A handful of times over the past century a watch brand has been able to claim rights to building the most complicated timepiece in the world. In September Vacheron Constantin unveiled the Reference 57260 pocket watch, which took a team of three master watchmakers (as well as hand and dial specialists) eight years to build.
Estimated at $8 million, the Reference 57260 (named for its 57 complications and Vacheron Constantin’s 260th anniversary) was commissioned by a collector in the Americas who wishes to remain anonymous. He challenged Vacheron Constantin’s Atelier Cabinotiers division to create the world’s most complicated watch, with some specific functions, including a Hebraic perpetual calendar and an unusual split-seconds chronograph (to time multiple events at once). Such technically advanced feats have never been incorporated into a watch before.
Approximately 2 inches in diameter and crafted in an 18-karat white gold case that weighs about 2 pounds, the Vacheron watch nearly doubles the previous record for most complications in a timepiece: 33. Inside the gleaming hull reside more than 2,800 tiny mechanical components that make up the all-new movement (which took nearly two of the eight years spent to assemble). All told, the timepiece claimed 10 new patents.
And while the Reference 57260 is undeniably an incredible feat of precision, technology and craftsmanship, its creation prompts the question: “Why would anyone want to wait eight years for a watch to be built?”
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