Vacheron Constantin 57260 Pocket Watch, world’s most complicated watch

Vacheron Constantin Reference 57260 Pocket Watch has 57 distinct complications. This is all packed into a case that is 98 mm (3.86 inches) across and 50.55 mm (1.99 inches) thick. The watch has a solid 18k white gold case and densely packed components inside. It took a team of three watchmakers more than eight years to design and create the 2,800-component Reference 57260 from scratch.

The front of this watch is the side with the gold Roman numerals up top. Starting with the time, the hours and minutes are shown with regulator-style hands, meaning the hours and minutes are on separate axes. These are the wide, curvy blue hands. Looking on the back, you’ll see the three-axis tourbillon housing a special spherical balance spring and escapement. The small gold hands show a second time zone, and there’s also a world-time indicator and day/night indicator to show you whether the world time is showing A.M. or P.M.

There are three full calendar systems in this watch – a standard Gregorian perpetual calendar; a Hebrew perpetual calendar and an astronomical calendar.

There’s also a chronograph, and it’s one that’s a first of its kind. It’s a split-seconds chronograph that uses two hands accurate to one-fifth of a second (33-34) to record the seconds, each with its own column wheel for precise activation. These hands are retrograde, meaning they sweep up and back, instead of all the way around the dial. There’s also a 60-minute counter and a 12-hour counter with a column wheel for timing longer intervals.

Completing the grand complication function trio (calendar, chronograph, chiming) are both alarm and time-striking features. There’s a single gong and hammer alarm with a strike/silence indicator, an alarm-specific power-reserve indicator, a system to keep the power from being overwound, and a choice of having the alarm strike out the time with the grande or petite sonnerie.

There’s a power reserve indicator for the main time-keeping system, a second power reserve indicator for the carillon striking system, a lock to stop the striking, a special winding system to let you power everything up, an indicator to show you what the crown is winding or setting, a multiposition setting system to aligning the hands, and a concealed winding crown just for the alarm.

The Vacheron Constantin Reference 57260 was a special commission by a private collector and is not available for sale. At the request of the client, Vacheron Constantin is not disclosing the exact price, though based on the prices of other custom complicated watches, we estimate the collector is parting with upwards of $5 million.