Time For A Celebration
Vacheron Constantin celebrates its 260th anniversary with its most complicated timepiece ever, the Reference 57260 钟表界历史最悠久的江诗丹顿，以品牌制表史上最精巧复杂的一款特别定制时计迎接260岁生日。
The folks at Vacheron Constantin have been working towards this moment for eight years. At its 260th anniversary this year, the watchmaker unveils its most complicated watch, that encapsulates the best of classic watchmaking principles and 21st century thinking.
Three of the company’s master watchmakers are the brains behind Reference 57260, a double-dial horological masterwork made up of 57 complications, several of which are new and unique.
They include the multiple calendars and double retrograde rattrapante chronograph, which had to be calculated, designed and developed from scratch. Thus a completely new calibre of movement was created, a feat befitting one of the earliest and greatest names in Swiss horology, whose patrons include Harry Truman, Napolean Bonaparte, the Duke of Windsor and Pope Pius XI.
Even the mechanisms of the more familiar complications have been modified, reinterpreted and redesigned in this watch. The research and skills developed during its construction can be considered to be the greatest contribution to the advancement of mechanical watchmaking since the 1920s.
Made of solid 18K white gold, polished with glazed bezels on each side, the perfectly proportioned case has a three-position winding crown with corresponding indication window on the case band to show the position of the crown during winding or setting. A co-axial button in the crown controls the start/stop and return-to-zero functions of the double retrograde chronograph and the push-button in the case band at 11 o’clock activates and restarts the rattrapante chronograph function.
Of particular note is the totally unobtrusive and new design of the concealed flush-fit alarm winding crown l ocated in the case band at the 4 o’clock position. This is a most sophisticated method of concealing the alarm button so that it does not detract from the clean lines of the case.
Each side of the watch has a dial made of solid silver, while the rotating discs for the displays are made of aluminium so as to be lightweight and therefore require only the slightest energy to move. The meantime dial is of regulator style, displaying the hours, minutes and seconds on separate chapter rings, a design derived from precision regulator clocks such as those used in observatories and laboratories. This first dial displays some of the entirely new functions developed by the Vacheron Constantin watchmakers.
Hebraic Perpetual Calendar
Of great technical and mathematical complexity, the Hebraic perpetual calendar may be considered one of the greatest contributions to mechanical watchmaking
of recent times. Due to the long-term changing cycles of the Hebraic calendar and its difference from the Gregorian calendar, the making of a complete functioning mechanical Hebraic perpetual calendar in a watch has been impossible until now.
The Hebraic perpetual calendar works on the principle of the 19-year Metonic cycle because 19 years it is almost exactly a multiple of the solar year and lunar month over that period. Highly complicated mathematical calculations combining both the lunar months and solar year were transcribed into not only an operational mechanism but a display that is elegant, logical and easy to read.
Double Retrograde Rattrapante Chronograph
Completely new to the world of watchmaking, the bold and visually dramatic Vacheron Constantin retrograde rattrapante chronograph is of an innovative design and construction. This is the first watch to be made with a rattrapante chronograph with double retrograde action, and is not only a highly visual complication but mechanically ingenious.
This new chronograph is read by the user exactly in the manner of a classic split-seconds chronograph; however, whilst both hands still work in unison and from the same axis, unlike all other split-seconds chronographs, the two hands never actually meet but operate on two separate scales on opposing sides of the dial.
There are two register dials for the chronograph counting each elapsed minute up to 60-minutes and each elapsed hour up to 12-hours so that events of up to 12-hours in duration can be accurately recorded.
Sectors can be seen on the dial to either side of the hour chapter ring, just above the chronograph registers. These sectors with their corresponding hands are indicators for the selection of the mode of chiming, mode of alarm striking, and the alarm power-reserve indicator.
This watch offers three striking modes — striking, night silence and silence. There are two additional options — Grande sonnerie (striking the hours and the quarters at every passing quarter) and Petite sonnerie (striking the full hours at the hour but only a quarterstrike without hours on the quarters).
In addition to the chiming mechanism, this model houses an integrally connected alarm system with separate power-reserve indication. It allows a choice between either a traditional alarm on an additional differently tuned single gong with single hammer or Westminster carillon full chiming alarm in either Grande or Petite sonnerie mode.
The alarm is set via the winding crown which moves an additional alarm hand co-axial with the hour and moon’s age hand.
The Second Dial
As well as the astronomical indications, several unique and major systems developed especially for this watch are presented here including a 12-hour second timezone governed by a digital world-time display, a double perpetual calendar and a fully visible armillary sphere tourbillon.
The blue star chart in the upper half of the dial represents the night sky and the star constellations visible from the user’s home city, with the months appearing around the edge. Concentric around the outer border is the scale for the retrograde date of the perpetual calendar, the hand “flying” back to its start point at the end of each month.
Subsidiary dials for the days of the week and the months flank the star dial and the aperture above the month dial shows the number of the year between 1 and 4 in the leap-year cycle. Around the edge of the dial are three astronomic scales which are read using the central gold hand identified by its sun counterpoise. The outermost scale is for the months of the year and their respective number of days, while a concentric scale for the year divided into Zodiac sign periods additionally indicates the dates of the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices. The four seasons are displayed on a further inner concentric ring.
The sector above the tourbillon aperture indicates Equation of Time showing the discrepancy between true solar time and standard meantime which fluctuates during the year but can be ahead by as much as 16 minutes (around Nov 3) and behind by 14 minutes (around Feb 12).
Another watchmaking first is the 12-hour second time-zone dial with separate day and night indicator window located in the 10 o’clock position: the second time zone is used in conjunction with the digitally displayed world-time function which gives a choice of 24 cities and countries and their respective time deviations from Greenwich Meantime. This discreet 12-hour system of world-time mechanism and display is the first new system to be developed since Louis Cottier’s world-time system with 24-hour indication invented about 1935.
Dual-Function Perpetual Calendar
The perpetual calendar systems are amongst the greatest achievements made during the construction of this watch. They represent Vacheron Constantin’s supreme mastery of both highly complex mathematical calculations and the ability of its watchmaking team to translate the calculations into mechanisms functioning in complete harmony in relation to the myriad other functions. Including the Hebraic perpetual calendar
seen on the other dial, this watch has the ability to provide three entirely different perpetual calendar readings.
The fundamental new departure is that two possible options are available for the reading of the Gregorian perpetual calendar displayed on this dial: either the traditional Gregorian calendar or the business calendar system known as ISO 8601, a numerical system which utilises 52 weeks and 7 days.
Armillary Sphere Tourbillon
The mesmerising Armillary tourbillon cage containing the watch’s escapement is visible through the aperture beneath the sky chart. This is both technically exciting and visually dramatic. The three-dimensional constantly rotating sphere moves delicately and simultaneously in three directions. Appropriately, the watchmaker has also chosen to use a spherical balance spring which not only adds to the elegance of the mechanism, its special properties contribute to the accuracy of the watch.
This tourbillon was named “armillary” because it is reminiscent of the circles and rings of the scientific instrument known as the armillary sphere. It was placed in the second dial side complementing the astronomical functions to suggest the apparent movement of the stars, the sun and the ecliptic around the earth. The frame of the cage is ingeniously constructed to incorporate the Vacheron Constantin company symbol of the Maltese Cross, which is visible once every 15 seconds during the tourbillon’s rotation.
The Reference 57260 with its many firsts is without doubt a crowning achievement for Vacheron Constantin, a fabled watchmaker with an unyielding commitment to precision, meticulous craftsmanship, elegance in design and the advancement of high technology. The creation of Reference 57260 seals its place among the best of the best. 江诗丹顿是世上历史最悠久的钟表制造商，自1755年于日内瓦创立以来，从未停止生产。 江诗丹顿在整个20世纪推出了无数经典名作，从简约典雅的款式到精雕细琢的复杂时计；从日常佩戴的款式到名贵的钻石腕表，每一款均代表瑞士高级钟表登峰造极的制表工艺，体现了江诗丹顿在世界钟表业界卓尔不群的地位，以及其对技术和美学的追求。
该时计提供三种报时模式： 1. 报时：报时机械装置会以同样的方式在整刻时自动报时，与时钟完全一致。五个音准极佳的音锤和五个钢质音簧，可演奏出与伦敦西敏寺“大本钟”一样的钟声。2. 夜间静音：报时功能可在晚上10时至早上8时之间转为自动静音。这是首个无须手动调节钟声或静音选项便可自动实现静音功能的系统。3. 静音：不需要报时功能时可将其关闭。另外还有两种模式可选择：大自鸣——每次整刻时报出整时整刻时间；小自鸣——在整时报出整时时间，但在整刻仅报出整刻时间，不再重复报出整时时间。任何时候须重复报时，使用者可调整表圈上的滑片来启动。
万年历系统是这枚时计所取得的最大成就，包括在另外一面表盘的希伯来历在内，这枚时计能够提供三种完全不同的万年历指示。这个重要的创新在于表盘上显示的格里高利万年历有两种不同的读法——既可作为传统格里高利历读取，也可通过国际标准ISO 8601日历读取，后者共有52周，每周七天。格里高利万年历可自动校准每月日期和闰年日期，通过逆跳日期、星期、月份表盘读取，并且在位于逆跳日期区域右侧的闰年显示窗，读取1至4之间的数字。国际标准ISO 8601商务日历是一种由国际标准化组织推出的特殊系统，主要用于国际金融业务，创立这一日期系统的目的在于提供一种清晰的日期和时间表达方式，避免日期和时间数字在转换中出现错误，特别是可避免不同国家在日期
The perfectly proportioned case has a three-position winding crown with corresponding indication window on the case band to show the position of the crown during winding or setting.
Reference 57260 is the most complicated timepiece made by Vacheron Constantin.