Teeming with tons of features and uber-stylish to boot, the Vacheron Constantin Maître Cabinotier Astronomica is a once in a lifetime watch that combines fifteen unique complications to make one show-stopping timepiece. The dial is almost perfectly symmetrical and made of 18kt white gold. The case measures 47mm in diameter and 19.1mm thick — plenty of room for the manual wound Calibre 2755-B1 movement that powers all those complications. The knurled crown is understated, as is the pusher, to let the dial take center stage.
While the dial may be complication-dense, the time is still easily legible, thanks to two polished, silver toned dauphine hands. Faceted steel indexes, applied on top of the minute track, mark the hours; these are placed along the edge of the flange. The Astronomica is a minute repeater, designed to chime the quarter hours and hours, as well as minutes, if desired.
The most notable feature on the dial (if there could be just one that is) is the Maltese cross shaped carriage of the tourbillon. The tourbillon is of the 60-second ilk, helping to keep this timepiece functioning as accurately as possible.
Moving upward from the center of the dial, month, day and date sub dials are placed at 10, 12, and 2, respectively. Another complication included in the Astronomica is a perpetual calendar; however, this particular calendar is unique because it is capable of maintaining the Gregorian calendar for 400 years without human assistance. A leap year indicator is placed at 1 o’clock. At 10:30, a dial displaying the deviation from solar time appears, making this watch, among other things, an Equation of Time model. Two more rare complications appear at 4 and 8 o’clock; each dial reads the time of the sunrise or sunset.
Moving to the second dial — yes, the second dial. There is a second dial, revealed through the exhibition case back, where a sky chart detailing the Northern Hemisphere can be seen. It also displays the months of the year. A small hand sweeping around the rim of the dial relays the number of days since the last full moon. The hand on the second dial features a sun-shaped counterweight and indicates the date as well as season and zodiac sign.
The watch is paired with a hand-stitched alligator strap fitted with an ardillon clasp, which rounds out the luxurious appeal. Sadly, the Astronomica is a limited edition – a unique piece to be precise, which has already been sold.
TAGS: Date, Day, Equation of Time, Exhibition Case Back, Haute Horlogerie, Leather, Limited Edition, Manual Watches, Mechanical Watches, Men's Watches, Minute Repeater, Month, Moon Phase, Perpetual Calendar, Retrograde, Sapphire Crystal, Swiss Made, Tourbillon, Vacheron Constantin, White Gold