As of late, many watch enthusiasts have broached the subject of what the “Holy Trinity” really means and whether it still holds merit and relevance. For me, while there are many independent newcomers on the scene that fabricate and finish amazing timepieces, none have the rich and uninterrupted history and heritage that Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Vacheron Constantin have. So Zach, why even bring this matter up? Because today we are going to discuss a new entry into the Traditionnelle collection: the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Split-Second Chronograph Ultra-Thin in platinum. The Traditionnelle line embodies what has made Vaceheron Constantin the prestigious manufacturer it is known as today, displaying supreme excellence in watchmaking with classic and timeless designs inspired by aesthetics and forms of the brand’s past. With centuries of manufacturing under the brand’s belt, there is some rich watchmaking tradition to explore and today Vacheron Constantin brings back a split-second chronograph caliber and complication to the modern Traditionnelle line for the first time.
The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Split-Second Chronograph Ultra-Thin watch, a numbered limited edition of 15 watches, is 42.5mm in diameter and 10.72mm thick. The platinum timepiece is mirror polished throughout its case, water resistant to 30 meters, and exudes an elegance that lives up to the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle name. The case has a crown at 3′ and monopusher at 2′, each allowing the you to engage with the complication. The crown at 3′ not only allows you to set the time, but also has a pusher that engages the split second hand. While the monopusher at 2′ starts, stops, and resets the chronograph, the pusher within the crown will stop the split-seconds hand, and once pushed again, will return it to synchronise with the main central chronograph second hand.
The dial is every bit as precious as the case, the dial plate fashioned from sand-blasted platinum – the Pt 950 stamp between the fourth and fifth hour indexes proudly indicating the material’s usage. It results in a grained matte texture, balancing out an elegant aesthetic with its sporty complication. Working our way in from the outboard ring of the dial, you have a printed tachymeter scale with corresponding railroad track to time the speed of a moving object. The next ring incorporates printed hash marks that signals the minutes, the hash marks bolded every five minutes to correspond with the applied hour indexes. The white metal hands and markers (as well as the Maltese cross above the branding at 12′) on the dial are fashioned from elegant and corrosion-resistant white gold, with the blued hands heated stainless steel. Vacheron Constantin has done a great job distinguishing the hands tied to the higher complications of the movement. If you notice, the elapsed minutes register hand (60 minute scale), power reserve hand at 6′, Breguet central chronograph seconds hand, and crescent split second chronograph hand are all blued. The white gold hands strictly tie into the time display of the dial.
Vacheron Constantin has utilized a lot of platinum in this watch. The case, dial, and even the strap make use of the noble precious metal. The dark blue Mississippiensis alligator strap, with alligator inner shell, is hand-stitched with silk and 950 platinum – ensuring you get the most of the precious metal. Even the clasp is made of platinum, not white gold, so no corners are cut here.
Within the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Split-Second Chronograph Ultra-Thin is the ultra-thin in house caliber 3500. The movement was created and released for the brand’s 260th anniversary back in 2015, found originally inside the Harmony Split-Seconds Chronograph Ultra-Thin Limited Edition. The caliber 3500 is comprised of 473 parts, with 47 jewels, all finished to the Geneva Hallmark standard. It has a power reserve of 51 hours and a classic beat rate of 21,600 vph. The solid gold peripheral winding rotor allows for a full view of the movement, which means you can see the exquisite bevelling and black polishing throughout the caliber without obstruction. The rotor is also engraved, with a polished outer border that frames the inner frosted gold where flourishing and branding is engraved in relief.
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Split-Second Chronograph Ultra-Thin pricing and availability:
The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Split-Second Chronograph Ultra-Thin is a numbered limited edition of 15 watches, available exclusively in Vacheron Constantin Boutiques. Price: $288,000 USD