Since the most ancient civilizations, man has sought to measure the passing of time based on periodic phenomena. The Reference 57260 watch is the perfect illustration of this quest for precision and knowledge in time measurement.
Hours, minutes, seconds, average solar time (regulator)
The mean time display is of regulator type, with separate hours, minutes and seconds turns, as seen in the so-called precision regulator clocks that are used in observatories and laboratories.
The tourbillon is essentially composed of a platform and a cage that carry the escapement mechanism and which perform one rotation per minute. In the three-shaft tourbillon, as its name suggests, the escapement turns on three planes at the same time —a remarkable and extraordinary feat at the service of high watchmaking precision. Patented in 1801 by the famous watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet, the first tourbillon mechanism was specifically aimed at improving the precision of pocket watches that were generally worn vertically, in one's pocket, and which were therefore highly sensitive to the effects of gravity. This classic one-shaft tourbillon already compensated most effectively for errors caused by gravity by making the balance turn on its own axis and making it assume every possible vertical position in the space of 60 seconds. With the three-shaft tourbillon, the errors produced by gravity are eliminated in all positions as the balance, spring and escapement are in constant movement and never stop in any position whatsoever. As such, the effects of the Earth's pull are regularized —made constant— and the watch can be regulated so that the time is never affected by random changes in the position of wear.
The ultra-light aluminum cage that carries the escapement is constructed in such a manner as to ingeniously incorporate the Vacheron Constantin Maltese cross logo. As the tourbillon rotates, the cross appears in its entirety every 15 seconds.
Tourbillon regulator with spherical balance spring
The spherical balance spring used in the armillary sphere tourbillon lends a striking visual effect. It echoes the entirely spherical design of the tourbillon but, as well as showcasing the construction, it also performs a function. It was invented in 1814 by the famous Swiss watchmaker Jacques-Frédéric Houriet who demonstrated that a spherical balance spring would deliver the best isochronism. In watchmaking, the aim is to create "isochronous" watches, or watches whose precision is not affected by variations in the range or distance traveled by the balance; such variations take effect when the watch is discharged. When the barrel spring is completely wound the balance oscillates with the widest swing; as the power reserve depletes, the amplitude naturally decreases. In order to obtain isochronism, it is necessary to create a balance spring whose frequency is independent of the amplitude. As Houriet demonstrated, the spherical spring is the most effective; since it is very difficult to manufacture, however, it is only found in the most sophisticated watches. In this watch the escapement pallets are made of diamond and are highly durable yet low in friction. These pallets are extremely difficult to produce and very few watches have them, which is why they are a historic first for Vacheron Constantin and for watchmaking in general.
Twelve-hour time zone, second hours and minutes time zone
This innovative mechanism presents world time in a user-friendly, at-a-glance format with a compact 12-hour display. It is no longer necessary to devote the entire surface of the dial to the world time function, which consequently may be combined with several other complications. As with all great innovations, simplicity of presentation and ease of use conceal an ingenious concept: a genuinely innovative handling of world time, and the first breakthrough since the 1930s.
In a function integrated into this brand new Vacheron Constantin model, the second time zone is displayed in 12-hour format on a small dial separated from the main dial. It has only 12 Roman numerals instead of the 24 for the day and night hours seen on most world time watches.
Twenty-four-city display for each time zone
An aperture is the perfect substitute for the ring of cities of the Cottier system. It displays a three-letter abbreviation for one of the 24 cities in the selection, with the time difference compared to GMT represented as plus or minus.
Day/night indication for 12-hour time zone
This function is complemented by a separate aperture that indicates whether it is day or night in the selected city.
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