MACRO VIEW

Breath­tak­ing new watches mea­sure time on a cos­mic scale.

The Peak (Singapore) - - Contents -

Pop quiz: How many days are there in a year? If you an­swered 365 (and 366 for leap years), you’d be close, but not en­tirely right. As­tronomers have far more pre­cise ways of defin­ing this time pe­riod: The trop­i­cal year – the time it takes for the Sun, as viewed from the Earth, to re­turn to the same po­si­tion along its celestial path – has 365.2421898 days. Such vari­a­tions ex­plain the ex­is­tence of the leap year in the Gre­go­rian cal­en­dar – ev­ery four years, that ex­tra day at the end of Fe­bru­ary evens things out.

But the lat­est astron­omy watches are not stand­ing for this easy way out, of­fer­ing in­stead the abil­ity to ac­cu­rately track time on a cos­mic scale. A trio of time­pieces with elab­o­rate cen­tral dis­plays, Vacheron Con­stantin’s Coper­ni­cus Celestial Spheres each fea­tures a mini sculpted Earth that com­pletes one ro­ta­tion ev­ery 24 hours and one el­lip­ti­cal revo­lu­tion around the “sun” ev­ery 365.2421898 days.

Ded­i­cated to the 16th-cen­tury math­e­mati­cian and philoso­pher Nicolaus Coper­ni­cus, the three watches are tech­ni­cally alike, pow­ered by the new au­to­matic Cal­i­bre 2460 RT. How­ever, each of them show­cases dif­fer­ent artis­tic tech­niques to im­pres­sive ef­fect: grand feu enam­elling; en­grav­ing; and a com­bi­na­tion of hand- and laser-en­grav­ing on sap­phire crys­tal. The third model (pic­tured) is ex­cep­tion­ally note­wor­thy for its in­ter­est­ing tech­niques: A hand-painted mid­night-blue un­der­dial is over­laid with a trans­par­ent sap­phire crys­tal, which is en­graved on the back with zo­diac sym­bols – first by laser, then by hand to give the raised mo­tifs fur­ther depth. Out of this world.

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