Earlier this year at SIHH, Swiss watch brand Vacheron Constantin unveiled a watch that surprised and delighted us thanks to the celestial complexity and beauty of the piece: Metiers d’Art Copernicus Celestial Spheres 2460RT. We covered it here, however, this particular Metiers d’Arts collection warrants a closer look now that it has finally made its way to stores. What makes its so special is an incredible blend of Swiss watchmaking, technology and craftsmanship that brings a celestial galaxy to the wrist.
The trilogy of three Swiss watches (each expressing a different decorative art) is inspired but famed scientist and mathematician Nicolaus Copernicus and his astronomical discoveries –particularly heliocentrism — that changed our views. Each of the watches houses an all-new in-house-made movement, Caliber 2460RT, with original display and carrying the Hallmark of Geneva.
Copernicus, who in 1543 published a book heralding a major astronomical revolution in the history of science. His hypothesis challenged geocentrism (concept that Earth is immobile and located at the center of the universe), and put forward the theory of heliocentrism, demonstrating not only that the Earth spins on its axis and has a satellite, the Moon, but also that it gravitates around the Sun. In the new timepiece, Vacheron Constantin pays homage to these discoveries that changed the face of the world.
The Dials of the Vacheron Constantin Metiers d’Art Copernicus Celestial Spheres
The Métiers d’Art Copernicus celestial spheres 2460 RT collection features three dials with different interpretations of the same theme. The decoration of the dials is inspired by the graphic depictions of Andreas Cellarius, a 17th century Dutch-German cartographer. Each dial has a center oval that bears the sun, and an outer disk dedicated — depending on the version — to depicting the 12 zodiac signs in one of the three arts used by the master artisans of Vacheron Constantin. Between these two disks, a tiny gold globe representing Earth orbits the watch via a tiny elliptically shaped grove.
Each 43mm white gold case features a transparent sapphire crystal and one of three different dial designs. Versions include a Grand Feu enamel dial ($137,500) that is inspired by the blues of the oceans, a fully hand-engraved baroque-inspired dial ($104,500) with outer disk detailing the astrological signs, and a laster- and hand-engraved dial on sapphire disk ($93,500), wherein the zodiac signs are complemented by a three-dimensional star-studded sky. Each 43mm white gold case features a transparent sapphire crystal.
Each watch is powered by the 352-part self-winding caliber 2460RT that was developed over the course of three years. The time is displayed by two triangular peripheral hands (a cut-out one for the hours and a solid one for the minutes) that are driven by large dedicated wheels positioned on the outer part of the caliber. The “Earth” rotates on its axis in a 24-hour rotation period like the mean solar day. However, thanks to a tropical gear train that emulates Earth’s elliptical orbit around the Sun i(365.2421898 days — or one tropical year), the Earth orbits the dial accordingly. Additionally, the mechanism is so precise that it requires just a one day correction once in 8,000 years.