Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication Bacchus

The single-piece edition Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication Bacchus combines Vacheron Constantin’s expertise in grand complication watches with its mastery of artistic crafts. This double-sided wristwatch comprises 16 complications, essentially astronomical and calendar-related, powered by Calibre 2755 GC16 with minute repeater and tourbillon. A technical feat housed in an 18K 5N gold case whose middle is sculpted in bas-relief. In tribute to the Roman god of vines and wine, this “Bacchus” watch finds another source of inspiration in Johannes Kepler, resulting in a captivating association between mythology and astronomy.

The 18K 5N pink gold case of this Les Cabinotiers timepiece features a decoration composed of vine leaves interspersed with bunches of ruby grapes. The engraver’s work is complemented by that of the gem-setter on the outside of the case in giving life to figurative motifs, making this watch a piece of fine craftsmanship.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication Bacchus

The case decoration continues on the bezel and case-back with a hand engraving depicting vine leaves. The difficulty implied by this intaglio engraving lies in the absence of a border or contour line. Hollowed out across the entire width of the bezel, the garland thus stands alone thanks to the metronomic regularity of the motif. This latter aspect is picked up on the two fastening options – folding clasp and pin buckle.

To create the movement of this highly complicated watch, Vacheron Constantin’s watchmakers took the Tour de l’Île as a reference, a timepiece presented in 2005 as a tribute to 250 years of watchmaking expertise cultivated by the Geneva-based Manufacture. In the same spirit, the Les Cabinotiers – Bacchus timepiece combines 16 complications, making it one of the most complex watches produced by the Maison. Its manual winding Calibre 2755 GC16 is equipped with a tourbillon regulator to compensate for the effects of the earth’s gravity on the mechanism.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication Bacchus

Featuring a cage shaped like Vacheron Constantin’s signature Maltese cross emblem, the tourbillon completes one full rotation per minute, thus serving as a small seconds indicator. This watch also incorporates a minute repeater chiming the hours, quarters and minutes on demand. To avoid unnecessary noise as well as wear and tear on the mechanism, the striking of the gongs is equipped with an ingenious centripetal flying strike regulator. This perfectly silent device regulates the duration of the musical sequences so as to obtain clear, distinct and regular sounds.

The calendar and astronomical functions play a starring role on both sides of the watch. On the front, where the mechanical ballet of the tourbillon can be admired at 6 o’clock, the perpetual calendar indications are displayed on three counters. Positioned in the upper part of the dial, they respectively show the date, day and month.

Designed to keep track of the Gregorian calendar’s vagaries without any need for adjustment until 2100, this horological complication is further enhanced by the indication of the leap-year cycle. The latter appears in a small aperture next to the hand indicating the torque of the minute repeater mechanism between 1 and 2 o’clock. This striking mechanism power reserve is matched by an indication of the movement power reserve, which can be read by means of a serpentine pointer coaxial with the day of the week hand.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication Bacchus

The complex mechanics of this piece also provide an astronomical reading of time representing a tribute to Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), regarded as one of the founders of modern astronomy for having discovered the laws of planetary motion, in perfect agreement with Copernicus’ heliocentric hypotheses. The first astronomical functions thus appear on this same opaline champagne-coloured dial, starting with the equation of time positioned between 10 and 11 o’clock.

As the Earth’s path around the Sun is not circular but elliptical, and since the Earth’s axis is inclined at 24° to the plane of its orbit, the time between two zenith passages of the Sun is not the same throughout the year. This difference between the (true) solar day and the (average) 24-hour civil day ranges from -16 to +14 minutes depending on the time of year and coincides only four times a year. Called the equation of time, or time correction in astronomical language, this differential is displayed by a dedicated pointer, while sunrise and sunset times – adjusted according to a reference city – appear at the bottom of the dial.

The sidereal time display finds its place the back of the watch in the shape of a rotating disc depicting the celestial vault with its constellations observable from the Northern hemisphere. Taking a fixed star in the sky as a reference point, the time required for the Earth to complete a full 360° rotation, or sidereal day, is exactly 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4 seconds.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication Bacchus

Since the Earth is both spinning on its axis and revolving around the Sun, it takes about four minutes less than a calendar day to return to its point of origin relative to a given star. On this model, the “celestial” disc thus performs a complete rotation according to sidereal time with the time displayed on the periphery, opposite the date appearing on the periphery of the mobile disc.

This same date is read off by a large central hand moving over the fixed outer flange bearing a scale graduated in five-day increments. This hand also indicates the sign of the zodiac, the season and the four dates corresponding to the solstices and equinoxes. Finally, the small central hand indicates the age of the moon.

Comprising 839 parts and measuring a total 33.90 mm in diameter and 12.15 mm thick, this extremely complex movement is endowed with a 58-hour power reserve. It displays all its functions in a perfectly legible manner on both sides. The balance oscillates at a rate of 18,000 vibrations per hour (2.5 Hz).

The 47 mm-diameter 18K 5N pink gold case has been specifically designed to provide the best possible sound quality for the minute repeater.

Technical details

Model: Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication Bacchus
Reference 9700C/000R-B755

Movement
Caliber 2755 GC16
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
Mechanical, manual-winding
33.90 mm diameter, 12.15 mm thick
Approximately 58 hours of power reserve
2.5Hz (18,000 vibrations/hour)
839 components
42 jewels
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece

Indications
Front side: Hours, minutes, small second at 6 o’clock on tourbillon carriage – Minute repeater – Tourbillon – Perpetual calendar (date, day of the week, month, leap year) – Power reserve indication – Equation of time – Sunrise time – Sunset time – Alarm torque indication
Back side: Sky chart – Age and phases of the moon – Sidereal hours and minutes – Seasons, zodiac signs

Crowns and pushers
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 bezel and back side hand-engraved with “vine leaves” and case band hand-engraved with “vine leaves” and gem-set with 113 rubies for a total weight of approximately 1.84 cts representing bunch of grapes
47 mm diameter, 19.10 mm thick

Dials (face & back side)
Champagne opaline dials
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 folding clasp and buckle hand-engraved with a “vine leaves” pattern; Half Maltese cross-shaped

Box
Les Cabinotiers Prestige box

Accessories
Delivered with a corrector pen and a magnifying glass
A winder box

Edition
Single-piece edition
« Les Cabinotiers », « Pièce unique », « AC » hallmark engraved on caseback

Patek Philippe Ref. 6002R-001 Sky Moon Tourbillon Haut Artisanat

On the occasion of the “Rare Handcrafts 2020-2021” exhibition, Patek Philippe released a new iteration of its Ref. 6002R-001 Sky Moon Tourbillon watch featuring a hand-engraved rose-gold case with a brown dial in grand feu champlevé and cloisonné enamel

Debuted in 2001, the Ref. 5002 Sky Moon Tourbillon is Patek Philippe’s second most complicated wristwatch. It is one of the grand complications most coveted by collectors and connoisseurs. From 2013 to 2016, this double-face wristwatch was available in a rare handcrafts version with a white-gold case and a blue enamel dial (6002G-001). It was followed in 2016 by a new version with a black enamel dial (6002G-010).

Patek Philippe Ref. 6002R-001 Sky Moon Tourbillon Haut Artisanat
Image Credit: Patek Philippe SA

The new iteration released during “Rare Handcrafts 2020-2021” combines the warm shimmer of rose gold with brown grand feu enamel. The periphery of the dial, the moon-phase aperture, and the moon of the rotating disc are executed in champlevé enamel. With this technique, the base metal must first be precisely milled out so that individual elements such as the minute scale remain relieved.

Then, the recesses are manually filled with enamel compound. The center of the dial features a decor in grand feu cloisonné enamel that was created with the help of thin flat gold wire. The case, the crowns, the repeater slide, and the fold-over clasp are manually engraved with a motif of volutes and arabesques on all sides. The master engraver invests more than 100 hours of work and considerable patience to complete the process to the highest standards.

Patek Philippe Ref. 6002R-001 Sky Moon Tourbillon Haut Artisanat
Image Credit: Patek Philippe SA

The Sky Moon Tourbillon combines 12 fascinating complications, including a tourbillon and a minute repeater that strikes on cathedral gongs. The front dial shows a perpetual calendar with a retrograde date, a moon-phase display and the leap year cycle.

The other side shows a celestial chart on which the apparent motion of the moon and the stars can be viewed from the northern hemisphere. To orchestrate the grand ballet of the celestial bodies, Patek Philippe developed a system of three superposed discs that move in different, precisely calculated trajectories.

Patek Philippe Ref. 6002R-001 Sky Moon Tourbillon Haut Artisanat
Image Credit: Patek Philippe SA

The new Ref. 6002R-001 Sky Moon Tourbillon is delivered with hand-engraved cufflinks in rose gold. It replaces the Ref. 6002G-010 in white gold with a black grand feu enamel dial.

Technical details

Movement
Mechanical manually wound movement
Caliber R TO 27 QR SID LU CL
Third wheel in gold
Flywheel
Diameter: 38 mm
Height: 12.61 mm
Parts: 705
Bridges: 24
Jewels: 55
Power reserve: min. 38 hours, max. 48 hours
Balance: Gyromax®
Vibrations/hour: 21 600 (3 Hz)
Spiral: Breguet
Hallmark: Patek Philippe Seal

Functions
Minute repeater with “cathedral” gongs
Tourbillon
Perpetual Calendar

Display
Front side: Perpetual calendar with retrograde date hand. Day, month, leap year in apertures. Hours and minutes of mean solar time. Moon phases
Reverse side: sidereal time, sky chart, phases and orbit of the moon.

Dial
Grand Feu champlevé and cloisonné brown enamel, gold applied Roman numerals
18K gold dial plate

Case
Rose gold
Sapphire-crystal case back
Humidity-and dust-protected only (not water-resistant)
Case diameter: 44 mm. Height: 17.35 mm.

Strap
Alligator leather with square scales, hand-stitched, chestnut patinated
Hand-engraved fold-over clasp

About Patek Philippe Rare Handcrafts 2020-2021 Collection

On the occasion of the “Rare Handcrafts 2020-2021” exhibition in June 2021, Patek Philippe launched six exceptional wristwatches featuring artistic decorations such as manual engraving, grand feu cloisonné enamel, grand feu champlevé enamel, grand feu flinqué enamel, manual guilloching and gemsetting.

Models

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 (Quadriptyque)

During the Watches and Wonders 2021 digital event, Jaeger-LeCoultre unveiled Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 (Quadriptyque), the world’s first watch with four faces. This grand complication watch incorporates a total of 11 complications, including perpetual calendar, minute repeater, indications of the synodic, draconic and anomalistic cycles (never before presented together in a wristwatch), requiring 12 patents.

The most complicated timepiece ever presented in the Reverso collection, the Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 is the result of over six years of development, combining key areas of expertise at Jaeger-LeCoultre with innovative new astronomical indications.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 (Quadriptyque)

Uniting the brand’s unchallenged mastery of chiming watches, precision mechanisms, astronomical complications and ultra-compact watchmaking, it is the world’s first wristwatch with four functioning display faces. It incorporates three displays of lunar information on the interior face of the iconic Reverso cradle: the synodic cycle, the draconic cycle and the anomalistic cycle.

With these functions, the Hybris Mechanica Quadriptyque can predict the next global incidence of astronomical events such as supermoons and eclipses — the world’s first wristwatch to provide such astronomical indications.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 (Quadriptyque)

Having a multitude of complications in a watch is pointless unless they can be legibly and comprehensibly displayed, and the watch can be reasonably worn. Liberated by the unique design of the iconic Reverso, Jaeger-LeCoultre has created a world’s first: a double-faced case continuously driven by the in-house Calibre 185, and a double-faced cradle with indications synced and updated by the primary movement every day at the stroke of midnight by an ingenious mechanical system proprietary to Jaeger-LeCoultre.

If accomplished through conventional mechanical means, the 11 complications of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque would result in a timepiece far more suited for a desk than a wrist. Thanks to nearly two centuries of expertise and a thoroughly modern approach to innovation, the Maison has accommodated the extremely complex mechanism in a wristwatch with a 51mm x 31mm x 15mm case.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 (Quadriptyque)

The history of Jaeger-LeCoultre is rooted in the pursuit and attainment of precision. One of the earliest inventions of founder Antoine LeCoultre was the millionometer, the first instrument able to measure the micron.

Today, Jaeger-LeCoultre is an undisputed pioneer and leader in creating exceptional executions of the tourbillon, a mechanism designed to enhance the chronometric performance of a timepiece. The Reverso Hybris Mechanica Gyrotourbillon 2 (2008) stunned audiences and won chronometry awards with its multi-axial revolving balance, and the Reverso Hybris Mechanica à Triptyque (2006) remains unique in its use of a tourbillon with a high-precision ellipse isometer escapement.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 (Quadriptyque)

Occupying the 7 o’clock position on the recto face of the case, a flying tourbillon makes one rotation a minute, continuously varying the position of the balance in order to achieve a single corrected average time measurement.

The balance beats in regular cadences of 4Hz (28,800vph), every eight beats mark the passing of one second. The seconds accumulate into minutes, into hours, days, weeks, months and years. The recto face of the Quadriptyque case shows the indications of a perpetual calendar. It also takes leap years into account, displaying a 29th day in the month of February every four years.

Highlighting the precision of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 185 construction, the perpetual calendar indications are instantaneous, changing at the stroke of midnight. In addition, the complexities of the Calibre 185 construction required the date to be displayed at the 5 o’clock position on the dial. At Jaeger-LeCoultre, only the perfect legibility of a grande date was considered acceptable for a watch of such prestige, which necessitated the creation of a new system of date display discs in order to accommodate the dimensions of the flying tourbillon at 7 o’clock.

There are extremely few watchmaking manufactures that possess in-house expertise in sonnerie wristwatches. Jaeger-LeCoultre is the only one watchmaking manufacture that has over 200 chiming watch calibres in its historical and modern inventory. The verso face of the Quadriptyque case is a virtuoso tour de force of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s patrimony as a master and innovator of chiming watches.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 (Quadriptyque)

With the slide of a lever located just above the crown, the Quadriptyque unleashes its melody. First, a series of low notes, correlating to the number of hours. Second, an alternating couplet of high and low notes, corresponding to the quarter-hours. And concluding the melody, a succession of high notes, indicating the number of minutes to be added to the elapsed quarters. In concert, the hours-quarters-minutes chime plays the current time in musical code.

The striking works of the Reverso Quadriptyque are completely exposed alongside a secondary time display, indicating the same time as the recto dial, but in a jumping-hours and peripheral-minutes format. As the Quadriptyque strikes the time, setting a symphony of springs, cams, hammers and gongs into motion, their acoustic report confirms the visual display of the secondary dial.

Visible through apertures on the movement plate hand-decorated with the guillochage motif known as clous de Paris are elements of the chiming mechanism uniquely associated with the sonnerie expertise of Jaeger-LeCoultre. These include the silent chime governor, patented by the manufacture in 1895 to eliminate the buzzing noise created by the older anchor system.

More recent in-house innovations showcased in the Quadriptyque are the crystal gongs (first seen in the Master Minute Repeater Antoine LeCoultre of 2005) that attach the repeater gongs directly to the sapphire crystal to exploit the material’s optimal acoustic properties, the square cross-sectional profile of the gongs themselves that maximise contact and energy transmission between the hammers and gongs (a mainstay of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s repeating watches since 2006), and the articulated trebuchet hammers (developed for the 2009 Hybris Mechanica Duomètre à Grande Sonnerie) that deliver a clean and strong strike to the gongs. In totality, these innovations allow Jaeger-LeCoultre minute repeaters to produce some of the loudest and clearest chiming wristwatches today.

Debuting in the Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 is a completely novel engineering of the chiming components to create a seamless chime with no pauses in between the hours, quarters and minutes. The conventional minute repeater mechanism utilises special pivoting racks that read the time off a series of cams and then proceed to activate each group of chimed notes in turn. This often results in silent gaps between the groups of chimed notes, especially when there are only hours and minutes to be struck, with no intervening quarters.

The Hybris Mechanica Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon (2014) and Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel (2019) made exceptional strides in chiming know-how by reducing these silent gaps, but the Reverso Quadriptyque has reached the ultimate stage of expertise in this area. By refining and inverting specific steps in this mechanical sequence, the Quadriptyque has succeeded in eliminating these gaps entirely.

As a watch manufacture with close to two centuries of fine watchmaking expertise, Jaeger-LeCoultre has mastered all aspects of time expression, from the quotidian to the esoteric. One of the hallmark complications of Jaeger-LeCoultre is the display of sidereal time, time that is determined with reference to the stars instead of the Sun, first presented in the Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication (2010).

This year, for the first time ever in the history of mechanical horology, Jaeger-LeCoultre unites three displays of lunar information — the synodic cycle, the draconic cycle and the anomalistic cycle — in a single wristwatch. This unique micromechanical combination of indications, located on the interior face of the cradle of the Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185, allows the determination of eclipse events (both solar and lunar) and rare lunar phenomena such as supermoons.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 (Quadriptyque)

Occupying the top half of the interior face of the cradle of the Reverso Quadriptyque is a massive representation of the phases of the moon in the Northern Hemisphere. A laser-engraved moon is progressively covered and revealed by a mobile blue lacquer disc with gold glitter décor, corresponding to the age of the moon in the synodic cycle. While conventional displays of the moon phase accumulate one day of error after 32.5 months, the moon phase display of the Quadriptyque requires only one adjustment after 1,111 years.

Just below the moon phase display, on the left, is a counter with a three-dimensional micro-sculpted pink-gold sun orbited by a tiny hemispherical moon. This counter shows the draconic cycle, showing when the path of the Moon intersects with the orbit of the Earth around the Sun (known as the ecliptic). Such an intersection takes place twice in each cycle, indicated by the horizontal alignment on the counter of the moon and the sun.

At this time, the Moon, Earth and Sun are all on the same plane; however, they may not be aligned. For them to be aligned, a phenomenon known as syzygy, an additional condition must be fulfilled — the Moon must be either in its new or full phase. When that happens, an eclipse event happens on Earth, either a lunar eclipse if the Moon is in its full phase, or a solar eclipse if the Moon is in its new phase. However, the actual visibility of the eclipse is dependent on various factors such as the geographical position of the viewer.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 (Quadriptyque)

To the right of the draconic cycle counter is a domed representation of the Earth, micro-painted in enamel, with a hemispherical moon in eccentric orbit around it. This counter represents the anomalistic cycle, showing the varying distance between the Earth and Moon. At its apogee, the Moon is at its furthest distance from the Earth and is closest at its perigee. When the Moon is in its full phase near or at the perigee, an event known as a supermoon occurs, in which the Moon can appear to be up to 14 percent larger than usual in the sky.

The display of the synodic, draconic and anomalistic cycle together in a wristwatch is unprecedented in horology, with the latter two indications protected by patent, making the Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 the only watch ever made to provide such depth of information about astronomical phenomena.

The Hybris Mechanica family of timepieces at Jaeger-LeCoultre began with the 2003 Atmos Mystérieuse and has since grown to encompass close to 20 groundbreaking horological creations, including the Master Hybris Mechanica Gyrotourbillon 1 (2004), the Reverso Hybris Mechanica Grande Complication à Triptyque (2006), the Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon (2014) and the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel (2019).

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso was born in 1931. The original Reverso bore a single time-telling face, with a mobile case that could be turned over within its cradle, revealing a solid caseback. The next generation of the Reverso featured another dial on its caseback, either in a different design to accommodate the wearer’s aesthetic preference (Duetto) or displaying a second time zone (Duoface) to offer additional functionality when travelling. The Reverso Hybris Mechanica à Triptyque (2006) represented an evolutionary leap in horological innovation, with a third display positioned on the interior face of the Reverso cradle.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 (Quadriptyque)

This year, the world’s first wristwatch with four faces premieres in the form of the Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 (Quadriptyque), the ultimate expression of the Reverso concept. On the last face of the Quadriptyque, the exterior face of the cradle, a representation of the phases of the Moon in the Southern Hemisphere is shown.

Most indications of the moon phase are of the Northern Hemisphere perspective, and the Quadriptyque’s display of the Southern Hemisphere moon phase on its fourth face is the fulfilment of the Reverso’s fundamental dualism. A star-flecked sky chart, engraved and lacquered in a gradient of blue shades forms the backdrop to the pink-gold moon, all of which are created in the Atelier des Métiers Rares® of Jaeger-LeCoultre.

The secret to the Reverso Hybris Mechanica Quadriptyque’s four functioning display faces lies in a solution first used in the 2006 Reverso Hybris Mechanca Grande Complication à Triptyque. Every day at midnight, a pin extends out of the main case movement to activate a mechanical corrector in the cradle, which then advances the cradle displays.

The mechanism driving the cradle displays is set directly into the cradle itself, without any additional movement plates that would increase the thickness of the watch. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s expertise in ultra-compact watchmaking makes the Quadriptyque, despite its multiple indications and complications, one of the most wearable high-complication watches of our time.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 comes in an exceptional presentation box with a built-in mechanism that allows the wearer to quickly and intuitively set all the calendar and astronomical displays of the watch after a period of being unworn.

A two-position crown on the side of the box is used to first set the number of days that have elapsed since the watch was last worn. With the Quadriptyque set within the correction support frame, the box corrector crown can then be extended to its second position and wound to rapidly bring the watch to the current date for all calendar and astronomical indications. There is no risk of overcorrecting the watch or damaging the movement, since the entire process is controlled by the box corrector mechanism.

Technical details

Model: Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185
Reference: Q7103420

Case
Material: White gold
Case dimensions: 51.2 x 31 mm
Thickness: 15.15 mm
Water resistance: 30 metres

Movement
Manually wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 185
Power reserve: 50 hours

Functions
Face 1: Hour – Minute, Tourbillon (indicating the Second), Instantaneous Perpetual Calendar, Grande Date, Day, Month, Leap Year, Night & Day
Face 2: Jumping Digital Hour, Minute, Minute Repeater (with system avoiding dead time)
Face 3: Northern Hemisphere Moon Phase, Draconic Lunar Cycle (height of the moon), Anomalistic Lunar Cycle (apogee and perigee), Month, Year
Face 4: Southern Hemisphere Moon Phase

Strap
Blue alligator

Edition
Limited edition of 10 pieces

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Phoenix

As a preview of the upcoming SIHH 2019 haute-horlogerie exhibition, Vacheron Constantin presents Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Phoenix, a one-of-a-kind twin-dial model created by the watchmakers of the Les Cabinotiers Department.

Equipped with the famous Calibre 2755, a manual wound movement dedicated to grand complications, this timepiece incorporated 15 horological complications including a minute repeater, tourbillon, perpetual calendar and equation of time.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Phoenix

The “Cabinotiers”, is the name given to the prestigious and cultivated watchmakers who worked in workshops on the top floors of Geneva’s buildings. The expertise of these accomplished masters was backed by vast scientific knowledge, fired by a curiosity for new ideas and nurtured by the philosophy of the Enlightenment. Their deft hands craft exceptional timepieces of rare technical and aesthetic complexity, inspired by astronomy, science and the arts.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Phoenix

Vacheron Constantin continues to take on these highly technical and creative challenges within its Les Cabinotiers department, which gives rise to one-of-a-kind models intended for clients and collectors, along with specifically commissioned bespoke timepieces. Engineers, designers, watchmakers and craftsmen unite their imagination, expertise and passion in bringing this extremely refined watchmaking excellence to life.

Taking its named from the legendary phoenix bird, this watch boasts 15 complications. Visible on both sides of the watch, an array of 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, power – endow it with nobility and prestige.

A minute repeater and a tourbillon complete this exceptional list of functions. The watchmakers of the Les Cabinotiers department have succeeded in accommodating all these functions within the limited space of the case by maximum miniaturisation of all components, while preserving their reliability.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Phoenix

The numerals and hands stand out clearly against the slate-grey colour of the two dials on either side of the watch, beautifully offsetting the pink gold case. The optimal legibility of this complex model is also ensured by the layout of the additional counters and the various time indications.

The Calibre 2755 powering this extremely complicated watch is movement endowed with a 58-hour power reserve.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Phoenix

Epitomising a subtle balance between innovation and the transmission of ancestral skills, this exceptional model also pays tribute to a pair of engraving art techniques that few artisans still master: pounced ornament – or bas-relief – for the case-band; and fine line engraving for the bezel and case-back.

Given the extreme care lavished on details that constitutes a Vacheron Constantin signature, the wings of the legendary Phoenix bird appear to be literally ready to unfurl on the case-band, while the movement of its slim neck extends elegantly and gracefully to the very tip of its beak.

Technical details

Model: Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Phoenix
Reference: 9700C/003R-B187 – Hallmark of Geneva

Movement
Caliber 2755
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin – Mechanical, manual-winding – 33.9 mm diameter,
12.15 mm thick – Approximately 58 hours of power reserve – 2.5Hz (18,000 vibrations/hour) – 839 components
40 jewels

Indications
Hours, minutes, Small second at 6 o’clock on tourbillon carriage

15 complications:
1. Minute repeater
2. Tourbillon
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
18K 5N pink gold with case-band hand-engraved with “Phoenix” sculpture, bezel and case back handengraved with an ornamental pattern – 47 mm diameter, 19.10 mm thick

Dials
(Face & back side) Slate-grey opaline dials – 18K 5N pink gold applied hour-markers – 18K 5N pink gold hands

Strap
Dark brown Mississippiensis alligator leather, hand-stitched, saddle-fnish, large square scales

Buckle
18K 5N pink gold folding clasp and buckle hand-engraved with an ornamental pattern
Half Maltese cross-shaped

Box
Prestige winder box made of Makassar ebony wood

Accessories
Delivered with a corrector pen, a magnifying glass

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

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.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication « Crocodile »
Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication « Crocodile »

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.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication « Ornementale »
Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication « Ornementale »

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.

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.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication « Crocodile »
Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication « Crocodile »

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.

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.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication « Ornementale »
Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication « Ornementale »

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.

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.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication « Crocodile »
Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication « Crocodile »

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.

Vacheron Constantin 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.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication « Ornementale »

The bezel, caseband, lugs and pin buckle are adorned with an ornamental pattern inspired by 19th century Victorian architecture.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication « Ornementale » watch

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

Vacheron Constantin 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.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication « Crocodile » watch

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.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication « Crocodile » watch

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

Patek Philippe Grand Complication in Platinum, Reference 5316P-001

Patek Philippe presents a redesigned version of its famous Grand Complication with a minute repeater, a tourbillon, and a perpetual calendar with a retrograde date. It sports a new platinum case with a two-tier bezel and lugs as well as a black enamel dial with an aperture for the enamel lunar disk.

The movement powering this grand complication timepiece is Caliber R TO 27 PS QR. The aperture at 12 o’ clock displays  leap year. The windows at 3 o’ clock and 9 o’ clock respectively indicate month and day of the week.  The retrograde date is indicated by an unusual hand with a diamond-shaped tip.

The sub-dial at 6 o’ clock incorporates small seconds function and moon phases. It also spotlights the inscription “TOURBILLON” to indicate the presence of one of the most spectacular horological complications. The minute repeater can be activated by a slide piece.

Technical details

Model: Patek Philippe Grand Complication in Platinum, Reference 5316P-001

Movement
Manually wound mechanical movement
Caliber R TO 27 PS QR
Third wheel in gold
Height: 8.61 mm
Jewels: 28
Bridges: 13
Balance: Gyromax®
Vibrations/hour: 21 600 (3 Hz)
Hallmark: Patek Philippe Seal

Functions
Minute repeater
Tourbillon
Chime with two gongs activated by a slide piece in the case
Perpetual calendar with retrograde date hand
Day, month, leap year in apertures
Moon phases
Seconds subdial

Dial
Black enamel dial, gold applied hour markers
18K gold dial plate

Case
Material: Platinum
Case is humidity and dust protected only (not water resistant)
Case diameter: 40.2 mm
Interchangeable full back and sapphire-crystal case back

Strap
Alligator strap with square scales, hand-stitched, shiny black, fold-over clasp

Patek Philippe Grand Complication Ref. 5016A-010 for Only Watch 2015, Unique Piece

One of the great classics of the Patek Philippe wrist Grand Complications between 1993 and 2011, Reference 5016 unites in its Calatrava-style case three of the complications most highly prized by devotees of exceptional watches: the tourbillon, the minute repeater and the perpetual calendar with moon-phase display.

As an additional refinement, the perpetual calendar is endowed with a retrograde date hand, which flies back to the 1stof the month after having reached the 28th, 29th, 30th or 31st under the action of an ingenious mechanism controlled by a spiral-coiled spring.

Patek Philippe Grand Complication Ref. 5016A-010 for Only Watch 2015, Unique Piece

This graceful interplay of sophisticated functions is orchestrated by a movement comprising 506 parts, all painstakingly finished by hand with the dedication to excellence for which the manufacture is known.

Reference 5016A-010 was created specially for Only Watch 2015 and is the first and only version of this watch to be produced in steel.

The sheen of this metal, rarely seen in a Patek Philippe Grand Complication, compliments a blue enameled dial that perpetuates the tradition of the rare handcrafts.

Technical details

Model: Patek Philippe Grand Complication Ref. 5016A-010 for Only Watch 2015, Unique Piece

Movement
Caliber R TO 27 PS QR Manual winding

Functions
Minute repeater
Tourbillon
Perpetual calendar with retrograde date hand
Day, month and leap year in apertures
Moon phases
Seconds subdial at 6o’clock

Dial
Blue enameled dial with gold applied Breguet numerals
18K gold dial plate

Case
Steel Case
Interchangeable full back and sapphire-crystal case back
Case is humidity and dust protected only (not water resistant)
Case diameter: 36.8 mm

Strap
Alligator leather strap, shiny navy blue, hand-stitched
Fold-over clasp

Vacheron Constantin Maître Cabinotier Astronomica

Crafted by the most experienced master-watchmakers of Vacheron Constantin, the “Maître Cabinotier Astronomica” is an extremely sophisticated Grande Complication wristwatch, equipped with an exceptional set of functions.

This impressive feat of miniaturisation, driven by manual-winding Calibre 2755-B1, brings together 15 of the most demanding Haute Horlogerie complications and gives pride of place to astronomical functions. It is also the very first representative of a new and highly exclusive range of models crafted in the spirit of Geneva’s 18th century cabinotiers, combining exclusive production, personalisation and masterful accomplishments.

Vacheron Constantin Maître Cabinotier Astronomica Grand Complication watch

This exceptional movement embodying a compendium of horological excellence and bearing the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva is housed within a 47 mm-diameter, 19.1 mm-thick white case.

Inspired by the world’s most complicated wristwatch that paid eloquent tribute in 2005 to the 250th anniversary of the Geneva-based Manufacture – Vacheron Constantin’s very famous Tour de l’Ile, the unique Maître Cabinotier Astronomica watch once again demonstrates the remarkable expertise Vacheron Constantin has acquired in the art of combining multiple complications within an extremely small space. Boldly reaching for the stars, Calibre 2755-B1 is one of the most complex ever made by the Manufacture and features a number of unusual – mainly astronomical – complications.

Vacheron Constantin Maître Cabinotier Astronomica

This mechanical manual-winding movement with a 58-hour power reserve offers an original combination of 15 complications driven by 839 parts, while measuring a modest 33.90 mm in diameter and 12.15 mm thick. These many useful functions, which can be read off on both the dial side and the back of this watch, constitute an authentic technical feat.

Firstly by incorporating the specific mechanisms of the 15 complications within a wristwatch and ensuring that they run to perfection; secondly in terms of ensuring optimal legibility and comfort on the wrist; and thirdly by maintaining a sophisticated design and taut, sleek lines. Moreover, both this unique wristwatch and its movement bear the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva.

Vacheron Constantin Maître Cabinotier Astronomica

Summing up the refined skills mastered by the Manufacture since 1755, this Grande Complication model named Maître Cabinotier Astronomica also evokes the spirit of the “Atelier Cabinotiers” created by Vacheron Constantin in 2006.

This extremely specialised service of creating bespoke Haute Horlogerie watches reconnects with the time when Geneva’s highly specialised watchmaking artisans –the cabinotiers – plied their trade in attic-type workshops as they crafted unique watches commissioned by prestigious clients. The one-of-a-kind Maître Cabinotier Astronomica is a natural heir to this philosophy of combining watchmaking excellence with personalisation in accordance with customers’ individual wishes.

Minute repeater, equation of time, tourbillon, perpetual calendar, date, day of the week, month, leap years, power reserve, sunrise and sunset times. In addition to the hours and minutes, no less than 11 complications are displayed with both clarity and distinction on the front, or dial side. Two of the most sophisticated major Haute Horlogerie complications – the minute repeater and the tourbillon – pairs with various astronomical-type complex functions: a perpetual calendar, an equation of time, as well as indications of sunrise and sunset times.

Among these captivating complications, the minute repeater deserves particular attention, in that it is fitted with an ingenious centripetal flying strike governor, developed by the Manufacture Vacheron Constantin.

Vacheron Constantin Maître Cabinotier Astronomica

Perfectly silent and preventing undue wear of the frequently solicited striking mechanism, it serves to regulate the duration of the musical sequence in order to ensure that the notes chimed for the hours, quarters and minutes are both melodious and distinctly audible when the hammers strike the gongs.

In addition to the minute repeater, the dial reveals a stunning tourbillon at 6 o’clock, equipped in the traditional manner with a carriage shaped like a Maltese cross, Manufacture’s emblem. 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, the “memory of time to come” 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. The displays are symmetrically arranged with the day of the week appearing at 9 o’clock, the month at 12 o’clock and the date at 3 o’clock, while the leap-year indicator is discreetly positioned at 1 o’clock.

Equipping the watch with an equation of time, another fascinating complication shown by means of a short hand positioned at 10.30, also calls for considerable expertise. It serves to measure the difference in minutes between solar time and standard legal time. While humankind decided for practical reasons to divide each year into 365.25 days, each day into 24 hours and each hour into 60 minutes, the time as shown by the sun, or “true” time, differs according to the day of the year. This lag or advance varies daily, while remaining within the -16 to +16 minute range.

This exceptional timepiece also has another type of astronomical complication that is a rarity in the field of horology: sunrise and sunset times. Involving a particularly delicate development process, this complication provides an accurate indication of this information for a given location on Earth – which in turn means that client must first choose the city for which he wishes to have the sunrise and sunrise times. The display of this “customised complication” is rigorously symmetrical, with sunrise appearing at 8 o’clock and sunset at 4 o’clock.

Vacheron Constantin Maître Cabinotier Astronomica

The back of this timepiece is just as fascinating as the front, since it features four complications and displays seven useful and interesting functions: a sky chart, the solstice, the equinox, sidereal time, the age and phases of the moon, the seasons, and the zodiac signs, forming a set of stellar complications that are extremely rare in the Haute Horlogerie firmament. This rare dial exclusively dedicated to displaying astronomical functions is built on two levels. The central disc bears a sky chart of the northern hemisphere, as well as the four cardinal points.

Through two South and North openings, it symmetrically displays the months of the year and sidereal time, corresponding to “true” time. The latter indication is a necessity for watchmakers and enables them to adjust the sky chart according to the reference city chosen by the sole client. A small hand sweeping around the rim of the first dial level shows the age of the moon, meaning the number of days since the last full moon. Meanwhile, the second dial provides an array of extremely interesting astronomical functions.

A long and slender central hand, tipped with a sun on its counterweight, rotates around the dial in pointing to the date on the outer rim of the disc. It also indicates the zodiac sign, the season, and finally the equinox or the solstice corresponding to the current date.

While an equinox is distinguished by the equal duration of day and night, a solstice corresponds to a minimum or maximum length of day and occurs twice a year somewhere around June 21st for the summer solstice and December 21st for its winter counterpart. The days on either side of the summer solstice are the longest of the year, while those near the winter solstice are the shortest.

Vacheron Constantin Maître Cabinotier Astronomica

The equinoxes are the two days of the year when the sun changes hemisphere and passes over the equator at its exact zenith. A year comprises two equinoxes: one between March 19th and 21st, and the other between September 22ndand 23rd. These dates are regarded as corresponding to the beginning of spring and autumn.

A superlative movement in every sense of the term, equipping a unique watch and adaptable to the reference city of the owner for whom it is intended, Calibre 2755-B1 once again proves the exceptional mastery and the capacity for innovation of the Manufacture Vacheron Constantin.

While pushing technical limits to new extremes, it remains consistently attentive to the user friendliness of a timepiece, even when it offers a large number of complications. The engineers and master-watchmakers have developed a calibre fitting smoothly inside a case graced with slender lines despite the multitude of parts required by such an elaborate mechanism.

The characteristics of the white gold case are designed to ensure the remarkable sound quality of the minute repeater. Moreover, providing a pleasantly balanced and readable display of these multiple functions is a tour de force in itself.

The entirely in-house developed and produced Calibre 2755-B1 perfectly reflects the philosophy of excellence that Vacheron Constantin applies to conceiving and making its Grande Complication models.

Each part is finely adjusted and harmonised so as to guarantee optimal performances, making each movement a unique masterpiece. Its impressive level of finishing is expressed through meticulously hand bevelled bridges adorned with Côtes de Genève, a circular-grained mainplate, as well as the smoothly rounded off tourbillon carriage bar.

Like the watch as a whole, the movement bears the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva certifying that it meets the numerous highly demanding criteria of this supremely independent label that offers a guarantee of provenance, top-notch precision, durability and watchmaking expertise.

This symbol of horological perfection notably signifies that the movement decoration is entirely hand-crafted. This highly unusual combination of 15 particular complications within a single watch demands a degree of mastery that is truly exceptional in the spheres of Haute Horlogerie.

In light of its complexity and originality, the Maître Cabinotier Astronomica is quite naturally issued as a limited edition of one.

Technical details

Model: Vacheron Constantin Maître Cabinotier Astronomica
Reference: 80174/000G-9995
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece

Movement
Caliber 2755-B1
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
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 white gold
47 mm diameter, 19.1 mm thick

Dials
18K white gold, slate-colored opaline
18K white gold applied hour-markers
18K white gold hands

Strap
Black Mississippiensis alligator leather, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales
Clasp: 18K white gold triple-blade folding clasp
Polished half Maltese cross-shape

Box
Prestige winder box made of Makassar wood

Accessories
Delivered with a corrector pen, a magnifying glass and a resonator of sound « La Musique du Temps » enhancing the sound and the harmony notes of Vacheron Constantin minute repeater

Unique timepiece
« Pièce unique » engraved on caseback

Patek Philippe Ref. 6002 Sky Moon Tourbillon

During the 174 years since it was founded, Patek Philippe has demonstrated its expertise in the entire spectrum of horological complications. Impressive manifestations of this competence include the Calibre 89 presented in 1989. With 33 complications, it holds the world record as the most complicated portable mechanical watch.

The Ref. 5002 Sky Moon Tourbillon is the manufacture’s most complicated wristwatch with 12 complications on two dials. Now, with the Ref. 6002, the Sky Moon Tourbillon has a successor that redefines the term grand complication – with a case and dial that require the utmost in craftsmanship and artistry.

As regards the movement, the new Ref. 6002 is largely identical with its predecessor. It possesses a minute repeater with two cathedral gongs and a tourbillon; on the front dial, it indicates standard time and features a perpetual calendar with a retrograde date and a moon-phase display.

The rear dial sets the stage for astronomical functions: it shows the northern sky, sidereal time, and the angular progression and phases of the moon. Unlike the Ref. 5002, it indicates the moon phases instead of the moon age and features apertures instead of hands for the day of the week, month, and leap year displays.

Patek Philippe Ref. 6002 Sky Moon Tourbillon

The totally new aspect of the Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 6002 is its appearance, with lavish decorations that elevate it to the status of a grand creation. To refer to a case or a dial is almost a sacrilege in the context of the Ref. 6002.

Sculpture would be the more fitting term for a genuine work of art like the Sky Moon Tourbillon. In particular, it showcases two artisanal skills: the art of the engraver and that of the enameler. Since the advent of Geneva’s watchmaking heritage in the late 16th century, both of these crafts have been inseparably allied with watchmaking.

Because the first portable timepieces of the epoch were still very inaccurate and had to be reset several times a day, they were primarily objects of prestige. That made it all the more important to endow them with precious materials and painstaking decorations as testimony to the influence and affluence of their owners. The invention of the balance spring toward the end of the 17th century marked the beginning of the era of precision timepieces that were also suitable for scientific measurements.

The Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 6002 unites these two dimensions with incomparable poise: the precision of a tourbillon timekeeping instrument with the rate accuracy of a chronometer and the immaculate decorations that reflect the finest artisanal traditions of Geneva.

The case of the Ref. 6002 is a superb oeuvre carved from the massive white-gold blank entirely by hand. The eloquent ornaments, arabesque garlands, and gently curved elements of the Calatrava cross are produced with chip removal techniques using sharp burins that not only incise the precious metal but actually “lift” the decorations out of the gold surface. An involuntary movement or a brief moment of distraction would ruin the case and it would have to be re-melted.

Patek Philippe Ref. 6002 Sky Moon Tourbillon

But the engraver not only molds the gold in bas-relief but also applies the chisel to sculpt life into the small surfaces between the three-dimensional structures. Thus, more than one hundred hours of work are invested until the engraving alone meets the approval of the master artisan and Patek Philippe’s President Thierry Stern.

With the same precision and artistry, the engraver uses relief techniques to decorate the minute repeater slide in the case flank, the two crowns, and the white-gold clasp that locks the strap.

The ornaments of the two crowns are as informative as they are decorative: The dynamometric winding crown at 4 o’clock shows an arrow in relief to indicate the direction of rotation, while the moon and stars in relief on the crown at 2 o’clock reveal that it is intended to adjust sidereal time and the celestial functions on the rear dial.

The front dial of the Ref. 6002 is a work of art in its own right. Its small surface unites the skills of many specialists who master milling, applique setting, and – most spectacularly – enameling with the champlevé and cloisonné techniques. The dial is crafted from a thin disk in gold that is milled out until the crisp railway track scale, the surrounds of the dial center, calendar apertures, and moon-phase display stand out in relief.

This is followed by the work of the specialized champlevé enameler who fills the recesses around the relief contours with blue enamel by hand. Even the smallest bounded recesses are carefully filled with enamel, applied with an ultra-fine brush. When all recesses have been uniformly filled, the miniature oeuvre is fired in the oven at 850° Celsius.

Patek Philippe Ref. 6002 Sky Moon Tourbillon

Conversely, the center of the dial is decorated with so-called cloisonné enamel. This technique involves shaping the contours of the blossoms and leaves using fine, flattened gold wire that must be affixed to the dial.

The result of countless hours of painstaking work is numerous separate cells (cloisons) that are then filled with enamel of different shades of blue. Again, the next step is firing and fusing for eternity in an oven at about 850° Celsius.

While most contours in the form of silvery relief structures are embedded in blue enamel, the Roman hour numerals are gold appliques. Other dial elements such as the numerals and the markers of the retrograde calendar scale, the PATEK PHILIPPE GENEVE and TOURBILLON inscriptions, the movement number and the delicately pointed stars are painted bright gray.

The small lunar disk is another fine example of champlevé: the circumference of the moon is elaborated in relief and enclosed with blue enamel. The cratered landscape of the moon’s surface is emulated with gradations of white, gray, and black enamel.

This represents a huge effort for a single dial element, but it certainly ranks among the most poetic complications imaginable. For a watch of the likes of the Sky Moon Tourbillon, no amount of work can be deemed unreasonable when the issue is to pay tribute to the movement that ticks beneath the phenomenal dial.

In horological terms, the Ref. 6002 distinguishes itself only marginally from its predecessor. Even though the caliber RTO 27 QR SID LU CL is the Genevan manufacture’s most complicated wristwatch movement, its concept is to unite not as many as possible, but the most fascinating complications in the compact case of a wristwatch: a perpetual calendar with a retrograde date display, a minute repeater, a tourbillon, the display of sidereal time and a depiction of the nocturnal sky with the motion of the stars, the angular progression of the moon, and the moon phases.

The analog displays for the day of the week, the leap year cycle, and the month have been replaced with aperture displays and the moon-age indication at 6 o’clock with a moon-phase display featuring the typical curved cutout that emphasizes the poetic personality of the watch.

The minute repeater was and still is the pinnacle of horological artistry. During the past 25 years, Patek Philippe has devoted considerable attention to this complication, imbuing the hour, quarter-hour, and minute strikes with a new dimension in sonority.

Thanks to a proprietary alloy developed explicitly for the gongs and the decades of experience accrued by Patek Philippe’s specialists, the sound of the strikes is pure, clear, and easily audible, even in the small case of a wristwatch. A practically inaudible centrifugal governor is responsible for the perfect rhythm of the strike sequence and suppresses the annoying background chatter that is typical of many minute repeaters. And not least, two extra-long cathedral gongs assure the remarkable richness and clarity of the sounds.

Patek Philippe Ref. 6002 Sky Moon Tourbillon

They are nearly twice as long as ordinary gongs, so both of them must be coiled around the movement twice – a formidable challenge for the watchmaker. The relief-engraved slide that is used to actuate the minute repeater adds aesthetic charisma to the peerless acoustic experience.

The minute repeater derives its timing information from a precision movement with a tourbillon that guarantees superb rate accuracy. The filigreed mechanism offsets rate deviations in vertical positions, rotates about its own axis once a minute, consists of 69 individual parts, and nonetheless weighs a scant 0.3 grams.

The separate rate certificate that accompanies each Ref. 6002 verifies the impressive rate accuracy of the tourbillon-controlled Patek Philippe movement. Completely assembled and cased up, the caliber’s rate fluctuates by no more than -2 to +1 seconds per day.

Patek Philippe perpetual calendars are legendary. This also applies to the Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 6002 and its perpetual calendar with the automatic retrograde date. Its hand points to the current date on a 240° arc from 8 to 4 o’clock.

Patek Philippe Ref. 6002 Sky Moon Tourbillon

Every day, the date hand advances by one increment and at the end of the month, on the 28th, 29th, 30th, or 31st day automatically jumps back to the 1st day of the new month. This function is handled by a patented mechanism with a ratchet wheel and a pawl, which, in contrast to conventional solutions with cam disks, guarantees extremely precise hand alignment.

The mechanism prevents the date hand from bouncing forward to the second or third day on the scale after it has jumped from the last day of the month to the first. It reliably stops on the first day and is held there.

Contrary to the Ref. 5002, the other indications of the perpetual calendar are displayed in apertures: the day of the week at 9 o’clock, the leap year cycle at 12 o’clock, the month at 3 o’clock, and the moon phases at 6 o’clock. Aperture displays are more complex to build and require more force than hand displays, but their advantage is faster and more convenient legibility.

Patek Philippe Ref. 6002 Sky Moon Tourbillon

The back dial of the Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 6002 presents a highly unusual spectacle on its rear dial. The night sky of the northern hemisphere rotates beneath a sapphire-crystal glass, depicting the angular motion of the stars and of the moon, the meridian passages of Sirius and of the moon, and the waxing and waning moon phases.

Additionally, two hands from the center indicate sidereal time on a 24-hour scale. An elliptical contour surrounds the portion of the nocturnal sky that is visible from a specific location. These fascinating functions are handled by a highly unique, patented mechanical module. With this Sky-Moon mechanism, Patek Philippe has achieved a nearly incredible degree of precision in the astronomical depiction of the heavenly canopy.

A lunar day is defined by the time that elapses between two consecutive passages of the moon across a given meridian; on average, it lasts 24 hours, 50 minutes, and 28.328 seconds. One lunation (the period of time between two consecutive full moons) has an average duration of 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 2.82 seconds.

A sidereal day is defined as the time between two consecutive passages of a fixed star (such as Sirius) across a given meridian; its average duration is 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4.09892 seconds. Sidereal time makes it possible to calculate the geographical longitude of a specific location.

To assure correct displays, these deviations from mean solar time require appropriate step-up and reduction gear ratios in the going train that transmits the force from the spring barrel to the individual astronomical indications. Some of these ratios rely on the accuracy of the moon-phase display versus the sidereal day, others on the accuracy of the sidereal day versus the orbital position of the moon, etc.

Overall, more than 25 trillion (25,000,000,000,000) variations were calculated for the transmission ratio pairings of the going train. From this incredible number of ratios, Patek Philippe picked the optimal set that resulted in the smallest possible deviations for all displays.

The outcome of the theoretical computations surpassed all expectations:
• The deviation for the lunar day is -0.05 seconds per day, -18.385 seconds per year, or -30 minutes and 38.5 seconds per century.
• For a sidereal day, the deviation is -0.088 seconds per day, -32.139 seconds per year, or -53 minutes and 33.9 seconds per century.
• For the moon phases, it is -6.51 seconds per lunation.

The manually wound movement is a masterpiece of micromechanical engineering composed of a total of 686 parts that are lavishly finished by hand. All edges of the steel parts are beveled and each tooth of every steel wheel is polished with a rotating hardwood disk by hand, one by one.

This degree of perfection is not an end in itself; it reduces friction at the points where the wheels mesh, thus contributing significantly to the legendary precision and longevity of Patek Philippe watches. The plate and the module with the perpetual calendar are finished with a perlage pattern on both sides, and the bridges are decorated with Geneva striping.

Patek Philippe Ref. 6002 Sky Moon Tourbillon watch

Due to the number and complexity of the elaborate processes and stringent rate tests, it takes many months to complete a single movement. The result is a flawless caliber that displays the Patek Philippe Seal on its plate – the most prestigious attestation of quality for top-echelon mechanical movements.

The opus is delivered to its owner in a precious box worthy of being called a treasure chest. It is crafted from rare Macassar ebony with hand-engraved white-gold decorations and accents in blue lacquer. In addition to the unique timepiece, the case also accommodates two hand-engraved cufflinks in 18K white gold with blue lacquer fillings.

Technical details

Model: Patek Philippe “Sky Moon Tourbillon” Ref. 6002

Movement
Caliber RTO 27 QR SID LU CL
Manually wound mechanical movement. Minute repeater, tourbillon, perpetual calendar with aperture displays and retrograde date, moon phases, sidereal time, angular progression of the moon
Overall diameter: 38 mm
Height: 12.61 mm
Number of parts: 686
Number of jewels: 55
Power reserve: Min. 38 hours – max. 48 hours
Balance: Gyromax®
Tourbillon: 1 revolution per minute; number of parts: 69; overall weight: 0.3 g
Steel cage; tourbillon, balance wheel, and fourth wheel on one axis
Frequency: 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour (3 Hz)
Balance spring: Breguet
Balance spring stud: Adjustable
Hallmarks: Patek Philippe Seal, rate accuracy certificate for Patek Philippe tourbillon watches

Displays
Front side, dial: Mean solar time in hours and minutes, perpetual calendar with retrograde date, day of week, month, leap year cycle, and moon phases
Back side, sky chart: Sidereal time in hours and minutes, time of meridian passage of Sirius and of the moon, angular progression of the moon, and moon phases.
Minute repeater: Hour, quarter-hour, and minute strikes on two “cathedral” gongs

Case
Case: 18K white gold with reliefed engraving
Sapphire-crystal glass front and rear
Dimensions: Diameter 42.80 mm
Height (crystal to back): 16.25 mm
Height (crystal to lugs): 17.35 mm

Crowns
At 4 o’clock to wind the movement and set the hands for mean solar time, hand-engraved
At 2 o’clock to adjust the sky chart, sidereal time, angular position of the moon, and the moon phase, hand-engraved
Slide: In the case flank to actuate the minute repeater

Correction push pieces
Date and day between 11 and 12 o’clock (in the case flank)
Month between 3 and 4 o’clock
Moon phase between 5 and 6 o’clock
Day of week between 6 and 7 o’clock

Front side
Gold dial with blue enamel in champlevé and cloisonné
Railway-track minute scale integrated in the blue champlevé enamel
Applied Roman numerals in white gold
Date numerals and markers, signature lettering, and movement number painted bright gray
Hands: Hours and minutes: leaf-shaped hands in white gold, hand-engraved
Date: slender double-leaf flyback hand in rhodiumed steel

Back side
Four metallized sapphire-crystal disks (sky chart)
Hours and minutes of sidereal time: white counterbalanced baton hands

Strap
Hand-stitched shiny blue alligator with large square scales and hand-engraved fold-over clasp in 18K white gold

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers : Philosophia & Vladimir

Created in 2006, Vacheron Constantin’s Atelier Cabinotiers revives the very unique spirit of 18th century Geneva. At that time, prestigious clients came to order directly from the cabinotiers, the watch industry craftsmen who forged the city’s reputation. Royalty such as King Fouad of Egypt or his son King Farouk were also fervent collectors of one-of-a-kind models created by the Manufacture.

Today, for the first time, Vacheron Constantin is unveiling two timepieces ordered from Atelier Cabinotiers, a new and unique service that custom-makes Fine Watches.

Secrecy and confidentiality surround most of the watches made to order by Vacheron Constantin. Sometimes embodying the wildest of dreams, always expressions of a burning desire, they are heard of more often than seen. These exceptional collection pieces come to life in Geneva at Atelier Cabinotiers.

Unique in the watchmaking industry, this custom-building department offers clients a very exclusive service representing far more than just a finished product and based on the attentive listening skills and expertise of this Fine Watchmaking Manufacture founded in 1755.

By providing this service, the latter is reviving the spirit of the cabinotiers, the highly specialised Geneva craftsmen who made the city famous beginning in the 11th century – first in jewellery, and then in watchmaking. This year, for the first time, Vacheron Constantin is unveiling two unique pieces stamped with the Hallmark of Geneva and made by its Atelier Cabinotiers service.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Philosophia

This one of a kind, custom made model is christened Philosophia by its owner. It brilliantly sets the scene for the peaceful coexistence of Fine Watchmaking and approximate time. The original idea was based on the postulate that mankind does not need to constantly know the exact time to the nearest minute.

In some parts of the world, making an appointment “in the morning” or “in the evening” is quite sufficient to allow two people to meet. In the same spirit, knowing that it is 12 or 17 minutes past ten o’clock does not make the Philosophia’s owner any happier or unhappier.

However, while this man has decided on a lifestyle of displaying approximate time, he is no less a connoisseur of excellence. Far from being indifferent, he is in fact a Fine Watchmaking enthusiast and a major collector of timepieces.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Philosophia Watch

The Philosophia conveys all of these things at once. Based on a model from the Patrimony collection, it has only one hand in the centre, the hour hand, with a 24-hour display, allowing the approximate hour to be read without worrying about the minutes.

But if the owner wants a more exact idea of the time at any given moment, he simply engages the on-off slide of the Philosophia’s minute repeater, which reveals the exact hour, quarter hour and minute. If the hand is a little before 6 o’clock, the chime will sound five times on a low note, three times on a low-to-high note pair, and, for example, twelve times on a high note. That means it is exactly 5:57.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Philosophia Watch

Another sophisticated touch in the Philosophia is an opening in the dial at 6 o’clock that reveals a tourbillon rotating once every 60 seconds. The commissioner of the piece, who also likes astronomy, asked for a customised precision moon phase; the moon is shown with its craters, and a single star – the pole star—shines near it.

On the back of the watch, the power reserve indicator bears a small plaque stamped with the intertwined constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. Nearby, engraved in the 18-carat pink gold of the custom case, the identifying phrase “Les Cabinotiers” and the Atelier Cabinotiers coat of arms attest to the exceptional origin of this timepiece, which is also stamped with the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Philosophia Watch

Highly customised, the entire Philosophia – a one-of-a-kind model – was made piece by piece at Vacheron Constantin by Atelier Cabinotiers. At its owner’s request, it was engraved with “No Un/Un” [No. One/One] instead of the usual “1/1” marked on one-of-a-kind pieces.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Philosophia Watch

This attention to detail was the rule for all 522 components of the hand-wound mechanical movement that makes the Philosophia tick. The movement that drives a minute repeater, a 60-second tourbillon and the moon-phase display. Careful attention was paid to the finishes of all components; even the surfaces that will never be seen are hand decorated.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Philosophia Watch

This is true, for example, of the plate and its hand matt-effect file-stroke treatment, which gives it a very beautiful granulated sandy effect but which no one –except the watchmaker who takes the watch apart for maintenance – will ever see. Another special detail is the openwork at the centre of the escapement wheel, which provides a place for a pierced Maltese Cross motif, the symbol of Vacheron Constantin.

Unique in its spirit, aesthetics and exclusive mechanism, the Philosophia model was recently delivered to its owner by Vacheron Constantin’s Atelier Cabinotiers. It goes without saying that the presentation box as well as all the accessories and related documents – including the instructions – were also custom-made, one of each.

Technical details

Model: Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Philosophia Watch
Reference: 80173/000R9483

Movement
Calibre: 2755 , Stamped with the Hallmark of Geneva
Energy:Mechanical, manual-winding
Movement diameter: 33.30 mm
Movement thickness: 7.65 mm
Jewels: 40
Frequency: 18’000 vibrations / hour (2.5 Hz)

Indications
Hours 24 H, second on tourbillon
Minute Repeater
Tourbillon
Power reserve on the back of the watch
Power reserve: Approx. 58 hours
Bespoke power reserve dial engraved with “great and lesser Bear”

Case
18K 5N pink gold
43 mm in diameter
Convex sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on one side
Water-Resistance: None

Dial
Silvered opaline
Moon-phases disc in 18K 5N pink gold
Black painted minute-track and 11 Arabic numerals

Strap
Brown Mississipiensis alligator leather, square scales,hand-stitched, saddle finish

Clasp
Buckle in 18K 5N pink gold
Polished half Maltese Cross

Unique piece
Case-back engraved with “Les Cabinotiers” identification and “AC” Hallmark

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Vladimir

The second special order was named Vladimir by its owner. This Slavic first name is derived from the ancient term Volodimir, which literally means “domination by peace” or “peace to all.”

This superlative watch is none other than one of the world’s most complicated timepieces. That is what its owner wanted, and Vacheron Constantin’s Atelier Cabinotiers gathered the resources to meet this very ambitious goal.

As it began this extraordinary adventure and accepted this uncommon mechanical challenge, Vacheron Constantin knew it could count on its unusual expertise garnered over an uninterrupted span of more than 250 years in business.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Vladimir Watch

The Genevese Manufacture had demonstrated this during its quarter-millennial celebration in 2005 by designing and producing in its own workshops what was at the time the world’s most complicated wristwatch, the famous Tour de l’Ile. The Vladimir model that has just left Ateliers Cabinotiers is even more complicated than that legendary model of 2005.

The hand-wound mechanical movement of this unique Vladimir watch drives no less than 17 complications. This exceptional movement, bearing the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva, has some 891 components, all hand-finished or hand-decorated at Vacheron Constantin. It is both a technical and aesthetic triumph that took Atelier Cabinotiers and its top-flight watchmakers four years to develop.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Vladimir Watch

Vladimir’s main dial was hand-engraved on a rose engine at Atelier Cabinotiers, gives an indication of the complexity of this horological masterpiece and reveals an impressive array of complications, in addition to the usual display of hours and minutes.

To begin with the supreme example, the very refined 60-second tourbillon mechanism stands out at 6 o’clock, while next to it at 3 o’clock appears the moon phase on a blue sky with a precision moon in gold, smiling or serious depending on the phase and hand-engraved by Atelier Cabinotiers craftsmen. To its right, a smaller counter with a small blued hand indicates the striking mechanism torque, i.e., whether the minute repeater mechanism is engaged.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Vladimir Watch

In addition to the hour and minute hands – one-of-a-kind pieces made especially for this watch –that travel around the slightly off-centre minute markers, the front side of the main dial provides a second time zone with day/night indicator at 11 o’clock. The power reserve indicator is located in the 9 o’clock sector, also enhanced by a 52-week indicator.

At this point, we have already seen seven easily identifiable complications on a well-balanced dial – with all of the motifs and materials having been selected by the purchaser – that are perfectly legible and aesthetically flawless. As another sign of the personalisation evident throughout the entire creative process, the guilloché pattern on the dial was also chosen by the collector of this exceptional timepiece.

The back is no less admirable than the front, having a wealth of information that is pleasantly arranged, exciting, subtle and surprising. On the upper portion, the perpetual calendar dials are arranged in a triangle, displaying the days of the week, month and date from left to right.

A small window at 1 o’clock shows the leap-year cycle. In the centre of the dial, a blued hand sweeps over a small sector devoted to the equation of time, the variable difference observable between true (solar) time and the time marked by clocks, which for convenience is divided into equal intervals.

Two other pieces of astronomical information are conveyed by hands traversing two sectors at 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock: the time of sunrise and sunset. The list of functions ends in a blaze of glory with a precision sky chart of the northern hemisphere, as one rarely sees it.

This exceptional mechanical watch bearing the Hallmark of Geneva has a setting to match. The Vladimir’s case is itself a work of art, epitomising the legendary expertise and nimble fingers of Atelier Cabinotiers’ artistic craftsmen.

On the sides of this unique and imposing piece, which is 47 mm in diameter, the signs of the Chinese zodiac appear in bas-relief. The motifs and the bas-relief technique (which is extremely rare in watchmaking) used here were both done by request of the owner.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Vladimir Watch

Before getting to the heart of the matter with regard to the subject and materials, the designers showed the purchaser many sketches. The decision was then made to depict the signs of the zodiac on both sides of the case, which itself is made of 18-carat pink gold.

In the end, the twelve figures – from the dragon through the rabbit and the rooster to the snake – were made to stand out slightly from the main body of 18-carat pink gold. It was a colossal task for the engravers – the twelve figures alone took more than six months – and required that a very special case first had to be made with extra-thick sides, from which the superfluous material was removed, carving roughly at first and then in very fine detail.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Vladimir Watch

As with every other timepiece from Vacheron Constantin’s workshop, the case was then polished very subtly, a task made all the more difficult by the fact that it absolutely must not destroy the engraver’s incredible work on the bas-reliefs.

In order to meet the challenge and create this extremely complex and unique timepiece, Atelier Cabinotiers called on more than 20 experts and craftsmen. It was a Herculean effort for a watch that deserves to join the legendary ranks of exceptional watchmaking.

Technical details

Model: Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Vladimir Watch
Reference: 80253/000R-9593

Movement
Calibre: 2750, Stamped with the Hallmark of Geneva
Energy Mechanical, manual-winding
Movement diameter: 36.00 mm
Movement thickness: 11.25 mm
Jewels: 38
Frequency: 18’000 Vibrations / hour (2.5 Hz)
Power reserve: Approx. 58 hours

Indications
Hours, minutes, second on tourbillon
Minute repeater
Perpetual Calendar
Power reserve
Second time zone
Moon phase indication, age of the moon
Striking-mechanism torque
Perpetual time equation
Sunrise, sunset
Celestial map
Week number indication

Case
18K 5N pink gold
47.00 mm in diameter
Convex sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on one side
Manual engraving of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs on the side of the case
Water-Resistance: None

Dial
18K white gold
Hand-guilloched
Minute-track painted in white
8 applied hour markers in 18K pink gold

Strap
Brown Mississipiensis alligator leather, square scales, hand-stitched, saddle finish

Clasp
Buckle in 18K 5N pink gold
Polished half Maltese Cross

Unique piece
Case-back engraved with “Les Cabinotiers” identification and “AC” Hallmark

Patek Philippe Grand Complication Ref. 5216 in Rose Gold

Following the tradition of its greatest grand complications, Patek Philippe introduces Ref. 5216, a new Grand Complication featuring minute repeater, tourbillon, perpetual calendar, retrograde date, and moon phases.

Its famous predecessors are Ref. 5016 (1993), the Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 5002 and the Ref 5207, first presented in 2008.

This year, Ref. 5216 is making its debut along with another grand complication model Ref. 5208, a brand new triple complication watch.

Patek Philippe Grand Complication Ref. 5216 in Rose Gold

This timepiece is powered with the legendary caliber R TO 27 PS QR LU movement with the five most popular complications in a perceptibly larger case that encloses a more voluminous resonant cavity to enhance the sonority of the chimes. Ref. 5216 is considered as the fourth most complicated wristwatch created by Patek Philippe.

Patek Philippe has been crafting pocket watches with repeater mechanisms since 1844. And in 1916, the workshops built the world’s first wristwatch (for ladies, by the way) with a five-minute repeater. Hardly any other manufacture has accrued so much experience in dealing with the special challenges of these unusual instruments for such a long and uninterrupted period of time.

It takes many skills to craft a repeater mechanism with its filigreed racks, snails and springs and to assure that its sequence of strikes corresponds to the time displayed by the watch. The eloquence of the sound is an important aspect as well. The rule is: “volume sounds.”

Patek Philippe Grand Complication Ref. 5216 in Rose Gold

The case diameter of the new Ref. 5216 is 39.5 mm, tangibly larger than the 36.8 mm span of its predecessor, the Ref. 5016. In a micromechanical cosmos where watchmakers navigate hundredths of a millimeter when assembling the individual mechanisms, a gain of 2.7 mm represents a totally new dimension. And that’s exactly how the new Grand Complication sounds.

As soon as the slide in the left-hand flank of the case is actuated, the minute repeater starts playing a melody that translates the time displayed on the dial into sound – to the ears of the connoisseur, it is music of exceptionally rich sonority and fullness.

First, it strikes the hours on the low-pitched gong, then the quarter-hours with double high-low notes, and finally the minutes that have elapsed since the last quarter-hour on the high-pitched gong. The highlight is at 12:59 when 32 consecutive strikes tell the time. To verify the perfection of its acoustic spectrum, each Ref. 5216 is tested in a soundproofed chamber equipped with modern instrumentation and digital sound analyzers.

Finally, every watch is brought to the desks of the manufacture’s president Thierry Stern and honorary president Philippe Stern who devote their undivided attention to the chimes of the minute repeaters and then decide whether or not they live up to the strict criteria of the human ear. Patek Philippe minute repeaters owe their inimitable acoustic signature to this very personal appraisal.

Patek Philippe Grand Complication Ref. 5216 in Rose Gold

The mellow sonority of the Ref. 5216 will enchant lovers of complicated mechanical watches, but they will also recognize that the accuracy of this timepiece represents another dimension as well. This is due to the tourbillon, which in vertical orientations of the watch offsets the disruptive effects of gravity on the balance by rotating it about its own axis once a minute. Its cage is a dainty ensemble of 69 steel parts that together weigh a scant 0.3 grams.

Because the sole purpose of the tourbillon is to safeguard the rate accuracy of the watch and for this reason must remain amply lubricated at all times, Patek Philippe respects horological traditions and does not expose it through an aperture in the dial. The UV spectrum of daylight would degrade the quality of the oil within just a few days. However, the tourbillon can be admired through the sapphire-crystal case back which is rarely exposed to sunlight.

Patek Philippe Grand Complication Ref. 5216 in Rose Gold

The reward for this discretion is a degree of rate accuracy that pursuant to the criteria of the Patek Philippe Seal for tourbillon movements tolerates a maximum deviation of -2 to +1 seconds per day. Accordingly, it can take months to adjust a watch to match the specification, but once accomplished, this is confirmed with a separate rate accuracy certificate delivered with each Ref. 5216.

To make matters even more complicated, the new Ref. 5216 is endowed with a perpetual calendar that automatically indicates the correct date, day, month, and leap-year cycle until 2100, provided the watch always remains wound. The day, month, and leap-year cycle are displayed in small apertures, while the retrograde date is indicated with a hand that advances along a 250° arc from the first to the last day of the month, and then jumps back to the first day of the next month.

This mechanism incorporates a safety feature which assures that the hand cannot bounce forward to the second or third day when it performs this reverse jump. All things considered, details such as this safety feature of the retrograde date are among the factors that determine reliability and long-term rate accuracy – hallmarks of genuine expertise –, even in Grand Complication timepieces.

Patek Philippe Grand Complication Ref. 5216 in Rose Gold

The moon-phase display that shows the constantly changing face of our planet’s satellite also deserves a few explanatory words. Its choreography is fetching not merely because of the poetic aspects, but also because of the extreme precision involved. Only when 122 years and 45 days have elapsed will this moon-phase mechanism deviate from the true lunar cycle by one day, which is equivalent to one full lunation every 3420 years.

However, the new Patek Philippe Grand Complication Ref. 5216 also has its simple facets: operation and legibility. From the outside, nothing much reveals the extreme degrees of difficulty embodied on the inside. The rose gold case is sleek and round, and only the slide that triggers the minute repeater deviates slightly from the classic Calatrava style.

A large, comfortably fluted crown simplifies winding, and small push pieces are recessed in the case middle for adjusting the calendar indications. They are actuated with a stylus made of ebony and rose gold that is delivered with the watch.

Patek Philippe Grand Complication Ref. 5216 in Rose Gold

Thanks to the intelligently organized dial, the eight time and calendar indications are superbly legible. The hours and minutes are shown with faceted Dauphine hands and applied markers, the seconds with a slender baton hand at 6 o’clock. The calendar features generously sized aperture displays for the day of the week (9 o’clock), the month (3 o’clock) and the leap-year cycle (12 o’clock) as well as a retrograde hand from the center that points at the date with its red arrow tip.

The moon-phase display at 6 o’clock is not only endearingly poetic but also contributes to the perfect equilibrium of the entire dial.

On the dial, only a small inscription suggests the presence of a tourbillon, but its perpetually enchanting progression can always be admired through the sapphire-crystal case back. Owners who prefer an extra degree of discretion can have it replaced with a solid rose-gold back that comes with the watch.

Thus, one of the world’s most complicated wristwatches is distinctively understated in its appearance; its decidedly classic style is underscored by the hand-stitched alligator strap.

Patek Philippe Grand Complication Ref. 5216 in Rose Gold

Thanks to its ingenious design, the 18K gold foldover clasp is both comfortingly secure and amazingly simple to open and close.

Technical details

Model: Patek Philippe Grand Complication Ref. 5216 in Rose Gold
Minute repeater, tourbillon, perpetual calendar with retrograde date, moon phases

Movement
– Caliber R TO 27 PS QR LU
– Manually wound mechanical movement, minute repeater, tourbillion, perpetual calendar with flyback date hand. Day of week, month, leapyear cycle and moon phases in apertures. Subsidiary seconds.
– Overall diameter: 28 mm
– Height: 8.6 mm
– Number of parts: 506
– Number of jewels: 28
– Power reserve: Max. 48 hours
– Balance: Gyromax®
– Frequency: 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour (3 Hz)
– Tourbillon: Steel cage, 69 parts, 0.3 grams
– 1 revolution per minute
– Tourbillon on the same arbor as balance and fourth wheel
– Balance spring: Breguet
– Balance spring stud: Adjustable

Functions
Two-position crown
– Pulled out: To set the time
– Pushed in: To wind the watch

Hallmark
Patek Philippe Seal
Patek Philippe rate certificate for tourbillon watches

Displays
– Hours and minutes from the center
– Retrograde date with a red-tipped arrow flyback hand from the center and date scale on an arc from 8 to 4 o’clock
Subsidiary dials:
– Subsidiary seconds at 6 o’clock
Apertures:
– Day of week at 9 o’clock
– Month at 3 o’clock
– Moon phase at 6 o’clock
– Leap-year cycle at 12 o’clock
Corrector push pieces: – Date and day between 11 and 12 o’clock
– Month and leap year between 3 and 4 o’clock
– Moon phase between 5 and 6 o’clock
– Day between 6 and 7 o’clock

Delivered with correction stylus in ebony and 18K rose gold
Minute repeater striking the hours on the first gong, the minutes on the second gong, and the quarter-hours on both gongs.

Case
– 18K rose gold (5N), solid back in 18K rose gold and interchangeable display back with sapphire-crystal window, diamond of approx. 0.02 ct. between the lugs at 6 o’clock
– Dimensions: Diameter 39.5 mm
– Height: 12.23 mm
– Width between lugs: 21 mm
– Slide: On the left side of the case to actuate the minute repeater

Dial
– Silvery opalescent
– 13 applied “obus” markers in 18K rose gold
– Dauphine hands in 18K rose gold for hours and minutes
– Date scale on an arc between 8 and 4 o’clock in the center of the dial with black – Arabic numerals from 1 to 31 and a red-tipped arrow hand
– Minute pearls on the dial periphery

Strap
Alligator leather with square scales, hand-stitched, shiny chocolate brown, foldover clasp in 18K rose gold

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle “Calibre 2755” in Platinum

Vacheron Constantin presents Patrimony Traditionnelle “Calibre 2755” in Platinum, a new high complication watch from its Collection Excellence Platine series.

The Patrimony Traditionnelle “Calibre 2755” belongs to the super-complication category as a worthy heir of Vacheron Constantin’s 250th anniversary masterpiece and as the ultimate demonstration of its unequalled skills.

In fact, this incomparable timepiece harbours three of the most sophisticated complications in the universe of high-class watchmaking: the tourbillon, the perpetual calendar and the minute-repeater. Such a revelation of the quintessence of the watchmaker’s art provides the most accomplished expression of that art and its three score of associated crafts that are in daily practice at Vacheron Constantin.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle “Calibre 2755” in Platinum

As the descendant of the Tour de l’Ile watch, the exceptional and much noticed flagship watch of the brand’s 250th anniversary in 2005, the Patrimony Traditionnelle “Calibre 2755”, took three years of development and thousands of hours of work to get right.

It is the most complicated model in Vacheron Constantin’s current catalogue. Its movement consists of no fewer than 602 parts fitted into a diameter of 33.30 mm only 7.90 mm high. This feat of true prowess also delivers more than 55 hours of running time, indicated through the sapphire-crystal caseback.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle “Calibre 2755” in Platinum

Among its three complications, the minute-repeater is undoubtedly the one handled in the most original way, as if yet another demonstration that Vacheron Constantin remains one of the world’s most inventive manufacturers were strictly necessary.

Caught between the desire to extend the frontiers of technical possibility and concern over the practical use of this multi-complication timepiece, Vacheron Constantin’s engineers and watchmakers came up with an original device to regulate the repeater’s chiming rate: a centripetal governor.

The role of this device is to steady the rate at which the hammers strike the gongs of a chiming watch to repeat the hours, quarters and minutes in a series of notes. Without a regulator, the spring-driven strike would come out in a rush of indiscernible notes.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle “Calibre 2755” in Platinum

The device developed by Vacheron Constantin goes further than the more traditional strike regulator – a noisy recoil escapement with a lever that is subject to wear.

During the development of the movement for the Tour de l’Ile anniversary watch of 2005, Vacheron Constantin’s engineers and watchmakers sought to replace the strike’s escapement governor with a totally silent system that would reduce wear.

A centrifugal governor existed, essentially a flywheel with a pair of weights that moved away from the centre as it spun to slow the wheel by increasing its inertia. Nevertheless, true to the tradition of a brand whose motto recalls that it is always possible to do better, Vacheron Constantin’s watchmakers preferred to steer their choice towards a centripetal strike governor.

This device has two weights shaped so as to act as a brake on the governor’s rotating shaft, thus evening-out the energy released by the repeater’s spring. To achieve this, it uses the opposite centrifugal and centripetal forces.

When the governor spins, the centrifugal force pivots one end of the weights outwards so that the other end acts as a brake on the central shaft to bring the rotation and the strike to a steady rate. This original and undoubtedly unique device is quite silent. The enthusiast can satisfy his curiosity while marvelling at the spinning governor through the sapphire-crystal caseback.

Patrimony Traditionnelle Calibre 2755

In addition to its minute-repeater, the Patrimony Traditionnelle “Calibre 2755” features a tourbillon, which, apart from its function of equalizing the effects of gravity on different positions of the balance, offers the visual attraction of an exposed mechanism that allows the beating heart of the watch to be observed. The perpetual calendar, which holds the future in its mechanical memory, tracks the meanderings of the Gregorian calendar without intervention apart from resetting the date every 400 years.

Vacheron Constantin not only entirely developed the Calibre 2755; it was also manufactured in its workshops, apart from standard parts. Each component is made with a margin so that the specialists who assemble and adjust them can remove material to introduce the right amount of shake.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle Calibre 2755 in Platinum

This procedure, which is in perfect keeping with the tenets governing the design and manufacture of the great horological complications, ensures the best possible performance and makes each movement unique. Once assembled, the Calibre 2755 beats at a frequency of 18,000 vibrations an hour and has a power reserve of about 55 hours.

The level of its finish can be appreciated in the painstakingly chamfered edges of the bridge plates adorned with Côtes de Genève, the circular graining on the baseplate and the rounding-off of the tourbillon bridge. The high-status Hallmark of Geneva on the movement denotes its compliance with the twelve requirements of this independent and legally sanctioned label of workmanship, provenance, accuracy, durability and watchmaking proficiency.

This amazing calibre is fitted in a generously proportioned platinum case, 44 mm in diameter and designed to achieve the most remarkable quality of sound from the minute-repeater. The optimal tuning of the strike is made possible by the ingenious use of the blocks to which the chimes are attached.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle “Calibre 2755” in Platinum

The rest of the exterior has also benefited from multiple refinements: dials available in silvered or slate finishes, and the folding clasp in 950 platinum with a half Maltese Cross. Noteworthy also is that the dial is shifted slightly off-centre to better display the tourbillon carriage.

Minute-repeater, tourbillon, perpetual calendar: bringing the three major complications together in a single timepiece remains a rare exercise in style and mastery. Its complexity severely limits the number of Patrimony Traditionnelle “Calibre 2755” platinum watches that can be produced.

Technical details

Model: Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle “Calibre 2755” in Platinum

Movement
Calibre 2755, developed and crafted by Vacheron Constantin
Stamped with the Hallmark of Geneva
Energy: Mechanical, manual-winding
Movement thickness: 7.90 mm
Movement diameter: 33.30 mm
Jewels: 40 jewels
Frequency: 18,000 vibrations/hour
Power reserve: More than 55 hours

Indications
Minute repeater; Tourbillon
Hours, minutes, seconds on tourbillon
Perpetual calendar
Power reserve on the caseback

Case
950 platinum
Diameter: 44 mm
Convex sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on one side
Open-worked back secured with screws, sapphire crystal
Water-resistance: None

Dial
Silvered or dark grey opaline
Finely snailed counters with diamond-polished fillets
Black or white painted minute-track

Strap
Dark blue or black, hand-stitched alligator leather
Clasp: 950 platinum folding clasp; Polished half Maltese Cross

Patrimony Traditionnelle Collection Excellence Platine Edition 2010

Platinum, at the top of the hierarchy of precious metals, denotes the highest prestige in fine watchmaking. Extremely rare, it can be used to protect only watch movements of the most elaborate complexity. Vacheron Constantin thus gives full honour to this most precious of metals by choosing it to encase the very complicated movements of three models introduced in 2010.

The Patrimony Traditionnelle “Calibre 2253” model in the Collection Excellence Platine is an outstanding timepiece and chief among the Grand Complication models presented by Vacheron Constantin at the SIHH 2010. In addition to the tourbillon escapement, it includes such astronomical complications as the perpetual calendar, the times of sunrise and sunset and the equation of time. Furthermore it has an exceptional running time of 14 days. Only 10 numbered pieces will be produced in this limited edition.

The Patrimony Traditionnelle “Calibre 2755” watch in platinum concentrates the major complications in which Vacheron Constantin excels both technically and stylistically. It combines the tourbillon and the perpetual calendar with a minute-repeater that features an original and completely silent mechanism to pace the strike.

The third model, also in platinum, is the Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph Perpetual Calendar “Calibre 1141QP”, which embodies the Vacheron Constantin convention in styling. It brings together a chronograph and a perpetual calendar driven by a highly regarded hand-wound movement. The Calibre 1141 is an exceptional design that has been used in some of the best chronographs. Experts consider it a model of highly complex chronograph construction.

The Collection Excellence Platine

Platinum’s rarity, purity and incorruptibility qualify it as supreme among symbols of excellence. Vacheron Constantin started working with platinum in the early 19th century to offer its clients pieces in the most valuable of all metals.

While 18-carat gold contains 75% of the pure metal, platinum is 95% pure. Platinum is also 30 times scarcer than gold and there are very few deposits. Its hardness and density make it more resistant than any other metal and thus the best choice for an everlasting object.

A scratch in platinum displaces rather than removes material, avoiding the loss through wear and tear of a softer metal. Platinum’s ability to retain its full weight and value has made it popular as a token of eternity. Platinum has other remarkable features: it is malleable and very ductile. A gram of the metal can be drawn into a thread almost two kilometers long.

To herald the start of another quarter millennium in 2006, the Manufacture Vacheron Constantin, in tribute to the most extraordinary and aristocratic of precious metals, decided that all platinum watches would henceforth be initially produced in limited editions of never more than 150 pieces.

Their availability would be reserved for collectors and connoisseurs. The Collection Excellence Platine was thus born. In addition to a platinum caseband, each watch in the collection has a rare watchmaking feature that distinguishes it from other watches in this metal. These might include a clasp, a winding crown or hands in platinum, as well as a brushed platinum dial, discreetly hallmarked “PT950”.

Attention to detail is taken to the extreme of using platinum thread entwined with silk to sew the dark blue alligator straps fitted to these watches.

Long reserved for royalty, platinum conveys unrivalled distinction, attracting both arbiters of taste and well-informed collectors. Such owners of Vacheron Constantin timepieces in platinum know that they belong to a most exclusive club.

Patrimony Traditionnelle Collection

In the world of Vacheron Constantin, the Patrimony collection best expresses the manufacturing company’s genetic makeup – the inher-itance of skills painstakingly acquired since its inception. Their round cases span the past and the future as an eternal design of natural elegance that needs no adornment, for the simple beauty of time-honored workmanship is sufficient to denote Swiss watchmaking of the highest order.

The Patrimony Traditionnelle collection remains true to the artistry apparent in some of Vacheron Constantin’s finest historical work. Beyond the studied restraint of the styling, the collection symbolizes certain values shared by those who treasure fine horology.

Those who know something about watches will appreciate the finer points of the company’s “special reserve” watchmaking: the thin bezel, the knurled surround of the screw-held caseback with its sapphire-crystal window, the perfectly ground trapezoid marking each hour – with a pair for the 6 and the 12 – and the faceted Dauphine hands on silvery dials of varied hues.

The case, with welded lugs, has a stepped profile bisected by a cleanly drawn caseband. The artistic heritage of the Patrimony Traditionnelle collection, expressed in today’s terms, serves as a reminder that tradition and modernity coexist as a matter of course at Vacheron Constantin.

Such established artistic parameters can be readily applied across the range of watches in the Patrimony Traditionnelle collection, from a self-winding wristwatch confined to the hours, minutes and seconds, to a minute-repeating tourbillon watch with a perpetual calendar. Extending from straightforward to extremely involved mechanisms, the collection proclaims Vacheron Constantin’s spirit of invention and pays tribute to two-and-a-half centuries of history.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5002 Sky Moon Tourbillon

Presented in 2001, the Ref. 5002 Sky Moon Tourbillon is the most complicated wristwatch in the current Patek Philippe collection.

The double-face timepiece is endowed with the rarest complications (12 complications and 686 parts). Among other indications, it displays mean solar time and has a perpetual retrograde calendar on the front side.  Sidereal time and astronomical functions are shown on the case back side.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5002 Sky Moon Tourbillon watch

The Sky Moon Tourbillon has two fascinating faces -one towards the dial showing mean solar time and a perpetual date, and the other on the base with a map of the night sky, the angular movement of the moon, the moon phases and sidereal time.

It incorporates 12 complications. The mechanical module for the astronomical indications on the sky-side dial has been awarded a Swiss patent.

Technical details

Model: Patek Philippe Ref. 5002 Sky Moon Tourbillon

Movement
Mechanical, hand-wound, containing 686 hand-finished and hand-assembled components

Functions
Hours, minutes, seconds, perpetual calendar with retrograde date, day, month, leap-year cycle, age of the moon, minute-repeater, tourbillon, celestial map, sidereal time, angular movement of moon, and moon phases COSC-certified chronometer, poinçon de Genève

Case
Reversible
750 (18K) yellow gold or platinum
Sapphire crystals

Dial
Front: gold with opalescent silvered coating “Leaf” hands in blued steel and “pear” hands in gold and steel
Back: Sky background represented by a disk of sapphire crystal and “Pear” hands painted white

Bracelet/Strap
Crocodile leather

Patek Philippe Ref. 5207, Platinum Case – Grand Complication with Minute Repeater, Instantaneous Perpetual Calendar in Apertures and Tourbillon

Presented at Basel world 2008 in the category “Exceptional Watches”, the Ref. 5207 Grand Complication watch from Patek Philippe incorporates minute repeater, instantaneous perpetual calendar and tourbillon complications.

This timepiece elevates the perpetual calendar to a new level of technical ingenuity. Its instantaneous perpetual calendar with aperture displays for the day, date, month, and leap-year cycle. Additionally, the Ref. 5207 features a moon phase display and a day/night indication.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5207, Platinum Case - Grand Complication with Minute Repeater, Instantaneous Perpetual Calendar in Apertures and Tourbillon

The most conspicuous facet of Patek Philippe’s new, highly complicated masterpiece is its understated look. At first sight, it projects the classically sleek, round form of a Calatrava with a balanced, easily legible dial. It takes a closer look to see the slide for the minute repeater, and the tourbillon, as always in Patek Philippe watches, is visible only through the case back.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5207, Platinum Case - Grand Complication with Minute Repeater, Instantaneous Perpetual Calendar in Apertures and Tourbillon

Instantaneous Perpetual calendar

This timepiece incorporates a spectacular arrangement of perpetual calendar functions on its dial to enable the minimalistic and clear display of indications.

While, all indications starting from day, date, month, day/night, moon-phase and leap year are always visible on the dial, one special function of the perpetual calendar mechanism, the instantaneous switching of all calendar displays, can only be seen at midnight. This extremely elaborate, additional complication comprises 212 components.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5207, Platinum Case - Grand Complication with Minute Repeater, Instantaneous Perpetual Calendar in Apertures and Tourbillon

Depending on the design of the mechanism, it takes mechanical calendar watches anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours to switch the displays. The greatest amount of energy is expended around midnight on February 28, when the date ring has to be moved forward by no fewer than four days to switch to the first of March.

It is precisely this problem that preoccupied Patek Philippe’s designers and master watchmakers for a long time. They spent five years developing a mechanism that could instantaneously and simultaneously switch the day, date, month, and leap-year aperture displays at midnight. The heart of their invention is a mechanism composed of levers and program cams for which two patent applications have been filed.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5207, Platinum Case - Grand Complication with Minute Repeater, Instantaneous Perpetual Calendar in Apertures and Tourbillon

The entire instantaneous perpetual calendar mechanism was designed as a module that can be integrated into an existing movement.

In the case of the new Ref. 5207, the host movement is the coveted caliber R TO 27 PS, which, together with the instantaneous perpetual calendar, becomes the caliber R TO 27 PS QI movement: R stands for répétition minutes (minute repeater), TO for tourbillon, 27 for a diameter of 27 mm, PS for petite seconde (seconds subdial) and QI for quantième perpétuel instantané (instantaneous perpetual calendar).

Patek Philippe Caliber R TO 27 PS QI

In the new caliber, a 425- millimeter long mainspring coiled up in a barrel with an inside diameter of 9.18 millimeters must reliably execute all functions of the watch for approximately 48 hours – including the simultaneous and instantaneous advance of all calendar indications at midnight.

One of the challenges in this particular instance is that switching does not involve advancing dainty, featherweight hands. In this watch, the displays are aperture types with disks that assure excellent legibility but whose mass is several orders of magnitude greater than that of hands.

Nonetheless, the specifications for the new instantaneous perpetual calendar stipulated that all displays must switch dependably, even with a residual power reserve of merely 2.5 hours. To address this difficult task, Patek Philippe developed a calendar mechanism for which two patent applications were filed (published European patent application No. EP 1734419 A1 and Swiss patent application No. 01080/07).

Patek Philippe Caliber R TO 27 PS QI

The first patent-pending innovation relates to the activation of the calendar indications with a large yoke. It is controlled by a four-toothed rack connected to a month lever that samples the annual program cam. This cam is connected to further switching cams via articulated arms, and controls the concurrent, instantaneous switching of the date, day, month, and leap-year disks.

These processes explain the complex shape of this large yoke. It consists of fifteen individual parts, some of which are movable. Annual programming relies on a months cam with a variable February planetary cam that changes its profile every four years.

Patek Philippe Caliber R TO 27 PS QI

The second patent application involves the daily tour de force of calendar switching. At the end of months with 31 days, the date ring only needs to be advanced by one day. If a month has 30 days, the 31st day on the date ring must be skipped. In leap years, the ring must skip two days when switching from February 29 to March 1.

And in normal years, the instantaneous advance motion must skip three days to jump from February 28 to March 1. This gradually increases the path and the angular deflection of the large yoke while narrowing the angle between the large yoke and the axis in which the driving spring acts, thus gradually weakening the spring’s resultant force.

This declining force cannot be offset simply by choosing a stronger spring in the first place because at the end of long months, this would increase the risk of the date ring bouncing forward to the 2nd or 3rd day of the month instead of stopping at the 1st.

Thus, the engineers had to find a solution for advancing the date ring with the same controlled force regardless of the number of days in any given month. Patek Philippe invented a system with two equally strong springs that act in different directions.

In long months, the large yoke is connected only to the first spring because of its steep angle. Its energy is sufficient to advance the date ring (and the other calendar displays) by one or two days in an instantaneous and controlled manner. But the more the yoke is deflected, the weaker the force of the first spring becomes.

When a certain angle is exceeded, the large yoke comes into contact with the second spring whose force vector deviates by about 45° from that of the first spring: the weaker the force exerted on the large yoke by the first spring, the stronger the effect of the second spring.

This assures that even at the end of February, the calendar displays are advanced with a controlled amount of energy. This is the second innovation for which a patent is pending(Swiss patent application No. 01080/07). am. At this time, the large yoke is completely quiescent, so the amplitude of the balance wheel remains unaffected by movements of the calendar mechanism.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5207, Platinum Case - Grand Complication with Minute Repeater, Instantaneous Perpetual Calendar in Apertures and Tourbillon

The Minute Repeater

Thanks to more than 160 years of experience, Patek Philippe has evolved the art of making exceptional minute repeater wristwatches to an unprecedented degree of perfection.

When the owner of a Ref. 5207 activates the slide and listens to the watch as it first counts the hours on a low-pitched gong, then indicates the quarter hours with double strikes on both gongs, and finally tallies the number of minutes that have elapsed since the last quarter on the high-pitched gong.

It took many years of research to develop the best steel alloy and optimize the shape and attachment of the gongs in cooperation with the internationally respected Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.

It may not be surprising that the manufacture’s president, Philippe Stern, repeatedly listens to the sound of each of these rare watches before deciding whether the exceptional masterpiece is ready for delivery or must return to the workshops for acoustic tweaking. The sound, which for Philippe Stern constitutes the acoustic signature of Patek Philippe, has been recorded and digitized in an anechoic chamber to preserve it as a reference for all time.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5207, Platinum Case - Grand Complication with Minute Repeater, Instantaneous Perpetual Calendar in Apertures and Tourbillon

The Tourbillon

The third highlight of the Patek Philippe Grand Complication Ref. 5207 is the tourbillon escapement that keeps the rate of the watch extremely steady even in vertical positions. It has a steel cage that rotates about its own axis once a minute. It consists of 69 individual parts and weighs a scant 0.3 grams. All steel parts are separately angled, satin-finished and ground or polished by hand.

Like all Patek Philippe wristwatches with tourbillons, the Ref. 5207 also comes with a certificate issued by Switzerland’s official chronometer testing agency, C.O.S.C. (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres).

After it has passed the C.O.S.C. tests, each chronometer is submitted to Philippe Stern who personally decides whether it deserves the inscription “Patek Philippe Tourbillon” or whether the entire procedure needs to be repeated. Since the in-house specifications at Patek Philippe are at least twice as demanding as those of the official testing agency, it is not uncommon for a movement to be precision adjusted a second time and then again sent to the C.O.S.C.

The serial number of the movement is mentioned on the agency’s certificate for positive identification purposes. The same serial number is also inscribed on the dial of the tourbillon wristwatch, but otherwise, nothing else suggests that the timepiece embodies this horological distinction.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5207, Platinum Case - Grand Complication with Minute Repeater, Instantaneous Perpetual Calendar in Apertures and Tourbillon

The tourbillon cage is lubricated with oil that can react to the ultraviolet radiation in sunlight and could age prematurely if exposed to it. For this reason, Patek Philippe deliberately does not display the tourbillon through the dial. However, the solid-platinum case back of the watch can be replaced with an included sapphire-crystal back.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5207, Platinum Case - Grand Complication with Minute Repeater, Instantaneous Perpetual Calendar in Apertures and Tourbillon

The 41-millimeter, classic Calatrava-style platinum case of the Ref. 5207 is made using the traditional cold-forming technique. It is crafted in-house with high-tonnage presses. Its flanks and the minute-repeater slide are hand-engraved, and like all Patek Philippe platinum cases, it features a discreetly set Top Wesselton diamond between the lugs at 6 o’clock.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5207, Platinum Case - Grand Complication with Minute Repeater, Instantaneous Perpetual Calendar in Apertures and Tourbillon

The “Honey Gold”-hued 18K gold dial beneath the slightly domed crystal reveals an unusual arrangement of displays for perpetual calendar functions. The apertures in mirror-polished frames show the day, date, and month along an arc between 10 and 2 o’clock. The date display with its mirror-polished white-gold frame is particularly prominent.

The seconds subdial at 6 o’clock has an aperture for the moon-phase display, a poetic yet highly precise indication that deviates from the true lunation by only one day in 122 years. To its left is a small aperture for the day/night indication. The aperture on the opposite side shows the leap-year cycle with Roman numerals I to IV.

The Ref. 5207 is among Patek Philippe’s most complicated wristwatches; only very few of these watches will be crafted each year. Because of this limited availability, the Ref. 5207 will be sold exclusively in the Patek Philippe Geneva Salons during the introductory phase.

Technical details

Model: Grand Complication Ref. 5207 in platinum with minute repeater, instantaneous perpetual calendar in apertures, tourbillon, and moon-phase display

Movement
Caliber R TO 27 PS QI
Manually wound mechanical movement, tourbillon, minute repeater, instantaneous perpetual calendar. Apertures for day of week, date, month, leap-year cycle, day/night indicator, moonphase display, and seconds subdial.
Overall diameter: 32 mm.
Height: 9.33 mm
Number of parts: 548
Number of jewels: 35
Power reserve: max. 48 hours
Balance: Gyromax
Frequency: 21,600 semi-oscillations/hour (3 Hz)
Tourbillon: Tourbillon cage in steel, 69 parts, 0.3 grams 1 rpm. Tourbillon on one axis with balance and fourth wheel
Balance spring: Breguet
Balance spring stud: Movable

Functions
 Two-position crown
– Pulled out: to set the time
– Pushed in: to wind the watch

Certification
Exclusive certificate issued jointly by the C.O.S.C (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) and the Geneva Seal. Hallmark: Geneva Seal

Displays
With hands: Center hours and minutes & Seconds at 6 o’clock

In apertures:
– Day of week between 10 and 11 o’clock in polished white-gold frame
– Date at 12 o’clock in a polished white-gold frame
– Month between 1 and 2 o’clock in a polished white-gold frame
– Moon phase at 6 o’clock
– Day/night indicator between 7 and 8 o’clock
– Leap year cycle between 4 and 5 o’clock

Corrector push pieces
– Day between 11 and 12 o’clock
– Date between 6 and 7 o’clock
– Month between 12 and 1 o’clock
– Moon phase between 5 and 6 o’clock

Setting
Stylus in ebony and white gold included. Minute repeater with small strike (hours) on the 1st gong, minutes on the 2nd gong, and quarter hours on both gongs.

Case
950 platinum, delivered with solid-platinum back and interchangeable sapphire-crystal back; diamond with approx. 0.02 ct. between the lugs at 6 o’clock
Dimensions: Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 16.25 mm
Width between lugs: 20 mm
Slide: In the side of the case to start the minute repeater

Dial
18K gold, Honey Gold hue (New exclusive Patek Philippe dial color)
11 hour markers in 18K white gold
Dauphine hands in 18K white gold for hours and minutes
Baton seconds hand with counterweight, 18K white gold
Minute scale on periphery of dial

Strap
Shiny brown alligator with rectangular scales, hand-stitched, 116- mm prong buckle in platinum