Vacheron Constantin presents the Les Cabinotiers minute repeater tourbillon sky chart Leo constellation Jewellery watch, a single-piece edition adding an artistic dimension to the technical prowess of its Calibre 2755 TMRCC. The Manufacture’s craftsmen, gemsetters and guilloché specialists have adorned an extraordinarily complex timepiece with a creative and original evocation of the Leo constellation. This new model, presented at Watches & Wonders 2021, is part of the theme of the Maison for 2021 : entitled Classic with a Twist, it highlights Vacheron Constantin’s creative energy, guided by an identity that celebrates a heritage and dares to deliver the unexpected.
- A single-piece edition combining technical challenges with masterful craftsmanship to highlight the Leo constellation
- Three major horological complications integrated within Calibre 2755 TMRCC: a tourbillon, a minute repeater and a rotating sky chart
- A hand-engraved guilloché dial depicting the Leo constellation, whose stars are set with brilliant-cut diamonds.
- An 18K white gold case set with 100 baguette-cut sapphires on the bezel, lugs and crown
Early astronomers’ observations led them to recognise animal forms in the configuration of the constellations, including that of a lion. Vacheron Constantin‘s artisan drew inspiration from this to highlight the astronomical complication of this single-piece edition Les Cabinotiers watch. Hand-guilloché and set with diamonds forming the Leo constellation, the noble creature stands majestically on the dial, framed by a case set with baguette-cut sapphires. This artistic and artisanal interpretation adds an artistic dimension to the technical prowess of Calibre 2755 TMRCC, which combines a tourbillon regulating device, a minute repeater in the grand tradition of the Maison’s striking watches, as well as a rotating sky chart. The watch flaunts its elegance in an 18K white gold case measuring 45 mm in diameter and barely 15.1 mm thick, fitted with a dark blue alligator strap secured by a gemset gold buckle.
Spotlight on artistic crafts
Already accentuated by the presence of a tourbillon, the complexity of the Les Cabinotiers minute repeater tourbillon sky chart Leo constellation Jewellery watch is further heightened by the mobile representation of the sky chart on the back of the watch. This vision of the constellations inspired the motif adorning the guilloché opaline dark blue dial, itself enhanced by the sparkling case adorned with 100 baguette-cut sapphires bezel-set on the lugs, crown and bezel.
The Leo constellation is staged to great effect on the dial. A masterpiece of hand guilloché craftsmanship created in the Vacheron Constantin workshops, the feline’s silhouette is composed of a multitude of triangles bearing their own motifs.
Since the rose engines operated by skilled artisans with an artist’s touch are designed to engrave decorative elements that are generally circular and geometric, it is easy to grasp the difficulties implied by depicting a lion in the form of a combination of polygons whose linear engravings provide striking depth effects. The stars composing the constellation are represented by brilliant-cut diamonds adorning the great cat’s tawny coat.
An exceptional movement, Calibre 2755 TMRCC
The 413-component Calibre 2755 TMRCC of the Les Cabinotiers minute repeater tourbillon sky chart Leo constellation Jewellery watch combines three horological complications in the technical, astronomical and musical categories.
This manual-winding movement with a 58-hour power reserve is equipped with a one-minute tourbillon bearing the small seconds hand. Invented at the beginning of the 19th century, this device – which incorporates the escapement as well as the balance-and-spring assembly within a mobile carriage – is designed to compensate for the effects of the Earth’s gravity on the regulator’s isochronism, thereby enhancing its precision. This tourbillon is distinguished by its carriage shaped like a Maltese cross – Vacheron Constantin’s signature emblem since 1880 – and featuring a bar on which the delicate finishing operations involving manual chamfering and polishing require a full 36 hours of work.
Displayed through the back of the watch on a concave dial designed to accentuate the depth effect, the sky chart offers a striking view of the Milky Way and the constellations that appear in real time, as if through a telescope. For the sake of accuracy, this sky chart performs a complete rotation in one sidereal day. Taking a fixed star in the sky as a reference point, the time required by the Earth to complete a full 360° rotation, or sidereal day, is exactly 23 h 56 min 4 s. Since the Earth rotates both within itself and around the Sun, it takes about four minutes less than on a calendar day to find its point of origin in relation to the given star.
This sidereal time can be read off counter-clockwise on the 24-hour circle, graduated in 10-minute increments, opposite the current date appearing on a rotating disc with a five by five-day scale. This display is essential for correctly adjusting the sky chart moving beneath the sapphire crystal. The sapphire crystal also bears an off-centred ellipse serving to highlight the exact position of the constellations in the Northern hemisphere at the moment the watch is consulted.
The watch is also equipped with a minute repeater enabling the hours, quarters and minutes to be chimed on demand. To create this particularly complex striking mechanism, controlled by a slide-piece housed in the case middle, Vacheron Constantin’s engineers and watchmakers were inspired by the work carried out on the 2005 La Tour de l’Île watch, and in particular its centripetal strike governor. This silent system makes it possible to perfectly regulate the duration of musical sequences in order to obtain a distinct and harmonious sound of the notes played for the hours, quarters and minutes by the hammers striking two circular gongs.
Each year, the Les Cabinotiers department unveils a range of single-piece editions relating to a theme cherished by Vacheron Constantin. The year 2021 is dedicated to “Celestial Time”, with timepieces referring to the astronomical origins of time measurement.
From the dawn of civilisations, the cycle of days and seasons, the evolution of constellations in the night sky, the phases of the moon and eclipses have exerted an almost mystical fascination. Eager to unravel the mysteries of the universe, the first human beings found in mythological tales a cosmogony blending legends with poetry. At a very early stage, the first scientific minds attempted to decipher the rhythms of Nature and to organise them according to predictable patterns.
It was from these calculations, and with the appearance of writing, that the first calendars were born, before the Babylonian sexagesimal system gave meaning to the physical division of time into units of angle. Traditional watchmaking is a direct heir to this rigorous and scientific approach, expressed today on watches with depictions of the calendar, the sky chart, moon phases, tides and seasons, and even civil, solar and sidereal time with their differentials. Vacheron Constantin has nevertheless sought to endow these genuine observation instruments with all the charm of the founding myths through the subtlety of its craftsmanship, through its work in uilloche engraving and the engraving of symbolic motifs, or in the “stellar” glittering of gemset stones. This new Les Cabinotiers range is the expression of exceptional expertise in astronomical watches, dedicated to the poetry of time.
Vacheron Constantin and astronomical watches
Astronomical watches enjoy a rich and longstanding tradition within the Maison. The Vacheron Constantin archives reveal a first perpetual calendar in 1884, integrated into a double-sided yellow gold pocket watch, now part of the Maison’s private collection. This was the beginning of a mechanical “epic” that would singularly take shape at the turn of the century. In 1900, the Maison set up a workshop exclusively dedicated to the assembly of watches with complications, often incorporating astronomical functions. Orders flooded in for complicated and even very complicated watches. The perpetual calendar was then combined with other technical feats such as those enriching a 1905 pocket watch comprising a minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph and perpetual calendar with phases and age of the moon.
Delivered in 1929, the pocket watch made for King Fouad I of Egypt with chronograph, perpetual calendar, Grande and Petite Sonnerie and minute repeater functions is characteristic of this golden age. This exceptional watchmaking expertise, later applied to wristwatches, would be powerfully expressed in the Tour de l’Île with its 16 horological and astronomical complications, produced in 2005 to mark the 250th anniversary of the Maison. It features a sky chart, a complication that has become a speciality of Vacheron Constantin. Reference 57260, which has 57 complications, also features a sky chart, notably accompanied by sidereal time and a secular Hebrew calendar. In 2017, Vacheron Constantin once again innovated with Calibre 3600, powering displays of civil, solar and sidereal time, the latter synchronised with a mobile representation of constellations.
Les Cabinotiers: single-piece editions
In the Vacheron Constantin universe, Les Cabinotiers represents a department in its own right dedicated to the personalisation of Grand Complication models and single-piece editions. This tradition dates back to the 18th century, an age when master-watchmakers were called “cabinotiers” and worked in ateliers bathed in natural light, known as cabinets and located on the top floors of Geneva’s buildings. In the hands of these learned artisans, open to the new ideas of the Enlightenment, exceptional timepieces were born, inspired by astronomy, mechanical engineering and the arts. This expertise, which constitutes the great Geneva watchmaking tradition, has been flowing through Vacheron Constantin’s veins since 1755.
Classic with a Twist
Vacheron Constantin’s creativity has always remained closely attuned to its time while evoking its memories. This byword for elegance, adopted by each watchmaker, artisan and designer throughout the years and centuries, celebrates heritage and dares to explore the unexpected. Poised at the intersection between technical virtuosity and aesthetic refinement, the enduring allure of Vacheron Constantin timepieces makes its way unscathed through passing eras. Because timelessness cannot be achieved merely by complying with the canons of traditional watchmaking, each creation is tinged with a touch of boldness revealed in the smallest details. Special displays, offset indications, specific chamfering of all components, hand-crafted finishing and the complexity of a mechanism are just a few examples of this expertise. The result is a very personal field of expression where technique and style converge in a subtle harmony between the conventional and the atypical.
Les Cabinotiers minute repeater tourbillon sky chart Leo constellation Jewellery watch combines a tourbillon regulator, a minute repeater in the grand tradition of the Maison’s striking watches and a rotating sky chart. This technical challenge is matched by the poetry of time expressed through artistic crafts. These take the form of the gemsetting on the 45 mm 18K white gold case, adorned with 100 baguette-cut sapphires bezel set on the lugs, crown and bezel. The tone-on-tone opaline blue dial offers a symbolic representation of the Leo constellation. A masterpiece of hand-engraved guilloché work created in the Vacheron Constantin workshops, the feline’s silhouette is composed of a multitude of geometric shapes bearing their own motifs. The Leo constellation is highlighted by brilliant-cut diamonds adorning the great cat’s tawny coat.
Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Minute repeater tourbillon sky chart Leo constellation Jewellery Technical Specifications
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
Mechanical manual winding
33.90 mm (14¾’’’) diameter, 9.40 mm thick
Movement power reserve: approximately 58h
2.5 Hz (18,000 vibrations/hour)
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece
Small seconds at 6 o’clock on tourbillon carriage
18K white gold, set with 60 baguette-cut sapphires on the bezel (approx. 3.8 cts), 24 baguette-cut sapphires on case sides (approx. 1.9 cts) and 16 baguette-cut sapphires on lugs (approx. 0.3 ct.)
45 mm diameter, 15.10 mm thick
Dials (front & back)
18K white gold, opaline dark blue dial, Leo constellation hand-guilloché
9 brilliant-cut diamonds as hour-markers (approx. 0.03 ct)
18k white gold hands
Dark blue Mississippiensis alligator leather with alligator leather inner shell, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales
18K white gold pin buckle set with 16 baguette-cut sapphires (approx. 1 ct)
18k white gold folding clasp set with 16 baguette-cut sapphires (approx. 1.10 cts)
Les Cabinotiers model
“Les Cabinotiers”, “Pièce unique”, “AC” hallmark engraved on caseback