The $8m pocket watch that took 8yrs to make

The world’s oldest watch manufacturer Vacheron Constantin has taken horology to a new level with the making of Reference 57260, the most complicated watch ever made.

The masterpiece was recognized at the 2015 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, the red carpet of the watch world, winning The Special Jury Prize. It was a well-deserved honour for the three master watchmakers who spent eight years building the $8 million pocket watch.

Unveiled in September, the Reference 57260 was commissioned by a collector who wishes to remain anonymous. He gave Atelier Cabinotiers division of Vacheron Constantin a challenge: to create the world’s most complicated watch.

The watch was fitted with 57 complications including a double retrograde split-seconds chronograph that can time multiple events at once, and multiple calendars. The 57 complications and Vacheron Constantin’s 260th anniversary brought about the watch’s name — 57260.

The watchmaker calls the pocket watch a breakthrough technical feat for Fine Watchmaking.

“The 2,800 parts were all completely hand-decorated by one single Master Watchmaker, using traditional techniques such as bevelling, circular graining, the “Côtes de Genève” decoration, and more,” it wrote on its website.

There is a list of the 57 complications after the photographs:

The lisibility pocket watch
front view
The lisibility pocket watch
back view

The lisibility pocket watch

More photos here.

  1. Hours, minutes, seconds, average solar time (regulator)
  2. Three-shaft tourbillon
  3. Tourbillon regulator with spherical balance spring
  4. 12-hour time zone, second hours and minutes time zone
  5. 24-city display for each time zone
  6. Day/night indication for 12-hour time zone
  7. Gregorian perpetual calendar
  8. Gregorian day name
  9. Gregorian month name
  10. Gregorian retrograde date
  11. Leap year and four-year cycle display
  12. Number of the day of the week (ISO 8601 calendar)
  13. Week to view (ISO 8601 calendar)
  14. Hebrew perpetual calendar and 19-year cycle
  15. Hebrew day number
  16. Hebrew month name
  17. Hebrew date
  18. Hebrew secular calendar
  19. Hebrew century, decade and year
  20. Age of Hebrew year (12 or 13 months)
  21. Golden number (19 years)
  22. Seasons, equinoxes, solstices and signs of the Zodiac indicated by the hand on the sun
  23. Star chart (for the owner’s city)
  24. Sidereal time hours
  25. Sidereal time minutes
  26. Equation of time
  27. Sunrise times (for the owner’s city)
  28. Sunset times (for the owner’s city)
  29. Length of day (for the owner’s city)
  30. Length of night (for the owner’s city)
  31. Moon phases and age (one correction every 1,027 years)
  32. Date of Yom Kippur
  33. Retrograde seconds chronograph (one column wheel)
  34. Retrograde split-seconds chronograph (one column wheel)
  35. Hours counter (one column wheel)
  36. Minutes counter
  37. Alarm with its own gong and gradual striking
  38. Alarm strike / silence indicator
  39. Choice of normal alarm or carillon striking alarm indicator
  40. Alarm mechanism coupled to the carillon striking mechanism
  41. Alarm striking with choice of grande or petite sonnerie
  42. Alarm power-reserve indication
  43. System to disengage the striking mechanism when alarm barrel fully unwound
  44. Westminster carillon chiming with 5 gongs and 5 hammers
  45. Grande sonnerie passing strike
  46. Petite sonnerie passing strike
  47. Minute repeating
  48. Night silence feature (10 p.m. to 8 a.m.)
  49. System to disengage the striking barrel when fully wound
  50. Indication for grande or petite sonnerie modes
  51. Indication for silence / striking / night modes
  52. Movement power reserve indicator
  53. Power-reserve indication for the striking train
  54. Winding crown position indicator
  55. Dual barrel winding system
  56. Time setting in two positions and two directions
  57. Secret mechanism (opening of the button for alarm arbor)