VACHERON CONSTANTIN REF. 57260 (2015)
WHAT IT IS:
A made-to-order unique piece rather than a concept watch, Ref. 57260 deserves mention here for the new complications that it introduced, some of which have already made their way (with modifications) into other timepieces. A nearly 1kg tour de force eight years in the making, this large pocket watch contains a whopping 57 complications by the manufacture’s reckoning, including a Hebrew perpetual calendar that is unique to it.
The Hebrew calendar is difficult to realise due to its peculiarities – a complete cycle spans 19 years, with a 13th “leap month” added to seven of them, while two of the 12 “regular months” run a day short on specific years. Programming such a calendar mechanically by using wheels is already a challenge, let alone displaying it coherently on the dial. Two other world-first mechanisms in Ref. 57260 have been adapted for another watch (see next section).
Released in 2016, the Maitre Cabinotier Retrograde Armillary Tourbillon is a unique piece housing two special features modified from mechanisms created for Ref. 57260. Firstly, its coaxial (sharing the same axis) hour and minute hands show the time on a double retrograde display. This design is based on the Ref. 57260’s double retrograde rattrapante chronograph, which uses retrograde displays for both the chronograph seconds and rattrapante hands. Double retrograde display aside, the Maitre Cabinotier Retrograde Armillary Tourbillon also sports Ref. 57260’s Armillary tourbillon – named for the armillary sphere that inspired its design. Unlike the pocket watch’s three-axis design, however, the newer wristwatch’s tourbillon is bi-axial.