By Jovan Krstevski

When it comes to the classics, nothing beats the striking minute repeater pocket watches. Now the question is, would it still be the same if you can convert a pocket watch to a wristwatch? A such a beautiful question with a very graceful answer too, here comes the Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860 by Vacheron Constantin introduced at the recent SIHH 2017. This watch is special in a sense that it is the first grande sonnerie wristwatch in the history of Vacheron Constantin. We usually see this as a pocket watch. As for me, I like the simplicity of this watch and with its smooth lines and graceful finish, you can be certain that you are wearing something unique.

Housing the grande sonnerie and petite sonnerie mechanisms in a wristwatch is not an easy task however with VC’s expertise that dates back as far as the 18th and 19th centuries, we can now enjoy these incredible mechanisms with the Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860.

The 45 mm white gold case of the Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860 looks utterly classic and clean. It has very neat engravings on its side of the letters PS, GS, and SIL pertaining to the selection of the three strike modes: grande sonnerie, petite sonnerie and silence. Its caseback is engraved “Pièce Unique”, adorned with finely engraved striations echoed by the knurled motif on the crown. The lugs are so nice with a widening tip at the mouth connecting the case band. Plus you’ll definitely play with the crown thanks to its knurled motif. The push piece at the center of the crown is cleverly put, efficiency at its best.

The opaline with circular-brushed or snailed finish dial of the Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860 seems boring at first, somewhat metallic which is quite nice, really. The combination of design elements pertains to the classical age when steel showcases mechanical wonders, this watch is a wonder itself, I like it. The baton type white gold hour markers and hands gets balanced by two black oxidized pointers. Then there is the small seconds sub-dial at 7 o’clock, its clarity is notable. As for the power reserve indicator at 5 o’clock well it is very subtle like a pie crust, now that’s no more discreet. We can also see the strikework power reserve at 2 o’clock indicated by a serpentine hand although I don’t see the need for the plus and negative signs but well, that’s unquestionable clarity, though.

Going forward, the heart of the watch is the new 3 Hz Calibre 1860. This is the answer for housing grande sonnerie, petite sonnerie and minute repeater mechanisms within the confined space of a wristwatch. It sports 37 mm by 9.1 mm thick dimensions, now that’s a long way from the pocket version. Considering that this movement has very delicate mechanisms for the chiming function, it packs incredible security designs. Basically, there are 727 parts that are meticulously decorated and assembled by hand and only one master watchmaker works on each watch that takes about 500 hours to complete. So to protect this timepiece VC implemented various security measures such as during time-setting no chime can be sounded at all or the striking mechanism is automatically deactivated once there is not enough power.

The watch comes with a black alligator strap secured by a white gold folding clasp. Also worth mentioning is that the case and dial can be customized by the cabinotiers as per client’s wishes. Finally, the watch is also delivered with the “Music of Time” resonance holder that amplifies the sound and the harmony of watch chimes and for good reason since the price point is available only by request. Considering the high grade of the watch, we’re talking about a million Swiss Francs at least. For more info, please visit vacheron-constantin.com

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