In fashion many people question the validity of haute couture year after year – is it really necessary to have dress creations made by hand in long weeks and months from truly rare and unique, which are then only worn by the most privileged? Everything in haute couture is created with extreme attention to detail and designs are often astoundingly creative. This is a completely different level of art, which requires the best of the best in design, sewing, embroidering and all other relating crafts.
Without doubt haute horlogerie is also an art form where Vacheron Constantin is heading for the peak. One of the exclusive services of Vacheron Constantin is the “Atelier Cabinotiers”. This department produces unique timepieces, entirely custom-made and created on an individual commission basis. “Our custom-made watches are surrounded by secrecy and confidentiality”- their manifesto states. It is an interesting contradiction that pieces created in secrecy are many times the ones that the house would gladly showcase to the public, but instead, they quietly end up in private collections…
Vacheron Constantin celebrated its 260 years of uninterrupted history on September 17, 2015. As part of this landmark event, the Maison unveiled a unique timepiece. The idea of the watch was conceived by a major collector who commissioned the “Atelier Cabinotiers” to produce it. The “Reference 57260” became a reality in 8 years thanks to 3 master watchmakers (Jean-Luc Perrin, Micke Pintus, Yannick Pintus).
In 1989 Patek Philippe created the Calibre 89 to celebrate the company’s 150th anniversary, with 33 complications. Four watches were made: one each in 18k white, yellow and rose gold, and one in platinum. In addition, a prototype is displayed in the Patek Philippe Museum.
The request of the aforementioned collector was to design and produce the most complicated portable watch in the world and therefore the timepiece had to possess more than 33 functions…
In addition to the technical innovations, patents and exceptional watchmaking know-how, Vacheron Constantin watches are widely known for the high aesthetic value they represent. This is no different in the 57260 either. The placement and visual manifestation of the 57 complications required great workmanship and an architectural approach but the 98mm (50.55 mm thick) white gold case and its two dials remained perfectly proportioned and elegant.
The 2,800 parts were all completely hand-decorated by one single Master Watchmaker, using traditional techniques such as bevelling, circular graining, applying “Côtes de Genève”, and more.
Complications include: 6 time measurement functions, 7 perpetual calendar functions, 8 Hebrew calendar functions, 9 astronomical calendar functions, 1 lunar calendar, 1 religious calendar function (the date of Yom Kippur), 4 3-column wheel chronograph functions, 7 alarm functions, 8 Westminster carillon striking functions and 6 other functions. See all the details of the complications here.
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