To understand the horological – and cultural – significance of Vacheron Constantin’s deeply esteemed Les Cabinotiers department, one needs to, as it were, turn back the clock to 18th-century Geneva. Back then, its cityscape featured five- to six-storey industrial buildings. At the uppermost levels of these buildings, there were spaces known as “cabinets”, which served as workspaces commonly occupied by skilled craftsmen referred to as cabinotiers. With their workstations situated high above the bustling noise of the streets below, these craftsmen enjoyed the advantage of abundant natural light that bathed their workbenches, eliminating any unwanted shadows. Here, they were able to create some of the finest timepieces for their patrons – the kings and noblemen of their time.
In Vacheron Constantin’s modern reinterpretation of Les Cabinotiers, the collective includes designers, engineers, master watchmakers and artisans, alongside guilloche experts, enamellers, engravers and jewellery setters. Together, they conjure some of the most impressive works of high watchmaking. Their patrons have also modernised with them, but the spirit of creativity and innovation remains the same.
The newest of these is the Dual Moon Grand Complication, distinguished by its dual-sided design and an impressive array of 11 time-related and astronomical complications. These intricate features are regulated by a tourbillon and enriched by a minute repeater, resulting in a watch that exudes exceptional elegance. This elegance is evident not only in the watch’s flawless readability and precise functions, but also in the meticulous attention paid to its decorative and finishing details. The outcome is a timepiece that combines sophistication and complexity effortlessly as only Les Cabinotiers can achieve.
A fascinating feature of the minute repeater is that it is also capable of chiming the hours, quarters and minutes upon request.
On the watch’s front side, there is a precision double moon-phase display at the dial’s centre, accompanied by hour, minute and perpetual calendar indicators. The perpetual calendar is noteworthy for its retrograde date, a signature feature that reflects Vacheron Constantin’s technical and aesthetic expertise. On the reverse side of the watch are some of the most impressive features on this expression. This includes astronomical indications, such as the sidereal day’s duration, which is four minutes shorter than the civil day. A sky chart showcases the real-time positions of constellations. Additionally, the back of the watch offers a glimpse of the tourbillon and its Maltese cross-shaped carriage.
The timepiece is powered by the mechanical, manual-winding calibre 2755 TMRCC QP, which beats at 18,000 vibrations per hour, and has an impressive power reserve of 58 hours. And it looks as impressive as it functions. The meticulously crafted in-house movement features circular satin brushing and hand-bevelling, along with rear bridges adorned with a Côtes de Genève pattern. The hammers and the strike-regulator bar have been expertly polished to a mirror-like finish.
Vacheron Constantin’s Les Cabinotiers represents the pinnacle of personalised and artisanal watchmaking, where centuries of horological expertise meet individuality and creativity. Their creations are not only a testament to technical excellence but also a celebration of artistic expression in
the world of haute horlogerie, and in the Dual Moon Grand Complication, they have a near-perfect example of this – a remarkable combination of horological complexity and understated elegance.