The new Traditionnelle Split-seconds Chronograph Ultra-thin Collection Excellence Platine is classic Vacheron Constantin, with a twist. Freshly unveiled at Watches & Wonders 2021, this model is distinguished by a split-seconds chronograph complication and highlights Vacheron Constantin’s creative energy, guided by an identity that celebrates a heritage and dares to deliver the unexpected.
This model is presented in a 42.5mm 950 platinum case which is only 10.73mm thick, making it large but fairly slim. Despite the slim profile, the Traditionnelle Split-seconds Chronograph Ultra-thin Collection Excellence Platine has a very assertive presence on the wrist and what you’ll find is that the aesthetics are very much in line with the Traditionnelle collection’s design cues. In addition to the case, the bezel, dial, crown, folding clasp are forged in 950 platinum – all the way through to the alligator leather strap, which is sewn using woven platinum and silk thread.
The 950 platinum sand blasted dial features 18K white gold applied hour-markers, a railroad minute track, dauphine hands, a sub-seconds counter with stop seconds at 9 o’clock, a monopusher split-second chronograph (60-minute counter) at 3 o’clock, a central sweep-seconds hand and split-seconds hand and a power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock. Regardless of the many elements, the dial is still very classic and not as busy.
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 buttery soft rectangular pusher 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.
At the heart of this model is the mechanical sef-winding calibre 3500 (Originally unveiled in 2015 to mark the 260th anniversary of the Manufacture), developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin. It comprises 473 components is just 5.2mm thick, beats at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3 Hz), and delivers a 48-hour power reserve. The creation of an extremely thin non-spherical differential made it possible to retain the power-reserve indication without affecting the movement thickness. Last, the movement is manufactured in compliance with the Geneva Seal and its finish touches include 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.