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Jason Pitsch

The Most Complicated Pocket Watch Ever Made

Jason Pitsch

October 12, 2015

Vacheron Constantin has a long tradition of producing tailor-made complicated pocket watches for discerning collectors over its existence, leading up the reference 57260, which as you may already know, is currently the most complicated pocket watch ever made.

Prior to the creation of Ref. 57260, for an unnamed client in 2015, there were four notable collector’s who had one-off complicated pocket watches created by Vacheron Constantin, starting with James Ward Packard (1918), and followed by King Faud I (1929), King Farouk of Egypt (1946), and Count Guy de Boisrouvray (1948).


Needless to say, one of Vacheron Constantin’s many specialities includes creating one-of-a-kind timepieces for wealthy collectors.

Of all the complicated pieces the manufacture has commissioned over their history, none can match the sheer amount of time, effort, and expense required to create this extraordinary horological masterpiece.


It took 3 master watchmakers and 8 years to produce the 57260. Further, the 2800 components were entirely hand decorated by one single master watchmaker, using traditional finishing techniques such as beveling, chamfering, circular graining, “Côtes de Genève” decoration, and more.

An unprecedented timepiece such as this naturally requires a case of unprecedented proportions, and accordingly the white gold case required to house the massive mechanical movement, which has 242 jewels, 5 plates, and double dials, is an expansive 98 mm in diameter by 50 mm thick and weighs close to 1000 grams (over 2 lbs).


This is a record breaking timepiece, and here are all 57 functions grouped by family: Time functions (6), Perpetual calendar functions: Gregorian and Hebraic (15), Astronomic calendar functions (9), Lunar calendar function (1), Religious calendar function (1), Chronograph (3 column-wheels) functions (4), Alarm functions (6), Westminster Carillon striking functions (8), Further functions (7). View all of the functions HERE.

Instead of listing each and every function, we will highlight a few the most interesting and unique functions.

First, there is a world’s first mechanical Hebrew calendar, which unlike a Gregorian calendar (also included), it calculates the date based on the 19-year Metonic lunisolar cycle, which you can read more about HERE.

Second, is a so-called “detached” split-seconds chronograph, which consists of 3 column-wheels and results in another complication never before seen in the watch world, which you can learn more about HERE.


Finally, in our opinion, the third highlight area of the watch functionality is its timekeeping regulator which utilizes a three-shaft tourbillon with a spherical balance-spring. Read more about it HERE.

The Vacheron Constantin 57260 is obviously not something that will ever reach the masses, nor will any timepiece from a haut de gamme watchmaker, however, like any concept watch, this knowledge gained from creating such a technical timepiece will surely result in additional advances that could ultimately end up in more attainable timepieces within Vacheron Constantin, and even at other brands within the Richemont group.

Watch a video of the Vacheron Constantin 57260 HERE.

Horology, Vacheron Constantin

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