The Vacheron Constantin Harmony collection was very, very big news two years ago, when it debuted at the 2015 SIHH. Intended to kick off the company’s 260th anniversary celebrations (along with the super-complication pocket watch, reference 57260), the collection included several show-stoppers. From a collector and connoisseur’s standpoint, one of the most interesting of the new pieces was the Harmony Chronograph – a monopusher chronograph, featuring an entirely new movement, in a large-ish gold cushion case. Our first real hands-on look with the cheap replica Vacheron Constantin Harmony Chronograph was in the context of a Three On Three comparison between it, the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph, and Patek’s 5170G chronograph. Recently, Vacheron announced a slew of new versions of existing watches (as well as a new complete calendar), including an update to the Harmony Chronograph. This seems an appropriate time to revisit our initial thoughts and to dig into the new model.
The only difference between the two models is a purely cosmetic one – the somewhat fake Vacheron Constantin pale blue numbers on the Anniversary edition (so we’ll call the launch model from 2015) have been replaced with anthracite colored numbers. The effect is to make the watch seem rather more sober, which is maybe more appropriate to a chronograph with a pulsometric scale; this is a doctor’s complication, after all, intended to make it easier to determine the number of pulse beats per minute (and of course, the heart rate in beats per minute, which had better be the same as the pulse, unless the patient is more anatomically unusual than they seem).
The scale says “graduated for 30 pulsations,” so what you do is put your fingers on the patient’s radial artery, start the chronograph, start counting pulse beats, and stop the chronograph when you hit 30 pulse beats. The number the center chronograph seconds hand points to is the number of beats per minute. For example, 30 pulsations in 15 seconds is a resting heart rate of 120 beats per minute. It takes a little math, but it’s pretty simple and effective.
What has not changed in the slightest is the movement, Vacheron Constantin’s caliber 3300. A quick refresh on its basic characteristics: this is a hand-wound, monopusher, column-wheel chronograph, with center chronograph seconds and a 45-minute totalizer in a sub-register on the right side of the dial. Small seconds are at nine o’clock, and there is an unobtrusive power reserve indicator down at six o’clock. The overall power reserve is about 65 hours. The balance beats at 21,600 vph and the movement (and watch overall) carries the Geneva Hallmark. The caliber is on the big side, at 14.5 lignes, which is about 32.80mm – a little over the more-or-less classic wristwatch movement diameter of 30mm, but not quite in pocket-watch territory.
There are a couple of points I’d like to touch on about the movement. First, unlike the 260-piece limited edition we saw at SIHH 2015, this version of the movement has no engraving on the balance cock (which is gold in the anniversary model). Another interesting point has to do with the system for activating the chronograph. Typically, in a lateral clutch chronograph like this one, you have the potential for a slight jump of the center chronograph seconds hand when the chronograph is engaged, as the teeth may strike each other tip-to-tip as the transfer wheel engages with the chronograph seconds wheel at the center of the movement. In the caliber 3300, the driving wheel (far left, above) is on the pivot of the fourth wheel, which turns once a minute; this driving wheel drives the transfer wheel, which is mounted on a pivoting lever. When you start the chronograph, the tip of the lever carrying the transfer wheel falls off one of the pillars on the column wheel, which allows the transfer wheel to drop into engagement with the chronograph seconds wheel. That’s where that little skip of the chronograph seconds hand could happen.
It’s far from the end of the world, but it is a small bit of imprecision in a machine devoted to exactness, and it’s this little jump that a vertical clutch chronograph avoids. Now if you look closely at the transfer wheel above though, you’ll see that there’s another wheel directly under it, with Maltese-cross shaped spokes. This wheel is the one that actually engages the teeth of the chronograph center seconds wheel. Our guess is that there is a friction coupling between the upper and lower transfer wheels – Vacheron refers to a “friction system” in its press material that is supposed to eliminate the jump of the chronograph seconds hand – and that the lower gear drops into position when you start pushing the start/stop/reset button, but does not begin to turn until after the teeth are engaged; this would indeed eliminate the jumping chronograph seconds hand.
There is also an “all-or-nothing” system built into the chronograph mechanism, which prevents the mechanism from being partially engaged without actually starting to run. The upshot of all this is that the chronograph pusher feel is unlike any other chronograph I’ve used – there is an initial, rather soft detent to push through when you first depress the start button, and then a second, somewhat stiffer one as you push through engagement of the all-or-nothing mechanism and the friction system kicks in. It takes a little getting used to, but in the production model we looked at for this story, the slightly excessive notchiness we noted in our Three On Three story seems to have been smoothed out a bit. It’s a reminder that for all the traditional elements of caliber 3300, it’s still a modern, technically forward-looking chronograph movement. cheap fake watches Vacheron Constantin.
Between the slightly more sober dial, slightly more sober movement, and slightly smoother chronograph operation, this feels to me like more than a slightly different watch. Understanding the technical features of the movement and how they affect pusher feel makes a big difference too. Sale Replica Watches Vacheron Constantin Online.
It’s still a big watch – its main downside relative to some of its competition, as we noted in our Three On Three story – at 42mm x 52mm, and 12.81mm thick. That’s all there is to it. But the large size at least ensures that reading the pulsometric scale is a piece of cake. This was an immediately interesting alternative to other hand-wound, in-house chronographs from the moment it was launched and with the new dial treatment, and a better understanding of how and why it feels the way it does in operation, it seems to me a more viable alternative as well.