Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Collection – Grande Complication “Ornementale” & Grande Complication “Crocodile”

In January 2018 at SIHH haute-horlogerie exhibition, Vacheron Constantin unveiled two one-of-a-kind grand complication timepieces – “Ornementale” and “Crocodile” – from their prestigious Les Cabinotiers Collection of highly exclusive mechanical timepieces that house multiple horological complications allied with artistic crafts.

A feat of miniaturisation and handcrafted excellence epitomised in two manual-winding calibres respectively driving 16 and 15 complications displayed between front and back dials, framed by a hand-chased gold case. The twin dials of the Grande Complication “Ornementale” and Grande Complication “Crocodile” are adorned with deep shades of aubergine and slate grey, while their cases are respectively engraved with ornamental “Victorian” and crocodile patterns. An elegant alligator leather strap secured by a pin buckle likewise engraved according to the given theme sets the finishing touch to these prestigious watches, presented in a luxurious Makassar ebony wood winder box.

Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication “Ornementale”

These two new creations are inspired by the famous Tour de l’Île by Vacheron Constantin, paying tribute to 250 years of watchmaking expertise cultivated by the Geneva-based Manufacture. Launched in 2005, the Tour de l’Île is one of the world’s most complicated wristwatches ever manufactured. The two new masterpieces once again showcase Vacheron Constantin’s expertise in combining a wealth of complications within a small space and magnifying them by remarkable Artistic Crafts.

The manual-winding calibres of these two one-of-a-kind models respectively drive 16 and 15 complications, mostly astronomical. In addition to the hours and minutes, the first (front) dial displays 11 other functions: minute repeater, equation of time, tourbillon, perpetual calendar indicating the date, day of the week, month and leap years, power reserve, as well as sunrise and sunset times. Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication “Ornementale” also bears an indicator of striking mechanism torque (the power reserve of the minute repeater). The second (back) dial features an array of fascinating astronomical complications: sky chart, equinox and solstice, sidereal hours and minutes, age and phases of the moon, as well as seasons and zodiac signs.

On the front, the various major complications are displayed with exemplary clarity and distinction. The minute repeater striking the hours, quarters and minutes on demand is equipped with an ingenious centripetal flywheel strike governor. Perfectly silent and preventing undue wear of the mechanism, it regulates the duration of the musical sequence in order to ensure melodious and distinctly audible notes. The tourbillon is equipped with a carriage shaped like the Maltese cross emblem of the Maison. The tourbillon rotates at a rate of one complete turn per minute, making light of gravity in order to improve the movement’s precision and also serving as a small seconds display. Meanwhile, the perpetual calendar is capable of keeping up with the complexities of the Gregorian calendar without any need for human intervention other than a date change every 400 years.

Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication « Crocodile »

Incorporating the equation of time mechanism into a watch for measuring the difference in minutes between solar time and standard legal time, requires considerable expertise. Setting the finishing touch to this first dial, a “customised complication” displays sunset and sunrise times, adjustable according to the reference city chosen by the client.

On the back of the watch, the second dial is also graced with a wealth of functions, arranged on two levels. The central disc bears a sky chart as well as the four cardinal points. Two North and South openings reveal the month of the year and sidereal hours, corresponding to “true” time. A small hand running around the rim shows the age of the moon, meaning the number of days since the last full moon; while a long slender hand featuring a counterweight adorned with a tiny sun indicates the date as well as the zodiac sign, the season and the corresponding equinox or solstice.

Among the most complex movements ever made by Vacheron Constantin, these two calibres – comprising 839 parts for the Grande Complication “Ornementale” and 836 for the Grande Complication “Crocodile” – endowed with a 58-hour power reserve measure just 33.90 mm in diameter and 12.15 thick.

Entirely developed and manufactured in-house, these calibres are housed in a 47 mm-diameter gold case whose characteristics are specifically designed to ensure the best possible sound quality of the minute repeater. In addition, each of the components, finely adjusted and harmonised to guarantee optimal performance, is distinguished by meticulous hand-crafted finishing.

Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication « Ornementale »
This exceptional timepiece displays its multiple functions on two gold dials crafted in an elegant aubergine purple shade with a sunray satin-finish. The front dial is graced with applied hour-markers, Dauphine-type hands and finely snailed counters, suffused with the radiance of the finely crafted white gold case.

The bezel, caseband, lugs and pin buckle are adorned with an ornamental pattern inspired by 19th century Victorian architecture. Reflecting the traditional skills cultivated by the Maison, this miniature sculpture represents a feat of dexterity and meticulous care, combining pounced ornament and bas-relief techniques with various types of fine line engraving.

Technical details
Model: Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Ornementale
Reference 80175/000G-B280 Hallmark of Geneva

Movement
Caliber Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
Mechanical, manual-winding
33.9 mm (14’’’ ¾) diameter
12.15 mm thick
Approximately 58 hours of power reserve
2.5Hz (18,000 vibrations/hour)
839 components
42 jewels

Indications
Hours, minutes
Small second at 6 o’clock on tourbillon carriage
16 complications:
1. Minute repeater
2. Tourbillon
3-7 Perpetual calendar (date, day of the week, month, leap year)
8. Power reserve
9. Equation of time
10. Sunrise time
11. Sunset time
12. Sky chart
13. Age and phases of the moon
14. Sidereal hours and minutes
15. Seasons, zodiac signs
16. 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
18K white gold with bezel, case band, and back-side hand-engraved with an ornamental “Victorian” pattern
47 mm diameter, 19.10 mm thick

Dials (face & back side) 
18K white gold, eggplant sunray satin-finished
18K white gold applied hour-markers
18K white gold hands

Strap
Dark brown Mississippiensis alligator leather, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales
Buckle: 18K white gold open buckle with ornamental “Victorian” pattern; Polished half Maltese cross-shaped

Box
Prestige winder box made of Makassar ebony wood

Accessories
Delivered with a corrector pen, a magnifying glass

Unique timepiece
«Les Cabinotiers», « Pièce unique », « AC» hallmark engraved on caseback

Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication « Crocodile »
This timepiece radiates charisma in a case adorned with two crocodiles and scales in varying sizes. Portraying the reptiles in relief, sculpted from a single block of metal using the pounced ornament technique and various types of fine line engraving (matt, sandblasted, brushed and polished) involves carefully controlled operations requiring virtuoso skill.

The finesse of the work on the scales dotted across the bezel, lugs and caseback instil vibrant life, light and contrasts into this miniature masterpiece, born under the expert touch of an experienced master engraver.

This pink gold workmanship makes a perfect match with the understated elegance of the two slate-coloured dials on the front and back of the watch. This eminently legible and refined display is enhanced on the front with pink gold applied hour-markers, leaf-shaped hands and finely snailed counters.

Engraved with the inscriptions “Pièce Unique”, “Les Cabinotiers”, and bearing the “AC” (Atelier Cabinotiers) hallmark engraved on the caseback, Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication “Ornementale” et “Crocodile” watches are fitted with a Mississippiensis alligator strap secured by a hand-engraved buckle and presented in an opulent Makassar ebony wood winder box, complete with a corrector pen and a magnifying glass.

Technical details
Model: Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Crocodile
Reference 9700C/001R-B187
Hallmark of Geneva

Movement
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
Mechanical, manual-winding
33.9 mm (14’’’ ¾) diameter
12.15 mm thick
Approximately 58 hours of power reserve
2.5Hz (18,000 vibrations/hour)
836 components
42 jewels

Indications
Hours, minutes
Small second at 6 o’clock on tourbillon carriage
15 complications:
1. Minute repeater
2. Tourbillon
3-7. Perpetual calendar (date, day of the week, month, leap year)
8. Power reserve
9. Equation of time
10. Sunrise time
11. Sunset time
12. Sky chart
13. Age and phases of the moon
14. Sidereal hours and minutes
15. Seasons, zodiac signs

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
18K 5N pink gold with crocodile pattern hand engraved on the case band
47 mm diameter, 19.10 mm thick

Dials (face & back side)
18K 5N pink gold, Slate-colored, opaline
18K 5N pink gold applied hour-markers
18K 5N pink gold hands

Strap
Dark brown Mississippiensis alligator leather, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales
Buckle: 18K 5N pink gold open buckle with “crocodile pattern”; Polished half Maltese cross-shaped

Box
Prestige winder box made of Makassar ebony wood

Accessories
Delivered with a corrector pen, a magnifying glass

Unique timepiece
«Les Cabinotiers», « Pièce unique », « AC» hallmark engraved on caseback

Leave a Reply