Vacheron Constantin is a veritable pioneer in horological complications and began producing complications soon after its foundation in 1755. The tradition of piling complication upon complication is alive and kicking today. Designed to celebrate its 260th anniversary in 2015, Vacheron released ref. 57260, the most complicated pocket watch ever with a staggering 57 complications followed by the Split-Seconds Chronograph Tempo wristwatch in 2020 with 24 complications. For horophiles with deep pockets, Vacheron has a dedicated department known as Les Cabinotiers, where highly complicated watches are made on demand. It’s the ultimate bespoke, made-to-measure experience for watch lovers where “even the wildest dreams” are translated into technical and artistic realities. The latest masterpiece to emerge from Vacheron’s specialised workshop is the Grande Complication Bacchus, a unique piece with two dials and 16 complications. Lavishly decorated with hand-engraved vine leaves and ripe ruby grapes, the watch marries astronomical and calendar complications with a minute repeater and tourbillon.
Artistic case by Les Cabinotiers
This extraordinary watch is housed in an 18k 5N pink gold case measuring 47mm across with a height of 19.10mm. Dedicated to the mythological Roman god of wine, the Bacchus marries the skills of master engravers and gem-setters to create this richly hand-decorated case with motifs taken from the vineyard. The two bezels (front and back) and lugs are hand-engraved with stylised vine leaves, while the caseband reveals a sumptuous bas-relief engraving of realistic vine leaves set against a chased background. Adding a flourish of colour are the plump miniature grape branches confected with 113 cabochon-cut rubies in different sizes.
The Bacchus timepieces is one of the most complex watches produced by the Maison and features 16 complications powered by the manual-winding calibre 2755 GC16 with a tourbillon regulator. Cut into the champagne-coloured dial, the front dial reveals the large aperture for the one-minute tourbillon with its Maltese cross cage and railway track for the small seconds on the perimeter. The three sub-dials in the upper half of the dial indicate the perpetual calendar functions (day, month, date) that will not need an adjustment until 2100. The leap year is indicated in a small aperture in the counter displaying the torque of the minute repeater between 1 and 2 o’clock. The power reserve corresponding to the striking mechanism relies on a serpentine hand inside the day of the week counter. There are also astronomical functions on the front dial with an equation of time positioned between 10 and 11 o’clock, and sunrise and sunset times (adjusted to a reference city) are displayed on the bottom of the dial. Sunrise is represented on the left with a track running from 5-8 and sunset on the right from 17-20.
The reverse side is devoted to sidereal time indications. Picked out in a wine red colour, the rotating disc depicts the Northern hemisphere night sky and its corresponding constellations. The celestial disc performs a complete rotation according to sidereal time with the time displayed on the periphery, opposite the date. The date is read by a large central hand moving over the fixed outer flange with its scale graduated in five-day increments. This long hand also indicates the sign of the zodiac, the season and the four dates corresponding to the solstices and equinoxes; the shorter central hand reveals the age of the Moon or the number of days that have elapsed since the last full Moon.
Calibre 2755 GC16
Using the 2005 Tour de l’Île as a reference, at its time the most complicated wristwatch in the world, Vacheron’s expert Les Cabinotiers watchmakers created the manual-winding calibre 2755 GC16 to power the 16 complications of the Bacchus. In addition to the calendar and astronomical complications, the Bacchus has a minute repeater chiming the hours, quarters and minutes on demand. To eliminate unnecessary noise and prevent wear and tear, the striker is equipped with a centripetal flying strike regulator. Comprised of 839 parts and measuring 33.90mm in diameter and 12.15mm thick, the movement delivers a 58-hour power reserve, a considerable amount of energy given the baffling number of complications. Needless to say, the finishings throughout are superlative, and the timepiece bears the Hallmark of Geneva.
Delivered inside a special Prestige box with a corrector pen, magnifying glass and winding box, the Vacheron Constatin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication Bacchus comes on a dark brown alligator strap with a pink gold folding clasp engraved with vine leaves and the signature half Maltese cross. The Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication Bacchus is a unique piece. Price available exclusively upon request.
For more information, please visit Vacheron-Constantin.com.