Imagine my excitement at hearing that both pre-SIHH releases from Vacheron Constantin ahead of the 2019 salon are based on the cal. 2755. The cal. 2755 is simply one of the best sounding multiple-complication minute repeaters ever made. Apart from the chiming function, the base cal. 2755 comes with a perpetual calendar and tourbillon. (Also, how crazy is it that something as elevated as this movement has been used as a base for additional complication modules?)
The two pre-SIHH models are from Les Cabinotiers, which is Vacheron Constantin’s department for special projects, ambitious unique pieces that showcase the range of knowledge and skill at the 263-year-old company.
In one model, the perpetual calendar display which usually appears on the dial of watches using the cal. 2755 is converted to a sky chart with display of sidereal time, seen through the sapphire-crystal caseback. This is the appropriately named Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Tourbillon Sky Chart.
The sky chart depicts a Northern Hemisphere view of the night sky and its constellations, more specifically as it is seen from Geneva, where Vacheron Constantin is headquartered. The entire chart rotates on its axis once every 23 hours and 56 minutes, corresponding to one full sidereal day, a unit of time that takes the stars as a reference point instead of the sun. An ellipse marks out the portion of sky visible at any point throughout the sidereal day.
It’s nice to see the sidereal time indication again from Vacheron Constantin, since one of the #GOAT watches from the company over the last few years was the similarly evocative Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600. It combined displays of civil time, solar time and sidereal time, and it is why Vacheron Constantin is Queen.
The bezel and lugs Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Tourbillon Sky Chart feature baguette diamonds in an invisible setting, and it’s cool and all, but if you want to talk high-end decoration then let’s move on to the second pre-SIHH piece, the Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Phoenix.
Can you say “pink-gold case fully engraved in bas relief with unimaginable detail”? Because if you did, you just described the Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Phoenix. The three-dimensional engraving took over 300 hours to complete; the noble bird it depicts is an ideal setting for the movement it surrounds.
Officially, there are 15 complications in this watch — all the heavy hitters are there, including display of sunrise and sunset, equation of time, sky chart with sidereal time, moon phase, perpetual calendar, the seasons and the zodiac calendar. Of course, there’s a tourbillon and minute repeater too, just in case you forgot what movement this watch is based on.
Now perhaps you see why I stan the cal. 2755. How could anyone not, seeing what’s possible with this movement?