As many as 11 complications render this Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers one of the most complicated watches of 2023.
It takes an exceedingly rare combination of savoire faire, dedication, and perseverance to develop a so-called grand complication watch — and that is exactly what Vacheron Constantin has achieved, once again, with the Les Cabinotiers Dual Moon Grand Complication. As the name implies, such a watch features a large number and wide variety of complications — a watchmaking complication is a technical feature that goes beyond the standard display of hours, minutes, and seconds. A date window is perhaps the most basic of complications, and a chiming minute repeater is among the most complex.
The new Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Dual Moon Grand Complication features eleven such additional features, namely a minute repeater that audibly chimes the actual time, a perpetual calendar with a retrograde date with instantaneous and semi-instantaneous displays, and a precision display of moon phases and the age of the moon for the Northern and Southern hemispheres — and all these just on the dial side. The list continues on the caseback side of the watch with a sideral hour indication in 24-hour format, a celestial chart, and end with a tourbillon.
This timepiece featuring the noblest horological complications laid out in an extremely elegant manner would have been inconceivable without making it a musical watch incorporating a minute repeater. To create this particularly complex striking mechanism controlled by a repeater slide housed on the caseband, Vacheron Constantin's Master Watchmakers drew inspiration from La Tour de l'Île. This double-sided anniversary watch produced in a 7-piece edition for the Maison’s 250th anniversary is the most complicated wristwatch ever made with its 16 complications, including a minute repeater with a centripetal strike regulator. This silent system also found in the Dual moon Grand Complication enables the duration of the musical sequences to be perfectly timed in order to obtain a distinct and harmonious sound of the notes played for the hours, quarters, and minutes by the hammers striking two circular gongs. As an additional feature, the gongs of this repeater have been slightly ovalised to avoid them overlapping the tourbillon and without affecting their crystal-clear sound.
Each of these complications requires extensive horological know-how just to understand — so one can only imagine how much it takes to conceive and construct them from scratch. The groundbreaking horological feat behind this original tribute to the moon is the Vacheron Constantin Calibre 2755 TMRCCQP, a masterpiece of complexity with some 774 components.
It’s good to know that Les Cabinotiers is the company’s special workshop dedicated to the finest crafts, reviving the spirit of 18th-century Geneva. At that time, Vacheron Constantin explains, “prestigious dignitaries of European courts commissioned their watches directly from the cabinotiers“. Special and rare in the world of watchmaking, this exclusive service is based on the manufacturer’s expertise to develop and realize some of the most technically impressive timepieces — often as unique pieces, just like the Dual Moon Grand Complication watch.
The dial, at least the one on the front, disguises the complexity of its displays by presenting them in a balanced and elegant way — a testament to Vacheron Constantin’s extensive history and experience with creating such designs. As is true with cars and planes and just about everything else in our world, the simplification of complexity remains the ultimate challenge — much more so than just reaching simplicity in itself.
At the top, we find the retrograde date window that gracefully arches over the main time display. The latter operates with a combination of baton and Roman numeral hour markers. Look closer, and you’ll discover an unusual scale that counts not to 30 or 60, as is often found on watch dials, but only to 29 ½. This is because this inner ring is linked to the phase of the moon display that is neatly integrated into the centre of the dial — and you see two of the peculiar ring and the moon because this way, it can trace the phases in both hemispheres, Northern and Southern, simultaneously.
Two semi-circular displays follow, for the day of the week and month of the year, to the left and right, respectively. At what is traditionally called the 3 o’clock position of a watch dial, near the crown, we find a small, round aperture — with the number “3” in it in the official photos. This is the leap year display, an essential display on any perpetual calendar.
You see, a perpetual calendar automatically adjusts for 30 and 31-day long months, and not just those, but also for the varying length of February. In a leap year, the Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Dual Moon Grand Complication watch will wait for the 29th of February and advance to the 1st of March — but do so only in leap years. Without a leap year display, setting the watch for the correct year would be rather more tiresome.
Here is a neat little detail from Vacheron Constantin: On the official pictures of the Les Cabinotiers Dual Moon Grand Complication watch, the date is the 27th of March, the day is a Monday, and it is the 3rd year in the four-year leap year cycle — this describes Monday, March 27, 2023, the very date the Dual Moon Grand Complication made its debut at Watches & Wonders 2023.
Vacheron Constantin flexes its horological muscles with its latest Grand Complication watch.
It is, after all, consistent attention to detail that sets the best apart from the rest. We love Vacheron Constantin for its long-standing reputation for exactly this — and we can nothing but appreciate the Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Dual Moon Grand Complication watch because it perpetuates the company’s legacy as one of the oldest yet most elegantly creative maisons in the watch industry.
More information can be found here.
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Last Updated on April 11, 2023 by Editorial Team
David, from Hungary, is a dedicated writer focused on haute horologies. His expertise shines through in his contributions to internationally notable watch magazines, where he delves into the intricacies and artistry of high-end watchmaking.