“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” – Confucius

Vacheron Constantin – SIHH 2017

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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 create it. The “Reference 57260” with 57 complications became a reality over the course of 8 years thanks to 3 master watchmakers. Discover more about this creation here.

Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600

Following the exact footsteps of this exceptional piece, at SIHH 2017 Vacheron Constantin presented the Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600, with 23 complications displayed on twin dials. It has solar functions, perpetual calendar, moon phase, mareoscope complications (which includes the tide level indicator), celestial chart and other functions such as the tourbillon.

The “architecture” and the visual manifestation of the 23 complications on a wristwatch required outstanding technical knowledge, experience and great workmanship. It took five years of development and a master watchmaker, dedicated solely to this project.
The result is a “pièce unique” in a white gold case (45 mm diameter, 13.6 mm thickness). The Calibre 3600 developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin, comprising 514-parts while measuring just 8.7 mm thickness is inside the timepiece. Despite the superior number of complications, the case and its two dials remained perfectly proportioned and elegant.


Métiers d’Art Copernicus celestial spheres 2460 RT collection

Vacheron Constantin is not only the master of “haute horlogerie” but also a champion of artistic skills. The Métiers d’Art collection includes highly decorative timepieces. ”These are truly works of art that demonstrate the talent and outstanding expertise of the company’s master craftsmen over the generations” – as the company sums up the line.

This SIHH the Métiers d’Art Copernicus celestial spheres 2460 RT collection was presented, paying tribute to heliocentrism.

What does our Solar System really look like? This is a question that has challenged mankind for centuries. One of the most influential Greek astronomers, mathematicians, and geographers of his time, Claudius Ptolemy (ca. AD 100 – 170) was famous for his geocentric theory, the model of the Earth-centred solar system. According to him the Earth was the centre of not only the solar system, but the entire universe. The centuries after him did not favour the development of astronomy. But in the early 16th century the observations of Copernicus observations revolutionized our thinking of the world. Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543) was a Renaissance mathematician and astronomer and is today known for the Sun-centred (or heliocentrist) model of the universe. This theory declares that the Earth and other planets revolve around the Sun which is at the centre of the Solar System.

The three boutique-exclusive models have a 43mm white gold case as a “base” for the artistic creations, with dials are inspired by the works of Andreas Cellarius. He was a Dutch-German cartographer (1596 – 1665), famous for his beautifully illustrated atlas, the “Harmonia Macrocosmic”. The main motif is the same on all the three versions: an oval centre with a hand-engraved pink gold Sun and tiny ellipse with the slightly domed Earth.


Dial with hand-engraving

The first dial looks slightly monochromic – the white gold is painstakingly engraved with the motifs of the 12 zodiac signs. The muscles, hair and other details of the figures are extremely detailed.
The Sun, the continents and the peripheral hands (for the hours and minutes indication) are in pink gold, making a nice contrast with the shades of the white gold.

Dial with enamel decorations

Various enamel techniques have been in the repertoire of the Maison since centuries. (See a few beautiful historical examples here.). The second model presents these different methods. The tiny Earth (6,8mm in diameter) is in champlevé Grand Feu enamel. Applying the already difficult technique on such a miniature requires exceptional skills. The base around the Sun is enamelled in white and beige colours with dainty illustrations of the planets. The outer circle is decorated with the zodiac signs in polychrome enamel (enamels with many colours).

Dial with engraved sapphire crystal

The third dial is a very interesting combination of hand-engraving and laser engraving: the Sun and the Earth are made by hand, while the constellations are laser-engraved and then highlighted with Super-Luminova®. The blue base and the sky charts are hand-painted. These different techniques enhance the cloud-like 3D effect of the dial.


Photo credits: Vacheron Constantin, Loupiosity.com.
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