By Rebecca Doulton
Vacheron Constantin can proudly assert its stature as the oldest watch manufacturer in the world, manufacturing non-stop since it was founded in Geneva in 1755. And with 260 years of watchmaking activity under its belt, Vacheron Constantin watches wanted to celebrate this milestone with the unveiling of a new collection called Harmony.
The leitmotif, if you like, of the entire collection is the reinvented cushion-shaped case with an emphasis on the new calibres, developed especially for the monopusher chronograph models. Inspired by one of Vacheron's first pulsometer chronographs of 1928 with a cushion-shaped case, the profile of the new 2015 Harmony case is a triumph of design.
Somehow, the watch, which has a square bezel, a round watch glass and a curved case middle, appears to change shape and volume, depending on which angle you look at it. In one position, it looks more round than square, in another, the square geometry prevails and, in yet another, it appears perfectly plump and cushion-shaped. The design team, under artistic director Christian Selmoni, spent years perfecting this "shape within a shape" and Harmony proves a very fitting name.
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The first references in the Harmony collection are all limited editions, and three of the seven models showcase one of the manufacturer's most celebrated complications: the monopusher chronograph. Instead of having two pushers to start, stop and measure elapsed time, a monopusher chronograph has one - it is considerably harder to make and infinitely more elegant than two protruding knobbles on the side of a case.
The Harmony Ultra-Thin Grande Complication Chronograph is the pièce de résistance and makes its mark in the ultra-thin category by setting a new world record for the slimmest self-winding - or automatic - movement, measuring just 5.30mm and housed in an 8.40mm cushion-shaped platinum case. (The Piaget Altiplano Chronograph, which also vindicates its status as the world's thinnest chronograph, is a 4.65mm hand-wound movement, not an automatic movement like the one inside Vacheron's new watch.)
Read about the revival of the Vacheron Constantin pulsometer watches
The Harmony Tourbillon Chronograph model unites the elegance of the monopusher chronograph with the delightful display of a tourbillon shaped like the Maltese Cross - Vacheron Constantin's emblem - whirring at 12 o'clock.
The Harmony Chronograph pays tribute to its 1928 forebear with a monopusher chronograph and a pulsometric scale, a feature of many historical medical watches. Women have not been overlooked and a smaller-sized double pusher chronograph forms part of the Harmony collection in soft rose gold with diamonds on the bezel.
Travel has become an integral part of our lifestyle and a dual-time function is one of the most useful allies on board. As part of the Harmony collection, two dual-time models for men and one for women join the inaugural party.
All three monopusher chronographs beat to the pulse of new, high-tech, in-house calibres, and all seven inaugural models have been lovingly hand-engraved with "fleurisanne engraving" or arabesque motifs on the balance cock, the chronograph bridge and the oscillating weight. And naturally, all the watches bear the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva. Happy Birthday Vacheron Constantin watches.
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