Traditionnelle tourbillon chronograph - Collection Excellence Platine: The Collector’s piece

APRIL 12, 2024

The Traditionnelle tourbillon chronograph 50-piece limited edition has joined the Collection Excellence Platine. Combining two noble complications with the latest technological advances, this model pays tribute to the grand watchmaking traditions with an aesthetic that is as functional as it is original in terms of its display. Attired in platinum throughout its 42.5 mm-diameter case, crown, dial, clasp and strap stitching, this watch is powered by Calibre 3200. Developed to mark the brand’s 260th anniversary, this movement incorporates a monopusher chronograph with a tourbillon regulator. These two complications have been technically optimised for reliability, precision and user friendliness. The perfectly legible dial features a large tourbillon aperture at 12 o’clock, while the 45-minute chronograph counter is positioned at 3 o’clock and the power-reserve indicator at 6 o’clock. The movement’s mechanical characteristics can be admired through the sapphire caseback, including its column-wheel adorned with a Maltese cross, its lateral friction clutch, its two hammers for zero-resetting the chronograph hands, as well as the peripheral tourbillon drive. The meticulous finishing endows this Traditionnelle tourbillon chronograph with a special radiance stemming from a blend of mechanical complexity and aesthetic elegance.

A collector’s timepiece
Vacheron Constantin has assembled some of its most exclusive models within the Collection Excellence Platine. Issued in limited editions, they are crafted in this noble and precious metal notably distinguished by its ability to maintain an enduring sheen. The collection is now joined by the Traditionnelle tourbillon chronograph, a model first unveiled in 2020. Equipped with an in-house movement combining the two prestigious tourbillon and chronograph complications, it integrates grand watchmaking traditions with a functional and elegant aesthetic that is classic yet unexpected, thanks to the original layout of its functions. It retains the distinctive features of the Traditionnelle collection – Dauphine-type hands, railway-type minutes track and stepped case with fluted caseback – while differing in that all the main elements of the watch, apart from the movement and strap, are in 950 platinum. The case, crown, finely grained dial and clasp are all made of 950 platinum, while the stitching on the dark blue alligator strap is crafted from braided silk and platinum thread.
On the dial side, the tourbillon with its Maltese cross-shaped carriage is positioned at 12 o’clock, contrasting with the usual lower-dial position for this type of regulator. Another original attribute is the 45-minute chronograph counter appearing at 3 o’clock, while the 65-hour power reserve is displayed at 6 o’clock. Enhanced by a keen sense of proportions, this aesthetic reflects the work of the Maison’s designers, while at the same time optimising functionality and time reading.

Calibre 3200, an exceptional in-house movement
The caseback reveals the beauty of Calibre 3200 developed for the Maison’s 260th anniversary in 2015. At just 6.7 mm thick, this 292-part in-house manual-winding movement is remarkably slim for such a complex timepiece. It follows in the noble footsteps of the chronographs that forged Vacheron Constantin’s reputation in the 1930s and 1940s. Its tourbillon regulator and monopusher chronograph function incorporated into the movement – as opposed to a modular construction – stem from extensive research aimed at optimising its functionality.
The first step was to determine the tempo at which this calibre was to beat. Operating at the fairly sedate pace of 18,000 vibrations per hour (2.5 Hz), the regulator honours the mechanical ballet of the tourbillon bearing the small seconds indication. The next challenge was to provide as much space as possible for the regulator, while maintaining the central position of the time-only hours and minutes hands. The watchmakers developed a new peripheral drive system for the tourbillon carriage. This thinner construction enables the mainplate to be openworked so as to provide a spectacular view of the tourbillon. The extremely legible minutes track on the periphery bears fifth-of-a-second graduations corresponding to the level of accuracy enabled by the regulator. To calculate the speed in km/h over the first elapsed minute of the chronograph function, the minutes track is rimmed by a Base 1000 tachymeter scale on the flange.

The chronograph – a function embodying considerable mechanical complexity in its integrated version – has also benefited from new developments. On this model equipped with a column wheel to control the functions, Vacheron Constantin has developed a friction-drive lateral clutch system. Thanks to this system that avoids any stuttering, the seconds hand engages smoothly when the chronograph is started. The chronograph is also equipped with a dynamic “all-or-nothing” activation system that prevents the seconds hand from starting when too little pressure is applied to the pusher.  This rigorous approach required cutting-edge machining techniques. The gears of Calibre 3200 have an extremely precise profile, guaranteeing a play of no more than 0.03 mm between the teeth. The precision of the timing sequences is further enhanced by the use of two hammers instead of a single one to reset the chronograph hands, whose functions are controlled by a single pusher housed in the crown.

A rare and precious 50-piece limited edition
These sophisticated technical aspects set the crowning touch to a model whose 50-piece Collection Excellence Platine limited edition makes it a rare and precious timepiece. Like the case, Calibre 3200 has been the object of meticulous finishing where every detail counts. The plate is circular-grained and all the components are polished and chamfered, including the screws, with straight-grained flanks. The gear teeth are also polished to prevent micro-particles from increasing the friction coefficient. The bridges are adorned with a Côtes de Genève motif and hand-bevelled, including the re-entrant angles. The upper bridge of the tourbillon carriage is mirror-polished, while its bar is delicately rounded off by hand in a process requiring 11 hours of painstaking work. While these finishing operations powerfully contribute to the visual appeal of the calibre, they also serve to reinforce the corrosion-resistance of its components in order to guarantee long-lasting, reliable operation.
The movement is housed in a 42.5 mm case measuring just 11.7 mm thick and paired with a dark blue alligator leather strap. The chronograph functions are displayed by a blued steel seconds hand and a minutes hand in 18K gold – like the power-reserve pointer. The hours and minutes hands are in 18K white gold, sweeping over a minutes track punctuated by applied hour-markers in the same metal.


From Geometry to Artistry, Vacheron Constantin annual theme
A Vacheron Constantin watch is far more than merely the sum of its parts. Starting from a sketch, a geometrical drawing and its technical extensions, a whole world of shapes, colours and textures is born. The complex structures of mechanical engineering combine with design; meticulous detail gives life to grace; artisanal intelligence sparks emotions. Based on formal, mathematical study, Vacheron Constantin timepieces are thus endowed with a touch of soulfulness and elegance representing the ultimate expression of artistic talent. The classicism of the Traditionnelle collection; the minimalism of the Patrimony watches; the allure of Égérie; and the sporty-chic spirit of Overseas, all vividly illustrate this alchemy within which artistry is inspired by geometrical shapes, expressed through Vacheron Constantin’s 2024 theme. 


Questions to Christian Selmoni, Style & Heritage Director

What are the references behind Vacheron Constantin’s Calibre 3200?
When Vacheron Constantin explains that Calibre 3200 features a classic construction, this refers to timepieces from the 1930s and 1940s. At the time, Vacheron Constantin already enjoyed a robust reputation in chronometry (precision timekeeping) which it had established through its pocket-watch models. However, with its Calibres 4072 and 4178 introduced during these two decades, the Manufacture set real milestones in the realm of manual-winding chronographs. Watches equipped with these calibres quickly earned a first-rate reputation, not only for their reliability and accuracy but also for the aesthetic appeal of their movements. These timepieces continue to top collectors’ lists of sought-after timepieces. Regarded as models of their kind, these two references remained in production until the 1970s. Another of Vacheron Constantin’s emblematic ‘classic’ chronographs is the ‘Cornes de Vache’ (cow horn) model, introduced in 1955. A highly technical watch equipped with Calibre 492, this Reference 6087 was the Manufacture’s first water-resistant, antimagnetic chronograph. Even today, this watch still turns heads in its original version because of its slightly offbeat design and its rarity.

Can you give some historical background on the chronographs developed by Vacheron Constantin?
Considering that deadbeat seconds mechanisms represent the early stages of the chronograph, since they require a form of energy storage, the first timepiece in Vacheron Constantin’s heritage to feature such a device – with the addition of a quarter repeater – dates back to 1819. Then came an 1874 hunter-type watch, the oldest chronograph with a minutes counter in the Maison’s collections, as well as a split-seconds chronograph sent to Buenos Aires in 1889 for a horse-racing enthusiast. In 1917, the U.S. Corps of Engineers ordered several thousand pocket chronographs without minutes counters, housed in oxidised silver cases and perfectly legible thanks to an innovative radium luminescence. By this time, Vacheron Constantin had already begun converting its models into wristwatches. The oldest wrist chronograph in its collections – a gold monopusher model with a minutes counter – dates back to 1917.

What does the Collection Excellence Platine represent for Vacheron Constantin?
When Vacheron Constantin launched this collection in 2006, the intention was to release new benchmark models from the Maison. Over time, however, it became clear that this approach was overly restrictive. The Collection Excellence Platine could very well broaden its horizons and welcome not necessarily new models, but rather timepieces worthy of particular interest. In other words, emblematic timepieces in all registers, from three-hand timepieces to the most complicated horological creations. The only common denominator was the use of an exceptional, noble and rare metal for exceptional watches. The timepieces in this collection are produced in limited series featuring platinum on the case, winding crown, finely grained sand-blasted dial with secret “Pt950” signature between 4 and 5 o’clock, as well as the Maltese cross-shaped clasp. Even the strap stitching is made of braided silk and platinum thread. Destined for connoisseurs and collections, this extremely rare offering has become a true signature of the Maison.



Traditionnelle tourbillon chronograph

Collection Excellence Platine


Developed and crafted by Vacheron Constantin 
Mechanical, manual-winding 
Approximately 65 hours of power reserve 2.5 Hz (18,000 vibrations/hour)     
292 components
Hallmark of Geneva-certified timepiece

Hours, minutes  
Small seconds on tourbillon carriage
Monopusher chronograph (45-minute counter at 3 o’clock)
Power reserve at 6 o’clock
Tachymeter scale

950 platinum 
42.5 mm diameter, 11.7 mm thick
Transparent sapphire crystal caseback 
Water-resistance tested at a pressure of 3 bar (approx. 30 meters) 
“Pt950” hallmark between 4 and 5 o’clock 
18K white gold applied hour-markers, hours and minutes hands

Dark blue Mississippiensis alligator leather with alligator inner shell, hand-stitched with platinum 950 and silk, saddle-finish, large square scales

950 platinum folding clasp  
Polished half Maltese cross-shaped

Limited edition of 50 individually numbered pieces 
Available exclusively from Vacheron Constantin boutiques.