A Bespoke Watch to Celebrate 260 Years
On September 17th, 2015, Vacheron Constantin will present their impressive super complicated pocket watch. The date is special to Vacheron as September 17th 1755, Jean-Marc Vacheron took on his first apprentice. Since 2007, Vacheron Constantin has offered watch connoisseurs the chance to commission a custom-made watch with their own tastes and designs. This special service is called Atelier Cabinotiers Special Order and is much more complicated than just adding an enameled dial or engraving.
Atelier Cabinotiers Special Order
Ever since 1755, Vacheron Constantin strives to produce custom built watches. There have been watches for Tsar Alexander II, Henry Graves Jr and James W. Packard, in addition to many other important people. The service today brings together watchmakers who “combine the highest standards of excellence with a spirit of dedication.” Their high standards turn dreams into a reality. The team includes master guillocheurs, enamellers, engravers, and gem-setters, in addition to some Vacheron Constantin designers and Research and Development department. A special company representative will also assist between the teams and the purchaser to make the communication process easier. The exclusive service creates entirely custom-made and created for individuals. Two complex watches produced by the Atelier Cabinotiers include the Philosophia and the Vladimir.
This complex watch was developed by it’s owner based on the idea that we don’t need to constantly know the exact time to the nearest minute. It features only one hand, the hour hand, with a 24-hour display along the outside of the ring. There is a custom built precision moon-phase indicator and the power reserve on the back features two constellations intertwined. The custom built piece features 522 parts which can be seen through the tourbillon and exhibition case back.
Just like the Philosophia, the Vladimir was named by it’s owner, who wanted one of the most complicated timepieces in the world. The watch boasts 17 complications and over 890 components that are all hand-finished and decorated. The watch took more than 20 experts and craftsmen to create all the complex and unique features. The Vladimir also took four years to develop and produce the final piece.
The Grande Oeuvre
Until the watches unveiling in September, this is the name of the complicated pocket watch, part of one of the most important collections in the world. Grande Oeuvre translates directly to “Great Work.” Just like the Patek Philippe Supercomplication, this watch has taken 8 years to develop, design and build. It was also developed and entirely manufactured in-house before being assembled by a team of three watchmakers. While much of the watch has not been released, there have been pieces of information released.
One important piece of information released about the Grande Oeuvre is that it features new complications designed and developed from scratch and a double dial. There will be a dual calendar mechanism showing off both the traditional Gregorian calendar and the International Organization of Standards ISO 8601 business calendar. The Gregorian calendar will show the traditional months and days while the ISO system shows the number of the week.
You’ll also find a seasonal calendar and astronomic scale featuring three rings. On the outermost ring you will find the months and the days. Next will show the zodiac constellation periods. The innermost ring shows the four seasons. Overlapping all three rings will have the Summer and Winter Solstice and Vernal and Autumnal Equinox marked for easy reference. Hidden flush with the crown is a flush-fit alarm winding button. There are also two different tones that can be chosen when setting the alarm, the Westminster chiming or a single-strike alarm. There will also be the option to set the chiming mechanism to activate the “Night-Time Silence” function, automatically engaging between 10pm and 8am as to not disturb the owner.
Most recently released, this complicated watch will show off a sunrise and sunset feature. The indicator will change the time of the sunrise and sunset throughout the year. The earliest sunrise is at 4am with the latest just before 8am. Sunset also will adjust accordingly between 4pm and around 7:30pm. Each section will have the length of the day or night. Using the image they released, if sunrise is at 4:30am and sunset is at 7:30pm, the length of the day is 15 hours. Sunset to sunrise will then give a night time length of 9 hours, totaling an exact 24-hour period.
While there is not much else known about the watch, you won’t have to wait too much longer to get all the details. The watch debuts on September 17th, 2015, marking the 260th year of uninterrupted watchmaking by Vacheron Constantin. The watch is being called “one of the greatest man-made objects in the world.” There has been much speculation about where the owner lives and who it could be. Follow the buzz surrounding the watch on Vacheron Constantin’s forum, The Hour Lounge, and keep an eye out for posts made by Alex Ghotbi, the forum moderator.