The one-of-a-kind Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860 embodies a two-fold technical prowess: creating a supreme complication that only a handful of virtuoso watchmakers in the world are capable of mastering, while making it both simple and secure to use for its owner. Its ultra-complex and sophisticated bi-directional manual-winding movement – brand-new Manufacture Vacheron Constantin Caliber 1860, which required 10 years of development – is equipped with innovative security systems. The latter protect its striking mechanisms, controlled by the bezel and a crown-fitted push-piece, from any detrimental mutual interference. After 500 hours of assembly performed by a single master-watchmaker, its 727 finely adjusted components interact perfectly to provide an extremely rare and sought-after combination of complications: grande sonnerie, petite sonnerie and minute repeater.
Within the Hall of Fame of technical sophistication and mechanical poetry, striking watches represent one of the rarest and most sought-after horological complication families. Admirably demonstrating a blend of demanding expertise and technical virtuosity, along with a discerning musical ear, this prestigious category comprises minute repeaters striking the hours, quarters and minutes on demand; as well as grande sonnerie and petite sonnerie mechanisms automatically striking the hours and quarters in passing or only the hours. The grande sonnerie – due to its incredible scale of miniaturisation, its technical and acoustic complexity as well as the considerable amount of energy required by its mechanism – is widely regarded as the supreme complication. It calls for several hundred components and drives the mastery of energy and mechanical complexity to the uttermost heights – and all this within a wristwatch. A ‘sizeable’ challenge, since a grande sonnerie must at all times have enough energy to strike the required number of chimes (up to 96 activations in 24 hours, meaning 912 chimes) while ensuring impeccably high-quality sound.
With this new creation, Vacheron Constantin brilliantly rises to the challenge of housing grande sonnerie, petite sonnerie and minute repeater mechanisms within a space measuring 37 mm in diameter and a mere 9.1 mm thick.
Its bi-directional manual-winding movement, Manufacture Vacheron Constantin Caliber 1860, is composed of 727 parts that are meticulously adjusted, decorated and assembled by hand. This represents 500 hours of expert and patient work performed by a single, vastly experienced watchmaker. Hours, minutes, small seconds, grande sonnerie, petite sonnerie and minute repeater…. The integrated construction applied here means that the striking mechanisms are directly linked to the hours and minutes functions and that the movement must be considered as a whole, requiring considerable energy for the grande sonnerie that can strike up to 96 chimes per day. It therefore comprises two barrels – one dedicated to the movement and the other to the striking mechanism – respectively providing a 72-hour power reserve and 20 hours of strikework power reserve in its grande sonnerie mode.
A grande sonnerie watch is distinguished by the extreme complexity of its mechanism comprising hundreds of meticulously fitted parts. It thus calls for informed and cautious handling on the part of its owner. So as to make the use of this grand complication model both convenient and straightforward, Vacheron Constantin has developed several original security systems. They facilitate the operation of the various watch functions, while preserving it from the risk of mutually detrimental interferences. During time-setting, no chime can be sounded (whether in passing or on demand). Conversely, when chiming is in progress – be it a repeater chime or an ‘in passing’ chime – time-setting is impossible until the watch has finished striking. Nor will any new chiming operation begin so long as another one is sounding. Meanwhile, the strike-mode security device ensures that when a change of mode is made while a chime is in progress, it will only be activated once the previous chime is complete. Finally, if the winding barrel has almost wound down and there is not enough energy for the watch to chime regularly and perfectly right the way to the end of its sequence, the striking mechanism will not be activated, whether in passing or on demand.
This same quest for simplicity governed the watch design. The pure aesthetics highlight the complex mechanism, discreetly housed in an 18K white gold 45 mm-diameter case featuring a caseband that may be customised. Engraved on the back with the inscription “Pièce Unique”, the case is adorned with finely engraved striations echoed by the knurled motif on the crown. Inspired by historical striking pocket watches from the Maison, the 18K gold silver-toned dial also exudes an aura of refined understatement, enhanced by opaline, circular-brushed or snailed finishing, as well as baton-type white gold hour-markers and hands complemented by two black oxidised pointers.
The case and dial of this one-of-a-kind model can be customised in Vacheron Constantin’s Les Cabinotiers, department thereby reflecting the tradition of technical excellence, innovation and bespoke design typical of the 18th century Geneva watchmaking artisans known as cabinotiers.
The timepiece comes fitted with a black alligator strap secured by an 18K white gold folding clasp. Like other horology creations from the manufacture, the Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860 also bears the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva.
Meeting the entire set of demanding criteria governing this independent and sovereign label, a guarantee of provenance, high-quality precision, durability and horological expertise, it comes in a precious presentation box and is delivered with the “Music of Time” resonance holder that amplifies the sound and the harmony of watch chimes.
Model: Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece
Exclusively available in Vacheron Constantin Boutiques
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
Bi-directional mechanical manual-winding
37 mm (16’’’) diameter, 9.1 mm thick
Movement power reserve: approximately 72 hours Strikework power reserve: approximately 20 hours
3 Hz (21,600 vibrations/hour)
Hours, minutes, small seconds at 7 o’clock
Strikework mode display grande sonnerie/petite sonnerie/silence with a selection via the bezel
Movement power-reserve indicator
Strikework power-reserve indicator
18K white gold
45 mm diameter, 15.1 mm thick
Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
18K gold, silvered opaline
18K white gold applied hours-makers and movement power-reserve indicator
Black Mississippiensis alligator leather with alligator leather inner shell, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales
Clasp:18K white gold folding clasp; Polished half Maltese cross-shaped
Presentation box & accessory
Prestige model, delivered with the resonator of sound “Music of Time” enhancing the sound and the harmony of notes of the Vacheron Constantin minute repeater
« Pièce unique » and « Les Cabinotiers » engraved on the back of the timepiece