The 15-piece boutique exclusive — inspired by the Maison’s mantra of ‘Classic with a Twist’ — is built around an extremely thin split-second movement, cased in the noble metal of platinum.
From the so-called ‘Cornes de Vache’ to the iconic Ref. 4072, it’s clear that Vacheron Constantin know a thing or two when it comes to the matter of ‘gentleman’s chronographs’. For this year’s Watches & Wonders presentation, the brand affirmed its dedication to aesthetically refined design and sophisticated mechanisms with this new Traditionnelle chronograph: a rather rare execution that combines an all-platinum case construction with Vacheron’s calibre 3500 (introduced half a decade prior in the similarly thin Harmony split-seconds).
As part of the Traditionnelle line-up — Vacheron’s exhaustive collection of heritage-inspired models, powered by complex in-house movements — this new chronograph looks every inch at home on the wrists of those who venerate the Swiss watchmaking heritage (or alternatively, on the bonnet of an ‘understated’ 4-door saloon).
The watch’s mouthful of a product description also makes clear that it’s a part of the ‘Collection Excellence Platine’: incorporating a litany of platinum into nearly every external element of the watch you can think of. The case is machined from PT950 platinum (i.e. alloyed with 5 percent ruthenium) as are the crown, dial, and folding clasp. Even the brand’s signature Mississippi alligator straps have been sewn using a combo of silk/platinum thread — the final flourish in Vacheron’s impressive, undoubtedly costly dedication to watchmaking’s rarest metal.
All dressed up in its external layers of platinum and alligator, the calibre 3500 measures up at impressive 10.72mm — thin, even by the standard of many contemporary time-only dress watches (though arguably, not quite ‘ultra-thin’). The watch itself falls neatly into the 42mm bracket: a popular size for larg-ish, classically styled chronographs of the modern era in the mould of the Patek Ref. 5070 or 1st generation Datograph.
Though the calibre 3500 made its debut over half a decade prior — at the time, to celebrate Vacheron’s 260th anniversary — it nevertheless remains a technically impressive take on a seminal complication. The alignment of the horizontal clutch and dual column wheels echoes Vacheron’s previous forays into high-end chronograph manufacturing; and provide ample scenery against which the manufacture has been able to level jaw-dropping amounts of anglage. Further hand-finished details (e.g. the peripheral rotor in 22K gold) contribute to the calibre 3500’s certification under the Geneva Seal — awarded exclusively to those movements made and assembled in the eponymous Swiss canton that satisfy the rigours of an independently administered 12-point test.
The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle split-seconds chronograph ultra-thin ‘Collection Excellence Platine’ is available in a limited edition of 15 pieces. Price available on request. To learn more, visit Vacheron Constantin online.
This article first appeared on PrestigeOnline Hong Kong