Vacheron Constantin has smashed the record of most complicated watch by creating a unique, commissioned piece with 57 complications spread over two dials.
Creating the Vacheron Constantin Reference 57260 took three of the brand’s master watchmakers eight years to complete at the request of a private client.
Patek Philippe’s Star Calibre 89, created to celebrate the brand’s 150th anniversary in 1989, held the previous record with in excess of 30 complications (depending on the fairly open definition of a complication).
The Reference 57260 is being unveiled today, the 260th day of the year, to celebrate Vacheron Constantin’s 260th anniversary.
Many of the complications within the 18ct gold watch, which was commissioned by a client, are new concepts such as its multiple calendars and a double, retrograde rattrapante chronograph that required its better known complications to be redesigned or rethought entirely.
The three positions of the watch’s crown are indicated through a corresponding window on the case band while a pusher on the crown controls the stop/start/return functions of the chronograph. A case band pusher at 11 o’clock controls the rattrapante function.
A concealed winding crown for the watch’s alarm function, which has its own power reserve indicator, can be deployed at the 4 o’clock position.
The twin dials are made of solid silver while all of the rotating indication discs have been constructed from aluminium to remain lightweight and require less energy to move.
New to the Ref. 57260, and indeed to horology itself, is the Hebraic Perpetual Calendar, which required complex mathematics to replicate its 19-year Metonic cycles and the seven ‘leap months’ that take place during those years. As well as date, day and month are also indicated in Hebrew.
Moonphase is represented by a hand that indicates the age of the moon within its 29.5305882 day cycle and will remain accurate for 1027 years.
This astonishing watch also offers three striking modes. In Striking mode the watch sounds the Westminster chimes automatically each quarter hour using five hammers and five steel gongs. A Night Silence mode maintains a dignified silence between the hours of 10pm and 8am, whilst Silence deactivates the chiming altogether. Of course the Vacheron also includes Grand and Petite Sonnerie complications as well.
The Second Dial includes a 12-hour second time-zone governed by a digital world-time display, a double perpetual calendar (which includes a business orientated ISO 8601 calendar), Equation of Time and a armillary sphere tourbillon.