To help celebrate 260 years of watchmaking, Vacheron Constantin actually spent the last eight years leading up to its anniversary designing, engineering, and building what it claims is the most complicated mechanical pocket watch ever created.
The Vacheron Constantin Reference 57260 pocket watch was actually commissioned by a secret collector, presumably with infinitely deep pockets because commanding the attention of a watchmaker for the better part of a decade for a one-off creation certainly can’t come cheap. But the results have earned the pocket watch a place in the record books.
Functions in addition to simply displaying the current time (hours, minutes, seconds) are referred to as complications on a mechanical watch. The previous record holder, the Patek Philippe Caliber 89 pocket watch, boasted 33 complications in total. But the new Vacheron Constantin Reference 57260 ups that to 57 complications, which are slowly being revealed on the watchmaker’s website over the coming months.
However, aBlogtoWatch’s David Bredan has already compiled a list of about 27 different complications you’ll find on the record-breaking timepiece. Most of this functionality could be easily replicated via a single smartwatch app, but you need to keep in mind that everything here is strictly being accomplished through nothing but springs, gears, and cogs:
· Hours, minutes, seconds
· Armillary sphere tourbillon
· Triple-axis tourbillon
· World Time Indication with separate 12 hours and minutes, day, and day-night display
· Balance wheel with variable inertia and spherical hairspring
· Triple-column-wheel split-second “rattrapante” chronograph with 60-minute and 12-hour totalizers
· Perpetual Gregorian Calendar
· ISO 8601 Financial “Business” Calendar with number of the day and week indication
· Indications for the day of the week, date, weeks, months, leap years
· Retrograde Date
· Hebraic Perpetual Calendar with date, name of the day and month, number of months (12 or 13) in the Hebraic year; secular calendar, century, decade and year
· Golden Number indication with 19-year cycle
· Sky chart showing the constellations visible in the night sky from the owner’s city
· Indications for seasons, equinoxes, solstices, signs of the Zodiac
· Sidereal time measuring 23 hours, 56 minutes and 41 seconds per day
· Sunset and Sunrise indications
· Length of day and length of night
· Phases of the Moon that needs to be adjusted by 1 day every 1,027 years
· Petite Sonnerie
· Grande Sonnerie
· Minute Repeater
· Westminster chime for the sonnerie and repeater with 5 gongs and 5 hammers, playing the same tune as London’s Big Ben. The Vacheron Constantin Reference 57260 can chime the time on demand, or “en passant,” i.e., as it passes
· Striking barrel disengaging system to prevent damage to the barrel when fully wound
· Silence, Chiming, and Night time modes for the sonnerie, the latter making the sonnerie silent between 10PM and 8AM
· Alarm with power-reserve and strike-silence indications and with two different tones that can be chosen when setting the alarm: Westminster chime or single-strike alarm
· Power reserve indicator for the main barrel and the striking mechanism
· Crown position indicator
As for pricing? Don’t bother asking, you definitely can’t afford it. Even if you and 10,000 friends were willing to pool your money together to try and buy one, there’s little chance that Vacheron Constantin will ever agree to build a second one. Unless you intended to work with the company to help it one-up the Vacheron Constantin Reference 57260–but keep in mind, you’ll be waiting at least another eight years before you can ever slip it into your pocket.