Vacheron Constantin has launched its most complicated wristwatch so far dubbed Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication. It features two dials that display as much as 23 different, mostly astronomical complications. The watch simultaneously shows three distinct times and it has the opulent power reserve that lasts for fantastic three entire weeks. Other breathtaking characteristics are the presence of a transparent celestial map on the back and a lovely three-dimensional indication for its mareoscope feature. Despite the immense complexity and the multitude of its supported traits, Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication is set in a reasonably-sized white gold case that will not be impractical on a wrist. Unsurprisingly, the watch with a white gold livery is made in just a single copy and it will be available at the price of around $1,000,000.
After the release of the most complicated timekeeper in the world, Ref. 57260 pocket watch, Vacheron has prepared more similar ultra-complex pieces with the host of astronomical complications. At the start of this year, the Swiss watchmaker presented Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication which is the most complex piece of this kind ever to be created by the Genevese brand. The “Les Cabinotiers” part of the watch’s name is a tribute to the 18th century artisans of Geneva, the period when the famous watchmaker was founded. These “cabinotiers” got their name from the fact that they were working by a cabinet on the top floor of a house. These rooftop workshops were chosen since they were places where the natural light was the brightest. This helped the masters of olden times to create timekeepers that will eventually earn them everlasting fame in the field. Apart from watchmakers, “cabinotiers” were also artisans of different artistic disciplines such as engravers and jewelers. The new tribute to the glorious tradition of the region where Vacheron Constantin is situated is simply breathtaking.
A Compact Package Hides the Extraordinary Complexity
Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication does not reach the level of complexity of the pocket watch predecessor which earned its place as the most intricate piece on the market with 57 complications. However, this is hugely influenced with the fact that the newcomer is much smaller and it is befitting to be worn on a wrist. Its 23 complications are all packed into a compact final package which has the diameter of only 45 mm and the thickness of 13.6 mm. Another thing that shows how hard it was to create this marvel of mechanical miniaturization is that all of 514 components of its Caliber 3600 are fitted inside the frame which is only 36 mm wide and 8.7 mm thick, which sounds almost unreal. All in all, the watch represents a remarkable feat and it comes as no surprise that it took Vecheron Constantin as much as five years to finally develope and create its most complex wristwatch.
The Never-Ending List of Complications
The numerous complications of the watch actually required that the piece includes a twin dial. On the front, the list of indications starts with the current time (with hours and minutes), a perpetual calendar (with date, month, day of the week and leap year displays), a precise moon phase indication with age of the moon, a day/night indication, and an equation of time display (executed with a golden hand with a Sun-shaped ornament at its tip). Moreover, the bottom part of the first dial shows the time of sunrise and sunset, as well as the length of day and night. The same side likewise includes displays that show seasons, solstices, equinoxes and the current Zodiac sign. There are also indications for the relations of the Sun-Earth-Moon positions (or so called mareoscope), as the connected tides level display.
The extensive list of indications continues on the other, bridge side. As it is common for the watches with astronomical themes, there is a star chart. In this instance, it shows the celestial chart of the Northern Hemisphere along with a display of the Milky Way. The stellar map is transparent and consisted of two sapphire discs (patent pending) in order not to obstruct the view on the marvelous finishing of the caliber, namely its delicately grained bridges and see-through jewels. There are also the ecliptic and celestial equator displays and celestial (or sidereal) time with hours and minutes. It is actually one of three separate time indications, together with the common civil time and Equation of Time. The specific manner in which these two ‘additional’ times were executed was especially developed by the brand. Vacheron Constantin has filled both of those for patents.
Each of three distinct displays includes its own gear trains which is one of the aspects of the watch that clearly demonstrates just how intricate and impressive the new astronomical wristwatch is. The almost never-ending list of complications finishes with a tourbillion on the bottom and a power reserve display for its extensive three-week worth of power reserve. In order to be able to have such a long power storage, the watchmaker supplied the movement with six barrels which are paired by threes.
As for the twin faces of the impressive newcomer, it should be said that they are actually opaline slate gray, even though they seem black on the first promotional photos. The dial features 18 K gold applied hour markers and hands, while its bridge side also shows off matte finishing. Apart from the breathtaking celestial map on the back, another feature that impresses more than others is the presence of three-dimensional decorations on the Sun-Earth-Moon alignment display, as well as the particularly life-like crater engravings on the moon representation.
The watch with the reference number 9720C/000G-B281 runs on a hand-wound mechanical Caliber 3600. Apart from the mentioned traits, it should be said that it operates at the lower frequency of 2.5 Hz and that it integrates 64 jewels in its construction. Just like all the other recent Vacheron Constantin movements, Caliber 3600 bears the Hallmark of Geneva, a stringent certification that guarantees the use of only the finest materials and the presence of extraordinary horological traits. It also implies the presence of high-end finishes and decorations that are painstakingly performed by hand.
Due to its complexity and in order to raise its exclusivity, Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication is made in just a single copy. The proof for this is found on the back of the white gold case where one can notice the engraving that states “Piece unique” which stands alongside with the engraving with the words “Les Cabinotiers”.
For the attachment of its most complicated wristwatch, Vacheron Constantin opted for a black Mississippiensis alligator strap with oversized scales and the lining in the same material. It fastens with a pin made of polished white gold and decorated with the recognizable engraving of the brand’s half Maltese cross symbol.