Watch industry news headlines have been awash with information on pieces released for the biennial charity “Only Watch” auction which will take place later this year in Monaco. Each watch will be a “piece unique” and all proceeds will go towards the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy charity. The Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Philosophia is also a one-of-a-kind watch. Unlike the “Only Watch” auction pieces however, this one already has an owner. A bit of a teaser then? No. A fine example of what a Master Watchmaker can achieve when given the requirements of a discerning collector. After all there are many people around the world who could easily afford a bespoke watch such as this one but who would never consider investing in such a creation, preferring instead to go with something altogether more mainstream and more recognisable.
Well known for having an ethos of preserving Haute Horlogerie traditions, especially with regard to fine arts such as enamelling, engraving and engine turning, Vacheron Constantin created their Atelier Cabinotiers in 2006. It is perhaps entirely suitable that the world’s oldest watch manufacture should provide such a service bringing watchmaker and customer together to develop a timepiece from conception to final creation, taking the process back in time to when unique pocket watches were produced in single edtions for individual clients.
The Philosophia may look clean and uncluttered yet it is a very complicated timepiece. Time is indicated by a single hand, for hours, on a 24 hour scale. With no minutes indication you may assume that the exact time is unimportant to the wearer yet a generous openworked section of the dial showcases a precision-enhancing 60-second tourbillon, design choices which are sure to befuddle the purists. When required the precise time can be obtained acoustically as the Philosophia features a minute repeater which will sound the hour, quarter hour and the minutes in pure, sweet tones. The moonphase display at 9 o’clock looks unusual, is unusual – it has also been made to the customer’s exact needs and features a handcrafted moon with visible craters. A sapphire crystal caseback gives a glimpse of some of the meticulous hand-decoration of the movement, the micro hammers of the minute repeater and the unique constellation-inspired power reserve indicator. The Philosophia is presented in a 43mm rose gold watchcase.
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