Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860
Now that we’re on the other side of SIHH 2017, we have a whole host of new releases to take a look at—starting off with the Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860. Not only is this watch is a real beauty, but it’s also the brand’s first grande sonnerie wristwatch, an incredibly complex complication that requires exceptional watchmaking prowess.
Inside the watch is the brand new in-house calibre 1860; consisting of a substantial 727 component parts (which require 500 hours of assembly, no less). It’s the product of ten years of development at the Vacheron Constantin workshop. The movement offers not only a grande sonnerie complication, but petit sonnerie and minute repeater functions have also been integrated, and the watchmaker has dedicated time to developing security features that makes the intricate complications more robust and simply to use for daily wear.
The watch’s three modes are indicated on the side of the case (PS for petit sonnerie, GS for grand sonnerie, and SIL for no sound), which can easily be selected via the 30-degree rotating bezel. If the wearer changes the mode during a chime, the new mode will only take over once the strike is complete.
The watch’s minute repeater is activated by a pusher at 3 o’clock, which winds the movement when turned clockwise, and charges the striking mechanism when wound counter clockwise. The watch features two mainspring barrels—one that powers the timekeeping and the other for the striking mechanism, providing 72 hours of power for the former and 20 for the latter. Neither the sonnerie nor repeater can sound while the time is being set, and if the barrel for the strike doesn’t have enough power for a full chime, the barrel will be disengaged.
The striking mechanism is visible through the exhibition caseback, which showcases the watch’s beautiful movement. The design of the piece is pared down, understated and sophisticated, with a white gold case measuring 45mm by just over 15mm. An elegant silver-toned dial with snailed finishing is punctuated by white gold baton indices, and power displays for the timekeeping and chiming mechanisms, as well as a running seconds subdial, are the only indicators on the dial itself.