Watch collectors are a rare breed. Always searching for the newest, most complex, and most beautiful timepieces, some collectors go to great lengths to find their next piece. In 2015, a collector commission would end up being the most complicated watch ever made. Beating the former “most complicated watch” by 27 functions, the Vacheron Constantin’s Tivoli watch is a wonder of watchmaking.
The World’s Most Complicated Watch
This pocket watch is a breakthrough technical feat for Fine Watchmaking. From an initial idea conceived by a major collector, the Reference 57260 watch became a reality thanks to the determination of Vacheron Constantin to redefine the limits of the possible.
Eight years ago, a collector contacted Vacheron Constantin in order to commission a one-of-a-kind pocket watch. As the collector and Vacheron collaborated on the design, additional features were added to the design. When the collector requested that they add a Hebrew perpetual calendar to the Gregorian calendar, the watch suddenly became the most complicated watch ever designed.
The result of this commission was the Vacheron Constantin Reference 57260 Tivoli watch. The watch’s name refers both to its 57 complications and the 260th anniversary of Vacheron Constantin which took place the year this watch was finished.
Producing tailor-made complicated watches is a tradition at Vacheron Constantin. The Reference 57260 watch is part of a lineage of exceptional creations that have marked the history of Vacheron Constantin since its inception.
Made by Atelier Cabinotiers
The role of the “Atelier Cabinotiers Special Order” department is to perpetuate the unique expertise of our master watchmakers, who work in the great Genevan tradition of the Cabinotiers watch workshops. The Atelier Cabinotiers offers our clients a highly exclusive service: that of producing unique timepieces, entirely custom-made and created on an individual commission basis.
The Atelier Cabinotiers are Vacheron Constantin’s in-house workshop that specializes in custom timepieces. These skilled watchmakers spent eight years designing, fabricating, and assembling this record-breaking watch. Vacheron has not released the name of the collector nor have they disclosed the actual cost of this watch. Some experts estimate its worth in eight figures.
Features of the Watch
The Tivoli watch features two solid silver faces in order to accommodate all the displays requested by the collector. The front face includes a regulator-style time indicator, with hours, minutes and seconds on separate dials. The chronograph, Hebrew calendar and alarm functions are also housed on this front face. The second dial features the astronomical display, Georgian and ISO8601 business calendars, and the world time. The star chart on this second dial may provide a clue to the identity of the mysterious collector, as the display features stars as they would be seen from New York City.
The watch is 98mm in diameter and weighs about 2 pounds. The case houses more than 2800 components, and the dual faces feature a total of 31 different hands.
These are the 57 functions of this amazing watch, according to the Vacheron Constantin website:
1. Regulator-type hours, minutes and seconds for solar meantime
2. Visible spherical armillary tourbillon regulator with spherical balance spring
3. Armillary sphere tourbillon
4. 12-hour second time zone hours and minutes
5. Indication for 24 world cities for world-time
6. Day and night indication for the 12-hour world-time
7. Gregorian perpetual calendar
8. Gregorian days of the week
9. Gregorian months
10. Gregorian retrograde date
11. Leap-year indication and four year cycle
12. Number of the day of the week (ISO 8601 calendar)
13. Indication for the number of the week within the year (ISO 8601 calendar)
Hebraic Perpetual Calendar
14. Hebraic perpetual calendar with 19-year cycle
15. Hebrew name of the day
16. Hebrew name of the month
17. Hebrew date indication
18. Hebrew secular calendar
19. Hebrew century, decade and year
20. Indication for the number of months in the Hebraic calendar year (12 or 13 months)
21. Indication for the Golden Number with 19-year cycle
Functions of the Astronomic Calendar
22. Indications for the seasons, equinoxes, solstices and signs of the zodiac with “sun” hand
23. The sky chart (calibrated for the city of the owner)
24. Sidereal time hours
25. Sidereal time minutes
26. Hours of sunrise (calibrated for the city of the owner)
27. Hours of sunset (calibrated for the city of the owner)
28. Equation of time
29. Length of the day (calibrated for the city of the owner)
30. Length of the night (calibrated for the city of the owner)
31. Phases and age of the moon, one correction every 1027 years
32. Indication for the date of Yom Kippur
Functions of the 3 column-wheel Chronograph
33. Retrograde fifths of a second chronograph (1 column wheel)
34. Retrograde fifths of a second rattrapante chronograph (1 column wheel)
35. 12-hour counter (1 column wheel)
36. 60-minute counter
37. Progressive alarm with single gong and hammer striking
38. Alarm strike / silence indicator
39. Choice of normal alarm or carillon striking alarm indicator
40. Alarm mechanism coupled to the carillon striking mechanism
41. Alarm striking with choice of grande or petite sonnerie
42. Alarm power-reserve indication
Westminster Carillon Striking Functions
43. Carillon Westminster chiming with 5 gongs and 5 hammers
44. Grande sonnerie passing strike
45. Petite sonnerie passing strike
46. Minute repeating
47. Night silence feature (between 22.00 and 08.00 hours – hours chosen by the client)
48. System to disengage the striking barrel when fully wound
49. Indication for grande or petite sonnerie modes
50. Indication for silence / striking / night modes
51. Power-reserve indication for the going train
52. Power-reserve indication for the striking train
53. Winding crown position indicator
54. Locking mechanism for the striking
55. Winding system for the double barrels
56. Hand-setting system with two positions and two directions
57. Concealed flush-fit winding crown for the alarm mechanism
So, tell us, what do you think of the Vacheron Constantin Reference 57260 Tivoli watch? Are you in the market for a luxury watch? Try our sources for the best places to buy luxury watches.