Some watches are there to show you time, but some are art and bury themselves deep into the world of craftsmanship and design. The new Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication Bacchus is simply a piece of art for your wrist as it takes craftsmanship to new levels. These watches are not built to a price with only the sky being the limit hence the new creation from one of the oldest watchmakers’ borders on extreme complexity along with a stunning design ethos. The single-piece edition Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication Bacchus is all about grand complication watches with no less than 16 complications along with being powered by in-house Calibre 2755 GC16. There is also the matter of the name- Bacchus, the Roman god of vines and wine is adorned with ruby grapes set in gold foliage hand-carved. In addition to these mythological references, the tourbillon and minute repeater movement displays virtually every astronomical and calendar-type complication a timepiece can muster. The 18K 5N pink gold case of this Les Cabinotiers timepiece features a decoration composed of vine leaves interspersed with bunches of ruby grapes. The craftsmanship does not end there as you then see the gem-setter on the outside of the case.
The two master artisans working on this model took turns, with the gem-setter first taking the case from the engraver’s hands and then returning it for the last finishing touches, a progressive duet-style operation that required more than 300 hours of combined dexterity. Once the bunches of grapes had been formed, the engraver took over the model to perform the finishing. The vine leaves were thus delicately modeled using the intaglio engraving technique that involve hollowing out the material and then polishing. And because every detail is important, the engraver took the trouble to dig slightly below the outline of each leaf so as to accentuate the 3D visual effect. This foliage thus emerges clearly against the case middle. The case decoration continues on the bezel and case-back with a hand engraving depicting vine leaves. To create the movement of this highly complicated watch, Vacheron Constantin’s watchmakers took the Tour de l’Île as a reference, a timepiece presented in 2005.
As mentioned earlier, the Bacchus timepiece has 16 complications, making it one of the most complex watches produced by the Maison. For the sake of precision timekeeping, its manual-winding Calibre 2755 GC16 is equipped with a tourbillon regulator to compensate for the effects of the earth’s gravity on the mechanism. Featuring a cage shaped like Vacheron Constantin’s signature Maltese cross emblem, the tourbillon completes one full rotation per minute, thus serving as a small second’s indicator. This watch also incorporates a minute repeater chiming the hours, quarters, and minutes on demand. To avoid unnecessary noise as well as wear and tear on the mechanism, the striking of the gongs is equipped with an ingenious centripetal flying strike regulator.
The calendar and astronomical functions play a starring role on both sides of the watch. On the front, where the mechanical ballet of the tourbillon can be admired at 6 o’clock, the perpetual calendar indications are displayed on three counters. Positioned in the upper part of the dial, they respectively show the date, day, and month. Designed to keep track of the Gregorian calendar’s vagaries without any need for adjustment until 2100, this horological complication is further enhanced by the indication of the leap-year cycle.
The Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Bacchus is also paying tribute to Johannes Kepler, one of the founders of modern astronomy, with its astronomical functions. Overall, this stunningly complex timepiece keeps the older watch traditions alive with unique craftsmanship.