Vacheron Constantin, the prestigious watch manufacturer, responded to a client’s request to create a unique timepiece that would seamlessly integrate with a bespoke Rolls-Royce Coachbuild commission named the Rolls-Royce Amethyst Droptail. This exclusive Les Cabinotiers Armillary Tourbillon timepiece was meticulously designed in collaboration with Rolls-Royce to perfectly complement the interior of the Amethyst Droptail, which featured a Calamander Light open-pore wood veneer fascia.
Vacheron Constantin’s recent creation marks the second time the esteemed watchmaker has designed a dashboard clock, with the initial instance dating back nearly a century to 1928. While this collaboration between luxury car brand Rolls-Royce and prestigious Swiss watchhouses isn’t entirely unprecedented, the partnership has taken on new dimensions in recent years. Notably, in 2021, a collaboration with Bovet resulted in a unique timepiece being seamlessly integrated into a car’s dashboard.
Just a few days ago, Rolls-Royce unveiled the first of four Rolls-Royce Droptail “La Rose Noire”, featuring an exceptional Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore timepiece mounted on a bespoke holder, seamlessly integrated into the dashboard.
However, the pinnacle of these collaborations is undoubtedly the current partnership with Vacheron Constantin. This new endeavour represents the most intricate and opulent execution of a timepiece integrated into an automobile’s dashboard.
The creation of this timepiece marked a significant achievement for both Vacheron Constantin and Rolls-Royce, combining the worlds of high watchmaking and luxury automobiles. The challenge was to craft a watch that not only aesthetically matched the interior of the car but also met rigorous engineering standards for durability and shock resistance.
Vacheron Constantin’s master watchmakers and the Rolls-Royce Coachbuild design team worked closely together to ensure the timepiece’s shapes, materials, and colours harmonized with the environment. The resulting timepiece was housed within an elegant, fully integrated yet removable holder mechanism that allowed for easy access to winding and setting the watch.
The clock is powered with the exceptional Calibre 1990, an in-house hand-wound movement that incorporated technical advancements inspired by Vacheron Constantin’s own Reference 57260, the world’s most complicated timepiece. This unique calibre featured a bi-retrograde display for hours and minutes, reminiscent of vintage motor car speedometers, and a distinctive “armillary” tourbillon that paid homage to historic scientific instruments. The Calibre 1990 holds four technical patents: the instantaneous retrograde system, the escapement collet, the tourbillon carriages (which rotate every 15 seconds to form a Maltese cross motif), and the diamond-coated silicon pallet-lever.
To accommodate the watch’s integration into the car’s fascia, Vacheron Constantin’s mechanical engineers developed a specialized holder mechanism that met the specific dimensions of the Amethyst Droptail’s compartments. This holder mechanism allowed the watch to be rotated for easy winding and admiring the movement’s reverse side.
The attention to detail extended to the finishing of both the timepiece and the holder. The dial of the watch showcased the beauty of Calibre 1990, with a main plate featuring a mauve-coloured NAC galvanic coating that matched the colour of the car’s leather seats. The bridges were intricately bevelled and adorned with a Côtes de Genève pattern in the same mauve hue.
The watch and its accessories were housed in a display case made from the same Calamander Light open-pore wood and Amethyst leather used in the car’s interior. This collaboration between Vacheron Constantin and Rolls-Royce showcased their shared dedication to meeting the highest standards of personalized luxury.
The finished Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Armillary Tourbillon watch was delivered to the client along with the Rolls-Royce Amethyst Droptail on August 24, 2023. This one-of-a-kind timepiece became an essential complement to the car, embodying the union of luxury and precision.
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Brand: Vacheron Constantin
Model: Les Cabinotiers Armillary Tourbillon
Dial: Transparent sapphire crystal and brass rhodium opaline
Case Material: Stainless steel
Case Dimensions: 43.80 mm Diameter, 19.90 mm thickness
Crystal: Sapphire Glass
Case Back: Sapphire Glass
Water Resistance: No
Watch Holder: Stainless steel and 18K white gold hand-guilloché for the background and Maltese cross
Calibre: Vacheron Constantin 1990
Functions: Retrograde hours and minutes, small seconds on tourbillon, armillary tourbillon
Frequency: 2.5 Hz (18,000 Vph)
Power Reserve: 58 Hours
Price: Not available
Limited Edition: Yes, a unique piece