The line-up presented by Vacheron Constantin at SIHH 2015 embodies a strategy increasingly favoured by many high-end watchmakers, a two-prong approach with complications on the one hand in the form of the Harmony collection, and métier d’art watches on the other with the Mécaniques Gravées decorated with gun engraving.
[NB: All prices are in Singapore dollars (S$) and include 7% tax. US$1=S$1.35]
Comprising seven limited edition timepieces, the Harmony line is inspired by a cushion-shaped case chronograph from 1928. The simplest model in the collection is the Harmony Dual Time. This is equipped with the calibre 2460DT, the twin time zone variant of Vacheron Constantin’s flagship automatic movement.
What distinguishes the movement is the solid gold rotor decorated with a relief, fleurisanne engraving of a floral motif taken from oldest known watch made by Jean-Marc Vacheron, dating from 1755.
The Harmony Dual Time is available in the men’s version, with a 40 mm case in white or pink gold. This is limited to 625 pieces in each metal and priced at S$61,500. It’s also available as a 37 mm ladies’ watch in white gold with a diamond set bezel, limited to 500 pieces with a price tag of S$71,100.
Equipped with a new, in-house chronograph movement, the Harmony Chronograph Calibre 3300 is a chronograph with a pulsometer scale, just like the 1928 watch that inspired the Harmony collection. It’s a single-button, two register chronograph with a power reserve display at six o’clock. And instead of the of the usual 30 minute counter, this can record up to 45 minutes.
The case is 40 mm with a display back that reveals the calibre 3300, a manually-wound movement constructed in the style of a classical, high-end chronograph with a column wheel and horizontal clutch. Notable details include the balance cock engraved with the floral motif common to all the anniversary watches, and the decorative Maltese Cross on the column wheel.
Made in a limited edition of 260 pieces in rose gold, the Harmony Chronograph Claibre 3300 is priced at S$105,600.
Also limited to 260 pieces in rose gold is the Harmony Chronograph Small Model, intended to ladies and set with diamonds on the bezel. This is equipped the calibre 1142, based on the Lemania 2310. Vacheron Constantin has used the movement since the eighties, but it has been significantly improved in 2015, most notably with a free-sprunng, adjustable mass balance. This is priced at S$99,800.
The Harmony Tourbillon Chronograph is powered by the calibre 3200, a variant of the movement in the Harmony Chronograph.
Made in a tiny edition of just 26 pieces, this has a tourbillon regulator in Vacheron Constantin’s typical style, with a Maltese Cross-shaped cage and back polished bridge.
The platinum case is 42 mm in diameter. And the price is S$558,500.
The top of the line model is the Harmony Ultra-Thin Grande Complication Chronograph, a very slim split-seconds chronograph with a peripheral winding mechanism. Like the Harmony Chronograph this is a mono-pusher, with the button in the crown for start and stop, while the split seconds is activated by the button at two o’clock.
Made in a limited edition of 10, this measures just 8.4 mm high, with the movement alone standing 5.2 mm. That is quite an accomplishment; in comparison the Patek Philippe CHR 27 movement found in the references 5959 and 5950 is 5.25 mm high. Split seconds chronographs are best made slim, so that the co-axial pinions of the split seconds hands are shorter, leaving less room for error. Slimness aside, the movement is impressive, both visually and in terms of construction.
Though the calibre 3500 is largely traditional in terms of the chronograph, the winding mechanism is novel. The rotor is mounted around the movement, with a floral engraved oscillating mass set on a large gear that circles the movement, connected to a small gear that winds the mainspring.
Available only at Vacheron Constantin boutiques, the Harmony Ultra-Thin Grande Complication Chronograph is priced at S$518,200.
Vacheron Constantain also introduced two Metier d’Art watches at SIHH, the Mécaniques Gravées, available only at its boutiques. Both are platinum, with the movement engraved with a motif of flowers and acanthus leaves. The first is the 14-Day Tourbillon, a heavily decorated version of Vacheron Constantin’s flagship two-week tourbillon. This has a 41 mm platinu case and a clear sapphire dial, revealing the heavily engraved base plate. The markings for the power reserve at 12 o’clock and seconds are printed on the underside of the sapphire.
The back of the watch is similarly decorated, with even the text on the case back engraved by hand. This costs S$537,400.
The second Mécaniques Gravées watch is the hand-wound, 39 mm Calibre 4400. This has no dial at all, with the engraved base plate being the face of the watch.
The engraving is nearly absolute, with even the keyless works for winding and setting being decorated with the floral motif. This is priced at S$134,400.
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Vacheron Constantin finally introduced its long expected chronograph movement at SIHH, along with the Harmony, a new line of cushion-shaped timepieces to mark its 260th anniversary.