Minute repeaters and striking/chiming watches are most sought after horological art pieces thanks the complexity involved in the manufacturing as well as the acoustic function incorporated in such timepieces to indicate the time with sounds. Very small numbers of Swiss manufactures are perfected the art of producing minute repeaters and striking watches.
The minute repeater watch was invented before the advent of electricity in order to “sound” the time at night. Pressing a pusher or pulling a slide piece enables the watch to strike the hours, quarters and minutes on two or three gongs.
Initially, this technique was applied to pocket-watches, but it is now used in wristwatches which are smaller and comprise more complications and thus less space, as well as often being watertight. This means there is far less air being set into vibrations and poorer transmission of this vibration to outside the watch. One may sometimes wish to hear the sound more clearly.
To enjoy the acoustic function of these watches, the Switzerland based company JMC Lutherie SA offers resonance holders, made using resonance spruce and lutherie techniques, are full-fledged instruments in which the watch plays the musician.
The goal is not just to amplify the sound, but to make it rounder, warmer, more precise, and to reveal all the subtle charm of the chime. This approach serves to amplify all the sounds and all the details. The resonance holder reveals in full measure the beauty and splendour of the chime of minute repeater watches, to the delight of all collectors.
The Risoud Forest, the largest single wooded stretch in Europe, is world-renowned for its resonance spruce. Even Stradivarius is said to have used wood from this region. Once felled, the trunk is sawn into quarters, so as to slow down hygrometric exchanges and thereby improve the long-term stability of the material.
After being stocked vertically, the quarters are left to dry and then cut for several years of storage before use. This process, along with a rigorous selection procedure, guarantees resistance to the climate prevailing on any continent. The luthier can then begin his work. He curves the soundboards, positions the bracings, sculpts the frets, glues, shapes, listens, scallops, senses and works with its living membranes, bringing them to a state of extreme perfection.
He makes them as light as possible to ensure ideal vibration and thus reveal even the most tenuous sounds, while ensuring they are sturdy enough to withstand all manner of trials. The secret lies in the transmission of the vibration between the vibrating element (a string, a watch, or a music box mechanism) and the soundboard.
JMC Lutherie SA brilliantly combines the exceptional resonance spruce and traditional lutherie techniques with cutting edge technologies and composite materials, thereby rooting its approach to lutherie firmly in the 21st century.
Resonance holders for striking watches
These holders for striking watches have been specially developed to reveal the beauty and all the musical dimensions of minute repeater watches thanks to the exceptional Risoud resonance spruce.
Simply installing the watch on the resonance holder and activating it enables listeners to benefit from amplified sound which becomes truly musical. The sound is not only significantly more powerful, but also filled with emotion. The resonance holder enables one to hear each detail of the vibrations: technically accomplished watches thereby reveal their perfection, whether in terms of the cadence of the chime, the melodious nature of the tune, or the duration of the sound.
These holders may be fitted with mini-sensors that can be connected to the resonance wood Soundboard loudspeaker, and thus enable clients to feel the vibrations from inside. The musicality thus experienced is truly unforgettable. These musical instruments create a poetic and intensely moving effect. These resonance holders are authentic musical works of art.
JMC Lutherie SA is a lutherie maker based in the Vallée de Joux, Switzerland. In addition to resonance holders for striking watches, it also makes guitars and loudspeakers in resonance wood and offers its services in making sound truly musical. Its technical feats are masterminded by the talented and famous luthier Jeanmichel Capt, a worthy heir to the creative inventors of the Vallée de Joux. Building on 35 years of experience in creating exceptional guitars, he reinvents and applies the art of lutherie to many different fields.
The types of wood used to create the resonance holders are those traditionally used by the luthier: resonance spruce from the Risoud Forest, as well as Swiss curly maple and walnut wood. The Risoud Forest is certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), the PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) and COBS (Swiss Wood Certificate of Origin).
JMC Music of Time for Vacheron Constantin
The Music of Time is a resonance holder for striking watches serving to reveal the musical sound of these watches. In addition to increasing the volume of the chime, the resonance spruce that is used along with the lutherie techniques enhances the striking gongs with a sense of warmth, roundness and precision.
The Music of Time is made from the three materials used by luthiers to make stringed instruments. The holder itself is a cylinder into which may be fitted watches of all sizes with leather straps or metal bracelets. This cylinder is slightly flattened, thus ensuring a perfect hold as well as improved transmission of the vibration. It is crafted from over 350 year-old resonance spruce which acts as the instrument’s vibrating membrane. It is the vibration of the watch as picked up by the resonance wood that is thereby amplified.
The holder is placed on a stainless steel stem which may be pointed in various directions. The base is made from European curly maple, another type of wood used in particular for violin back boards. The tube is closed by an open worked rosette in Macassar ebony, installed at the opening of the Music of Time. It was inspired by the rosette on a lute which is often topped by a wooden lacework motif.
The Music of Time may be considered as an audible display, by enabling the watch installed on it in order to benefit from the amplifying and magnifying effect on the sound which thus becomes truly musical. It may also be held in the hand for a more sensual feel of the vibration and a more playful approach to the sound. It is in the latter mode that it is the most effective in terms of amplification.
JMC Resonance Cylinder for Breguet
This extremely pure resonance symbol stems from an invention enabling easy installation of striking watches. The watch is beautifully highlighted and can become a musician once installed on the resonance cylinder.
This striking watch support must be considered a full-fledged musical instrument. Its cut-off shape enables it to easily adapt to all wristwatches, with a natural tightfit effect that ensures enhanced transmission of the vibration.
This cylinder is made from lutherie wood (resonance spruce and curly maple), all from Switzerland. The holder in curly maple (the type of wood notably used for the back board of a violin) is sculpted to ensure optimally close contact with both the cylinder and the underlying surface of the presentation box.
It is assembled with special lutherie glues and the object as a whole is graced with a classic “luthier” finish. This cylinder serves to reveal the full musicality of a striking watch and incorporates the same range of authentic values.
Pulsograph Showcase for Breguet
The Pulsograph showcase has been developed by several partners especially for Breguet. It is a brown monolith topped by a dedicated transparent watch display case. The showcase also serves to enable observers to hear the sound of the watch by capturing the vibrations transmitted by the crown. This is made possible by the Soundboard, the resonance wood loudspeaker integrated into the front of the monolith.
The sound is extremely clear and pure without the intervention of any microphone. Once the product is visible, a special disc is fitted onto the watch crown and enables one to hear the ticking of the timepiece. Each product has a particular resonance, from the ultra-thin watch to the skeletonised tourbillon model. When a minute-repeater or striking (petiteor grande sonnerie) model is placed in the transparent display case, the quality of the sound is such that it can be perfectly heard from several metres away.
The vibrations are picked up and amplified by fixing a piezoelectric disc onto the watch crown, which is the most sensitive part of a timepiece. Each movement of the parts inside the watch emits vibrations. This disc serves to filter the “interesting” vibrations (the shocks sustained by the regulating organ, the escape-wheel, the lever and the balance-and-spring), and these vibrations are then amplified and diffused by the Soundboard.
Other vibrations could be chosen, but the ticking sound is the most understandable and evocative. No microphone is used, but the vibrations are carefully handled in terms of selecting and amplifying them. Resonance wood is chosen in order to keep the sounds as natural as possible.
Additional functions of the Pulsograph
– Internal clock serving to control one upward/downward motion at a specific time of day.
– Automatic upward/downward motion at each chosen second, minute or hour.
– Adjustment of the sound volume with ON/OFF switch.
JMC “piano” Resonance Box for Audemars Piguet
TheAudemars Piguet Resonance Boxhas been designed right down to its smallest details in order to amplify the extremely faint sound of a striking or chiming watch. The latter’s residual vibration as emitted by its case is infinitely small. This technical feat has been achieved by means of several acoustic amplification techniques.
First of all, the resonator is composed of two extra-thin soundboards in resonance spruce, supported by a side board and connected by a sound post. A cross-bracing in quarter-sawn spruce glued to these two soundboards enhances the high notes generated by the striking watch.
Three strings tuned to the frequencies of the watch enhance its sustain, meaning giving added length to the very short sound of the gongs, while adding a decorative and playful touch to the object. The strings rest against a bridge and ensure improved contact between the soundboard and bridge. A watch-shaped holder is fitted on the bridge and bears the watch. This support is precisely cut out the size of the watch in order to ensure the closest possible contact.
The watch is given additional gravity so as to improve the transmission of the vibration to the soundboards, by means of an abutment fitted to the cover of the resonance box. The weight of the cover is thus transmitted to the watch. The cover serves a second function, since when it is opened towards listeners, it projects the sound in their direction.
The piano itself or the exterior was crafted in mahogany by talented cabinet-maker and marquetry specialist Stéphane Lassueur. The resonator was thus conceived as a musical instrument in its own right.
More than a mere amplifier, the resonator actually improves the quality of the sound thanks to its conception and the choice of materials. It moves away from the “on/off” dimension and exercises a more subtle influence. This object is at once artistic, hand-crafted, poetic and functional. Based on tried and trusted techniques, this novel creation really plays on the heart-strings.
JMC Resonance Holder for Pierre de Roche
The resonance holder for Pierre de Roche watches is designed as a full-fledged musical instrument. It features the types of wood used by the best luthiers and is built like a guitar soundboard. It is crafted from the exceptional resonance spruce of the Risoud Forest, known for centuries for its excellence response to vibrations.
It is strongly arched in order to facilitate fitting the watch which features the diameter of a pocket watch but is fitted on a strap. The base is made from Swiss walnut wood. This resonance holder serves to fully reveal the musicality of the striking watch and incorporates the same range of authentic values.
Soundboard JMC All Black for Hublot
This special series was created for Swiss luxury watch maker Hublot. For the first time, this soundboard, which offers exceptional, unique sound quality, is combining the high tech materials Nomex and carbon with famed 350-year old Swiss spruce resonance wood.
This speaker allows music to be heard and felt at virtually the same volume across the entire open space thanks to its omni-directional plane wave, just like a musical instrument. In fact, it is actually the membrane of the spruce tone wood starting to vibrate which literally “plays” the music, giving a real feeling of being at a concert or having musicians in the room. A base has been specially designed to facilitate installation and export to all countries.
This tone wood speaker combines the tradition of centuries-old traditional lute-making techniques and the latest audio technologies, validated at the EPFL technical university and the HEIG-VD engineering school. The result is perfectly in line with the concept of fusion which is so dear to Hublot.
This stand for striking watches has been specially developed to reveal the beauty and all the musical dimensions of minute repeater watches thanks to the exceptional Risoud resonance spruce, known for centuries for its excellent response to vibrations. One need only fit a watch onto the Risoud Metronome and activate it in order to enjoy an amplification of the sound that thus becomes truly musical.
Not only is the sound significantly more powerful, but also emotionally charged. The resonance stand enables listeners to hear every detail of the vibrations; watches representing major technical feats thereby demonstrate the full measure of their perfection in terms of rhythm, melody, as well as duration of the chime.
The wristwatch simply slides onto the cone. Its own weight automatically presses against the opening in the “coat” (membrane) of the Risoud Metronome, and activating it transforms it into an “acoustic cathedral”. The stand may also be removed from its base to enable manual listening to a pocket-watch for example, or for a more playful and sensual use.
The cloak” or membrane of the Risoud Metronome is made from Swiss resonance spruce, while the “cap” is made from European walnut wood, and the stem from gilt brass. The base is engraved with the inscription in French “Le coeur de l’arbre touche le coeur de l’homme” (“The heart of the tree touches the human heart”).
The downward-pointing cone shape facilitates fitting the watch in place and ensures great stability. The opening enables even better diffusion of the sound, spread over the entire surface of the membrane. The pyramid-shaped presentation box, made in leather with a suede inner lining, opens from the front and is fitted with a leather carrying strap.
JMC Risoud Clarinet
The Risoud Clarinet is a resonance holder for striking watches that serves to reveal all dimensions of the musicality of minute repeater watches. This technical feat is crafted in solid resonance spruce, meticulously turned and capped on either side by two Swiss walnut wood end pieces.
Its dedicated stand, also made from Swiss walnut wood, serves to keep the Risoud Clarinet in a horizontal position. The Clarinet may also be held in the hand for a more playful approach.
JMC Resonance Tray
This Resonance Tray may be used by any collector to reveal the sound of his striking wristwatches or pocket watches, as well as by any watchmaker who could place his movements on it and listen to the chime. The top soundboard in composite resonance spruce and Nomex honeycomb is literally suspended to ensure enhanced control of the response of the top, and everything is securely held in place by the Swiss plane wood frame.
This creation is inspired by the system used to suspend the JMC Soundboard loudspeakers. The aim is to make the resonance spruce soundboard vibrate freely, with the vibration of the watch being transmitted via its case and its own weight. This holder adapts easily to all watches and is conceived as a musical instrument in its own right.
About JMC Lutherie SA
JMC Lutherie SA is a Swiss manufacturer of acoustic speakers in tonewood, resonance supports for striking watches and guitars. It is based in the Vallée de Joux, located in the Swiss Jura and the historical cradle of Fine Watchmaking.
Born from the founders’ shared desire to share their passion for music and to promote the rich treasures of the Risoud Forest which harbours the resonance spruce, it was created in 2005 by master-luthier Jeanmichel Capt and Managing Director Céline Renaud, and now comprises a seven-strong team. The exceptional resonance spruce and lutherie techniques are the beating heart of the company, which conveys an image of authentic values rooted in its magnificent history.
It was in 2005 that 35 year-old Céline Renaud created her company, JMC Lutherie SA, in partnership with Jeanmichel Capt, a gifted guitar builder from the Vallée de Joux. This firm hand-crafts guitars and loudspeakers in particular from 350 yearold resonance spruce trees growing in the Risoud Forest. This bold choice has given rise to a magnificent life project combining her passions for music and nature.
Already nurturing multi disciplinary desires and a passion for fine food, Céline Renaud studied at the Ecole Hôtelière in Lausanne, the renowned hospitality management school. She enriched her career over a ten-year period in the world of luxury watchmaking, where she acquired experience in a variety of fields. First, in marketing and events with the famous Jaeger-LeCoultre brand; then through her involvement in business management within the industrial sector; and finally as head of international financial controlling for Breguet, the flagship watch brand within the Swatch Group. And it was in 2004 that she first met artist and guitar maker Jeanmichel Capt.
When the opportunity arose to found her company in 2005, she did not hesitate a second, opting to trust her intuition. She immediately believed in the luthier skills of Jeanmichel Capt and above all in his immense creativity.
Jeanmichel Capt is the inventor of the Soundboard. He is a sound designer. A worthy heir to the tradition of the famous watchmaking inventors and creators of the Vallée de Joux, Jeanmichel Capt invented and fine-tuned this tone wood loudspeaker that is a full-fledge auditory sculpture. This daring choice stems from a magnificent approach to life guided by a passion for nature, for music and for freedom.
Perhaps it was indeed an extreme taste for freedom that inspired Jeanmichel Capt to build his own guitar 30 years ago. His successive attempts led him to become a self-taught luthier: first by making his own instruments, and then through gaining an in-depth understanding of the noble material represented by resonance wood that delivers such a pure and magnificent sound. No less than 200 guitars have emerged from his workshop, to the delight of connoisseurs.
Jeanmichel Capt has also developed and crafted a number of resonance supports for striking watches for the most prestigious watch brands such as Audemars Piguet, Breguet, Blancpain, Vacheron Constantin.
JMC Lutherie SA
HQ: Route du Risoud 23
Showroom: Route de France 6
PO Box 42
1348 Le Brassus