I truly believe that out of the holy trinity of Swiss luxury watchmaking, with the other two being Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin are the most overlooked and underrated manufacturer out of the trio. Their pieces embody the exacting tenets that I liken the most with quality Swiss-made luxury watches. They look and feel more than they cost (which is odd, admittedly, as they tend to cost more than a lot of our yearly wages), and they’re made with such vigor and passion that I tend to think of them as the perfect example of a mechanical watch.
The Les Cabinotiers Mécaniques Sauvages is an expression of Vacheron Constantin’s most prestigious department, who so happened to create the world’s most complicated wristwatch a while ago. The latest and greatest to come out of this renowned atelier exemplify just how talented these very special watchmakers are. Here’s a look at each of these astonishing unique pieces.
The first piece is the Les Cabinotiers Armillary Tourbillon Snake. An incredible 6-patents have been filed for the Les Cabinotiers Armillary Tourbillon, and it is without a doubt my favourite piece on this list. It conveys the most perfect balance between absurdly complex mechanics with undeniable beauty, and this cross between engineering and aesthetic prowess. There’s an enormous amount of hand-crafting and detailing apparent throughout the piece, but none more so than through the engraving work done on the snake surrounding the case.
The next piece is the Les Cabinotiers 14-Day Tourbillon Lion, an exemplary timepiece portraying the brilliance of a decorated dial combined with the majestic nature of a tourbillon. This is a powerful model, from the depiction of the noble lion to the highly complex movement power the watch, the Les Cabinotiers 14-Day Tourbillon Lion is both a subtle nod to fine art and an ode to Vacheron Constantin’s innate ability to create masterpieces.
The third piece is the Les Cabinotiers Mysterious Animals Tiger. Whilst not as complex as the former two, there is still a wonderful array of visceral techniques on show throughout. There’s hand engraved 18k yellow gold bamboo shoots adorning the dial, along with an 18k white gold tiger hidden amongst the foliage. A full calendar is indicated through the peripheral windows surrounding the tiger, and as far as functionality goes, the Les Cabinotiers Mysterious Animals Tiger could very well be the most useable out of the lot.
The final piece is the Les Cabinotiers Grisaille Falcon. The simplest of the watches offered, the Les Cabinotiers Grisaille Falcon is still a wonderful example of the creativity behind the Les Cabinotiers atelier. The 18k gold dial is covered with a Grand Feu translucent and grisaille enameling, depicting the grandiose image of a Falcon. Time is indicator from the centre stack of hands, each of which is made of 18k white gold. Lovely, simple and very beautiful, the Les Cabinotiers Grisaille Falcon is absolutely magnificent.