By Harlan Chapman-Green

SIHH is in full swing now, but before this all kicked off there was some turbulence in the air. This was particularly focused at Vacheron Constantin which, apart from the world’s most complicated watch, hasn’t really been up to much. One could argue that creating the world’s most complicated watch would tire anyone out, but let’s not forget that Vacheron Constantin has been around continuously since 1755, so I’m safe to say that they probably know what they’re doing.

Indeed they do, it seems, as the most interesting and unique watch of the entire show has come in the form of one of the most complex wristwatches ever made. Vacheron lifts the show’s crown from A.Lange & Söhne and it’s all thanks to the Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication watch, a wristwatch with no less than 23 complications. Of course, watches like these don’t just ping out of the walls even at Vacheron Constantin. It took a total of 5 years to develop this one of a kind watch. There are a total of 514 components inside this watch, a feat considering the amount of complications for the watch. Perhaps even more astounding is that it’s only 8.7mm thick. The Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication (can we just call it the 3600 please?) is powered by 6 barrels, allowing it to run for a total of 3 weeks.

Each of the complications is regulated by the tropical gear train, one that simulates the Earth’s elliptical orbit around the sun aka the tropical year. This is imperative for the complications on it which give all kinds of readings for each measure, here’s the full list:

  • Hours
  • Minutes
  • Perpetual Calendar
  • Day/Night indicator
  • Precise moonphase
  • Age of the moon
  • Equation of time
  • Sunrise and sunset
  • Length of the day/night
  • Seasons
  • Solstices
  • Equinoxes and zodiac times
  • Tide level indicator
  • Sun-Earth-Moon conjunction, opposition, and quadrature
  • Celestial chart of the northern hemisphere and Milky Way
  • Ecliptic and celestial equator
  • Celestial time hours and minutes
  • 3-week power reserve
  • Power reserve indication
  • Oh, and a tourbillon for good measure

Perhaps the most intriguing of these complications, at least for me, is the Mareoscope mounted at 11 O’clock. This bit shows the tide level and the Sun-Earth-Moon conjunction, opposition, and quadrature. It’s really cool to observe these complications on a wristwatch, they aren’t something I’ve ever seen before on a watch, it may even be a watch first.

And don’t bother asking about the price, you can’t afford it. Even if you could, they’ve probably all been claimed by now. For more info, please visit vacheron-constantin.com

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