Now that the dust has somewhat settled a few thoughts on the Ref 57260

Now that the dust has somewhat settled a few thoughts on the Ref 57260


Unless you were away on a distant planet you will have heard by now that Vacheron Constantin presented on Sept 17 the world's most complicated watch. A  piece commissioned 8 years ago by a collector and featuring 57 complications, almost 10 of which had never been seen before in a watch and most of the others executed in a novel way.

However, other than the sheer feat of making this watch here are just some thoughs on it:


1- This is pure watchmaking: there is no artistic crafts or unnecessary embelishments just pure horological art, everything makes sense all the functions and features fit into eachother perfectly and it is amazingly legible

2- In a period where speed is the word there are people who are willing to commission such a piece and other willing to make it and both willing to wait 8 years to finalise it

3- The same year most Cassandras have been announcing the death of mechanical watchmaking due to the arrival of the Apple Watch, Vacheron Constantin has come out with a piece showing that traditional watchmaking is far from dead and on the contrary is here and taking center stage.

4- We had'nt seen anything technically exciting comeing out from the industry since the financial crisis of 2008 and the Ref 57260 will definitely shake the industry and push other brands into searching into new paths and to reinvent themselves.

5- And finally as a long time VC collector and lover I'm proud to think that in a way all of us Vacheronistas were never wrong betting on such a beautiful brand :-)




+++ ))
09/22/2015 - 13:02


All excellent points, Alex
09/22/2015 - 14:53

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this milestone for Vacheron Constantin.  Regarding your last point, I also feel a bit humbled just to be fortunate enough to wear Vacheron Constantin on my wrist on a daily basis, and no more so than now after VC has created such a magnificent piece.  Most days I am wearing an Overseas, the entry level watch from Vacheron Constantin, and the 57260 is literally as far away from entry level as can be. But even the Overseas is quite a special watch and made more so now by the existence of the Tivoli.



+1 on that Robert
09/24/2015 - 12:43


Alex: I remember the first (and only) time I met you in an THL
09/22/2015 - 16:43

dinner in early 2011 in Singapore, I asked you about the 'Tivoli' . Your expression was priceless - it was one of shock as to how I knew about it. (You were not aware that it was mentioned in a Watchtime VC special issue.) smiley

All these years I kept wondering what this Tivoli will be, and I was astounded at what VC came up with.

The 57 complications are so beautifully placed and not cluttered at all.

The use of White Gold is genius. It adds a certain "personality" or "character" or "presence" which at times RG cannot achieve. 

In a sense, the 57260 is the most intelligent 'smartwatch'. It caters to the following roles to the owner:

- "Family head" (has the Habraic Calendar - usually it is the job of the family head to tell the young people in the family the religious / festival dates).

- "Man at the Races or F1 spectator etc" - Split Second Chronograph function.

- "Businessman" - GMT World Time and Business ISO Calendar.

- "Astronomer in him" - The Sky chart / Zodiac and all related complications.

- "Horologist / Musician in him" - Minute Repeater / Chiming functions et al and Tourbillon.

- "Alarm Clock" - Alarm function

...Just to name a few. And not to mention the "Child in him commissioning this and having the joy of ownership. And the 57260 will continue catering to these an other functions hundred years from now as effectively as today.

I agree to all your points.

Also, I admire VC for openly revelaing the names of the three watchmakers who worked on this. VC is not afraid to show the human side of this endevour rather than act all "corporate".

I ve always loved owning and wearing both my VC's (especially my Traditionelle). Maybe now there will be some added pride as I know it is a distant relative of the 57260. Can't wait to the possibility of owning few other VC's. I look forward.


An appreciation, along with a word of caution...
09/22/2015 - 17:48

Anyone who appreciates fine watches cannot be other than deeply impressed with this unique creation. Alex's terse summary is also excellent, and will probably strike a chord in most readers. But while it is undoubtedly true that top-class watchmaking is alive and kicking, and that this watch is a stunning reflection of that fact, I can't help but think about it in a somewhat different light.

A watch such as this can and does inspire dreams, but as a practical matter, of course, it is far, far beyond the means of all but a very small number of people. I bring this up because we are currently living through an absolutely extraordinary period of economic history. It is a period that will, I am quite confident, be long remembered as one of the greatest failed monetary experiments ever. The idea that the way to resolve the biggest debt crisis in modern history was to create many more trillions of Dollars (and Yen, etc.) of credit (i.e. debt) out of thin air, will eventually be understood by all to have been both ludicrous, and destined to fail spectacularly.

Without going too deeply into the nuts and bolts of how and why the current economic system is imploding around us, and is certain to collapse, I'd like to point out that the very same economic bifurcation that has accelerated dramatically in major countries around the world, by which I mean the rich becoming richer and the rest largely becoming poorer, has, and will continue to impact the trajectory and fortunes of the Swiss watch industry.

There will always be very wealthy people who can afford to own exceptional works of art, like the watch in question. Such remarkable pieces also serve valuable purposes in displaying the highest potential of the art of watchmaking, and bringing positive attention to the world of high-end horology, etc. But I believe that there is good reason to be concerned about what is likely to prove to be a contracting market for higher production watches, and what that may portend for manufactures, including V&C.

I am a solely vintage collector, and so that category is much easier for me to read and understand in this context. I don't know enough about the cost structures and marketing strategies connected to contemporary watches to be able to predict with any confidence how well various brands are prepared to deal with what I expect to be an extremely challenging sales environment over the next several years. Superficially, though, my guess is that V&C will fare better than some (if not most), as their contemporary offerings appear to my eye to be more classic and conservative in design, and less about chasing trends than the offerings of some other companies. Their quality, of course, is also of the highest level.

Having said that, I do worry about how the broader industry will navigate the storm that is rapidly approaching, as mechanical watches are, after all, a luxury in this day and age, and given a long, severe recession (which is what we can expect at a minimum, in my view), with stock and property markets crashing rather than levitating, the producers of such luxury items could well be hard hit.

Finally, though it may not sound like it, I am actually an optimistic person, and as such, believe that there will be many opportunities along with the difficulties that invariably arise during economic crises. So perhaps the outstanding creativity shown by V&C in producing this incredible machine will also serve the company well in the troubled waters that lie ahead.

I hope so.


Tony C.

What's the reason which led to name the watch
09/22/2015 - 19:31

Tivoli, Alex? :-)

haha! You'll have to wait for my article :-)
09/23/2015 - 11:01


Dear Godfather
09/23/2015 - 19:11

when your article will be released then?

You know we all long for your articles here heart

in a month or so. Watches and Wonders article 1st :-)
09/24/2015 - 10:25


Thanks Alex, surely it will be worth the wait :-) [nt]
09/24/2015 - 12:29
Did I hear Apple Watch? :-)
09/22/2015 - 19:54

Did I hear Apple Watch? :-)

Exactly my thinking
09/23/2015 - 19:08

Applause for iLarry!  I hate those plastic things no

Great points Alex. It is simply a marvel and the WG sends me
09/22/2015 - 21:28

into orbit with glee. V&C has shown the watch world and true collectors how art and craft can create a wholly integrated marvel of a watch. Congratulations to all that had a hand in this creation. 

The only issue I see is the design of the coat or vest that will be made to house this beauty at a special event. Maybe a special carbon fiber pocket with a velvet lining?!

I hope to see it in the metal someday.


Best to all,



It is truly a masterwork
09/22/2015 - 21:34

I suspect it will be kept in a very safe place... perhaps something MIssion Impossible-esque.

It is truly a masterwork

Not only it is complicated
09/23/2015 - 18:58

but it is also very beautiful, with very elegant dials, with a great mastery of showing all these information in such a small surface.

Nicely said Alex
09/24/2015 - 11:29

This watch is emotionnal for many reasons-As a Vacheron amator and owner it makes even prouder to have a watch of such a company. The most complicated watch in the world by far, an amazing capacity of engineering.-These last years we have seen novelties from different brand, good or not so good, but nothing that clearly state "this is a step in horology history". Nothing comparable to the Grande Complication of the beginning of century, the first Seiko Quartz, the SWATCH, the Patek 89.The apple can definitely not compare to the Seiko or the swatch, sales are a strong indicator here.Maybe I miss some points but I didn't see anything lately, except maybe the "In House" move that change the face of the industry, but nothing that is obvious for the customer.This watch is clearly a step in horology history.-In this pride and competition on Grande Complication, competition that exists since horology exists I think :) , Patek made a statement in 1989  saying "we are the best", in 2015 Vacheron just did the same and says clearly "we are the best". Of course it is Childish, it's not more intelligent than a football game, but God it's good to be on the winner side. :)-it just makes me love and admire horology a bit more.François 

and I definitely hate the spacing missing
09/24/2015 - 11:29