Never before has a watch been produced with a split-seconds chronograph with dual retrograde display. With its totally innovative design and construction, the complication is as visually fascinating as it is technically ingenious. It provides the same information as a classic split-seconds chronograph but its presentation is unique. This chronograph can be used to measure a single event or two that start simultaneously without necessarily ending at the same time. Although, as is customary, the two seconds hands function in unison on the same axis, they perform their journeys on two separate counters that sit opposite one another, and never meet. These hands are especially long and very narrow; they take into account the weight and balance as they turn so that the chronograph in action is perfectly stable and extremely precise. It is probably accurate to describe this new model as a "detached" split-seconds chronograph.
On the dial of the Reference 57260 watch we discover the two chronograph counters with retrograde hands —both graduated from 0 to 60 with intervals of 1/5 of a second— to the left and right of the dial, inside the minutes circle. When the push-piece integrated into the winding crown is pressed, the two hands begin to move respectively from the bottom to the top of the scale, with the chronograph hand on the right and the split-seconds hand on the left. As soon as they reach 60 seconds at the top, they instantly return to zero. The movement is designed so that the fraction of time lost during the return is automatically compensated for and precision entirely guaranteed.
The second retrograde hand, activated with a push-piece positioned at 11 o'clock on the case middle, has the same split-seconds function as classic chronographs of this kind but its construction and display are exclusive to Vacheron Constantin. If the push-piece is pressed while the chronograph is functioning, the second hand stops. From that moment a first time period may be measured. If the push button is pressed a second time, the second hand is activated and climbs the scale of the counter on the right, symmetrically and simultaneously with the first. The second can be stopped independently of the first, at any time, in order to measure an intermediate time. This action may be repeated as often as necessary during the timing period. Like the first, the chronograph's second seconds hand returns instantly to zero when it reaches 60 seconds. When the chronograph is activated, 60-minute and 12-hour totalizers record each of the minutes and hours that pass. All events of a maximum duration of 12 hours can be measured to the nearest 1/5 of a second.
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