Vacheron Constantin pays tribute to 18th century Geneva special-order watchmakers called Cabinotiers with two one-of-a-kind complicated watches, each previewed this week as early SIHH 2019 launches.
Like those historic watchmakers, Vacheron Constantin’s own Cabinotiers department also makes highly complex timepieces devised as unique pieces or in extremely limited editions, each created to demonstrate multiple technical and artisanal skills at the highest levels.
One of the new pieces, the new Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Phoenix, is a stunning example of multi-complication watchmaking and handcrafted finishing in one 47mm gold wristwatch.
Specifically focusing on grand complications, the watch includes an impressive array of those high-level indications – including perpetual calendar, equation of time, sunrise and sunset, sky chart, seasons, signs of the zodiac, age and phase of the moon, solstices, sidereal hours and minutes. With a minute repeater and a tourbillon, the watch offers fifteen special functions and indications in all.
Driving all of them is Vacheron Constantin’s Caliber 2755, a famed manual-winding movement with a 58-hour power reserve that the company has reserved for particularly complicated offerings.
The watch’s case is equally impressive. Vacheron Constantin explains that it pays tribute to two engraving art techniques in particular: pounced ornament – or bas-relief (for the case-band) and fine line engraving (for the bezel and caseback). Price: Upon request
Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Tourbillon Sky Chart
Vacheron Constantin’s second unique-piece, the Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Tourbillon Sky Chart, echoes the Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600 and the Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860 created by the company’s Les Cabinotiers department in 2017.
The watch’s 45mm white gold case is rimmed by a bezel and lugs set with baguette-cut diamonds. These are echoed on the black dial by baguette-cut diamond hour-markers and a central guilloché pattern that beautifully emphasizes the tourbillon at 6 o’clock. At left, the minute repeater slide is subtle in comparison to the high-carat bezel and lugs, almost as if such a complicated function is expected on any piece of high watchmaking.
Turn the watch over to view the namesake sky chart, which depicts the night sky above Geneva. The miniature universe performs one full spin on its axis in 23 hours and 56 minutes, corresponding to sidereal time. This indication is complemented by a display showing sidereal months and cardinal points.
These functions are made possible using, once again, Vacheron Constantin’s Caliber 2755. Price: Upon request
Specifications: Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Phoenix
Reference: 9700C/003R-B187 - Hallmark of Geneva
Movement: Caliber 2755, manual-winding with 58 hours of power reserve, 2.5Hz (18,000 vibrations/hour), 839 components, 40 jewels, hours, minutes, small second at 6 o’clock on tourbillon carriage
1. Minute repeater
3-6. Perpetual calendar (date, day of the week, month, leap year)
7. Power reserve
8. Equation of time
9. Sunrise time
10. Sunset time
11. Sky chart
12. Age and phases of the moon
13. Sidereal hours and minutes
14. Seasons, zodiac signs
15. Striking mechanism torque
Setting: Hours and minutes adjustment: winding crown (2 positions); Moon phase adjustment: correction push-piece on the case; Perpetual calendar adjustment: two correction push-pieces on the case; Sky chart adjustment: with crown and screwed-down push-piece
Case: 47mm by 19.10 mm pink gold with case-band hand-engraved with “Phoenix” sculpture, bezel and case backhand engraved with an ornamental pattern
Dials: (face & back side) Slate-grey opaline dials, pink gold applied hour-markers, pink gold hands
Strap: Dark brown alligator leather, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales, pink gold folding clasp and buckle hand-engraved with an ornamental pattern half Maltese cross-shaped
Box: Winder box made of Makassar ebony wood, delivered with a corrector pen, a magnifying glass
Specifications: Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Tourbillon Sky Chart
Reference: 9737C/000G-B480, Hallmark of Geneva
Movement: 2755 manual winding, 58 hours of power reserve, 2.5Hz (18,000 vibrations/hour), 413 components, 38 jewels
Indications: Hours, minutes, small second at 6 o’clock on tourbillon carriage
Minute repeater, tourbillon, sidereal time, months and sky chart at the back of the watch
Case: 45mm by 15.1 mm white gold, bezel and horns set with 112 baguette-cut diamonds
Dial: Black guilloché, 18-karat white gold hours, minutes, and small seconds hands, On Back is hand-engraved luminescent sky chart (North hemisphere)
Strap: Black alligator leather, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales, 18-karat white gold folding clasp, polished half Maltese cross-shaped, box made of Makassar ebony wood, delivered with a corrector pen