Far Out, Man

Reading Vacheron Constantin’s New Watch Practically Requires a Degree in Astronomy


January 16, 2017 Watches By Photo by Vacheron Constantin
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Vacheron Constantin has a history with making absurdly complex timepieces — in 2015, it revealed the Reference 57260, a comically large pocket watch with 57 complications — the most in any watch, ever. Of course, that thing was 98mm in diameter, 36mm thick and weighed damn near a kilo. The challenge of fitting complexity into something someone could feasibly wear created an entirely different beast: the Celestia, a 45mm x 13.6mm white gold wristwatch with 23 complications.

Yes, 23 — so many, in fact, that the watch actually has two dials, front and back. Here are just a few of the Celestia’s functions:

  • Perpetual calendar
  • Tourbillon
  • Moonphase
  • Season indicator
  • Solstice indicator
  • Sunrise and sunset time
  • Day and night length indicator
  • A 3D representation of the alignment of the Earth, moon and sun
  • Tide level indicator
  • Power reserve indicator
  • Zodiac sign indicator (yes, really)
  • Further, the Celestia tells three different times: “civil time,” a fancy way of saying standard time, calculated on the principle that the sun revolves around the equator at a constant speed, once every 24 hours, indicated on two white gold hands; “solar time,” based on the visual position of the sun in the sky throughout the day (think along the lines of a sundial), which is usually within +14 and -16 minutes of civil time and is indicated on Celestia via a rose gold minute hand; and finally “sidereal time,” which is measured in relation to the Earth’s rotation relative to the stars, and differs from standard time by about 4 minutes and is displayed on the back of the case via two superimposed sapphire discs.

    Oh, and did we mention the movement itself is only 8.7mm thick and has six energy-storing barrels, allowing for a power reserve of three whole weeks? Frankly, it’s an almost unbelievable feat of watchmaking that, according to Vacheron Constantin, took a single watchmaker five years to develop. Which is probably why this is a one-of-a-kind piece. More than anything, the Celestia is Vacheron Constantin throwing down the gauntlet and declaring its watchmaking supremacy.