Watches & Wonders: Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers
At Vacheron Constantin, there is one department that exclusively produces unique custom-made watches: Les Cabinotiers. Each year a few watches that have been built in this department are presented to the public. In 2021 the brand releases three single-piece, high complication watches.
Have you ever dreamed of designing your own watch? Vacheron Constantin is making this possible for you. They are running a department that does nothing else. In commemoration of the tradition of watchmakers from the 18th century, this department carries the name Les Cabinotiers. A Cabinotier was a (usually highly skilled) watchmaker who built watches all by himself on request. Back then, there was no serial production. So, it was natural that those who could afford a watch had it built to their own specifications.
Each year the brand is relating its watches for the Les Cabinotiers series to a common theme. The theme for 2021 is “Les Temps Céleste” (celestial time), referring to astronomical complications. Hence, this year the brand from Geneva presents three such individual watches matching this theme.
Les Cabinotiers Armillary tourbillon perpetual calendar — Planetaria
This watch’s design is based on the concept of a perpetual calendar. The focal point of this watch are three rotating globes depicting the earth’s northern and southern hemisphere and the moon phases on both hemispheres. All these globes also provide day/night indications. The current date, month, and day are indicated on circular scales, which is not uncommon for a perpetual calendar. But here, all these are retrograde indications.
A Tourbillon completes this watch. In this case, it is a double-axis Tourbillon. To be exact: a double-axis Tourbillon with a spherical hairspring. This Tourbillon alone should have the potential to put a smile on your face.
This watch comes in a pink gold case, has a diameter of 46mm, and is 20.20mm thick.
Les Cabinotiers Minute repeater tourbillon sky chart Leo constellation Jewellery
Here we have a minute repeater watch, which already calls for a highly complex mechanism. A Tourbillon, which conspicuously peeks through an opening of the dial at six o’clock, also acts as a small second.
Less obvious is an exceptional depiction of the Leo constellation at the upper half of the dial. Here, many triangular fragments in different sizes with individual engravings form a lion on which brilliant-cut diamonds represent the stars of the constellation. Bezel, lugs, and crown carry baguette-cut sapphires.
The watch’s back shows a concave star map of the northern hemisphere that rotates once during a sidereal day (23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds) to exactly represent the positions of the stars in the sky. Sidereal time and the date are also displayed here to facilitate the correct setting of this indication.
The 45mm case of this watch consists of white gold. It is 15.1mm thick.
Les Cabinotiers Regulator perpetual calendar — Moonlight Jewellery Sapphire
This watch is another perpetual calendar. Days and months appear in tiny apertures in the upper half of the dial. Another aperture at four o’clock shows a leap year counter. A pointer date surrounds a moon phase indication at six o’clock,
What’s unusual about this watch is that it shows the time in a regulator style. A small dial at twelve o’clock shows the hours while a singular central hand indicates the minutes.
A spiral guilloché pattern stretches across the dial. Baguette-cut diamonds and sapphires form the minute scale around the dial and fill the bezel. A display back exposes Vacheron Constantin’s in-house movement 2460 RQP.
The white gold case has a diameter of 42mm and is 11.80mm thick.
As you can expect from such exceptional timepieces, they are finished to top standards, and the miniature drawings on some parts have been executed to perfection.
As said, Vacheron Constantin makes these watches on request for their owners. Therefore, you cannot buy them. Consequently, the brand reveals its prices upon request only.
Visit Vacheron Constantin’s website for more information on the brand and how you can obtain your own individual Les Cabinotiers watch.