Like any other year, Watches & Wonders 2020 (former SIHH) brought a whole panoply of mechanical wonders. Vacheron Constantin amazed again with some exceptional pieces. Between them, the Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph combines two exceptional complications – the monopusher chronograph and the tourbillon in the Haute Horlogerie Traditionelle Collection.
Hands-on Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph
This Watches and Wonders 2020 highlight is an exceptional example of Geneva’s grand watchmaking tradition. A phenomenal movement and a charming interpretation of three exceptional complications in the inimitable Vacheron Constantin style. The large gallery at the end of the article will reveal the various details of the watch in several angles and lights. Enjoy!
Note: A full deconstruction with many detailed images and a video can be found on The Naked Watchmaker website.
An elaborated case construction
The Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph respects the Maison’s distinctive aesthetic codes and inherent elegance. The watch comes with a 42.5mm pink gold case with “etagé” case and lugs, detail well visible in the picture below. The case back received a fluted decoration that adds a more interesting note to the lateral view of the case.
The stepped case is mirror polished. The lugs have a nice construction with dramatic lines that contribute to a nice look on the wrist but also to a certain comfort. The case is covered with a raised sapphire crystal. It creates a nice depth feeling.
The right side is reserved for the crown/pusher combo. The crown dimensions are well balanced with the overall design. I was pleasantly surprised with an exceptional grip. The pusher with a generous size, still well balanced in size with the crown and the case, received the brand’s Maltese cross. The pusher has excellent haptic feedback and precise actuation, signs of a robust and well-designed movement.
The caseback is fitted with a sapphire crystal that reveals the whole greatness of the Calibre 3200. The Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph is fitted with a gold folding clasp featuring the emblematic half Maltese cross.
Style and functionality
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph presents an eclectic series of elements. Taken separately, the dial’s ingredients might sound like an unfortunate choice. But the Maison of connoisseurs is a true master in bringing the fine taste of each element in a favourable final look.
The show’s thief is, of course, the 12 o’clock placed tourbillon. This iconic complication received the best position to show off its beauty. Vacheron Constantin underlines in this way the importance of the tourbillon, highlighting also its exceptional charm.
Vacheron Constantin has improved the carriage to offer a better view of the tourbillon: instead of being driven by the pinion of the fourth wheel, the tourbillon carriage is set in motion by an intermediate wheel of the running seconds’ display. This configuration leaves the place for a wide opening in the upper plate, offering a much better view of the complication, both from the top and the bottom of the movement.
The dial of the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph is visually balanced on the bottom by another nice-to-have horological complication – the power reserve. For a hand-wound mechanical movement, it is far more useful to know the state of the barrel. A depleted barrel can lead to the stop of the movement, implicit of the chronograph function, in a possible crucial moment. Featured in a recessed sub-dial, the 65 hours of power reserve is revealed by a baton hand hoovering a circular pattern. The scale represents 2/3 of the circle and it is printed in black.
The chronographic function of the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph covers a 45 minutes measurement. It is activated by the pusher fitted in the crown. The “all-or-nothing” system (prevents the chronograph mechanism from engaging when insufficient pressure is exerted on the pusher) has exceptional haptic feedback. The function received a large area at 3 o’clock. The recessed sub-dial features the same circular pattern seen at the power reserve and the black printed railtrack with extended batons foe each 5 minutes and printed 15, 30, 45 Arabic numerals.
The dial was filled on the left side with the printed Vacheron Constantin and the gold logo applied. The dial features multifaceted three-dimensional gold indexes. The time is displayed by beautiful stylised dauphine hands with polished and blast treatment for a better legibility. The central chronograph hand uses two tracks: a rail track to display the 60 seconds count and a tachymeter base 1000 out scale. The tachymeter indexes are printed on an outer area finished with a circular brushed finish. The legibility is very good in various light, except for the too dimmed or lack of it. The dial, as expected for this kind of watch, features no luminescent material.
Gorgeous executed mechanics
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph is powered by the manufacture movement, the Calibre 3200. This manual wound has relatively generous dimensions of 32.8 mm (14¼’’’) diameter and 6.7 mm thick, to accommodate the cool complications. The Calibre 3200 was presented on the occasion of the Manufacture’s 260th-anniversary, being used in the platinum and rose gold Harmony Tourbillon Chronograph.
The Calibre 3200 can achieve 65 hours of power reserve, regulated by the slow beater tourbillon with a 2.5 Hz escapement. The movement comprises of 292 components, from which 39 are jewels.
Of course, the movement is lavishly decorated. Entirely hand-decorated, the Calibre 3200 highlights its function with a clever combination of brushes or ample spaces.
Note the beautiful tourbillon’s back bridge with acute angles featuring chamfering and polishing. The tourbillon frontal bridge is filled and polished by hand. Also to note the polished sinks that hold screws or jewells.
The overall Geneva waves were extended gracefully over the bridges for a very homogenous but elegant look. Note the Geneva seal present on the bridge bearing the Vacheron Constantine name and logo. The mainplate was classic decorated with perlage.
The chronograph use the “friction” technique for the lateral clutch mechanism combined with a column wheel, thus ensuring smooth activation of the function and preserving it from excessive wear over the long term. This technique also reduces potential stuttering of the chronograph hand when it is activated.
An ode to the Vacheron Constantin heritage, expertise and vision for the future of classic Horlogerie
An exceptional example of beauty in mechanics, the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph continues the trend of the brand to create remarkable pieces. Featuring a complex balance of classic complications and finishes, the brand show commitment to continuous research and development to bring modern “classic” pieces.
The watch is a proud continuation of the Vacheron Constantin‘s Traditionelle Collection. Elegant but practic, the Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph is a pleasure on the wrist. It wears lovely. The behaviour of the chronograph is noteworthy.
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph Technical Specifications
- Calibre 3200
- Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
- Mechanical, manual-winding
- 32.8 mm (14¼’’’) diameter, 6.7 mm thick
- Approximately 65 hours of power reserve
- 2.5 Hz (18,000 vibrations/hour)
- 292 components
- 39 jewels
- Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece
- Hours, minutes
- Small seconds on tourbillon carriage
- Tourbillon at 12h
- Monopusher chronograph (45-minute counter at 3 o’clock)
- Power reserve at 6h
- Tachymeter scale
- 18K 5N pink gold
- 42.5 mm diameter, 11.7 mm thick
- Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
- Water-resistance tested at a pressure of 3 bar (approx. 30 meters)
- Silvered opaline
- 18K 5N pink gold hour-markers
- Black screw for the second indication on the tourbillon carriage
- Dark brown Mississippiensis alligator leather, saddle-finish, large square scales
- 18K 5N pink gold folding clasp
- Polished half Maltese cross-shape
- 180’000 € / 197’000 USD
- 223,000€ RSP in Germany
- 224,000€ RSP in Austria
- 225,000€ RSP in Czech Republic
- 227,000€ RSP in The Netherlands
- 227,000€ RSP in Sweden
- 228,000€ RSP in Poland
- 232,000€ RSP in Norway