Vacheron Constantin – Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600


Vacheron Constantin introduced the Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600 at the SIHH 2017.  Priced at around $1 million this astronomical grand complication revives the 18th century tradition of Geneva's "cabinotiers", highly specialised watchmaking artisans working under the rooftops and creating authentic bespoke masterpieces. The one-of-a-kind Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600 combines astronomy and the watchmaking art in a heavenly white gold composition featuring 23 complications.

 

This impressive feat of miniaturisation features a combined display of civil, solar and sidereal times, each with its own gear train. Its new fully integrated caliber is a pinnacle of technical sophistication with its 514 components measuring a total of only 8.7 mm thick.

 

Developed and crafted by Vacheron Constantin the extremely complex and exclusive new Caliber 3600 called for five years of development. This mechanical manual-winding movement comprises 23 complications, including three distinct times driven by three dedicated gear trains. A tropical gear train which simulates the tropical year, meaning the elliptical orbit of the Earth around the Sun, was designed to enhance the precision of the solar functions. A three-week power reserve is ensured by six barrels, coupled by threes. A true feat of miniaturisation and engineering, this caliber measuring just 8.7 mm thick comprises a total of 514 components.   

 

Calendar & Moon Phase

  • Aperture-type day display is between 12 o'clock and 1 o'clock
  • Pointer-type date display sits at 3 o'clock with a neat squiggle hand to break up the potential repetitive look with so many hands on the dial
  • Aperture-type month display
  • Aperture-type leap-year display sits just ahead of 2 o'clock
  • Perpetual calendar
  • Day/night indication is situated at 9 o'clock with a concentric circle that is visible through the moon phase disc
  • Precision moon phase disc
  • Age of the moon- the numerals and indices running up the day/night indicator track the lunar cycle as measured between 1 & 29.5 days

 

Solar Time

  • Equation of time is tracked by the gold minutes hand. Since the 24-hour day is determined by an average number, this hand monitors the "true" solar time which can range from a few seconds to over 16 minutes in how much it varies from the standard minutes hand.
  • Running equation of time- Vacheron Constantin has patented a "tropical gear train" simulating the 365.2421898 days of a tropical year where the previously mentioned solar hand is set.
  • Sunrise time- running on UTC+1, the gold subdial at 7 o'clock runs from 4:30am to 8:30am indicating sunrise.
  • Sunset time - functions same as above but goes from 4:30am to 8:30am, indicating the time of sunset.
  • Length of day - the aperture at 6 o'clock has a gauge measuring the number of daylight hours in gold
  • Length of night - functions like the above, but with black to indicate nighttime
  • Seasons, solstices, equinoxes and zodiacal signs - the subdial at 4 o'clock here indicates Solstices (when the sun is at its furthest or closest point from the equator) and Equinoxes (when night and day are equal length) as well as tracking Zodialogical signs through icons.

 

Mareoscope

  • Tide level indicator- between 10 o'clock and 12 o'clock is a subdial indicating tide levels, whether the tide is ebbing or flowing, and high or low tide.
  • Sun-Earth-Moon conjunction, opposition and quadrature is essentially a 3D rendering of the sun, earth, and moon tracking their positioning which affects the tides.

 

On the case back:

 

Celestial Chart

  • The Celestial Chart, to start, is the same thing as a star chart which tracks the movement of the stars, constellations, and other astronomical objects. Here, it's created from two superimposed sapphire discs. The transparent disc in the foreground depicts the Milky Way and constellations as seen from the Northern Hemisphere, as well as the months of the year. This transparent disc also has two ellipses- one in red and one in white corresponding with the ecliptic and celestial equators, respectively. The second disc has display scales on the rims indicating Celestial time hours and minutes as well as well as a black ellipse revealing a view of the celestial chart.
  • Celestial time hours or "sidereal hours" measure earth's rotation just like standard or "mean" time, but varies approximately 4 minutes per day.
  • Celestial time minutes