vacheron constantin les cabinotiers celestia astonomical grand complication 1

"My name is Celestia, I was born at Vacheron Constantin in 2017"

I am a unique astronomical timepiece belonging to the Cabinotiers branch of the Vacheron Constantin family. I was born in January 2017 and recently witnessed my finest hour on the big screen at SIHH…

By Joel Grandjean

I am directly related to the famous Reference 57260 boasting 57 complications, which celebrated the 260th anniversary of my family's birth in 2015. I am also related to another model that came into being ten years ago, in 2005, namely the Tour de l’île, with its 16 complications.

Don't lock me away in the dark, I need light

My family name is Vacheron Constantin, although I'm referred to in watchmaking registers as reference 9720C/000G-B281. My first name, I'll admit, is a bit long. But it tells you a lot about what I can do: Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600.

I was five long years in the making from the moment my creator, an exceptionally fine master watchmaker, buckled down to work on my creation, to the day I was born. Working solo and unaided, an expert in the science of chronometry and its complications, he devoted himself body and soul to the crafting of my 514 or so components and 64 rubies, not to mention 23, mainly astronomic, complications. They say my head is so far in the stars I could almost be part of the galaxy. One thing is for certain, the effect was astounding when they announced my release at SIHH 2017, the excitement was palpable.

I am unique and one-of-a-kind, hyper complex. I feel I'm destined for great things, such as gracing the wrist of a rich, or passionate collector, hopefully both. Thanks to my existence and the role bestowed upon me by the head of my family, I'm sure I'll be of great service to our entire lineage, and to all the watches entitled to carry our name that will be produced in greater numbers to make them more affordable. Given my price and my rarity, people will talk about me, take pictures of me. Rumour has it that certain of my fellow beings have ended up, after the briefest glimpse of daylight, in some dark corner of an investor's safe. I so hope that's not the destiny that awaits me, I need to see the light of day. Given all the functions I can perform, any time, any place, you'll never be able to put me down.

A body and a heart, and a head in the stars

My body is crafted in white gold, I can be viewed on both sides through a sapphire crystal. One face displays fifteen or so complications against a slate grey opaline dial. The face at the back is reserved for my remaining functions, mainly astronomical in orientation. Nestled in my heart, the exclusive 3600 calibre with manual winding, a totally integrated construction, beats at a regular 18,000 vibrations an hour, powered by the energy of six series-mounted barrels, coupled by three. It's true that maintaining my precision while having so many functions, requires considerable energy. And yet I offer a power reserve of around three weeks.

Without wishing to appear immodest, here's a sneak preview of what I'm capable of offering, even underwater at a depth of thirty metres and despite my modest 45 mm diameter and 13.6 mm thick case. Obviously, I begin by telling the hour and the minutes. Then, I indicate the day of the week, the month, and the leap year in an aperture, as well as a pointer-type date display, thanks to my integrated perpetual calendar mechanism. I need no adjustment for 400 years, and yet I transition smoothly from the 30th to the 1st in even months, from 28th February to 1st March in non-leap years and, here's where it gets complicated, from 29th February to 1st March once every four years. and all this without ever missing a beat in the relentless march of days of the week.

Full moons, tides, tropical gear train and tourbillon

Aside from the perpetual calendar, I feature an ultra-precise display thanks to two superimposed discs, one of which sports a full moon engraved by laser from a genuine reproduction. Aside from the day and night indicator, the moon phases are also indicated, as is the age of the moon, in other words the number of days since the last full moon, not to mention the sunrise/sunset hours. And as you would expect from a master of calculation and moon cycle representation, I can also tell you about its influence on the tides. I'm therefore equipped with a Mareoscope composed of a tide level indicator and a 3D representation of the Earth-Moon-Sun alignment. But because I'm a perfectionist, if you look closely you can also see the signs of the Zodiac, the Solstices and the Equinoxes.

In fact, I don't just tell the official time, or civil time, which was designated according to the division of the earth into time zones. Thanks to my three separate wheel trains, including a tropical gear train, I also tell true solar time and sidereal time.

But there's so much more to say aside from these useful, poetical facts, more than even a study of complex mathematical calculations and the science of miniaturisation would ever allow me to divulge … Suffice it to say that, tucked away in the heart of all these complications, without once sacrificing aesthetics or functionality in the name of monetary gain, the tiny tourbillon housed in a cage of fine watchmaking craftsmanship, seems almost lost. This exceptional mechanism positioned at 6 o'clock appears quite normal next to all of these complications. And that's really saying something…


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Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600 - Vacheron Constantin