utilises the calibre 3300, which is directly inspired by the 1928 model. Vacheron Constantin have made the wise decision to retain the column wheel as the control component of the chronograph, but have made several other improvements in areas such as materials, precision, functionality, aesthetics, and user-friendliness, all of which are made possible by modern technology.The movement is, of course, amazing to look at, but the benefits of computer aided design are probably easiest to appreciate by studying the overlapping angles of the case. Manufacturing to this level of precision was simply not a workable goal a century ago. It is likely that minds accomplished enough to conceive such a construction were in existence, but to produce a multi-part housing with the requisite accuracy to achieve a functional level of water resistance.