SIHH 2015: Harmony Ultra Thin Grande Complication Chronograph

On the occasion of the 260th anniversary of its founding, the Manufacture Vacheron Constantin unveils the seven first models of a new collection called Harmony. Issued in limited editions, these eminently contemporary timepieces feature a new cushion shape and a design inspired by one of the brand’s first wristwatch chronographs introduced in 1928.

All Harmony models launched for the 260th anniversary of Vacheron Constantin are limited editions with certain components engraved with an arabesque motif inspired by the motifs found on the balance cock of Jean-Marc Vacheron's first watch from 1755.

Regular production models will follow without this engraving and with different design elements

The flagship model of the new collection, presented in a 10-piece limited, numbered edition, the new Harmony Ultra-Thin Grande Complication Chronograph by Vacheron Constantin immediately makes its mark in the field of ultra-thin horology by setting a new world record with its self-winding movement measuring just 5.20 mm thick and its 8.40 mm cushion-shaped case.

It took prodigious feats of miniaturisation to develop and ensure the faultless, high-precision operation of this elaborate construction within such a small space. It also required the skills of the most experienced watchmakers in the Manufacture to assemble and adjust to perfection the 459 parts of the new self-winding Vacheron Constantin Caliber 3500 – some of which, such as the tiny springs, measure just 3/100ths of a millimetre.

For the first time in the range of Manufacture Vacheron Constantin calibers, this self-winding movement with its 51-hour power reserve is equipped with a remarkable peripheral oscillating weight. Mounted on ball bearings, this unusual construction provides a perfectly clear view of Caliber 3500, entirely hand-decorated in keeping with the noblest watchmaking traditions. This peripheral structure also serves to preserve the exceptional slimness of the world’s thinnest self-winding split-seconds chronograph movement. To signal its membership of an exclusive series dedicated to the 260th anniversary of the Manufacture, the peripheral oscillating weight of the Harmony Ultra-Thin Grande Complication Chronograph by Vacheron Constantin bears the dedicated scrolling pattern specifically created by the brand’s designers for this occasion. This unusual motif, also known as “fleurisanne engraving” is inspired by the arabesques adorning the balance-cock of the oldest pocket watch from the Maison, signed by Jean-Marc Vacheron in 1755.

Equipped with a split-seconds function serving to time phenomena starting at the same time but of different durations, the new Harmony Ultra-Thin Grande Complication Chronograph by Vacheron Constantin is the slimmest in its category in terms of both its movement and its case. The first self-winding split-seconds Vacheron Constantin chronograph to bear the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva, this new in-house pays tribute to the aesthetic of the chronographs made for the brand in the 1920s, by reinterpreting the rounded shape and the interior angle bevelling of the bridges – that can only be done by hand – along with gold bushing and drop-shaped jewel surrounds.

Development work on Caliber 3500 began in 2008, aimed at developing a chronograph movement featuring a traditional kind of architecture, while benefiting from cutting-edge technologies in order to offer reliability, user friendliness and perfect visualisation of the movement aesthetic. This caliber benefits from the numerous advanced features designed by the Manufacture’s development team, including the so-called “friction” technique for the lateral coupling clutch, which serves to reduce a potential jerk of the hand when the chronograph starts running. Another particularly notable breakthrough is the blocking of the rotor when the barrel is sufficiently wound, thereby avoiding excessive tension in the winding spring. The creation of cone-shaped wheels improves the meshing of the wheels, thus giving the wearer the impression of softer, gentler winding. Moreover, the micro-technologies used for cutting the wheels have made it possible to create extremely close-set teeth to improve the engagement of the gear trains. The creation of an ultra-thin non-spherical differential has contributed to maintaining the power-reserve indication, without influencing the movement’s thickness. Finally, the development of a “dragging” chronograph minutes indication reduces the loss in amplitude and thus improves precision.

Housed in a precious cushion-shaped case made of 950 platinum (42mm x 52 mm, 8.4 mm thick) Caliber 3500 deserved an exterior to match its excellence. The “shape-in-a-shape” case combining a curving case, a square waisted case middle and a circular bezel creates a sensation of slenderness, while demonstrating an entirely unique and impressive character. The hours, minutes, small seconds at 9 o’clock and power reserve are clearly displayed on a luminous opaline silver-toned dial framed by a deep red tachometric scale. The blue-painted Arabic numerals beautifully match the blued chronograph hands, while elegant leaf-type hands punctuate the hours and minutes.

Inaugurating the Harmony collection in an outstandingly elegant manner, the new Ultra-Thin Grande Complication Chronograph by Vacheron Constantin expresses the full degree of mastery achieved by the Geneva Manufacture in the art of shapes dedicated to serving horological science successfully blending tradition with modernity.

 Harmony Ultra Thin Grande Complication Chronograph

 Harmony Ultra Thin Grande Complication Chronograph

 Harmony Ultra Thin Grande Complication Chronograph

 Harmony Ultra Thin Grande Complication Chronograph

 Harmony Ultra Thin Grande Complication Chronograph

 Harmony Ultra Thin Grande Complication Chronograph

Alex, this is truly awesome. Spectacular. I really hope it will not be a
01/19/2015 - 07:45

ten piece LE only. I hope this will eventually be a 'regular' production piece.  PP will be in tears looking at this.

Alex, this is truly awesome. Spectacular. I really hope it will not be a
01/19/2015 - 07:45

ten piece LE only. I hope this will eventually be a 'regular' production piece.  PP will be in tears looking at this.

wow! very nice. hurrah to VC
01/19/2015 - 08:24


Calibre 3500
01/19/2015 - 10:39

Hi Alex and thank you very much for such precious information.

Calire 3500 iooks awesome at a first glimpse.

Do you think it's possible to have more and detailed technical specifications about it? Is the peripheral rotor developed in-house of it's the result of an external collaboration? I would feel privileged to know more about the people who conceived that.

How does it work the blocking of the rotor?

Would it be possible to know more about the system adopted to avoiding the trotteuse to jump, having chosen a lateral clutch system?

Why it was decided to stay with a swan.neck regulation instead of a free sprung balance? Maybe because of the classic look of the calibre and its architecture?

Congratulations to Vacheron Constantin for such amazing achievement.

I would love to wear this!
01/19/2015 - 12:26

Really good looking watch. Love it!

White metal - check

use of blue - check

Chrono? - check (+ pulsometer, which definitely adds to the look as well)

split? - OMG! (With in-crown pusher - pure class!)

auto? - yes (great) and not only that peripheral rotor/weight, use of rollers to minimise movement depth and give view to the movement, awesome

fantastic achievement VC, a very impressive watch.... And I want one! Well maybe the follow up 'regular' watch!

thankyou - the wait is over for the inhouse Chrono and I cannot wait to see it tomorrow at SIHH!


Fabulous !
01/19/2015 - 14:00

What a caliber! amazing complication! In such a mastered thickness, moreover automatic with excenter rotor, very VERY impressive. That's barely believable and looking back to pocket watches or George V chronograph there is a tradition for thin chronograph caliber, not talking about the finish, great great great. I'm in love.

The harmony shape is here marvellously thin in these proportions, the dial is wonderful.

I will go back to it but VC did a bold move with this Harmony, nothing consensual but imho very clever, another brand occupies the classic (or let's say boring and bland ^^ ) market, VC moves to romance and charm and I think this is beautifully done. Very complexe case regarding the bezel, the lugs, sensual curves. Kudos, I love it, there will be critics on it because it won't be everyones taste but that's part of the game and like the American 1921, those who will fall in love would not want anything else. imho bravo !

 If I may add 2 reseves, one is really a detail and a personnal taste, the power reserve doesn't help. If it is for the balance of the dial, an oversize 6, or the maltese cross put on the southern part of the dial would have been a better solution, but that's just me and it doesn't matter a lot.

Now the major reserve, it's a detail but it's really an ugly one... how did VC dare to choose that awful split pusher at 2 o'clock ??? This "oblongue" shape was the major concern on the Historiques 47101, and the concern of the malte 47120 was the "tube" around the pusher, you combined both of these awful choices in that horrible thing at 2 o clock :/ , please please put an olive pusher without "tube"/"collerette" here. It spoils that masterpiece so much :/ otherwise it is so so amazing.Please please please correct it, I beg you Mr Selmoni.



Wow. Wow. Wow.
01/20/2015 - 03:03

VC did a fantastic job this year, I am really impressed by the 2015 releases!

The two new chrono movements are out of this world, they were worth the wait... The 3500 especially looks absolutely stunning!

And I really love the new Harmony line...

Oh how I wish I could see them in the metal with the rest of the Loungers currently at SIHH - enjoy the show guys!!!






Holy mackerel
01/20/2015 - 14:22

This thing is an absolute masterpiece.  With the possible exception of the cushion shape (which I am certai to learn to love), I love everything about this watch.  There is really not much to say that has not already been covered, except maybe for this one thing.  I really REALLY hopet hat VC uses the peripheral rotor on other movements.  If VC has patented it, then I see a VERY valuable bit of intellectual property here.  The ability ot have an automatic and a full view of an amazingly finished movement is virtually priceless.

For the patent
01/20/2015 - 15:26

it is unlikely that the system was patented as the  peripheral rotor is nothing new.

I recall Patek using it in the infamous I350 in the 70s having tons of problems with it, till they gave up few time afterwards.

But recently Bucherer (actually a THA developpment, bought by Bucherer at the time), Breguet, Audemars, JLC... have produced calibers with peripheral rotor, with certainly research on reliability. As good as they it still doesn't compare to this masterpiece because of the overall ridiculous thickness for a split chronograph. Amazing achievement..



Thank you François
01/20/2015 - 15:42

I had not researched the peripheral rotor and did not know it had been "widely" used in the past.  It seems so obvious, but also quite complex.  It will be interesting to compare this one with past ones in how it was engineered and how it performs.  Thank you for the enlightenment.

You're welcome.
01/20/2015 - 16:00

It wasn't widely used, 99% is the classic rotor, it was and remains a rarely seen solution. :)



No doubt
01/20/2015 - 19:26

peripheral soultions are fashionable these days, not only for the rotor.

I would add De Witt DW 8014 and Ellicott MG3t o the list and for vintage lovers, the Citizen autodater (03XX, 11XX families) for instance; calibre 581 DR (tourbillon) by Breguet is 3mm thick.

I was curious to know who conceived this solution, it's an interesting background to my thinking.

Bottom lime, I just want to learn more about this calibre :-)



Re: No doubt
01/20/2015 - 21:25