Vacheron Constantin’s latest super-complication is the ultimate astronomic watch

The one-of-a-kind timepiece is impressive not just for its complications, but for the way they are organised.

By James D. Malcolmson 28/03/2017

“As a company we seem to like astronomical complications,” says Christian Selmoni, head of creation at Vacheron Constantin. “They offer some interesting possibilities for us to create things that are new.”

In the face of Vacheron Constantin’s latest ultra-complicated timepiece — perhaps best described as the ultimate astronomic wristwatch constructed to date — Selmoni’s remarks can only be construed as understatement.

The one-of-a-kind, double-sided Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astro­nomical Grand Complication 3600 (about $US1 million, or about $A1.3 million) is impressive not just for the number of its complications, which the company has tallied somewhat liberally at 23, but also for the way they are themed and organised.

The complications are broken into three groups: civil (conventional) time and calendar functions, solar time, and sidereal time. Because both solar and sidereal time vary slightly from civil time, for greater accuracy each group of complications is driven by its own corrected gear train radiating from the movement’s central wheel. The solar gear train drives functions including a marching equation of time, sunrise and sunset times, length of day, and seasonal indications. These share space on the front dial with civil-time functions such as the perpetual calendar, moon phase, and an interesting tide indicator with a depiction of the sun, Earth, and lunar orbital positions. Dominating the back of the watch are such celestial functions as a star chart composed of two rotating sapphire disks that impose a starry sky over the sandblast-finish movement plates.

Even more noteworthy than the watch’s multiplicity of functions is its remarkable compactness. At 45 mm in diameter and just 13.6 mm thick, the timepiece is the size of most sports watches — a feat made possible by carefully designed components, some of which were created with advanced photolithography fabrication techniques. “I was blown away by the compactness of the design,” says Selmoni, “and you can still read the time very easily and simply.” (vacheron-constantin.com)

ADVERTISE WITH US

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Stay Connected

You may also like.

Petal To The Metal

Van Cleef & Arpels’ Heures Florales watches bring a botanist’s dream to life, with serious mechanical prowess.

By Paige Reddinger

29/06/2022

Panerai’s Newest Watch Came With Its Own Yacht Trip

For its latest watch attached with an adventure, Panerai opted for a more laidback luxury experience.

By Carol Besler

28/06/2022

Roger Dubuis And Lamborghini Just Dropped A New Watch At Goodwood

The Huracán GT3 EVO2-inspired timepiece with a skeletonized movement is limited to just 88 pieces.

By Nick Scott

24/06/2022

The ‘Essential’ Hublot Big Bang

The newcomer from the Swiss manufacture is limited to 200 pieces.

By Terry Chrstodoulou

22/06/2022

Audemars Piguet’s CEO is Stepping Down

François-Henry Bennahmias will leave the role next year.

By Paige Reddinger

21/06/2022

Buy the Magazine

Subscribe to Robb Report today!

Subscribe today

Stay Connected