How Grand Are These Complications? | Verve Magazine
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Luxury & Brands
November 03, 2015

How Grand Are These Complications?

Text by Simone Louis

Nothing exemplifies luxury and power better than fine watchmaking, and what’s more powerful than a Grand Complication watch?

The name, itself, illustrates the multifaceted ticker on the wrist or in a pocket of the world’s most influential people – grand. Unrivalled and meritorious, this species of timekeepers is far from your average watch. Embedded in a Grand Complication watch is a rich history of technical precision, artistry and finesse, all at the highest conceivable level. Not many brands can say that they have one in their collection, and the ones that do are those that strive to honour over 200 years of know-how and skill. They enable watch aficionados to own something exclusive, original and extraordinary — a piece that instantaneously becomes the star of any great collection.


Given that such a timepiece is highly complex and incomparable, no written rules or official definitions of it exist,currently. What is unofficially yet commonly accepted is that in order to be able to hold the title of Grand Complication, a watch must feature at least three, if not more, horological complications. These should comprise one of the many types of chronographs (simple, counter, split-second flyback and more), one astronomical complication (that include features like perpetual calendar, moon phases and equation of time) and a striking complication (alarm, minute repeater, passing strike et al).

Unlike most minute repeaters, the Breguet Tradition Répétition Minutes Tourbillon 7087 has hammers that strike vertically from the movement towards the bezel. The watch pays tribute to the company’s history by supplementing the minute repeater with an exquisite tourbillon, and tips its hat to the legendary pocket-repeaters with a bayonet pusher to activate the striking mechanism. All this is enclosed in a contemporary case, decorated with fluting on the caseband.

Boasting a Poinçon de Genève certification, the Rotonde de Cartier Grande Complication Skeleton watch combines the elegance of a platinum case with the excellence of an extra-flat skeleton movement. Undoubtedly the most complex Cartier watch, it showcases fine watchmaking with a perpetual calendar, a flying tourbillon and a minute repeater, housed in a slim 5.49 mm movement.

Featuring an uber cool combination of a perpetual calendar which indicates the day, date, week, moon phases, month and leap years, in addition to a minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph and small seconds at 9 o’clock, the Jules Audemars Grande Complication is the epitome of refinement. Encompassing 52 jewels and 648 parts, its snazzy skeletonised form is enclosed in either a titanium or 18-carat pink-gold case, held in place by a hand-stitched ‘large square scale’ black alligator strap.

Flaunting an elegant finish, the Portugieser Grande Complication transforms the abstract notion of time into a sensory experience, with the clear acoustic tones of its complex minute repeater. This supreme complication is accompanied by chronograph functions, a perpetual calendar with displays for the date, day, month, year, decade and century as well as a perpetual moon phase.

In addition to a combination of cutting-edge mechanical movement, technical performance using carbon fibre and horological expertise, the Monaco V4 Phantom features a sharp design that is unusual for a Grand Complication watch. The name V4 refers to the V-shaped main plate which carries four barrels mounted in two adjacent pairs on ball bearings. Angled at +/-13 degrees, they are reminiscent of the cylinders in a Formula One engine.

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