It’s only autumn but the first rumblings of new timepieces set to debut at the 2019 Salon International de la Haute Horologerie (SIHH) in Geneva have already begun. The first to oblige this year is Vacheron Constantin with two cracking models but for now we’ll focus on the Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Phoenix.
The Les Cabinotiers collection is named for the most experienced watchmakers of the 18th century, the Age of Enlightenment’s “alchemists of time” who crafted extraordinary timepieces by special commission. Preceded in 2017 by a grand sonnerie and a celestial grand complication, this year’s Les Cabinotiers models both incorporate multiple complications and artisanal case enhancements.
Inspired by the legend of the phoenix, the mythical bird that rises from its own fiery ashes to represent immortality, the Grand Complication Phoenix packs no less than 15 complications into its meticulously engraved, 47-mm rose gold case. The roster includes a tourbillon (with a distinctive Maltse-cross-motif bridge), minute repeater, perpetual calendar, power-reserve indication, sunrise and sunset times, equation of time, sky chart, age and phase of the moon, sidereal hours and minutes, seasons and zodiac signs, and even a mechanism indicating the torque of the repeater’s striking mechanism.
Of course, this cornucopia of complications requires two dials to showcase them all, both in a striking opaline slate gray. Understandably, this isn’t a slim case – it measures 19.10 mm and features two ancestral engraving techniques — pounced ornament (or bas-relief) on the caseband and fine line engraving on the bezel and caseback, combining to create a sculptural 3D effect for the ornate image of the legendary firebird that encircles the case.
The watch is powered by manufacture movement, Vacheron’s manual-winding Caliber 2755, composed of an astounding 839 components and endowed with a 58-hour power reserve and beating at 2.5 Hz (18,000 vph). The watch comes on a brown, hand-stitched Mississippi alligator strap, which closes with a rose-gold folding clasp shaped like a half Maltese cross and engraved with an ornamental pattern.
The one lucky owner will have the watch delivered in a special winder box made of Macassar ebony wood, alongside a corrector pen and a magnifying glass. This is a unique piece and as of this moment, the pricing details are not available.