Over a three-month period, Vacheron Constantin’s historical premises on the Quai de l’Ile in Geneva features around 60 watches selected from the more than 1,300 pieces composing its private collection, as well as archive excerpts or details of complex movements. The choice of this theme is no coincidence: the Manufacture has just presented Harmony at the SIHH, a new collection celebrating its 260th anniversary and inspired by one of the first wrist chronographs dating from 1928.

The visit is organised around five themes: simple pocket watches, simple wristwatches, watches displaying various scales, split-seconds chronographs, and finally watches with sophisticated complications.

When the central sweep-seconds hand was introduced during the latter half of the 18th century, watchmakers rapidly sought a means of holding it still and making it independent from the mechanism driving the hours and minutes hands. This paved the way for innovations in this domain, as illustrated in the first room of the exhibition. This pocket watch features an independent deadbeat seconds hand. Its movement is composed of two sets of gear trains serving to halt the seconds hand without stopping the watch.

 

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Independent center-seconds watch, quarter repeater, 1873. © Vacheron Constantin

Click on the large photo at te top of the page for more pictures.

Vacheron Constantin also presents chronographs displaying several graduation systems, serving to perform combined measurements and thereby meet the expectations of certain industrialists, engineers, doctors and even horsebreeders. Often equipped with a tachometric scale to measure the speed of a mobile element, they sometimes feature a telemetric scale – an instrument indispensable to artillerymen – or a sphygometer (blood pressure measuring instrument), useful for medical diagnoses. Other models complement the chronograph function with a split-seconds system serving to measure phenomena beginning at the same time but of varying duration by providing intermediate/split times. Vacheron Constantin was a longstanding major supplier in the field of sports timekeeping and made a name for itself in the official measurement of various disciplines such as motor-racing, ski competitions or horse races. Finally, the exhibition ends with a stunning array of horological complications where the chronograph is associated with minute repeater, perpetual calendar, moon-phase or tourbillon mechanisms.

“The Chronograph through Time” exhibition, running until the end of March 2015
Maison Vacheron Constantin, 7 Quai de l’Ile, 1204 Geneva
By appointment only, call: 022.930.20.05