A host of exiting new luxury watches debuted yesterday at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie exhibition in Geneva, but one of the most sensational was the Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600. The brand’s most complicated watch to date—it boasts 23 individual functions and complexities—the two-sided, 18-karat white gold watch is one-of-a-kind.
The Story Behind the Watch
The one-of-a-kind, twin-dial timepiece took five years in all to complete, with two years spent solely on the design. Unlike the brand’s other watches, which tap several in-house experts to create and build a watch, a single master watchmaker constructed the 514-part mechanical manual-wind movement in the brand’s Les Cabinotiers bespoke division.
With 23 horological complications across both dials, the watch offers three different types of time indication—civil, solar, and sidereal—each made possible by its own dedicated gear train. Civil (or standard) time is displayed in a traditional manner on the front dial with a pair of white gold hands and matching white-gold hour and minute markers. Solar time, based on the visible trajectory of the sun, joins standard time on the main dial in the form of a pink gold hand adorned with a sun. Its path around the dial emulates a tropical year—the time it takes the earth to rotate around the sun (365.25 days). The sidereal (or celestial) time is an astronomical method of timekeeping (based on the earth’s rate of rotation measured with respect to the apparent motion of the ‘fixed’ stars)—indicated on the watch’s back dial via two superimposed sapphire discs (for which Vahceron Constanint has filed a patent) that display the constellations as seen from the Northern Hemisphere, and the celestial time in hours and minutes.
In conjunction with these three main time keeping mechanisms, the watch also displays an array of other functions, including the day, date, month, leap year, day/night indication, moon phase, age of the moon, time of sunrise, time of sunset, length of the day, length of the night, the seasons, solstices, equinoxes, and zodiacal signs, tide level, and sun-earth-moon conjunction, tourbillon, and power indication. This powerful, fully integrated caliber measures just 8.7 mm thick. Six barrels guarantee three full weeks of power reserve.
Price and Availability
Complex as it is, the watch is one in a million, which is no coincidence for its value: Though the watch brand isn't sharing the price of the timepiece, rumor has it the Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600 will go for $1 million, and will only be shown to select Vacheron Constantin collectors.
For more highly complex timepieces, read our reviews of the Christophe Claret Maestro, the Louis Moinet Memoris Red Eclipse, and the Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon.