New Watch: Vacheron Constantin Maître Cabinotiers Astronomica

The extremely complicated Vacheron Constantin Maître Cabinotiers Astronomica. Source: Vacheron Constantin

Watches&Wonders (Hong Kong) -- Sometimes "because we can" is a good enough reason to produce something amazing. Case in point: the Maître Cabinotiers Astronomica from Vacheron Constantin. This creation packs more than a dozen complications in a piece-unique platinum wristwatch, and does so with surprisingly elegant results. It's equal parts jewelry and scientific instrument, and although the lone piece was pre-sold to a collector before the trade show, it's worth a closer look.

First Thoughts: Turn back now if your interest in watches sits mostly in the realm of "Oh, that's pretty." While the Maître Cabinotiers Astronomica has a handsome slate-colored dial and a gleaming platinum case, it's more Galileo than Gabbana. In fact, the diameter, thickness, and weight make it all but impossible to actually wear -- but that's not the point. The sheer mechanical brilliance of this watch is difficult to understate. With the astronomical data provided by this watch, including sunrise and sunset times, the age of the moon, and the zodiac signs, you might even find yourself leaving that smartphone in your pocket more often.

Cocktail Party Fact: "Cabinotiers" is an 18th-century term for watchmakers who would take on elaborate commissions from wealthy patrons and finish them from start to finish in their top-floor Geneva workshops. This practice continued through the early 20th century when serial production took over. During this time, innovation in watchmaking was dictated by the creativity of clients and watchmakers instead of by sales figures, a philosophy perpetuated by one-of-a-kind watches like this.

The Basics

  • Case Diameter: 47mm
  • Case Thickness: 19.1mm
  • Case Materials: White gold, sapphire caseback
  • Dial: Slate-colored white gold with white gold hour markers and hands
  • Strap: Black alligator with white gold Maltese cross folding clasp
  • Complications: 15 total complications -- minute repeater, perpetual calendar (date, day, month, leap year), power reserve, equation of time, sunrise time, sunset time, sky chart, age and phase of the moon, sidereal hour and minutes, seasons, and zodiac signs -- plus a tourbillon
  • Certifications: Poinçon de Genève (Geneva Seal)
  • Reference Number: 80174/00G-9995

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Source: Vacheron Constantin

The Movement

  • Caliber: 2755-B1 in-house movement
  • Parts: 839
  • Power Reserve: 58 hours
  • Winding: Manually-wound
  • Finishing: Côtes de Genève, hand-beveled bridges, circular-grained mainplate, completely rounded-off tourbillon carriage bar

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The massive Maltese cross tourbillon at 6 o'clock. Source: Vacheron Constantin

Getting One

  • Availability: One unique piece
  • Price: Pre-sold to a private collector, no public price announced. Sorry.

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