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Vacheron Constantin - Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication

The "Ornementale" and "Crocodile" models, displaying a total of 16 and 15 complications respectively between the front and back dials, enrich the Les Cabinotiers collection.

Vacheron Constantin unveils two new timepieces with a double-sided display in its Les Cabinotiers collection: the Grande Complication “Ornementale” and Grande Complication “Crocodile”. These new creations are inspired by the brand's Tour de l’Île wristwatch what was the world’s most complicated one and was launched in 2005 to pay tribute to 250 years of watchmaking expertise cultivated by the Geneva-based Manufacture. Created by Vacheron Constantin’s Haute Horlogerie “Les Cabinotiers” department, these unique pieces bear the Hallmark of Geneva.

Front side

On the front, the minute repeater striking the hours, quarters and minutes on demand is equipped with a centripetal flywheel strike governor. Silent and preventing undue wear of the mechanism, it regulates the duration of the musical sequence in order to ensure melodious and distinctly audible notes. The tourbillon is equipped with a carriage shaped like the Maltese cross emblem of the Maison. The tourbillon rotates at a rate of one complete turn per minute, making light of gravity in order to improve the movement’s precision and also serving as a small seconds display. Meanwhile, the perpetual calendar, the “memory of time to come” is capable of keeping up with the complexities of the Gregorian calendar without any need for human intervention other than a date change every 400 years. The crafting of the prestigious equation of time – serving to measure the difference in minutes between solar time and standard legal time – calls for considerable expertise. Setting the finishing touch to this first dial, a “customised complication” displays sunset and sunrise times, adjustable according to the reference city chosen by the client.

Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication

Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication © Vacheron Constantin

Back side

On the back of the watch, the second dial is also graced with a wealth of functions, arranged on two levels. The central disc bears a sky chart as well as the four cardinal points. Two North and South openings reveal the month of the year and sidereal hours, corresponding to “true” time. A small hand running around the rim shows the age of the moon, meaning the number of days since the last full moon; while a long slender hand featuring a counterweight adorned with a tiny sun indicates the date as well as the zodiac sign, the season and the corresponding equinox or solstice.

Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication

Case back view of the watch Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication © Vacheron Constantin


The manual-winding calibres of these two unique pieces respectively drive 16 and 15 complications, mostly astronomical. Among the most complex movements ever made by Vacheron Constantin, these movements – comprising 839 parts for the Grande Complication “Ornementale” and 836 for the Grande Complication “Crocodile” – endowed with a 58-hour power reserve measure just 33.90 mm in diameter and 12.15 thick. Entirely developed and manufactured in-house, these calibres are housed in a 47 mm-diameter gold case whose characteristics are specifically designed to ensure the best possible sound quality of the minute repeater. In addition, each of the components, finely adjusted and harmonised to guarantee optimal performance, is distinguished by meticulous hand-crafted finishing.

Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication « Ornementale »

This timepiece displays its multiple functions on two gold dials crafted in an aubergine purple shade with a sunray satin-finish. The front dial is graced with applied hour-markers, Dauphine-type hands and finely snailed counters, suffused with the radiance of the finely crafted white gold case. The bezel, caseband, lugs and pin buckle are adorned with an ornamental pattern inspired by 19th century Victorian architecture. This miniature sculpture combines pounced ornament and bas-relief techniques with various types of fine line engraving. It required more than 150 hours of intricate hand-crafted goldsmithing using various burins and other specialised tools.

Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication

Case back view of the watch Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication © Vacheron Constantin

Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication « Crocodile »

This timepiece is housed in a case adorned with two crocodiles and scales in varying sizes. Portraying the reptiles in relief, sculpted from a single block of metal using the pounced ornament technique and various types of fine line engraving (matt, sandblasted, brushed and polished) requires carefully controlled operations. The particular attention devoted to crafting the crocodile eyes underline the animal’ strength. The finesse of the work on the scales dotted across the bezel, lugs and caseback instil vibrant life, light and contrasts into this timepiece, born under the expert touch of an experienced master engraver. This pink gold workmanship makes a match with the understated elegance of the two slate-coloured dials on the front and back of the watch. This eminently legible and refined display is enhanced on the front with pink gold applied hour-markers, leaf-shaped hands and finely snailed counters.

Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication

© Vacheron Constantin

Engraved with the inscriptions “Pièce Unique”, “Les Cabinotiers”, and bearing the “AC” (Atelier Cabinotiers) hallmark engraved on the caseback, Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication “Ornementale” et “Crocodile” watches are fitted with a Mississippiensis alligator strap secured by a hand-engraved buckle and presented in a Makassar ebony wood winder box, complete with a corrector pen and a magnifying glass.

The brand

An exploration of the history of Vacheron Constantin is a voyage of discovery, revealing the excellence of age-old watchmaking. Each timepiece is the result of the creative inspiration of the watchmaker or craftsman, dedicating their knowhow to the birth of outstanding watches. The Manufacture also works within a social and environmental code of ethics, and has had Responsible Jewellery Council certification since 2012.

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