In a nod to classic chronograph construction, the new VC calibres are described as having a "lateral coupling clutch" to drive the chronograph off the gear train. Although it is certainly the more aesthetically pleasing, this system has been suggested as having some disadvantages when compared with the modern vertical clutch system (beginning with Frederic Piguet's cal. 1180). One issue is backlash that causes the central seconds hand to jump ahead slightly when the chronograph is activated, which introduces a timing error right from the start. VC's press literature indicates this has been overcome with a unique "friction technique". My question is, does this friction technique eliminate the backlash error?
The other common comparison point of the lateral/horizontal vs vertical clutch is the effect on the balance's amplitude when the chronograph is running. It is well established that a lateral clutch mechanism has more effect on amplitude, resulting in faster running in comparison with vertical clutch chronographs. My question is, what measures, if any, were taken with the 3200/3300 calibres to address this?
The last issue that comes to mind is that of wear on the components when the chronograph is left running for extended periods. Again, the vertical clutch has been attributed with less wear. VC makes reference to special conical gears to reduce friction in the winding system but my question is, were any special steps taken with the 3200/3300 calibres to reduce wear while the chronograph is running? Does VC recommend running the chrono continuously?
Alex, I know you are working on an article about the new movements and I'm sure the lateral vs vertical issue has already occurred to you. I'm also suspecting that super tight manufacturing tolerences and highest movement finishing, along with expert tuning will contribute in no small part to the solution. I will be happy to wait until that is posted for enlightenment . Meanwhile, you'd better get on to the copy editors at Assouline as the new book I purchased at SIHH, Calibres 3200 & 3300, describes the movements as having a "vertical clutch" on pg. 29...twice!!