Figures of fantasy
Four high-complication timepieces that show life at watchmaking’s upper echelons has never been busier
A Lange and Sohne Tourbograph Perpetual “Pour Le Merite”
A Lange and Sohne reserves the soubriquet“pour le merite” for its most horologically pure, incredibly intricate creations – it has spent the past 25 years developing a hotbed of German perfectionism to rival Swiss watchmakers.
The Tourbograph Perpetual combines a perpetual calendar, a split-seconds chronograph and a tourbillon – or, in other words, three of the most challenging functions to master. The watch’s hand-wound movement consists of 684 components (and that’s not even counting a 636-piece chain system that actually drives the whole thing). When you consider that you could examine any one of those under powerful magnification and not find a single unpolished surface or an edge of less-than-perfect sharpness (all achieved by hand, naturally), you start to understand why it costs half a million euros. Only 50 will be made, all cased in platinum.
Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600
The most impressive thing about this one-off creation is not its intense level of inner complexity or bewildering array of functions (everything from the length of day and sign of the zodiac to a tidal forecast) but that it achieves so much and still looks (relatively) normal. £POA; vacheron-constantin.com
Girard-Perregaux Planetarium Tri-Axial
There is something of the 19th century about Girard-Perregaux’s latest masterpiece, which features a hand-painted titanium globe moving alongside a tourbillon that, as its name suggests, constantly rotates in three axes at once. Pictures don’t do it justice. £211,000; girard-perregaux.com
Greubel Forsey Grand Sonnerie
When a watch has been 11 years in the making, you expect it to impress. Messers Greubel and Forsey have delivered with their first chiming watch – at the press of a button, it will ring out the hours and quarters in passing, and the exact time on request. And, yes, it can be silenced overnight. £1.1 million; greubelforsey.com