The new and the old, horological advancements combined with the oldest craftsmanship have created the most complicated timepieces known to man. The diversity of the watch models include those which simply display hours, minutes, and seconds to multifaceted creations. Current versions contain various features which include moon phase changes, calendars, stop-watch functionality as well as a tourbillon regulator. The tourbillion regulator is a mechanical device which consists of a rotating cage that carry's the balance and the escapement within a watch.
Every year since 1948, students from the University of Geneva faculty of science receive an annual prize which is given away by the Swiss watch brand. In 2006, the Vacheron Constantin Prize was awarded to Miss Celine Lichtensteiger for a Ph D thesis entitled, "Ferroelectricity at the Nanoscale: the Study of Size Effects in Lead Titanate Thin Films." For her remarkable research, she recieved a ladies Overseas watch at Vacheron Constantin's manufacturing plant in Plan-les-Ouates. These watches are the oldest and most prestigious watches, which represent eminence and elegance.
The thorough research of Lichtensteiger focused on the occurrence of objects on a nano scale and helped aid in the comprehension of ferroelectricity. Ferroelectricity is a property observed by specific nonconducting crystals that demonstrate impulsive electric divergence (the separation of a positive and negative electric charge, which makes one side of positive and the opposite negative) which is inverted in the direction by applying an electric field. To place the nano scale into perspective, one nanometer is equivalent to only one billionth of meter! A real world application of the nanoscale can be found in measuring a single human hair which equals approximately 10,000 nanometers. On an even smaller scale, an atom is one quarter of a nanometer. Lichtensteiger was working on an extreme molecular level to obtain her discoveries.
The roots for rewarding an individual for work in mathematics, astronomy or physical sciences can been found in the history of the brand itself; with the founder. He was an innovator who was dazzled by the scientific technologies of his period. Also, within the history of the company is Georges-Auguste Leschot who created the machines which manufactured interchangeable parts which were used to run the watches. These interchangeable parts assisted in the movement of of a watch. Although not to the nano level, these parts were also quite small which may have initially made them difficult to manufacture. Even today, the company is an innovative and progressive leader in watch technology which still makes them number one, even after a quarter of a millennium!
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