Fig­ures of fan­tasy

Business Traveller - - WATCHES -

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.

Ð480,000; alange-soehne.com

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

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