Vacheron Constantin interprets an Haute Horlogerie Christmas carol with a series of 12 unique pieces made by its Les Cabinotiers artisans and grouped under the title “La Musique du Temps”. As you might have guessed, they are all repeaters and hyper-exclusive editions limited to just one piece per model. Today, we take a look at four of these very special striking watches.
The first chiming watch attributed to Vacheron Constantin dates from 1806: a gold pocket watch with minute repeater registered by the founder’s grandson. Ever since, sonnerie or repeater watches have appeared in the brand’s portfolio with or without additional complications. All the watches in “La Musique du Temps” come with a sonic print recorded and certified by Abbey Road Studios and display the Hallmark of Geneva quality certification.
Les Cabinotiers is a special workshop at Vacheron Constantin where made-to-measure, highly complicated watches can be commissioned. It’s where many collectors’ dreams come true and the birthplace of some of the most complicated timepieces, including the recent Grande Complication Phoenix.
Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater and Perpetual Calendar
Combining two exceptional complications, this minute repeater and perpetual calendar is powered by an ultra-thin movement. Similar to a model released earlier this year, its elegant good looks belie the complexity of its functions. Available in either pink gold or white gold, and limited to one piece per metal, the case measure 42mm in diameter and is 10.44mm thick. The dial features a hand-guilloché silvered sunray pattern and the spherical hour markers are applied in white or pink gold.
The calendar indications follow a classic layout with the indication of the months, date and days in the top half of the dial – including the leap year indication in a small aperture – and the phases of the realistically rendered moon and its age in a bosom-shaped aperture at 6 o’clock. A pusher on the left side of the case is used to activate the minute repeater function. The calibre powering the two complications is calibre 1731 QP which can be seen through the sapphire caseback. This ultra-thin manual-winding movement composed of 438 components measures just 5.70mm thick and provides a sturdy 65-hour power reserve for the hours, minutes, day, date, month, leap year, moon phase and minute repeater functions.
Quick facts: 42mm x 10.44mm – 18k white or pink gold – sapphire caseback – silvered hand-guilloché sunray dial – ultra-thin calibre 1731QP – in-house, manual-winding – 21,600vph – 65h power reserve – alligator leather strap with gold folding clasp – unique pieces – ref. 6610C/000R-B630, pink gold – ref. 6610C/000G-B629 white gold – price on request
Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Tourbillon Sky Chart
This beauty combines a minute repeater, a tourbillon regulator and a rotating map of the skies and is similar to another Les Cabinotiers model released ahead of SIHH 2019. Housed in an 18k pink gold case with a 45mm diameter, the only visible complication on the magnificent blue dial with its guilloché sunray finish is the one-minute tourbillon bearing the small seconds hand at 6 o’clock. However, the reverse side of the watch with its concave dial reveals a beautiful sky chart with the constellations and a section of the Milky Way. The celestial image performs a complete rotation in 23 hours and 56 minutes corresponding to the sidereal time and is accompanied by the indication of the day, month and cardinal points.
The chiming mechanism is activated by the sliding bolt on the left side of the case and its strike governor, inspired by a 2005 La Tour de l’Ile anniversary watch, ensures the exact duration of the musical sequences and a distinct and harmonious sound for the hours, quarters and minutes on demand. Powered by in-house manual-winding calibre 2755 TMRCC, it offers a 58-hour power reserve.
Quick facts: 45mm x 15.10mm – 18k pink gold – sapphire caseback – 18k gold dial with hand-guilloché sunray in blue – gold applied hour markers – calibre 2755 TMRCC – manual-winding –18,000vph – 58h power reserve – blue alligator leather with gold folding clasp – ref. 9730C/000R-B493 – unique piece – price on request
Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Ultra-Thin
Presented in an 18k pink gold case with a 41mm diameter and a height of just 8.5mm, this ultra-thin minute repeater conveys the very essence of classicism. The gorgeous dial is crafted in Grand Feu enamel with an elegant eggshell colour. The font for the railroad minutes track, the sloping black enamelled Arabic numerals and the hollow-tipped hands consolidate the classic spirit of this one-of-a-kind piece.
The lean silhouette of this watch is thanks to the ultra-thin 1731 minute repeater calibre. A prodigiously slim movement measuring just 3.90mm thick, Vacheron’s watchmaking team took four years to create a striking movement combining slimness, a pure sound, pleasing aesthetics, reliability and precision. Introduced in 2013 as the thinnest repeater calibre and the thinnest minute repeater watch – surpassed by Bvlgari in 2016 – the movement is beautifully decorated and its name – calibre 1731 – is a tribute to the year of founder Jean-Marc Vacheron’s birth.
Quick facts: 41mm x 8.50mm – 18k pink gold – sapphire caseback – Grande Feu enamel dial – black enamel Arabic numerals – calibre 1731 – manual-winding ultra-thin movement just 3.90mm thick – 21,600vph – 65h power reserve – brown alligator strap with gold pin buckle – ref. 6630C/000R-B664 – unique piece – price on request
Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie
First unveiled in 2017, the Symphonia Grande Sonnerie was Vacheron Constantin’s first-ever grande sonnerie wristwatch. A watch of exceptional complexity, it combines a grande and petite sonnerie with a minute repeater mechanism. The mastery of these pieces that sound the hours and quarters in passing – with repetition of the time before each quarter in grande sonnerie mode and without repetition in petite sonnerie mode – is rare due to its extremely stringent construction requirements.
This one-of-a-kind model is housed in an 18k pink gold case measuring 45mm in diameter with a case height of 15.1mm. The score of Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony is hand-engraved on the side of the case. The beige toned dial features an elegant guilloché pattern emanating from the centre with applied pink gold numerals and a small seconds counter at 7 o’clock. There are two power reserve indicators on the dial, one for the strikework indicated by a treble clef hand and the other at 5 o’clock for the timekeeping functions. Instead of a slider on the side of the case, the selection of either grande sonnerie, petite sonnerie or silence modes is done via the bezel.
The supremely complicated movement – calibre 1860 – with 727 components takes 500 hours to assemble. The manual-winding calibre has two barrels, one to deliver 72h of power to the timekeeping functions, the other 20 hours of power to the strikework.
Quick facts: 45mm x 15.1mm – 18k pink gold – bas-relief engraving on case band of Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony – sapphire caseback – beige hand-guilloché dial – applied pink gold hour markers and power reserve indicator – calibre 1860 – manual-winding – 21,600vph – 2 barrels – 72h power reserve timekeeping, 20h power reserve strikework functions – brown alligator strap with pink gold folding clasp – ref. 9200C/000R-B667 – unique piece – price on request
For more information, please visit vacheron-constantin.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.