Introducing the unique bespoke piece: Philosophia

the Philosophia was 1st seen on HL here click here to see the post but VC has released some better scans and more info

excerpt from VC press release:

Philosophia*: the other way to tell the time

Vacheron Constantin’s Atelier Cabinotiers service was recently busy with two special orders. The first, christened Philosophia* by its owner, is in and of itself a paradox. It brilliantly sets the scene for the peaceful coexistence of Fine Watchmaking and approximate time. The original idea was based on the postulate that mankind does not need to constantly know the exact time to the nearest minute. In some parts of the world, making an appointment “in the morning” or “in the evening” is quite sufficient to allow two people to meet. In the same spirit, knowing that it is 12 or 17 minutes past ten o’clock does not make the Philosophia*’s owner any happier or unhappier. However, while this man has decided on a lifestyle of displaying approximate time, he is no less a connoisseur of excellence. Far from being indifferent, he is in fact a Fine Watchmaking enthusiast and a major collector of timepieces.

The Philosophia* conveys all of these things at once. Based on a model from the Patrimony collection, it has only one hand in the centre, the hour hand, with a 24-hour display, allowing the approximate hour to be read without worrying about the minutes. But if the owner wants a more exact idea of the time at any given moment, he simply engages the on-off slide of the Philosophia*’s minute repeater, which reveals the exact hour, quarter hour and minute. If the hand is a little before 6 o’clock, the chime will sound five times on a low note, three times on a low-to-high note pair, and, for example, twelve times on a high note. That means it is exactly 5:57.

Another sophisticated touch in the Philosophia* is an opening in the dial at 6 o’clock that reveals a tourbillon rotating once every 60 seconds. The commissioner of the piece, who also likes astronomy, asked for a customised precision moon phase; the moon is shown with its craters, and a single star – the pole star—shines near it. On the back of the watch, the power reserve indicator bears a small plaque stamped with the intertwined constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. Nearby, engraved in the 18-carat pink gold of the custom case, the identifying phrase “Les Cabinotiers” and the Atelier Cabinotiers coat of arms attest to the exceptional origin of this timepiece, which is also stamped with the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva.

Highly customised, the entire Philosophia* - a one-of-a-kind model – was made piece by piece at Vacheron Constantin by Atelier Cabinotiers. At its owner’s request, it was engraved with “No Un/Un” [No. One/One] instead of the usual “1/1” marked on one-of-a-kind pieces. This attention to detail was the rule for all 522 components of the hand-wound mechanical movement that makes the Philosophia* tick. The movement that drives a minute repeater, a 60-second tourbillon and the moon-phase display. Careful attention was paid to the finishes of all components; even the surfaces that will never be seen are hand decorated. This is true, for example, of the plate and its hand matt-effect file-stroke treatment, which gives it a very beautiful granulated sandy effect but which no one –except the watchmaker who takes the watch apart for maintenance – will ever see. Another special detail is the openwork at the centre of the escapement wheel, which provides a place for a pierced Maltese Cross motif, the symbol of Vacheron Constantin.

Unique in its spirit, aesthetics and exclusive mechanism, the Philosophia model was recently delivered to its owner by Vacheron Constantin’s Atelier Cabinotiers. It goes without saying that the presentation box as well as all the accessories and related documents – including the instructions – were also custom-made, one of each.

* Philosophia is the name given by the owner

Introducing the unique bespoke piece: Philosophia

Introducing the unique bespoke piece: Philosophia

Introducing the unique bespoke piece: Philosophia

Introducing the unique bespoke piece: Philosophia

Introducing the unique bespoke piece: Philosophia


Reference 80173/000R9483
Atelier Cabinotiers Philosophia

Calibre 2755
Stamped with the Hallmark of Geneva

Energy Mechanical, manual-winding

Movement diameter 33.30 mm

Movement thickness 7.65 mm

Jewels 40

Frequency 18’000 vibrations / hour (2.5 Hz)

Indications Hours 24 H, second on tourbillon
Minute Repeater
Power reserve on the back of the watch

Power reserve Approx. 58 hours
Bespoke power reserve dial engraved with “great and lesser Bear”

Case 18K 5N pink gold
43 mm in diameter
Convex sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on one side

Water-Resistance None

Dial Silvered opaline
Moon-phases disc in 18K 5N pink gold
Black painted minute-track and 11 Arabic numerals

Strap Brown Mississipiensis alligator leather, square scales,
hand-stitched, saddle finish

Clasp Buckle in 18K 5N pink gold
Polished half Maltese Cross

Unique piece
Case-back engraved with “Les Cabinotiers” identification and “AC” Hallmark
A brilliant concept
05/17/2011 - 18:44
This commission reflects someone with a great sense of humour; to have the ne plus ultra of timepieces but disregard the exactitudes of time-telling is pleasingly indulgent .  It would be my dream watch as well, with perhaps the substitution of a serpentine hour hand and a guilloche dial minus the Philosophia printing.  Hmmm, where is that lottery ticket... 
05/18/2011 - 00:21
If only!
purely for simplicity and mechanical excellence. nevertheless....
05/18/2011 - 08:16
beautiful. telling exact time probably just a pusher away.... for a certain lifestyle
A Philosophia of the ongoing time and
05/18/2011 - 09:05
a nice creation in pure simplicity appearance even if very High Horological Application. Nice to discover this unique "Garde-Temps". Best, Liger
hope he will never be deaf (nt)
05/18/2011 - 10:55
so much for exact time telling then... ;-000 (nt)
05/19/2011 - 01:40
Re: Introducing the unique bespoke piece: Philosophia
05/18/2011 - 12:09

I was already enthusiastic at the first presentation, I am not less now. It is a marvellous piece with more than beautiful craft and horology, a "spirit" a "philosophy" like the name said it. Huge congratulations to the colelctor for his idea, his taste, and acquiring such a piece and congrats to Vacheorn Teams which made it real. cheers Francois

Hope the owner will never go blind either - it's a beauty to behold!
05/19/2011 - 01:46
Simple yet sophisticated. Really grandoise though I could live without the imprint on the dial. Very original and well thought out (and executed) time-telling (pun intended) machine of the highest standard with a twist
the story behind it is that the owner originally didn't want hands but
05/19/2011 - 07:42
just a tourbillon! VC thought it would be too gimmicky and convinced the owner to at least accept one hand, with a 24 hour cycle
So basically, all he wanted to do was just listen to his beauty
05/19/2011 - 14:32
chime or tell him the time. Now, that is an alternative way to tell the time
Re: Introducing the unique bespoke piece: Philosophia
05/21/2011 - 18:39
I absolutely love Philosophia! It's so simple, yet so stunning.
05/26/2011 - 01:58
Perhaps this one-handed AP Philosopher model from the early 1980's provided a conceptual starting point...