The Vacheron Celestia – Three different ways to tell time and a whole lot more
Watch & Bullion12 May 2018 | 3 min read
Alright, I have to admit I cheated a bit with the title of this blog. The full name of this watch is the Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600, and its list of functions is even longer. The caliber 3600 driving this monstrosity sports 23 individual complications, including but not limited to a running equation of time, equinoxes and zodiacal signs, and a transparent celestial chart of the Northern Hemisphere with an indication of the Milky Way. The caliber took 5 years to develop, has six barrels allowing for three weeks of power reserve, and with 514 components surprises with a slender silhouette of only 8.7 mm thickness.
The highlight here is the fact that this watch can display three different times, the civil time, solar time, and sidereal time, the last two of which I didn’t know even existed until I researched this piece. Now civil time is your normal boring 24 hours in the day type of time, the kind of time literally every watch can display. Solar time is calculated based on the position of the sun, making it irregular compared to civil time. There are two types of solar time, the difference between which is captured by the equation of time, of course, all displayed on your wrist. Finally, sidereal time is a scale based on the earth’s rotation in relation to the stars, so basically how long it takes for a star to reappear on the same place in the sky. I have to say, this must take the cake for one of the most useless complications ever, but I guess you can now ask your friends to meet you at 6 o clock sidereal time because Greenwich time is just too boring for you.
In case all those dials and indicators on the front of the watch make you dizzy turn it around and you will be greeted by one of the coolest celestial displays ever. Thinly applied golden star patterns on a sapphire disc will be put to show with a black disc providing contrast to the relevant section for the night. All these complications could make you completely forget the fact that not only is there a tourbillion, but that it was pushed to the backside of the watch, something you will struggle to find on any other watch. I could not find a price for this watch, except that it should be north of €1 million, but then again this is a one of a kind watch, so you can throw out all concepts of price and demand.