VENI VIDI VICI Complication 1 & Complication 2

Independent Swiss watch brand VENI VIDI VICI launches its first two complications: two watches, of which the first indicates the evolution of the solar declination while the second indicates the Sun’s altitude as it transits the meridian.

VENI VIDI VICI presented a preview of these complication watches during the second edition of the Geneva Time Exhibition held at the International Conference Center of Geneva from 16th to 21st January 2011.

Countless clocks and watches with complex mechanisms have been invented since the beginning of watchmaking in the 13th century. The oldest known astrarium clock of which the detailed plans are still available to us is Giovanni Dondi’s Astrarium.

The Italian astronomer Giovanni Dondi conceived the first planetary clock, completed in 1364. The Paris Observatory features the reconstruction of the first planetary watch to be built in Western Europe, dating back to the 14th Century. It not only gives us the hour, but also the day-to-day position of the Moon, the Sun and the five planets visible to the naked eye: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Giovanni Dondi’s Astrarium has been saved from oblivion even though, materially, it has totally disappeared. A dozen manuscripts only have survived to our day, believed to be the transcription of Dondi’s logbook.

Giovanni Dondi’s first handwritten lines underline the fact that he will write the Astrarium with the purpose to allow anybody to be able to build the same clock. This is the reason why everything in the manuscript is represented in drawing. All pieces are carefully described: the number of teeth, their width, how they are manufactured, etc. Even the smallest of pinions is drawn.

One of the most renowned clocks is Venice’s Torre dell’Orologio, the town’s Tower Clock. It indicates the phases of the moon as well as the moon’s position with respect to the sun; it was inaugurated in 1499. The clock of Strasbourg’s Cathedral, built in 1574, was an astronomical, planetary clock and therefore indicated the motion of the planets on an astrolabe.

A perpetual calendar indicated the movable liturgical feasts (Easter, Ascension Day, Pentecost) spanned over one hundred years. Modified in 1843, the new clock determines the movable liturgical feasts of the oncoming year whereas the ancient clock indicated the movable feasts in advance for a time span of one hundred years.

Many people believe that everything were already invented. Since these timepieces, true witnesses of human ingenuity, were manufactured, not only has the size of clocks and watches changed, but also their reliability and precision. Yet there exists an astronomical phenomenon that has never been reproduced by a mechanism. It would seem that it was either too well hidden, either too visible, or, too complex. The reproduction of this astronomical phenomenon makes it possible to indicate several phenomena linked to our first clock: the sun. The invention of this mechanism enables the manufacture of a series of four complications, each one proposing one or several unprecedented indicators.

Considering the path in the sky of a heavenly body and the sun, the highest point of the trajectory is called the culmination point. If we do not take the equation of time into consideration, the culminating point of the Sun’s path is at noon. The Sun only crosses the zenith between the two tropics.

The first complication proposes a unique and yet very familiar indicator: the indication of the evolution of the solar declination, paired with an indicator representing the evolution of the tropical year. The second complication reclaims the indicators of the first complication and complements them by adding the altitude reached by the Sun at noon for all latitudes, from 40° South to 60° North. The two complications are the first among a family that will grow and that is soon to be discovered. The 3rd complication as well as the following will be disclosed later on.

VENI VIDI VICI – The First Complication

Before enhancing the first two complication movements created by VENI VIDI VICI, the choice fell on the “Damier” collection featuring sleek and elegant lines and an exclusive finish. The first complication is enclosed in a 41 mm case – the size corresponding to the brand’s new standard. The watch enhances the wrist with a rubber strap specific to the model, or with a “Damier” metallic strap.

The choice for the material was to be coherent; even if stainless steel could have been a smart choice; white 750 gold was finally retained as the best enhancer through colour similarity. Reading the information on the dial must be an easy task; the dial’s colour is therefore white. It is adorned with twelve indices reproducing the checkered pattern of the bezel when light reflects itself on the watch crystal.

At the 9 o’clock dial is positioned the annual timer of which the hand makes a revolution in 365.25 days, going back to its original position once every four years. During its run, it will indicate the months as well as the solstices and equinoxes that announce the beginning of seasons. The disposition of the lines for the solstices and equinoxes enable one to see that the seasons do not have an equal duration.

At 3 o’clock is set the hand that shows the evolution of the solar declination: its value is of +23,44° for the summer solstice, 0 for the spring and autumn equinoxes, and -23,44° for the winter solstice. This timer comprises the word DECLINATION in the continuity of its arc. When setting the time of the watch, the value of the day as well as of the solar declination can be instantly corrected without any need for special competence.

In order to obtain a revolution of the annual timer as closely as possible to 365.25 days of the year, only four components were used. If the watch does not stop and if its functioning is precise, it will only need a correction in the year 2400, which will not be a leap year. The first complication comes in two executions: one features the rubber strap at the price of 155.000 CHF, the other is the metal strap model recalling the lacquer checkered pattern.

Technical details

Case
750 white gold, diameter 41 mm
Bezel: decorated with the “Damier” pattern in black lacquer
Crystal: sapphire with anti-reflective coating on inside
Water resistance: 50 m or 5 ATM

Dial
White with indices

Movement
Complication VVV01

Strap
Rubber or 750 white gold, 3 rows with central link decorated with checkered black lacquer
Buckle: for the rubber strap, 750 white gold buckle
Clasp: for the 750 white gold strap, a triple folding security clasp

VENI VIDI VICI – The Second Complication

For its second complication, VENI VIDI VICI has manufactured a second movement featuring 4 indicators of which one can be modified by the wearer. The main constraint – other than the technical difficulties – was to define the movement of the watch alongside with well-balanced aesthetics. As a result, this timepiece combines sobriety and elegance following the example of the first complication. The second complication is set in a 41 mm case.

The client can choose between a rubber strap specific to this model or a white gold strap featuring the “Damier” pattern. The white dial makes all information on it stand out for the eye. It is decorated with twelve indices recalling the checkered “Damier” pattern of the bezel when light reflects itself on the watch crystal.

The two indicators of the first complication are also used, the annual timer indicating the months as well as the equinoxes and solstices. It is set at the 6 o’clock dial while the second indicator shows the evolution of the solar declination at the same place as the first complication.

The timepiece features two additional timers, while the third indicator represents the height of the sun at its crossing of the meridian, as one of the direct consequences of the declination. It is set at the 9 o’clock dial. This complication could not be complete without the 4th indicator, which can be modified by the watch bearer in any place on earth.

Those of us who are constantly on the go will greatly appreciate the possibility to set the time and correct the latitude in order to obtain indications conform to reality within minutes. The disposition of the timers offers an easy reading of all indications. The watch is just as attractive as its first complication sister, featuring the same aesthetics.

This second complication also comes in two executions: one is the model with the rubber strap at the price of 540.000 CHF, the other is the model strap model recalling the lacquer checkered pattern at the price of 555.000 CHF.

Technical details

Case
750 white gold, diameter 41 mm
Bezel: decorated with the “Damier” checkered pattern in black lacquer
Crystal: sapphire with anti-reflective coating on inside
Water resistance: 50 m or 5 ATM

Dial
White with indices

Movement
Complication VVV02

Strap
Rubber or 750 white gold, 3 rows with central link decorated with checkered black lacquer
Buckle: for the rubber strap, 750 white gold buckle
Clasp: for the 750 white gold strap, a triple folding security clasp

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.