Chopard L.U.C Strike One Limited Edition in Ethical 18-Carat Rose Gold

Chopard’s new L.U.C Strike One model chimes at the passing of each hour, on a patented monobloc sapphire of which the acoustics have received the artistic endorsement of virtuosos Renaud and Gautier Capuçon.

Equipped with the new L.U.C 96.32-L movement, this refined 40 mm diameter ethical 18-carat rose gold watch is chronometer-certified and bears the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark. Its solid gold ruthenium grey dial is hand-guilloché with a honeycomb motif. With its crown-integrated pusher, its slender 9.86 mm size and its crystal-clear sound, the L.U.C Strike One model endows the passing of time with an elegantly resonant dimension.

Chopard L.U.C Strike One Limited Edition in Ethical 18-Carat Rose Gold

As part of the L.U.C collection’s 25th anniversary celebrations, Chopard Manufacture is laying a new milestone in the history of Haute Horlogerie. Fifteen years after the presentation of its first watch with a striking movement, the collection is renewing the calibre, aesthetics and style of its L.U.C Strike One model.

Chopard Manufacture draws upon the knowledge and experience acquired with its L.U.C Full Strike model, its minute repeater watch launched in 2016 and winner of the “Aiguille d’Or” best-in-show award at the 2017 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, as the L.U.C Strike One becomes the only chiming watch with a sapphire gong directly attached to the crystal.

Chopard L.U.C Strike One Limited Edition in Ethical 18-Carat Rose Gold

The L.U.C Strike One timepiece picks up the aesthetic codes inaugurated with the L.U.C XPS 1860 model, starting with its solid gold dial in ruthenium grey, bearing a snailed rim and a hand-guilloché centre adorned with a honeycomb pattern. The beehive is one of the emblems that Louis-Ulysse Chopard chose to represent his workshops.

At 1 o’clock, the dial features a cut-out revealing the mirror-polished steel hammer that generates the chime through a likewise hammer-shaped opening. The periphery of the dial bears a railway-type minutes track, engraved on the sapphire crystal. Just below this is the element that makes the L.U.C Strike One so exclusive: a monobloc sapphire gong.

Chopard L.U.C Strike One Limited Edition in Ethical 18-Carat Rose Gold

The chime-in-passing mechanism rings out only when the minutes hand reaches 12 o’clock. Twenty-four times a day, on the hour, its hammer is automatically armed and strikes the gong, just once. The sound thus produced resonates alone and must therefore feature exceptional intensity, clarity and length. In this solo performance, the chime represents a distillation of the expertise acquired by Chopard Manufacture in the field of striking mechanisms.

The new L.U.C 96.32-L features the typical architecture of L.U.C calibres, with its automatic winding via a micro-rotor in engraved ethical 22-carat gold. In addition, the Chopard Twin technology, with its double barrel, ensures a 65-hour power reserve even when the chiming mode is activated. This stability demonstrates the quality of Chopard’s developments and its management of energy issues.

Chopard L.U.C Strike One Limited Edition in Ethical 18-Carat Rose Gold

In addition, this calibre boasts a number of new features compared to the first movement with a strikework presented by Chopard Manufacture in 2006. The first is that the pusher controlling the chime, previously located at 10 o’clock, is now integrated into the crown.

It is this pusher that enables the wearer to switch between silence and striking mode, indicated by a gold-ringed aperture at 12 o’clock. More discreet and also more comfortable on the wrist, this layout remains a Chopard-specific feature to date. In addition, the L.U.C 96.32-L movement is thinner than its predecessor, the L.U.C 96.14-L.

This in turn enables the case of the new L.U.C Strike One model to be less than ten mm thick at 9.86 mm, placing it firmly within the tradition of understated elegance characterising the L.U.C collection.

This is also reflected in its grey alligator leather strap with tone-on-tone alligator lining, secured by an ethical 18-carat rose gold pin buckle.

Chopard L.U.C Strike One Limited Edition in Ethical 18-Carat Rose Gold

To optimise and perpetuate the acoustic richness of the monobloc sapphire crystal/gong system derived from the L.U.C Full Strike, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele has initiated a new approach.

He called upon the talents of two soloists (Renaud and Gautier Capuçon) and Professor Romain Boulandet – head of the Applied Acoustics Laboratory at Geneva’s HEPIA engineering school – whose work in an anechoic chamber perfectly isolated from noise pollution has demonstrated that the sound of Chopard’s minute repeater is powerful, harmonious and crystal clear.

The L.U.C. Strike One timepiece benefits from their analysis and their contribution, both scientific and emotional. Thanks to Chopard’s unalterable sapphire gong, the sound of the L.U.C Strike One is unchanging, stemming from the orchestration of complementary talents: Karl-Friedrich Scheufele for watchmaking precision; Renaud and Gautier Capuçon for artistic and emotional endorsement; and Romain Boulandet for scientific expertise.

Technical details

Model: Chopard L.U.C Strike One Limited Edition in Ethical 18-Carat Rose Gold
Ref. 161949-5001

Case
Ethical 18-carat rose gold
Total diameter 40.00 mm
Thickness 9.86 mm
Crown in ethical 18-carat rose gold with L.U.C logo 7.80 mm
Vertical satin-brushed caseband
Polished bezel and case-back, hand-engraved case-back
Exhibition back with sapphire crystal

Movement
Mechanical self-winding L.U.C 96.32-L
Number of components 275
Total diameter 33.00 mm
Thickness 5.60 mm
Number of jewels 33
Frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve 65 hours
Two barrels –Chopard Twin technology
Bridges adorned with the Côtes de Genève motif
Chime in passing
Chopard-patented monobloc sapphire crystal and gong
Balance-spring with Phillips terminal curve
Chronometer-certified by the COSC
Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark

Dial and hands
Dial in ethical 18-carat rose gold obtained by galvanic treatment
Hand-guilloché central medallion with honeycomb motif
Chapter ring with snailed concentric circle pattern
Applied gilded herringbone-type hour-markers
Gilded Dauphine fusée-type hours and minutes hands
Gilded baton-type small seconds hand
Snailed small seconds counter
Railway-type minutes track engraved on the sapphire crystal

Functions and displays
Chime-in-passing mechanism striking Chopard-patented monobloc sapphire crystal/gong system
Central display of the hours and minutes
Small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock
“Chime/silence” aperture at 12 o’clock
Stop-seconds function

Strap and buckle
Strap in hand-sewn grey alligator leather with grey alligator lining
Pin buckle in polished and satin-brushed ethical 18-carat rose gold

Edition
Numbered 25-piece limited edition

Bvlgari Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie

Unveiled during the LVMH Watch Week 2022, this mechanical masterpiece elegantly blends greatest traditions of Haute Horlogerie and Haute Joaillerie with Bulgari’s characteristic Roman style and daring designs.

Adorned with shimmering baguette-cut emeralds and diamonds, this contemporary styled high complication watch incorporates the extremely complex Grande Sonnerie four-gong mechanism.

Bvlgari Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie

The Maison has uncompromisingly committed to an innovation-driven attitude in all its watches, however complex or rare. This philosophy is expressed in the Estetica della Meccanica approach, making even the most extreme and archaic complications relevant and desirable to a new age of cognoscenti and collectors.

As the pioneer of contemporary Haute Horlogerie, Bulgari propels heritage and exquisite savoir faire into the future with this design-driven approach that transforms traditional constraints into exciting opportunities.

Bvlgari Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie

As a chiming watch, the new bejewelled Grande Sonnerie joins the orchestra of the Sinfonia della Meccanica, along with other masterpieces that allows the wearer to experience the wonder of the mechanical heart of the watch through the pure and primordial emotion of sound.

The Grande Sonnerie with four hammers and gongs is considered the queen of complications and is Bulgari’s most complex timepiece to date. The Maison is amongst only a handful of Swiss watchmakers capable of producing a Grande Sonnerie mechanism that sounds the hours, quarters and minutes.

Bvlgari Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie

The watch has a harmonious Westminster chime that can be silenced or activated on demand by the side buttons. The creation is powered by the superlative BVL 703 automatic winding, tourbillon-regulated calibre that is composed of 732 individual components diligently assembled over nine months by one master watchmaker, who also carries out any later adjustments or services.

Bvlgari Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie
The new Octo Roma Grande Sonnerie watch is set with 446 baguette-cut Zambian emeralds and diamonds totalling over 30 carats.

Bvlgari Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie

Crafted in white gold with a sapphire crystal case-back, this outstanding creation reveals a graphic, architectural look featuring a pattern of jointed elements that harmoniously conveys a sense of dynamic lightness and eternal beauty. This one-of-a-kind creation is presented on a green alligator strap to match the emerald-set bezel.

Technical details

Model: Bulgari Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie, reference 103553

Movement
Mechanical self-winding movement, BVL703 calibre with Grande and Petite Sonnerie, 4-hammer Westminster chime, Minute Repeater and power-reserve indicator for the striking mechanism: 24 hours in Grande Sonnerie mode, 28 hours in Petite Sonnerie mode; 21,600 VpH, 82 jewels, 31.50mm diameter, 8.77mm thick. Water-resistant to 3 ATM.

Case and dial
44mm-diameter white gold case, bezel and lugs set with 72 baguette-cut emeralds (~ 7.28 cts) and 374 baguette-cut diamonds (~22.86 cts), 15.42 mm thick, transparent case-back, white gold crown set with baguette-cut diamonds and 1 round rose-cut diamond, baguette-cut diamonds on the dial.

Strap
Green alligator strap with white gold folding clasp.

Edition
Unique piece.

Bvlgari Octo Roma Blue Carillon Tourbillon

The new Octo Roma complication watch by Bulgari unites modern interpretations of two traditional complications: Tourbillon and Carillon.

Redefining watchmaking tradition in a resolutely modernist approach, this timepiece features a highly graphic skeletonised movement with blue bridges. The platinum case is encircled by a blued titanium caseband.

Bvlgari Octo Roma Blue Carillon Tourbillon

It has been designed to amplify the sound rendition and clarity, which is the primary parameter governing the construction of a striking watch. The Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon movement with three hammers, hand-wound calibre BVL428, measures 35 mm in diameter, 8.35 mm thick and comprises a total of 432 components. It is entirely manufactured in-house.

The generous proportions of the case are designed to maximise sound propagation, enabling increased torque from the three-tone construction and greater sound power production. In particular, the caseband is designed to maximise sound and allow it to spread as much as possible. It has cavities inside the design to reduce the amount of metal between the inside and outside, and three openings on the caseband that correspond to the three gongs, thus allowing the sound to exit the chamber.

Bvlgari Octo Roma Blue Carillon Tourbillon

The gongs are attached directly to the body of the case for the most efficient sound transmission and the middle-case is made of titanium to ensure the clearest possible sound diffusion. The back is also hollowed out and redesigned with a titanium grid that protects this resonant area and enables outward transmission of the sound.

The gongs on the watch are hand-crafted in several stages. They are bent and formed by hand before being annealed, or hardened, at a temperature of 900 degrees Celsius, then cleaned before being reheated in a 500-degree kiln, a process that endows the metal with its crystal-clear resonance. Like some components of the striking mechanism, they are drawn out with a file, in order to refine the chords of the chime.

The melodic sequence of this chime with three hammers striking three tones plays the note C for the hours, the notes E D C for the quarters and the note E for the minutes. The mechanism is activated by a pusher on the left side of the caseband.

Bvlgari Octo Roma Blue Carillon Tourbillon

The movement is equipped with one classical barrel ensuring the power reserve of at least 75 hours for the movement at full charge, meanwhile the functioning of the sound mechanism is ensured by a spring which is contained in a barrel-shaped container drilled directly in the bridge.

The architecture of the BVL428 calibre, the cut-out of the bridges and the positioning of the various components are original, contemporary and contrasted in order to reveal the beauty of the mechanism.

The hammers, gongs, tourbillon cage and perforated surfaces are made of alternating polished steels, while the finely worked mainplate and bridges feature an ALD treatment. The high-tech carbon-based vacuum-deposition coating is an elegant deep blue.

Bvlgari Octo Roma Blue Carillon Tourbillon

Secured with a transparent sapphire crystal caseback, its 44mm diameter case is water-resistant to three atmospheres.

The Bvlgari Octo Roma Blue Carillon Tourbillon comes with a blue alligator leather strap secured by a platinum triple-blade folding clasp. This timepiece is available in a limited edition of 30 pieces.

Technical details

Model: Bvlgari Octo Roma Blue Carillon Tourbillon, reference 103627

Movement
Manufacture mechanical manual winding BVL428 calibre, minute repeater, three-hammer carillon tourbillon and power-reserve indicator; 75-hour power reserve, 21,600 VpH, 36 jewels, movement and blue-treated bridges; 35.00 mm diameter, 8.35 mm thick.

Case and dial
44 mm platinum case; open-worked titanium middle-case, specially conceived to enhance sound performances; white gold crown, set with a black ceramic insert; white gold pusher to activate the chime; 12.83 mm thick.

Strap
Blue alligator strap with platinum triple-blade folding clasp.

Edition
30-piece limited edition.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer

Vacheron Constantin’s Les Cabinotiers department has been renowned for bespoke mechanical timepieces that represent the pinnacle of fine watchmaking and artisanal skills of the Geneva Maison.

Among the recent masterpieces from the Les Cabinotiers department, the the Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer is a stand-out horological marvel. A project first undertaken in 2013, this bespoke pocket watch was made according to an esteemed client’s wish. This timepiece embodies art and beauty, exceptional mechanics and technical mastery.

This magnificent micromechanical wonder is equipped with a new in-house movement, Calibre 3761 with Grande Sonnerie and tourbillon, specially developed by the team of watchmakers who designed the Reference 57260 watch.

The craftsmanship adorning this timepiece is equally extraordinary. The case is hand-engraved on its bezel, back and sides using various artisanal techniques, as well as topped by a bow adorned with two hand-sculpted lion heads. The officer-type caseback is stunningly enhanced by a miniature enamel reproduction of Vermeer’s famous painting Girl with a Pearl Earring, created by enameller Anita Porchet.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer
Vacheron Constantin Reference 9910C/000J-B413 Pocket watch, Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer

Les Cabinotiers is a department in its own right within the Manufacture Vacheron Constantin, dedicated to creating single-piece editions. Following in the footsteps of the Geneva master-watchmakers known as cabinotiers in the Age of Enlightenment, the team took up the challenge of giving substance to the dream of a passionate collector who wanted a pocket watch that was technically and aesthetically exceptional, reflecting the noblest traditions of 18th century Haute Horlogerie. To create this highly complex mechanical pocket watch, it took approximately eight years.

The Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer pocket watch is powered by a new 806-part manual winding calibre, regulated by a tourbillon and comprising Grande and Petite Sonnerie Westminster chimes, coupled with a minute repeater. Within the range of watchmaking complications, Grande Sonnerie models have always enjoyed a special aura, not only because of the inherent complexity of these mechanisms striking several gongs, but also because of the musical qualities required.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer

Grande Sonnerie watches have a centuries-old tradition within the Maison. Among the oldest timepieces preserved to date, the first travel clock housing such a complication dates back to 1820. When it comes to pocket watches, the oldest model with Grande and Petite Sonnerie in the Vacheron Constantin private collection is dated 1827.

It was followed by several timepieces equipped with such mechanisms, some of them representing landmark creations endowed with an array of extremely sophisticated complications, such as the “Packard” presented in 1918 or the King Fouad I watch completed in 1929.

More recently, the world’s most complicated pocket watch, Reference 57260, was presented in 2015 on the occasion of the Maison’s 260th anniversary, affirming the expertise of the Maison in the realm of exceptional watchmaking.

The client who commissioned this model wanted a real Westminster chime pocket watch with striking five gongs with five hammers, featuring a Grande and Petite Sonnerie and adorned with miniature enamel. The Calibre 3761 measures 71 mm in diameter and 17 mm thick. It is regulated by a tourbillon majestically enthroned on the lower part of the movement, visible through the caseback and performing one full revolution per minute.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer movement Calibre 3761

The tourbillon is driven by a 2.5Hz balance (18,000 vibrations per hour). The Westminster chime with which the movement is equipped with one of the most complicated striking mechanism to build, as it requires a sequence of five gongs struck in perfect harmony by their respective hammers controlled by four racks.

In wristwatches, Grande Sonnerie (grand strike) mechanisms are usually operated by a single rack, mainly for reasons of miniaturisation. The four rack and snail solution, with four racks for the hour and quarter chimes and one rack for the minute repeater, enhances the sequencing of the melodies and, as an added subtlety, enables different melodies to be played when passing the quarters.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer

The term ‘Westminster chime’ refers to the world-famous bells of Big Ben, the British Tower of Parliament in London: a four-bar melody consisting of four notes played at different frequencies. In “Grande Sonnerie” mode, the watch chimes the quarters in passing, with the hour repeated at each quarter, meaning three bars of the Westminster melody followed by five single notes for 5.45 am.

In “Petite Sonnerie” mode, it strikes the quarters at each change of quarter without repeating the hours; and at each change of hour, it strikes the fourth quarter – “the carillon” – as well as the hours. The strikework can be activated at any time by means of the slide on the side of the watch. The watch then functions as a minute repeater that chimes the quarters, minutes and hours in sequence. The selector switch positioned at 9 o’clock thus offers three possible modes.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer

In “Sonnerie” (strike) mode, the watch is automatically activated each time the quarters change, like a clock. In “Night Silence” mode, a special feature specifically developed and adapted to this 3761 calibre according to the time zone chosen by the customer, the alarm is deactivated between 11 pm and 9 am, thus saving energy as well as ensuring peace and quiet at night. The third and last “Silence” mode completely suspends the striking mechanism.

A second selector, positioned between 10 and 11 o’clock, serves to switch from Grande Sonnerie to Petite Sonnerie as preferred. The two barrels ensure an autonomy of approximately 16 hours for the musical mechanism in “Grande Sonnerie” mode and 80 hours for the time indications, with stable torque guaranteed until the end of the power reserve.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer movement Calibre 3761

Calibre 3761 is equipped with a centripetal strike governor ensuring perfect regularity of the musical sequences, of which the notes must be both distinctly audible and pleasing to the ear. The system is characterised by a pair of weights whose very special shape has been optimised so as to generate a kind of “engine-braking effect” – by centripetal force – on the regulator’s pivot axis, thereby evening-out the energy released by the barrel.

This unique and original device is also perfectly silent. In another special feature regarding the flow of time, the calibre houses a double-wheel system with clearance adjustment. Given the size of the hands, in order to avoid any potential jerking of the seconds hand positioned at 6 o’clock, such a mechanism ensures its smooth flow thanks to a system based on two coaxial toothed wheels linked by a spring serving to eliminate gear play.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer

This Les Cabinotiers model demonstrates high standards and attention to detail in terms of movement finishing. All the components are thus hand-finished – from the completely engraved balance bridge to the bridges buffed with diamond paste to achieve a mirror-polished finish, as well as the galvanic treatment of the plates adorned with Côtes de Genève and featuring a soft champagne colour – creating an overall effect evoking the noblest watchmaking traditions.

The work on the ratchet wheel and the two barrel wheels is an excellent example of these meticulous tasks. The wheels first underwent surface treatment in the form of sandblasting and then sunburst finishing, before the teeth were glazed on all five gear portions. This type of finishing consists of chamfering the teeth and giving them a mirror-polished finish on the flat parts, a skill formerly used in watchmaking and that the Maison is committed to preserving. A week of patience and meticulous care was needed to decorate these three components.

The tuning of the gongs also requires a perfectionist’s spirit. First tested before being cased-up, they are shaped in such a way as to obtain the right note for each of them. This inevitably requires touching up with a file to achieve a perfect sound. There can however be surprises once the chiming mechanism is cased up. On this model, two of the five original gongs had to be replaced for the sake of harmony. By modifying the steel alloys, the sound of the two new gongs acquired a more crystal-clear entirely in tune with the other three.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer

This “tuning” of the Grande Sonnerie thus requires several successive casing-up procedures, since the mechanism has to be removed for any adjustments during the “trial runs” of the mechanism. These are indeed not the only elements of the assembled movement that undergo retouching during these various phases, which is why the latter take place even before the case is decorated. An additional difficulty with this single-piece edition was that it was impossible to case up the entire finished movement and part of the final assembly had to be done directly inside the case.

Given the level of finishing and decoration of each component, including the case, as well as the fact that any handling manipulation could potentially impair the quality, the ten operations involved in fitting the calibre – which had to be removed the same number of times for retouching – followed by the final assembly required an uncommonly deft touch. In the end, a very small team of specialised watchmakers conducted the making of this Calibre 3761, from the development, manufacturing and finishing of the various components to the final assembly and casing-up of the movement.

The client expressed the wish that the cover of the officer-type caseback should feature a miniature enamel painting by enameller Anita Porchet. The work chosen was Girl with a Pearl Earring, painted circa 1665 by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer

Above and beyond the challenge of reproducing the work of a great master, the size of the 98 mm-diameter surface implied additional difficulties. This size of watch, corresponding more to that of historical carriage watches than to a pocket model, requires a degree of dexterity all the more accurate in that the slightest irregularity is glaringly obvious.

The result is reminiscent of the grand miniature enamel painting tradition in which Geneva came to specialise. Acknowledged since the late 16th century for its production of high-quality enamels, Geneva in fact lent its name to several terms referring to the quality of the work of its craftsmen. “Geneva enamels”, a term commonly used since that time, refers to painted enamels covered with a flux known as the “Fondant de Genève”.

This technique consists of adding a final transparent and colourless protective coating to the layers of vitrified enamel, thereby giving brilliance and depth to the artist’s work. This invention greatly benefited the timepieces of the period, which were subjected to repeated friction as pocket watches.

Only a few rare master enamellers still master these techniques. One need only think of the fact that a single layer of enamel on the young girl’s oriental turban requires at least two weeks of work given the size of the model.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer

The colour palette is similarly complex, notably including a composition of seven shades to obtain black, as well as 20 or so firings in the kiln required to stabilise the colours. In all, seven months of intermittent work were necessary to bring this portrait to life. The research and development work – notably relating to the pigments and enamels to be used – began in 2018 and the final result was completed in 2020.

While the decoration of watches and clocks using the various enamelling techniques strongly contributed to the reputation of the Fabrique de Genève which encompassed all the watchmaking and jewellery trades in the 18th century, the term “Geneva enamels” refers above all to enamel miniature painting.

This process consists of painting colours – based on metallic oxides ground to powder and then mixed with an oil-based binder – onto a layer of white enamel coating a copper or gold leaf base. Much like in gouache or oil painting, the master artisan then applies colours to a canvas, enabling a meticulous depiction – these days under a binocular microscope – of even the smallest details. After each phase, the colours are stabilised by successive firings in the kiln, with no chance of touch ups.

The main watch dial is Grand Feu enamelled in an eggshell colour with blue enamelled Roman numerals.

The style of the engravings adorning the case was carefully studied by Vacheron Constantin’s engraver in order to blend harmoniously with Vermeer’s painting. After several proposals and discussions with the client, she chose a main ornamental theme composed of acanthus leaves running along scrolls and flowers with a pearl heart. This motif echoes the theme of The Girl with the Pearl Earring with its classical and feminine decoration.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer

The talents of Vacheron Constantin’s master-engraver have created a visually striking result. Her work began by outlining the décor using a scriber. She then proceeded to create a champlevé effect by flat-hollowing around the motifs, creating volume and depth by carving them with a burin.

Observation and analysis of the pattern is essential to understand the volumes before cutting into the metal. To keep the rhythm and flexibility of the acanthus leaves along the accompanying line, the curves must be stretched. The facets and stripes are then cleaned and polished. This work requires time and patience.

Polishing is indeed a delicate operation to find the right balance between the shimmer of the metal and the volumes of the sculpture which lose their dynamic appeal if they are too rounded. In order to accentuate the shadows and to add details to the leaves and flowers, slender hollow lines are made on each of them using the fine line engraving technique involving incising or hollowing out the material.

The last operation, the point-by-point hand-chasing of the background, accentuates the contrast between the matt chased champlevé surface and the polished motifs. This operation improves legibility and highlights the decoration by its shimmering appearance. Chasing creates a decoration or a texture by striking the material, unlike engraving and sculpture which involving removing material.

The adornment of the case middle is further emphasised by a double ‘pearl’ border, a reference to the painting by Johannes Vermeer. The creation of this border begins with an even distribution of engraved squares running around the bezel and caseback. Then the engraver transforms these squares into half-beads using a beading tool with a spherically hollowed tip leaving an imprint serving to form the half-beads of metal.

Handling this instrument requires a steady, rhythmical touch. The small 0.8 mm beads are then polished by hand using a brush coated with diamond paste. The effect must be regular, while maintaining the personal deft touch that gives life to the result thanks to similar yet unique reflections. This beaded or ‘pearl’ decoration that was particularly in vogue in the early 20th century requires peerless mastery and dexterity.

Like an extension of this delicate craftsmanship performed on the case middle, the bow is a work of art in itself with its two roaring lions. At the client’s request, these three-dimensional ronde bosse sculptures are inspired by classical statues. Incredibly realistic, sculpted in a block of gold, they embody a rare degree of mastery.

Before working the material in its raw state, the Vacheron Constantin engraver made several 3D prints to determine the right volumes that would enable her to express her art. To craft the lions’ heads, which are similar yet not identical in terms of their manes, she drew with a tracing point the outlines of the two profiles, from the front and from above. It is above all a question of understanding the volumes of the head in three dimensions, before starting the sculpture, which gradually makes her lose the previously traced reference points.

The head of the animal must be imprinted in her mind as an infallible reference point throughout the process in order to give it life and character. Observation and precision are essential in creating such an animal sculpture whose expression can be totally distorted by an excessively strong touch.

The engraver first used a milling cutter to rough out the material and then several burins for increasingly fine and accurate work. The details of the satin-brushed, matt and polished textures were obtained using specific tools, some created for the occasion. A total of five months of extremely meticulous craftsmanship was required to engrave and sculpt the various elements of the pocket watch.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer Caseback view movement Calibre 3761

In the interests of safety, particular attention was paid to the design of the hinged officer-type caseback. An internal mechanism inside the case facilitates access by enabling the user to half-open the caseback by pressing the crown-integrated pusher. A cone-shaped titanium pin serves as the hinge, concealed by gold screws, while a spring using approximately 90° of the case angle slows down the closing of the enamelled and engraved caseback.

The extraordinary length of the hands – the minutes hand is 35 mm long – is also a challenge, particularly when it comes to finishing the polished surfaces and ensuring an even surface. To enhance lightness, they are made of pfinodal, an alloy of copper, nickel and tin, and then gilded.

Technical details

Model: Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie –Tribute to Johannes Vermeer
Reference 9910C/000J-B413

Movement
Calibre 3761
Developed and crafted by Vacheron Constantin
Mechanical manual winding
71 mm (31 ½’’’) diameter, 17.05 mm thick
Movement power reserve: approximately 80h
Strikework power reserve (Grande Sonnerie mode): approximately 16 hours
2.5 Hz (18,000 vibrations/hour)
806 components
58 jewels
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece

Indications
Hours, minutes, small seconds
Tourbillon, minute repeater, Westminster carillon

Case
18K 3N yellow gold, engraved with acanthus leaves on the case sides and with tulips and “pearl” decor on the bezel and the caseback
Bow sculpted with two lion heads
Officer-type cover, Grand Feu miniature enamelling depicting Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring painting, handmade by Anita Porchet
98 mm diameter, 32.60 mm thick

Dial
Grand Feu eggshell-coloured enamelling
Blue enamelled numerals
Golden pfinodal hands

Presentation Box
Les Cabinotiers model exclusively developed for this timepiece

Rarity
Single-piece edition
“Les Cabinotiers“, “Pièce unique”, “AC” hallmark engraved on caseback

Patek Philippe Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie

In addition to the extraordinary Grande Sonnerie function, the Patek Philippe Ref. 6301P grand complication watch also incorporates a petite sonnerie (that does not strike the quarter hours), a minute repeater (that strikes on demand), and a patented jumping subsidiary seconds.

It is Geneva manufacture’s first wristwatch that presents the grande sonnerie as the epitome of horological complications in its purest form, complemented with a petite sonnerie and a minute repeater.

Patek Philippe Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie
Patek Philippe Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie @Patek Philippe

For this grand complication timepiece, Patek Philippe developed a new movement as a spin-off of the caliber 300 of the Grandmaster Chime. Given its 703 parts, the caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM is remarkably compact for such a complex mechanism (diameter: 37 mm; height: 7.5 mm).

One of the traditionally greatest difficulties for the engineers of grande sonneries is mastering energy flows and power reserves. Unlike in minute repeaters which must be triggered on demand by actuating a slide or a pusher, the grande sonnerie needs to have sufficient reserve power to automatically sound the required number of time strikes with uniform acoustic quality.

To address this challenge, Patek Philippe endowed the caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM with two tandem-connected twin mainspring barrels, one for the going train and the other for the chiming mechanism. This configuration delivers a power reserve of 72 hours for the movement and of 24 hours for the strikework.

The 24-hour power reserve for the strikework allows the watch to strike the full hours and the quarter hours during an entire day and thanks to a uniform torque characteristic to assure optimized sound intensity. The two twin mainspring barrels are wound with the crown pushed in and rotated clockwise to wind the going train and counter-clockwise to wind the strikework. The four mainsprings feature slip bridles to avoid over-tensioning.

As regards the strikework, Patek Philippe opted for three classic gongs – low, medium, high. This technical option requires more energy than systems with two gongs. It also complicates the watchmaker’s work when tuning each gong until all three create the legendary “Patek Philippe sound” so coveted by connoisseurs.

Attached to the movement, the three gongs must not touch one another nor other parts of the case or movement despite the compact space in which they hover. Three hammers of identical size and mass guarantee a uniform strike for all three pitches. The selection of platinum as the case material also presented a challenge because it is difficult to master acoustically and requires Patek Philippe know-how that at the manufacture is handed down from one generation to the next.

The hours are struck on a low-pitched gong, the quarter hours with a three-strike high-low-medium sequence. The melody for the first quarter hour (15 minutes) sounds once, for the second quarter hour (30 minutes) twice and for the third quarter hour (45 minutes) three times. Each quarter-hour sequence is automatically preceded by the number of elapsed hours, and followed by the number of quarter hours.

Thanks to the energy stored in the twin mainspring barrel of the strikework, this adds up to an impressive total of 1056 strikes in 24 hours. The owner can also select the strikework mode petite sonnerie; it strikes the full hours but omits the repetition of the hours when striking the quarter hours. In the silence mode, the automatic time strike is switched off altogether.

The selection of the strikework mode is performed with a slide switch in the caseband at 6 o’clock. The petite sonnerie mode is on the left adjoining the grande sonnerie mode in the middle and silence on the right. This special feature is the subject of a patent that was already developed for the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime and describes a mechanism that enables the selection and activation of the strike mode with a single slide switch.

Formerly, two switches were needed to execute these steps. Another patent, also developed for the Grandmaster Chime, allows the complete isolation of the grande sonnerie in the silence mode, eliminating power consumption.

On request, the minute repeater can be triggered by pressing the pusher in the crown at 3 o’clock. In response, it strikes the number of hours with low tones, the quarters with three-strike sequences (as in the grande sonnerie mode), and, on the higher-pitched gong, the number of minutes that have elapsed since the last quarter hour. The minute repeater can be triggered at any time, even if the slide is set to the silence mode.

When they reworked the caliber 300 from the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime, the engineers and designers at the manufacture added a small jumping seconds display, which was never done with a grande sonnerie.

Inspired by the four patents of the 175th-anniversary model, the Ref. 5275 Chiming Jump Hour, they endowed the new Ref. 6301P with an innovative jumping seconds mechanism. Its system does not rely on jumper springs as usual but instead with wheels and a release lever that instantaneously unblocks the wheel train every second, making energy consumption easier to regulate and control.

Thus, the new Ref. 6301P chiming watch presents a novel face characterized by the subsidiary seconds hand at 6 o’clock. With the blink of an eye, it jumps along the railway track minute scale from one second to the next, recalling the regulator clocks that were used in old watchmaking ateliers to synchronize the time. The new Ref. 6301P also benefits from the entire experience and the latest insights gained in the design and production of the commemorative watches crafted on the occasion of Patek Philippe’s 175th anniversary.

The new caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM – it can be admired through the sapphire-crystal case back – fulfills all the strict requirements of the Patek Philippe Seal. This applies to the technical parameters (rate accuracy, dependability) and to the finissage and attractive architecture of the individual components.

Special attention was devoted to the design of the movement bridges, especially the barrel bridge (a key element of grande sonneries) and the transversal balance cock (balance bridge), a Patek Philippe rarity that assures a secure seat and pleasing visual proportions. Connoisseurs will discover many other aesthetic details, including the many re-entrant angles that are very difficult to polish.

The centrifugal governor that regulates the speed of the time strikes is decorated with exquisitely smoothed and polished finishes that are now visible to the observer. This spectacular movement is rounded out with a Gyromax® balance, the Spiromax® balance spring in Silinvar®, the three gongs coiled around the movement, and their respective hammers.

The antireflective sapphire-crystal back positioned very close to the movement offers a fascinating glimpse into a micromechanical realm. It can be replaced with a solid platinum back that is delivered with the watch.

The platinum case, inspired by the Ref. 5370 split-seconds chronograph presented in 2015, expresses subtlety and balance in its curves and rounded contours, with the concave bezel for a perfect transition from the slightly cambered sapphire-crystal glass and the countersunk satin-finished case flanks. Like all Patek Philippe platinum cases, it sports a small diamond set in this instance at 12 o’clock because the usual 6 o’clock position is occupied by the slide switch for selecting the strikework mode.

Patek Philippe has leveraged its skills with respect to artisanship and rare handcrafts, notably on the black grand feu enamel dial with the “glacé” finish, applied Breguet numerals, and leaf-shaped hands in luminescent white gold. The slightly slanted Breguet numerals add a dynamic touch to the classic yet contemporary face.

The displays for the hours, minutes, and subsidiary seconds at 6 o’clock are well proportioned alongside two power-reserve indicators for the movement and the strikework at 3 and 9 o’clock with semicircular scales identified with the inscriptions MOUVEMENT and SONNERIE.

The timepiece is worn on a hand-stitched shiny black Alligator strap with square scales and a fold-over clasp.

Technical details

Model: Patek Philippe Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie

The 6 complications of the new Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie

1. Grande sonnerie
2. Petite sonnerie
3. Minute repeater
4. Movement power-reserve indicator
5. Strikework power-reserve indicator
6. Jumping seconds

Patents

• Isolation of the grande sonnerie in the silence mode (Patent CH 704 950 B1): In the silence mode, this mechanism totally isolates the grande sonnerie from the power flow and eliminates energy consumption.
• Selection of the strikework mode (Patent CH 706 080 B1): This mechanism enables the selection of the strikework mode (petite sonnerie, grande sonnerie, silence) with a single lever and a single slide switch. Two slide switches were formerly required for this operation.
• Jumping display with a jumping seconds wheel (Patent CH 707 181 A2): This innovative mechanism for jumping displays does not require springs and levers but instead uses wheels and a release lever that instantaneously unblocks the wheel train every second, and features a coiled return spring as the only power element. The advantage of this system is that it makes energy consumption easier to regulate and control.

Movement
Caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM
Manually wound mechanical movement
Grande and petite sonnerie, minute repeater on 3 gongs
Jumping seconds
Strikework mode indicator (petite sonnerie, grande sonnerie, silence)
Power-reserve indicators for movement and strikework
Diameter: 37 mm
Height: 7.5 mm
Number of parts: 703
Number of jewels: 95
Movement power reserve: 72 hours
Strikework power reserve: 24 hours
Frequency: 25,200 semi-oscillations per hour (3.5 Hz)
Balance: Gyromax®
Balance spring: Spiromax® (in Silinvar®)

Two-position crown
• Pushed home: Winding the movement (clockwise), winding the strikework (counterclockwise)
• Pulled out: To set the time

Displays
• Center hour and minute hands
• Jumping subsidiary seconds at 6 o’clock
• Movement power reserve at 9 o’clock
• Strikework power reserve at 3 o’clock

Control elements
• Pusher in the crown at 3 o’clock triggers the minute repeater
• Side switch at 6 o’clock selects the strikework mode (petite sonnerie, grande sonnerie, silence)

Hallmark
Patek Philippe Seal

Case
Platinum 950 with a flawless Top Wesselton diamond between the lugs at 12 o’clock
Not water-resistant, protected against moisture and dust
Sapphire-crystal case back and interchangeable solid back
Case dimensions: Diameter: 44.8 mm

Dial
18K gold, black grand feu enamel with “glacé” finish
Applied Breguet numerals in 18K white gold
Leaf-shaped hour and minute hands in 18K white gold with luminous coating
Subsidiary seconds at 6 o’clock with “dague” type hand in white gold, printed railway track seconds scale with luminous 10-second markers
Printed railway track minute scale with luminous 5-minute markers
“Cheveu” type hands in white gold for the power-reserve indicators for the movement and the strike-work

Strap
Hand-stitched alligator leather with large square scales, shiny black, platinum foldover clasp

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie

Audemars Piguet presents the Code 11.59 Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie, a brand new high-complication watch from its Code 11.59 collection.

The Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer has announced the release of five Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie timepieces, each endowed with a unique bespoke enamel dial crafted by Anita Porchet and her atelier.

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie watch

Audemars Piguet has specialised in chiming mechanisms since its establishment in 1875 and crafted complex Grande Sonnerie, Petite Sonnerie and Minute Repeater mechanisms ever since. Today, only a handful of specialised watchmakers at Audemars Piguet are trained to assemble and adjust a Grande Sonnerie, which is considered as one of the most sophisticated complications in the history of Haute Horlogerie.

The Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie houses a new hand-wound movement, calibre 2956, which unites the traditional Grande Sonnerie complication with the patented Supersonnerie technology introduced by the Manufacture in 2015 in the Royal Oak Concept collection. This complex calibre of 489 components testifies to Audemars Piguet’s uncompromising spirit.

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie movement - Caliber 2956

A Grande Sonnerie timepiece not only strikes the hour, quarters and minutes on request as a traditional minute repeater would do. Like a bell tower, it can also strike the hours and every quarter hour by default, without any involvement from the wearer.

A carillon means that the Grande Sonnerie Supersonnerie is endowed with 3 gongs and hammers instead of 2 on a standard chiming watch and therefore strikes the quarter hour with three successive notes (high, middle, low) instead of two. In the Petite Sonnerie position, the watch chimes the hours only, while the automatic chiming is deactivated in the silent mode. As for the minute repeater mechanism, it can be activated by the wearer at any time.

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie movement - Caliber 2956

The added Supersonnerie mechanism grants this complicated wristwatch the acoustic performance of pocket watches. This patented technology is the result of 8 years of research in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). Inspired by the sonic power of older minute repeater watches as well as by the harmony of musical instruments, a dedicated community of watchmakers, technicians, academics and musicians reviewed the case construction to produce a new chiming technology.

The Supersonnerie’s acoustic power, sound quality and harmonic tone are granted by patented gongs and case construction. The gongs are not attached to the mainplate, but to a new device acting as soundboard, which improves sound transmission. This innovative Supersonnerie technology also provides a sharper tempo.

In a nod to the enamel Grande Sonnerie masterpieces that were crafted in the Vallée de Joux between the 18th and 19th centuries, Audemars Piguet has collaborated with Swiss artisan enameller Anita Porchet for the first time on a trilogy of “Grand Feu” paillonné enamel dials hand-crafted with ancestral savoir-faire and tools.

Each “Grand Feu” enamel dial is unique due to the organic nature of its materials, as well as the hand manufacturing technique and distinctive cooking time. A thin layer of glass sand mixed with water is applied by hand on the gold dial, before being heated at more than 800°C in a dedicated oven. The procedure is repeated multiple times to achieve remarkable transparency, depth and light. Each cooking session necessitates different temperatures and times; a perilous procedure requiring extensive knowledge of colour alchemy.

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie dial

Inspired by Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet’s unconventional design, Anita Porchet has explored new creative possibilities by decorating each contemporary “Grand Feu” enamel dial with antique hand-crafted gold spangles, at least a century old. Each spangle was meticulously cut and curved in thin gold leaves with antique tools and techniques—a craft no longer perpetuated today. The enameller has carefully incorporated each spangle by hand onto the dial’s enamelled plate before fusion in the oven. The dial is then covered with a thin layer of transparent enamel for a mirror polish finishing.

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie dial

By revisiting this antique paillonné enamel decoration in the contemporary context of the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet, Anita Porchet echoes the interweaving of traditional savoir-faire and forward thinking at the heart of the Manufacture’s craftsmanship. For Anita Porchet, as for Audemars Piguet’s finishing experts, perfection is in the details and the tiniest nuances are often invisible to the eye. To complement this dial trilogy, Anita Porchet’s atelier is also at the disposal of clients to craft a personalised enamel dial of their choice.

As for the manufacturing of its complex mechanism and enamel dial, the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie’s 18-carat white gold case surprises with its contrasting details and refined hand-finishing techniques usually found on calibres. The case’s ergonomic curvature and seamless combination of an octagonal middle case with a round extra-thin bezel and stylised arched lugs made the conception, manufacturing and decoration of each component particularly intricate.

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie watch

Complex programming, dedicated tools and specialised human talents had to be combined for the industrialisation and hand-finishing of the components. The case’s juxtaposition of angular and rounded surfaces has presented a real challenge to the manufacturer’s finishing experts. The perfectly aligned alternation of satin-brushed and polished surfaces adorning the case is only achievable by hand.

Audemars Piguet & Grande Sonnerie Watches

Since its establishment in 1875, Audemars Piguet has specialised in complicated watches. Records show that more than half of the 1625 watches produced between 1882 and 1892 included a chiming mechanism. This achievement can be attributed to the remarkable skills of the craftspeople working for the Manufacture across dozens of workshops in the Vallée de Joux. Considered as one of the most sophisticated and complicated mechanisms, the Grande Sonnerie was rare.

Only 28 Audemars Piguet watches featured a Grande Sonnerie between 1882 and 1892. In 1892, in collaboration with Louis Brandt & Frère, Audemars Piguet crafted the first minute repeater wristwatch (29.3 mm or 13 lignes in diameter) ever produced featuring two hammers set at a distance that could strike the hours, quarters and minutes on request.

This was made possible thanks to the watchmakers who met the challenge of adapting and miniaturising complicated mechanisms for women’s diminutive pendant watches. From 1892 to 1957, the Manufacture created 35 minute repeater wristwatches. None of these wristwatches included a Grande Sonnerie due to its mechanical complexity.

While the production of chiming pocket watches never stopped at Audemars Piguet, production of chiming wristwatches slowly diminished with the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Second World War. By the 1960s, chiming mechanisms were exclusively featured in pocket watches. Chiming wristwatches made their return at Audemars Piguet in the 1990s, following the revival of other classic complications in the aftermath of the quartz crisis.

The return of Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie mechanisms was notably marked in the 1980s by the release of five masterpieces made by Philippe Dufour, a young independent and free-spirited watchmaker from the Vallée de Joux, whom the Manufacture supported for his talent and devotion to the preservation of the region’s craftsmanship.

Yellow gold Grande Sonnerie pocket watch with sapphire dial and caseback crafted by Philippe Dufour for Audemars Piguet in 1987. Audemars Piguet Heritage Collection, Inv. 0389.
Yellow gold Grande Sonnerie pocket watch with sapphire dial and caseback crafted by Philippe Dufour for Audemars Piguet in 1987. Audemars Piguet Heritage Collection, Inv. 0389.

Audemars Piguet launched its first Grande Sonnerie wristwatch in 1994, a remarkable achievement for a calibre of 28.6 mm in diameter and 5.2 mm in thickness. 188 wristwatch calibres featuring a Grande Sonnerie were thereafter produced between 1995 and 2002.

Technical details

Model: Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie / 41 mm
Reference: 26397BC.OO.D002CR.01

Functions
Grande Sonnerie and Petite Sonnerie Carillon, minute repeater, hours and minutes

Movement
Hand-wound Manufacture Calibre 2956
Diameter: 29.9 mm (13 lignes)
Thickness: 5.88 mm
Number of parts: 489
Number of jewels: 53
Minimal power reserve guaranteed: 48 h
Frequency of balance wheel: 3 Hz (21,600 vibrations/hour)

Case
18-carat white gold case, double glare-proofed sapphire crystal, screw-locked crown, water-resistant to 20 m

Dial
Unique custom creations by Anita Porchet

Strap
Hand-stitched “large square-scale” blue alligator strap with 18-carat white gold folding clasp

Vacheron Constantin “La Musique du Temps®” Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie – The Sixth Symphony

The “La Musique du Temps®” Les Cabinotiers Symphonia grande sonnerie – The sixth symphony is a unique timepiece from “La Musique du Temps®”: an assortment of one-of-a-kind creations crafted within the Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers department as a tribute to the musical arts.

This one-of-a-kind model paying tribute to the grand tradition of “musical” watches by Vacheron Constantin, houses a grande and petite sonnerie movement with a minute repeater mechanism. The case honours the art of hand engraving with a motif depicting the score of Beethoven’s sixth symphony.

Vacheron Constantin “La Musique du Temps®” Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie – The Sixth Symphony

Grande sonnerie watches are in a class of their own among musical timepieces due to their complexity. It was not until 1992 that the first wristwatch model of this kind appeared. Since then, the mastery of these pieces that sound the hours and quarters in passing – with repetition of the time before each quarter in grande sonnerie mode and without repetition in petite sonnerie mode – has remained fairly uncommon due its extremely stringent construction requirements.

Vacheron Constantin “La Musique du Temps®” Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie – The Sixth Symphony case side view

Producing Grande Sonnerie Watches calls for an integrated movement design that must also take into account several specificities of these complex mechanisms – starting with issues related to the security of its operation, given that any interference between the various functions is likely to damage the calibre. Energy management is also an essential parameter, since a grande sonnerie is called into action 96 times every 24 hours making a total of 912 hammer strikes on the watch’s gongs. As far as sound production is concerned, it requires great technical and musical virtuosity to ensure that the sequences are clearly audible and melodiously clear.

Vacheron Constantin has mastered all these techniques for more than two centuries. The Manufacture’s archives indeed reveal a first pocket watch with grande and petite sonnerie and minute repeater dating from 1817. The company registers also make numerous references to striking watches, often associated with other complications or astronomical functions.

With the advent of the wristwatch, Vacheron Constantin’s expertise in musical watches continued to be expressed, particularly through ultra-thin models, right the way through to 2017: key date for the Maison corresponding to the introduction of its Les Cabinotiers Symphonia watch, the first grande sonnerie wristwatch in Vacheron Constantin’s history equipped with the 1860 calibre also featuring a minute repeater. It is this same movement – stemming from ten years of research and development – that drives Les Cabinotiers Symphonia grande sonnerie – The sixth symphony.

This one-of-a-kind model is notably characterised by a dial adorned with a circular cross weave guilloché motif housed in an 18K 5N pink gold case, of which the middle bears a meticulously executed base-relief engraving of a musical score. The latter echoes Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Sixth Symphony in F major, hand-engraved on an olive-leaf background, decor inspired by a pocket-watch from the Vacheron Constantin Heritage collection, named « Les Bergers d’Arcadie », created in 1923.

Caseback view of Vacheron Constantin “La Musique du Temps®” Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie – The Sixth Symphony watch

The pure sound along with the understated dial punctuated by a small seconds display and two power reserve indicators (one for the strikework with a treble clef hand-shape and the other for the timekeeping functions) endow this watch with the Maison’s characteristic aura of elegance. The beige tone of the dial also reinforces the classicism of the watch, enhanced by the open-tipped hands and the typography of the hour numerals.

Les Cabinotiers Symphonia grande sonnerie – The sixth symphony meets a double requirement consisting in making a supreme complication movement – comprising 727 parts that takes 500 hours of assembly to fit within a 37 mm diameter – that is as easy to use as it is perfectly secure.

Vacheron Constantin “La Musique du Temps®” Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie – The Sixth Symphony - Calibre 1860

The bi-directional manual-winding calibre with two barrels, one delivering 72 hours of power reserve and the other 20 hours of strikework power reserve, is thus equipped with innovative security systems that protect its striking mechanisms. The latter are controlled by the bezel for the grande and petite sonnerie and by a push-piece housed in the crown for the minute repeater. To ensure a perfectly regular sequence of strikes on the monobloc goings, Vacheron Constantin’s master watchmakers have succeeded in eliminating the “phantom quarters”, meaning the short silences generally perceptible between the hours and minutes struck by a repeater.

Vacheron Constantin “La Musique du Temps®” Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie – The Sixth Symphony - Calibre 1860

For the sake of excellence, the calibre is also equipped with a non-dragging surprise jumper, a mechanism enabling accurate strikes on full hours and quarters. A masterpiece of elegance and complexity, this Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande sonnerie – The sixth symphony reveals the subtleties of its striking movement through the transparent sapphire crystal caseback.

Les Cabinotiers: one-of-a-kind creations

In the Vacheron Constantin universe, Les Cabinotiers represents a department in its own right dedicated to the personalisation of pieces and unique creations. This tradition dates back to the 18th century, a time when master watchmakers were called cabinotiers and worked in ateliers bathed in natural light, known as cabinets and located on the top floors of Geneva’s buildings. In the hands of these learned artisans, open to the new ideas of the Enlightenment, exceptional timepieces were born, inspired by astronomy, mechanical engineering and the arts. This expertise, which constitutes the great Geneva watchmaking tradition, has been flowing through Vacheron Constantin’s veins since 1755.

Vacheron Constantin and chiming watches

Chiming watches occupy a special place among horological complications. For more than two centuries, these complex mechanisms have been highlighted by Vacheron Constantin. Today, Les Cabinotiers department has chosen to pay tribute to them through one-of-a-kind creations on the theme “La Musique du temps®”.

Born from the need to tell the time in the dark in an age when people had to rely on candlelight, “audible” watches have taken various forms: repeaters (indicating the hours and sometimes the quarters and minutes on request), sonnerie (striking) watches (indicating the hours and quarters in passing) and alarms (which can be programmed to ring at specific times).

While each of these complications has its own distinctive characteristics, they all combine an integrated and complex mechanism with the finely crafted nature of musical instruments in terms of their resonance, acoustics and harmonics. Featuring watch cases equipped with complex movements as their only means of musical expression, these creations represent a magnificent feat of miniaturisation.

At Vacheron Constantin, the first mention of a chiming watch dates back to 1806: a gold pocket watch with minute repeater registered by the founder’s grandson Jacques-Barthélemy, in the very first production register kept in the company’s archives. Ever since, sonnerie or repeater watches have been an integral part of the Manufacture’s proud heritage, steadily enriched over the decades.

A sonic print certified by Abbey Road Studios

Sound and music have always played a role in the Maison’s partnerships, the latest of which is with Abbey Road Studios, a name closely associated with iconic artists such as The Beatles, Adele and Oasis. In collaboration with the studios, Vacheron Constantin launched its Fiftysix® collection, backed by the “One of not Many” campaign. The partnership also has a role to play for “La Musique du Temps®”, as Vacheron Constantin entrusts Abbey Road Studios with recording the unique sound of each model.

Technical details

Model: “La Musique du Temps®” Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie – The Sixth Symphony, Reference 9200C/000R-B667

Movement
Calibre 1860
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
Bi-directional mechanical manual-winding
37 mm (16 ¼) diameter, 9.1 mm thick
Movement power reserve: approximately 72 hours; Strikework power reserve: approximately 20 hours
3 Hz (21,600 vibrations/hour)
2 barrels
727 components
74 jewels
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece

Indications
Hours, minutes, small seconds at 7 o’clock
Grande sonnerie
Petite sonnerie
Minute repeater
Strikework mode display grande sonnerie/petite sonnerie/silence with a selection via the bezel
Movement power-reserve indicator
Strikework power-reserve indicator

Case
18K 5N pink gold with a base-relief engraving illustrating Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Sixth Symphony in F major, on an olive-leaf background, decor inspired by the pocket-watch « Les Bergers d’Arcadie »
45 mm diameter, 15.1 mm thick
Transparent sapphire crystal caseback

Dial
18K gold, beige hand-guilloché, “vieux panier circulaire” decor
18K 5N pink gold applied hours-markers and movement power-reserve indicator

Strap
Brown Mississippiensis alligator leather with alligator leather inner shell, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales

Clasp
18K 5N pink gold folding clasp
Polished half Maltese cross-shaped

Rarity
Unique timepiece
“Pièce unique”, “Les Cabinotiers” and “AC” hallmark engraved on the back of the timepiece

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Only Watch 2019 Unique Piece in Steel, Reference 6300A-010

To support Only Watch 2019 Charity auction, Patek Philippe has created a steel version of its Grandmaster Chime watch.

Exclusively presented for Only Watch 2019 and bearing reference number 6300A-010, this unique timepiece is the one and only Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime made in stainless steel.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime reference 6300A-010, Unique Piece for Only Watch 2019

The Grandmaster Chime is the first Patek Philippe grande-sonnerie wristwatch ever added to the company’s current collection.

The grand complication Ref. 6300A-010 unites accomplishment and elegance in this new and unique stainless steel version boasting two dials in rose gold and black ebony. The reversible case, adorned with a guilloched hobnail pattern, is notable for its patented reversing mechanism.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime reference 6300A-010, Unique Piece for Only Watch 2019

This exceptional grand complication features 20 complications in its stainless steel case, including no fewer than five chiming modes, two of which are patented world firsts: an acoustic alarm that strikes the preselected time and a date repeater sounding the date on demand.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime reference 6300A-010, Unique Piece for Only Watch 2019

The shine of steel, rarely used with a Patek Philippe Grand Complication, is particularly striking when combined with the hand-guilloched hobnail pattern which perpetuates the tradition of rare handcrafts.

The special words “The Only One”, which appear at 12 o’clock on the auxiliary dial, further enhance the exclusive value of this unique timepiece.

Technical details

Model: Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime reference 6300A-010, Unique Piece for Only Watch 2019

Case
Stainless steel, Reversible case with guilloched hobnail pattern, Humidity and dust protected only (not water resistant).
Diameter: 47.7mm
Thickness: 16.07mm

Dial
18K solid gold dial plates. Time side: rose gold, gold applied Breguet numerals, hand-guilloched hobnail center, « The Only One » inscription in the alarm sub-dial Calendar side: black ebony.

Movement
Manually wound mechanical movement. Caliber 300 GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM. Strikework isolator indicator. Second time zone. Second time zone day/night indicator. Day, date (on both dials), month, leap-year cycle by hands. Four-digit year display in an aperture. 24-hour and minute subdial. Crown position indication (R,A,H).

Bracelet
Alligator leather with square scales, hand-stitched, shiny black. Fold-over clasp.

Specificities
The one and only Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime made in stainless steel

Estimate
CHF 2,500,000 – 3,000,000
EUR 2,000,000 – 2,700,000
USD 2,500,000 – 3,000,000

Bvlgari Octo Roma Grande Sonnerie with Perpetual Calendar

The new and unique piece Octo Roma Grande Sonnerie with Perpetual Calendar has been created to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first Grande Sonnerie by Gerald Genta in 1994, it is an impeccable new addition to Bvlgari’s Grande Sonnerie assortment.

Since 1994, Bvlgari has introduced more than 90 Grande Sonnerie watches and 2019 is poised to be the year of the Grande Sonnerie for Bvlgari. The movements have been fine tuned from the beginning, and benefit from a security setting that protects the movement when winding with the chime and avoids activating the minute repeating system in grande sonnerie mode, offering the ultimate available know-how for such a complex movement.

The new model is a modern masterpiece that perfectly epitomizes Bvlgari’s mastery of Swiss mechanical and horological expertise. Bvlgari is the number one brand among chiming watches, having mastered that specialty with 2, 3 and 4 hammers (Grande Sonnerie).

At the pinnacle of the assortment, Bvlgari celebrates the 25th anniversary of the first Grande Sonnerie manufactured in Le Sentier with a unique piece, the Octo Roma Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar.

This exceptionally complicated watch, with an automatic caliber BVL 980, aligns grande and petite sonnerie, minute repeater, tourbillon, perpetual calendar, moon phases, movement and chime power reserve indicators. The 44-mm case is made in carbon CTP and features a carbon middle part, a blend that delivers the best sound experience for a movement that comprises a total of 1180 components.

Technical details

Model: Octo Roma Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar (Ref. 103195)

Movement
Mechanical manufacture movement with automatic winding, BVL 980 caliber with Grande and Petite sonnerie, Minute repeater, Tourbillon, Perpetual calendar, moon phases, movement and chime power reserve indicators

Case and dial
44 mm Carbon CTP case with rose gold indexes, hands, crown and push buttons
Carbon middle case; smoked sapphire dial

Strap
Alligator strap with titanium with DLC (Diamond like Carbon) treatment folding clasp.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300G-010, New White Gold Version with Blue Opaline Dials

Flagship of the commemorative pieces presented on the occasion of the manufacture’s 175th anniversary in 2014, the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime (reference 5175) entered the regular collection in 2016.

Presented at the Basel-world 2016 exhibition, the Grandmaster Chime Reference 6300 was endowed with a white-gold case and black and white dials. Its timeless style now extends to a new white-gold version with two elegant blue opaline dials.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300G-010, New White Gold Version with Blue Opaline Dials

The first Patek Philippe wristwatch with grande and petite sonnerie, this double-face reversible model also stands out as the most complicated Patek Philippe wristwatch in regular production.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300G-010, New White Gold Version with Blue Opaline Dials

Its 20 complications include five chiming modes, including two patented world firsts: an acoustic alarm that strikes the preselected time and a date repeater sounding the date on demand.

The case, adorned with a hand-guilloched hobnail pattern, is notable for its patented reversing mechanism enabling the watch to be worn with either dial on view.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300G-010, New White Gold Version with Blue Opaline Dials

The front side, with its center decorated with a hand-guilloched hobnail motif, displays the on/off indications for the acoustic functions, together with civil time, a second time zone, the moon phases, the date, and the power-reserve indicators for the movement and the strikework.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300G-010, New White Gold Version with Blue Opaline Dials

The reverse side is devoted to the perpetual calendar, with a central four-digit year display surrounded by four subsidiary dials (analog date, leap-year cycle, day, month and 24-hour indicator).

Between the two 18K gold dials beats the caliber 300 GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM manually wound movement comprising 1,366 parts.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Movement Caliber 300 GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM

The drive energy is stored in two double barrels, one for the movement, the other for the strikework. Isolator mechanisms make the watch easy to use and exclude all risk of damage from accidental mishandling.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Movement Caliber 300 GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM

The new Ref. 6300G-010 with blue dials replaces the previous version in white gold with black and white dials.

It is accompanied by white gold cuff links with blue opaline centers, decorated with a hand-guilloched hobnail pattern.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Cufflinks

Technical details

Model: Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300G-010, New White Gold Version with Blue Opaline Dials

Movement
Caliber 300 GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM
Manual winding
Grande and petite sonnerie
Minute repeater with classic gongs
Strikework mode display (S G P)
Alarm with time strike
Alarm on/off indication
Date repeater
Movement and strikework power reserve indication
Strikework isolator indication
Second time zone
Second time zone day/night indication
Instantaneous perpetual calendar
Day, date (on both dials), month, leap-year cycle by hands
Four-digit year display in an aperture
Moon phases
24-hour and minute subdial
Crown position indication (R A H)
Diameter: 37 mm
Height: 10.70 mm
Number of parts: 1366
Frequency: 25,200 semi-oscillations/hour (3.5 Hz)
Power reserve: movement: 72 hours; strikework: 30 hours

Displays
Hour hand
Second time zone hour hand
Minute hand

Subsidiary dials:
– 24-hour and minute indication
– Alarm with time strike
– Movement power reserve
– Strikework power reserve
– Strikework mode indication S G P (silence/grande sonnerie/petite sonnerie)
– Crown position indication R A H (winding [R], alarm [A], time setting [H])
– Date (on both dials)
– Day of the week
– Month
– Leap year cycle
Apertures:
– Second time zone day/night indication
– Moon phases
– Alarm on/off indication
– Strikework isolator indication
– Four-digit year display

Pushers
Minute repeater on demand
Date repeater
Alarm “on”
Adjustment of second time zone (press once = +1 hour)
Adjustment of second time zone (press once = -1 hour)

Correctors
Date correction
Day-of-week correction
Month correction
Chime selection (S G P)
Year correction (press once = +1 year)
Year correction (press once = -1 year)
Moon-phase correction

Three-position crown:
1. Winding the movement (clockwise)
Winding the strikework (counterclockwise)
2. Alarm time setting and alarm “off”
3. Setting the time

Dials
Time side: blue opaline, gold applied Breguet numerals, hand-guilloched hobnail center
Calendar side: blue opaline
18K solid gold dial plates
White gold pear-shaped hands

Case
White gold
Reversible case adorned with handguilloched hobnail pattern
Diameter: 47.7 mm
Height: 16.07 mm
Humidity- and dust-protected only (not water-resistant)

Strap
Alligator leather with square scales, hand-stitched, shiny navy blue
Fold-over clasp

Cuff Links
Blue opaline center adorned with hand guilloched hobnail pattern
White gold
Delivered with the watch

Previous Model

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Louis Moinet Ultravox – The First Ever Hour-Strike Watch by Louis Moinet Atelier

Celebrating the 250th birth anniversary of legendary master watch maker Louis Moinet (1768-1853), who created the first ever chronograph, luxury watch brand Louis Moinet presents Ultravox, the first ever hour strike watch manufactured by the Swiss watch atelier Saint-Blaise, Neuchâtel.

Throughout his entire life, Louis Moinet, the inventor of the Compteur de Tierces chronograph, which dates from 1816, made a large number of striking clocks, many of which adorned the drawing rooms of the world’s greatest leaders, from Napoleon Bonaparte to Tsar Alexander I and presidents of the United States (among them Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe), as well as many others besides.

The Ultravox watch was created in partnership with watchmaker Eric Coudray, winner of the Gaïa Prize.

The Latin name “Ultravox”, the ‘strong voice’, is a nod both to the sound of the strike mechanism and to the neoclassical influences on Louis Moinet, whose clocks portrayed figures such as Minerva, Julius Caesar, and Cicero. Only twenty or so pieces will be made a year.

The strike mechanism denotes each passing hour on the hour, marking out the appropriate number of chimes. A silencer mechanism also allows the wearer to disengage the chime, if they so wish.

To enhance the excellence of this creation, for the first time Louis Moinet has unveiled its entire mechanism on the wrist. A special plate had to be designed, including over 50 jewels, to engage the chime mechanism’s various components, whose arrangement is extremely complex. The central flirt triggers a system arming the hammer at twelve o’clock, and strikes out the hours on a gong arrayed around the movement. The function of the fly, meanwhile, is to channel power from the barrel, regulating the rhythm of the chime.

The Ultravox plate finish in “Moinet blue” is designed to reflect the light and offset the block polished and chamfered screws above it, showcasing the acoustic mechanism. The rear reveals a system with darkened, parallel double rotors. The first of these serves to generate force for the hours and minutes mechanism, while the second is wholly given over to the chime.

With a diameter of 46.5 mm, the Ultravox will be available this autumn, in a first limited edition of just 28 rose gold timepieces.

Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie

Realised after eleven years of R&D and comprising 935 parts, the Grande Sonnerie is Greubel Forsey’s most complex creation to date. For their very first Grande Sonnerie, the prestigious watchmaking house founded by Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey has filed two patents. Dressed in a titanium case it houses an acoustic resonance cage and eleven security functions.

This Grande Sonnerie has powerful acoustics. It is water resistant to 3 atm. It is ergonomically designed for optimum ease of use, while an exceptional repeater power reserve enables it to run for about twenty hours in “Grande Sonnerie” mode. The timepiece is equipped with a silent striking regulator and a Tourbillon 24 Secondes, all housed within the standard dimensions of a Greubel Forsey case.

The most important elements and indications (such as the tourbillon, the cathedral gongs, the striking hammers, and the power reserve and mode indicators) were incorporated with the greatest care to ensure architectural balance. The watch designers succeeded in housing the 935 parts comprising this timepiece and its exterior in a space measuring 43.5 mm in diameter and 16.13 mm high.

The movement is manually wound, but the striking mechanism features a self-winding system which provides about 20 hours of power reserve in Grande Sonnerie mode. The minute repeater and its additional striking mechanism sound the exact time on demand, down to the minute. Beating at 21,600 vibrations per hour, the movement assures a 72-hour chronometric power reserve.

This timepiece has three modes to choose from: Grande Sonnerie (which strikes the hours and the quarters in passing), Petite Sonnerie (which strikes the full hours in passing) and Silence (which does not strike in passing). The pure and rich sound of the Grande Sonnerie is enhanced by an acoustic resonance cage made from titanium. Only five to eight pieces of this timepiece will be realised a year.

A. Lange & Söhne ZEITWERK DECIMAL STRIKE Limited Edition in Honey Gold

Introduced at SIHH 2017 by A. Lange & Söhne, the ZEITWERK DECIMAL STRIKE makes time audible in a new way: its striking mechanism sounds every ten minutes. The case of this timepiece, limited to an edition of 100, consists of honey gold as used exclusively by Lange.

Launched in 2009, the A. Lange & Söhne ZEITWERK watch gave time a new face with a mechanical jumping numerals display. Now, the ZEITWERK DECIMAL STRIKE is enriching the successful, unusually designed watch family with a third model featuring an acoustic time indication.

A. Lange & Söhne ZEITWERK DECIMAL STRIKE Limited Edition in Honey Gold, Reference 143.050

Given its mechanical architecture, the ZEITWERK calibre offers ideal prerequisites for the integration of a striking mechanism: A large amount of energy is built up for advancing its mechanical, precisely jumping numerals displays.

As was already the case with the Lange ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER and the Lange ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME, this energy can be put to good use by an automatic striking mechanism.

A. Lange & Söhne ZEITWERK DECIMAL STRIKE Limited Edition in Honey Gold, Reference 143.050

In the new model, it relies on two differently tuned gongs to indicate the full hours as well as the ten-minute intervals between the start of one hour and the next. The two hammers that are visible on the dial side consist of polished steel and, like the hammer bridge, are decorated with a tremblage engraving.

The hammer on the left strikes the low-pitched gong once every full hour. The right-hand hammer sounds a higher-pitched tone every ten minutes, or in other words, every time a new ten-minute interval begins.

A. Lange & Söhne ZEITWERK DECIMAL STRIKE Limited Edition in Honey Gold, Reference 143.050

With its large, precisely jumping numerals display, the ZEITWERK DECIMAL STRIKE assures excellent legibility. In one-minute intervals, the units disc instantly advances by exactly one increment. The patented constant-force escapement between the mainspring barrel and the balance delivers the power.

It makes sure that the balance has a constant amount of energy across the entire power reserve period. The high-pitched tone sounds every time the tens disc advances; at the start of the hour, when the low-pitched tone is struck, all three numeral discs jump synchronously by one increment.

A. Lange & Söhne ZEITWERK DECIMAL STRIKE Limited Edition in Honey Gold, Reference 143.050

The striking mechanism can be switched off. When the button at 4 o’clock is pressed, the hammers are deflected away from the gongs. This also happens when the crown is pulled to set the time. The technical concept is paired with an innovative material.

The case of the ZEITWERK DECIMAL STRIKE, limited to an edition of 100 watches, consists of honey gold as used exclusively by A. Lange & Söhne; it has a diameter of 44.2 millimetres.

Lange Calibre L043.7

The lavishly finished, manually wound calibre L043.7 has a maximum power reserve of 36 hours.

Lange-typical quality hallmarks include the three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver and decorated with Glashütte ribbing, the hand-engraved balance cock, and a campoised balance with a free-sprung hairspring crafted in-house.

Technical details

Model: A. Lange & Söhne ZEITWERK DECIMAL STRIKE Limited Edition in Honey Gold, Reference 143.050

Movement
Calibre L043.7
Manual winding movement
Number of movement parts: 528
Number of rubies: 78
Number of screwed gold chatons: 2
Diameter: 36 mm
Height: 10 mm
Frequency: 18000 semi-oscillations per hour
Beat-adjustment system: Screw balance
Power reserve: 36 hours when fully wound

Functions
Jumping numerals display the hour and minute, visibly arranged striking mechanism with audible signals every ten minutes and on the full hour, small second hand with stop seconds, UP/DOWN power reserve indicator

Case
Honey gold
Diameter: 44.2 mm
Height: 13.1 mm
Lug width: 21 mm
Sapphire crystal glass
Case back: Sapphire glass
Water resistance: 3atm

Dial
Solid silver, argenté
Hands: Yellow gold, honey gold

Strap
Dark-brown, alligator leather strap with 18-carat HONEYGOLD® buckle

Edition
Limited to 100 timepieces

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860

During the SIHH 2017 Haute Horlogerie exhibition in Geneva, Vacheron Constantin has unveiled its first ever grande sonnerie wristwatch: Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860.

The one-of-a-kind Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860 embodies a two-fold technical prowess: creating a supreme complication that only a handful of virtuoso watchmakers in the world are capable of mastering, while making it both simple and secure to use for its owner. Its ultra-complex and sophisticated bi-directional manual-winding movement – brand-new Manufacture Vacheron Constantin Caliber 1860, which required 10 years of development – is equipped with innovative security systems. The latter protect its striking mechanisms, controlled by the bezel and a crown-fitted push-piece, from any detrimental mutual interference. After 500 hours of assembly performed by a single master-watchmaker, its 727 finely adjusted components interact perfectly to provide an extremely rare and sought-after combination of complications: grande sonnerie, petite sonnerie and minute repeater.

Arrayed in white gold, this masterpiece of miniaturisation that can also be customised features a beautifully pure design. Its original construction means that the striking mechanism, generally placed beneath the dial, is in this instance visible on the caseback side.

Within the Hall of Fame of technical sophistication and mechanical poetry, striking watches represent one of the rarest and most sought-after horological complication families. Admirably demonstrating a blend of demanding expertise and technical virtuosity, along with a discerning musical ear, this prestigious category comprises minute repeaters striking the hours, quarters and minutes on demand; as well as grande sonnerie and petite sonnerie mechanisms automatically striking the hours and quarters in passing or only the hours. The grande sonnerie – due to its incredible scale of miniaturisation, its technical and acoustic complexity as well as the considerable amount of energy required by its mechanism – is widely regarded as the supreme complication. It calls for several hundred components and drives the mastery of energy and mechanical complexity to the uttermost heights – and all this within a wristwatch. A ‘sizeable’ challenge, since a grande sonnerie must at all times have enough energy to strike the required number of chimes (up to 96 activations in 24 hours, meaning 912 chimes) while ensuring impeccably high-quality sound.

Whereas Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860 is the first grande sonnerie wristwatch to be produced by Vacheron Constantin, the expertise acquired by the Manufacture in this demanding discipline dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries, with pocket watches endowed with grande sonnerie and petite sonnerie mechanisms (1827) or with a grande sonnerie and a minute repeater (1908). From the mid-19th century onwards, Vacheron Constantin distinguished itself in this field by associating striking mechanisms with other complications such as chronograph or astronomical functions. In the 20th century, which saw the birth and rise to supremacy of the wristwatch, Vacheron Constantin applied its historical expertise to wristwatch formats, such as with the ultra-thin minute repeater Caliber 1755 in 1991, the world’s most complicated double-sided watch – combining a minute repeater with 15 other complications – presented in 2005 for its 250th anniversary, as well as the famous world’s thinnest minute-repeater Caliber 1731 introduced in 2013. The ultimate grande sonnerie complication is based on empirical expertise acquired through years of study, development and fine-tuning. Since the birth of the first grande sonnerie wristwatch in 1992, only a handful of independent manufacturers and independent watchmakers can claim to have reached such a pinnacle of technical refinement and miniaturisation.

With this new creation, Vacheron Constantin brilliantly rises to the challenge of housing grande sonnerie, petite sonnerie and minute repeater mechanisms within a space measuring 37 mm in diameter and a mere 9.1 mm thick.

The one-of-a-kind Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860 is a fresh token of technical and handcrafted prowess bearing the Hallmark of Geneva and demonstrating perfect mastery of mechanical complexity, energy, as well as acoustics.

Its bi-directional manual-winding movement, Manufacture Vacheron Constantin Caliber 1860, is composed of 727 parts that are meticulously adjusted, decorated and assembled by hand. This represents 500 hours of expert and patient work performed by a single, vastly experienced watchmaker. Hours, minutes, small seconds, grande sonnerie, petite sonnerie and minute repeater…. The integrated construction applied here means that the striking mechanisms are directly linked to the hours and minutes functions and that the movement must be considered as a whole, requiring considerable energy for the grande sonnerie that can strike up to 96 chimes per day. It therefore comprises two barrels – one dedicated to the movement and the other to the striking mechanism – respectively providing a 72-hour power reserve and 20 hours of strikework power reserve in its grande sonnerie mode.

Based on a particularly innovative principle, this sophisticated mechanism stands out in several ways, starting with the selection of the three strike modes – grande sonnerie, petite sonnerie and silence – which is done in an unprecedented way via the 30-degree rotating bezel, with a marker pointing towards the strike-mode indicator – PS, GS and SIL – engraved on the side of the case. The minute-repeater is activated by a push-piece built into the crown at 3 o’clock. The latter is large and knurled to ensure a perfect grip when winding the movement in a clockwise direction and charging the striking mechanism by a counter clockwise rotation.

Another distinctive feature of this complex movement is the elimination of the ‘phantom’ quarters, testifying to the particular care lavished on ensuring the harmony and regularity of the chimes struck by the two hammers hitting the monobloc gongs. The small silence generally perceptible between the chiming of the hours and minutes, referred to as the ‘phantom quarter’, has been done away with. Whatever the hours, quarters or minutes that the watch strikes, the time interval between each sound remains identical and the chiming sequence is regular, smooth and seamless. In addition, the striking mechanism is equipped with a non-dragging ‘surprise’ jumper-spring, enabling it to chime exactly on the hours and quarters. This autonomous device is triggered only when the watch is chiming, thereby saving energy and enhancing the movement’s precision.

 

The final characteristic of Caliber 1860 that deserves a mention is the fact that the striking mechanism – with its racks, feeler-spindles and snails – customarily positioned beneath the dial is visible here in this instance on the back of the watch, fitted with a transparent sapphire crystal caseback. These advanced technical, acoustic and energy-related features make this sophisticated movement an accomplishment that is as unique as it is outstandingly complex.

A grande sonnerie watch is distinguished by the extreme complexity of its mechanism comprising hundreds of meticulously fitted parts. It thus calls for informed and cautious handling on the part of its owner. So as to make the use of this grand complication model both convenient and straightforward, Vacheron Constantin has developed several original security systems. They facilitate the operation of the various watch functions, while preserving it from the risk of mutually detrimental interferences. During time-setting, no chime can be sounded (whether in passing or on demand). Conversely, when chiming is in progress – be it a repeater chime or an ‘in passing’ chime – time-setting is impossible until the watch has finished striking. Nor will any new chiming operation begin so long as another one is sounding. Meanwhile, the strike-mode security device ensures that when a change of mode is made while a chime is in progress, it will only be activated once the previous chime is complete. Finally, if the winding barrel has almost wound down and there is not enough energy for the watch to chime regularly and perfectly right the way to the end of its sequence, the striking mechanism will not be activated, whether in passing or on demand.

This same quest for simplicity governed the watch design. The pure aesthetics highlight the complex mechanism, discreetly housed in an 18K white gold 45 mm-diameter case featuring a caseband that may be customised. Engraved on the back with the inscription “Pièce Unique”, the case is adorned with finely engraved striations echoed by the knurled motif on the crown. Inspired by historical striking pocket watches from the Maison, the 18K gold silver-toned dial also exudes an aura of refined understatement, enhanced by opaline, circular-brushed or snailed finishing, as well as baton-type white gold hour-markers and hands complemented by two black oxidised pointers.

Small seconds at 7 o’clock, the power-reserve indicator at 5 o’clock, along with the strikework power reserve at 2 o’clock indicated by a serpentine hand, combine to create an impression of harmonious clarity and contemporary distinction.

The case and dial of this one-of-a-kind model can be customised in Vacheron Constantin’s Les Cabinotiers, department thereby reflecting the tradition of technical excellence, innovation and bespoke design typical of the 18th century Geneva watchmaking artisans known as cabinotiers.

The timepiece comes fitted with a black alligator strap secured by an 18K white gold folding clasp. Like other horology creations from the manufacture, the Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860 also bears the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva.

Meeting the entire set of demanding criteria governing this independent and sovereign label, a guarantee of provenance, high-quality precision, durability and horological expertise, it comes in a precious presentation box and is delivered with the “Music of Time” resonance holder that amplifies the sound and the harmony of watch chimes.

Technical details
Model: Les Cabinotiers Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860
Reference 9200E/000G-B099
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece
Exclusively available in Vacheron Constantin Boutiques

Movement
Caliber 1860
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
Bi-directional mechanical manual-winding
37 mm (16’’’) diameter, 9.1 mm thick
Movement power reserve: approximately 72 hours Strikework power reserve: approximately 20 hours
3 Hz (21,600 vibrations/hour)
2 barrels
727 components
74 jewels

Indications
Hours, minutes, small seconds at 7 o’clock
Grande sonnerie
Petite sonnerie
Minute repeater
Strikework mode display grande sonnerie/petite sonnerie/silence with a selection via the bezel
Movement power-reserve indicator
Strikework power-reserve indicator

Case
18K white gold
45 mm diameter, 15.1 mm thick
Transparent sapphire crystal caseback

Dial
18K gold, silvered opaline
18K white gold applied hours-makers and movement power-reserve indicator

Strap
Black Mississippiensis alligator leather with alligator leather inner shell, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales
Clasp:18K white gold folding clasp; Polished half Maltese cross-shaped

Presentation box & accessory

Prestige model, delivered with the resonator of sound “Music of Time” enhancing the sound and the harmony of notes of the Vacheron Constantin minute repeater

Unique timepiece
« Pièce unique » and « Les Cabinotiers » engraved on the back of the timepiece

Ulysse Nardin Hourstriker Pin-Up Limited Edition

In this highly artistic creation, a charming burlesque dancer is brought to life by the master craftsmen at Ulysse Nardin manufacture. In a limited edition of 28 rose gold and platinum timepieces, each edition features miniature painting on the dial and Jaquemarts to highlight the hourstriker function.

This charming and delicate figure gazes seductively out at the viewer, posing in her high heel sandals with a flower in her hair and her modesty barely hidden by the colorful explosion of peacock feathers. They are the result of the unique skill of the in-house miniature painters at Ulysse Nardin. Acrylic colors are applied and mixed directly on the dial, as the tiniest details erupt to life through the use of extremely delicate brushes.

Enveloped by the extravagance of the peacock’s tail and wing, the sensual curves of our mysterious dancer are revealed by the hourstriker function, when they sweep back to expose her beauty. This complication – one of the most intricate in mechanical timekeeping – comes alive on the hour, the half-hour and whenever the push-button is activated by the wearer.

Set in a round case, the watch is as functional as it is artistic. Self-winding, it has a power reserve of approximately 42 hours and is water resistant to 30 meters. Its face cover is anti-reflective sapphire crystal, ensuring it is highly durable and scratch resistant. Its sapphire crystal case-back protects its complex inner workings while allowing them to be seen and admired.

Technical details
Reference 6106-130/E2-PINUP
Limited Edition to 28 pieces

Movement
Caliber UN-610
Power-Reserve: Approximately 42 hours
Winding: Self-winding

Functions
Hourstriker Striking of hours and half hours
Automatic chime activation system
Jaquemarts

Case
18ct rose gold or platinum
Diameter: 43 mm
Crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Case back: Screwed case-back with sapphire crystal
Crown: Water-resistant
Water-resistance: 30 m

Dial
Black with two hand painted Jaquemarts

Band
Leather strap, with folding buckle

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300

With a very fresh and distinctive appearance, the new, highly complex Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300 has taken over the top position in Patek Philippe’s ranking of the most complicated regularly produced wristwatches.

The 20 complications of the double-face watch include five chiming functions, two of which are patented world debuts. It comes in a white-gold case with a patented reversing mechanism that allows the timepiece to be worn with either dial facing up.

The new Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300 should not be confused with the commemorative Ref. 5175 of the same name. With its breathtakingly hand-engraved rose-gold case, the latter is a limited, seven watch edition.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300G-001

The new Grandmaster Chime features an inimitably new white-gold case with a hand guilloched hobnail pattern and now belongs to Patek Philippe’s regular collection. However, the process of crafting it is so time-consuming that the Ref. 6300 will also remain an exclusive rarity.

It strikes the time on three gongs: either automatically every quarter-hour with the Grande or Petite Sonnerie, accurate to the minute with the minute repeater, as an alarm that strikes the preset alarm time, or – for greater time intervals – with the date repeater that acoustically indicates the date on demand.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300G-001 white gold

The modes of these sonorous functions are displayed on the front dial, which also indicates the time, a second time zone, the moon phases, the date, and the power-reserve of the movement and strikework spring barrels.

The opposite side is dedicated to the perpetual calendar. Its center is a four digit year display surrounded by four subsidiary dials: the analog date with the leap year cycle at 6 o’clock, the day of the week at 9 o’clock, the month at 3 o’clock, and the 24-hour time indication at 12 o’clock.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime in White Gold Ref. 6300G-001

The most complicated wristwatch movement ever made by Patek Philippe – the manually wound caliber GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM, composed of 1366 parts – ticks between the two solid-gold dials. Its energy is stored in two double spring barrels. One keeps the movement running for 72 hours. The other one powers the strikework for 30 hours.

Patek Philippe Caliber GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM

It is endowed with numerous supplementary mechanisms that enhance user-friendliness and virtually prevent potentially damaging inadvertent manipulations. The pushers and correctors are labeled with delicate engravings and the dial displays the individual functional modes (time strike mode, alarm ON/OFF, crown position, etc.).

Patek Philippe Caliber GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM

The new Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300 comes in an 18K white-gold case with a manually guilloched hobnail motif and features a reversing mechanism integrated between the strap lugs.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300G-001

The black time-side dial with white printed scale elements as well as white-gold hands and appliques is also decorated with a hobnail pattern.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300G-001

The dial on the opposite side, all in white, has black scales and hands. The watch is worn on a black alligator strap with a white-gold fold-over clasp.

Technical details

Model: Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300G-001

Movement
Caliber GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM
Manually wound mechanical movement, 20 complications, chiming mechanism with 3 gongs and 5 different time strikes (Grande and Petite Sonnerie, minute repeater, alarm with time strike, date repeater); second time zone with day/night indicator; instantaneous perpetual calendar (date on both sides, day of week, month, leap-year cycle, four-digit year display, 24-hour and minute subdial, moon phases, strikework mode display, strikework isolator display, alarm ON/OFF, crown position indicator, and power reserve indicators for the movement and the strikework

Diameter: 37 mm
Height: 10.7 mm
Number of parts: 1366
Number of jewels: 108
Number of bridges: 32
Movement power reserve: Min. 72 hours
Strikework power reserve: 30 hours
Balance: Gyromax®
Frequency: 25,200 semi-oscillations per hour (3.5 Hz)
Balance spring: Spiromax®

Functions
3-position crown
• Pushed home To wind the movement clockwise; to wind the strikework counter clockwise
• Pulled halfway out: To set the alarm time
• Pulled all the way out: To set the time
• Strikework mode selector at 9 o’clock

Time dial displays
Local time in hours and minutes, hours in a second time zone, alarm time, analog perpetual date, moon phases, strikework power-reserve indicator, movement power-reserve indicator, strikework mode display, crown position indicator, strikework isolator display (chimes enabled/disabled), alarm ON/OFF

Calendar dial displays
24-hour and minute subdial, four-digit year display, three calendar subdials with analog indications for the day, month, date, and leap-year cycle

Pushers
Pushers for the second time zone (“+” and “-“), alarm, minute repeater

Correction push pieces
Year display (“+” and “-“), date, month, day, moon phases

Hallmark
Patek Philippe Seal

Case
Round, with patented reversing mechanism on the axis from 12 to 6 o’clock, 18K white gold, 214 parts, sapphire crystals on both sides, protected against dust and moisture, not water-resistant
Case band with hand-guilloched hobnail pattern
Manually engraved function lettering and symbols on the case band and pushers
Diameter (10 to 4 o’clock): 47.4 mm
Thickness (crystal to crystal): 16.1 mm

Time side dial
18K gold, ebony black opaline, center with hand-guilloched hobnail pattern, applied Breguet numerals in 18K white gold
Local time hour and minute hands in 18K white gold, hour hand for second time zone in 18K white gold
Hands for alarm time, movement and strikework power-reserve indicators, strikework mode and crown position in 18K white gold

Calendar side dial
18K gold, white opaline, center with polished gold frame for the four digit year display
Subsidiary dials for the 24-hour display, day, month, date, and leap year cycle with black printed scales and black nickel-plated steel hands

Strap
Alligator leather with large square scales, shiny black, hand-stitched white contrast seams, fold-over clasp in 18K white gold

The 20 Complications of Ref. 6300

  1. Grande Sonnerie
  2. Petite Sonnerie
  3. Minute repeater
  4. Strikework mode display (Silence/Grand Sonnerie/Petite Sonnerie)
  5. Alarm with time strike
  6. Date repeater
  7. Movement power-reserve indicator
  8. Strikework power-reserve indicator
  9. Strikework isolator display
  10. Second time zone
  11. Second time zone day/night indicator
  12. Instantaneous perpetual calendar
  13. Day-of-week display
  14. Month display
  15. Date display (on both dials)
  16. Leap year cycle
  17. Four-digit year display
  18. 24-hour and minute subdial
  19. Moon phase
  20. Crown position indicator (RAH)

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Reference 57260

Prestigious Swiss watch manufacture Vacheron Constantin presents horological masterpiece Atelier Cabinotiers reference 57260, the most complicated watch ever made. It took eight years by a team of three highly talented master watch makers from the manufacture to conceive this horological marvel.

The reference 57260 that boasts two dials and features 57 complications, several of which are entirely new and unique. In the reference number 57260, first two digits indicate the number of complications incorporated in this watch and last three digits reminds us the 260th anniversary of Vacheron Constantin (1755 -2015).

The reference 57260 incorporates significant number of ingenious and important new mechanisms that have never been seen before in horology. Made of solid gold (18 carat white gold), polished with glazed bezels on each side, the elegant and well proportioned case has a three position winding crown with corresponding indication window on the case band to show the position of the crown during winding or setting.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Reference 57260

A coaxial button in the crown controls the start/stop and return to zero functions of the double retrograde chronograph and the push button in the case band at 11’o clock activates and restarts the rattrapante chronograph function. You can also notice a totally un -obstructive and new design of the concealed flush fit alarm winding crown located in the case band at the 4’o clock position.

Both dials are made of soiled silver, while the rotating discs for the displays are made of aluminium which is light weight. The meantime dial is of regulator style, displaying the hours, minutes, and seconds on separate chapter rings. The first displays some world premier horological functions developed by the Vacheron Constantin watchmakers and seen for the first time ever in this watch.

Vacheron Constantin Reference 57260 – First Dial

The Hebraic perpetual calendar

Of the utmost technical and mathematical complexity, the Hebraic perpetual calendar truly is considered to be one of the greatest contributions to traditional watchmaking of recent times.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Reference 57260 first dial

Due to the long term changing cycles of the Hebraic calendar and its difference to the Gregorian calendar, the making of a complete functioning mechanical Hebraic perpetual calendar in a watch has been impossible until now. Highly complicated mathematical calculations combining both the lunar months and solar year were transcribed into not only an operational mechanism but a display that is elegant, logical and easy to read.

The Hebraic perpetual calendar works on the principle of the 19 year Metonic cycle because 19 years it is almost exactly a multiple of the solar year and lunar month over that period. On this watch the Metonic cycle is displayed as a sector a 3’o clock concentric with the chronograph hour register.

The sacred date of Yom Kippur indicated in the Gregorian calendar each year, is represented by the corresponding retrograde hand at 6’o clock, which returns to its starting point every 19 years, at which time the sector is replaced for another for each of the 19 year cycles.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Reference 57260 Leap Year

To keep the 12 month lunar year in pace with the solar year, a 13th leap month called an intercalary month has to be added seven times during the 19 year cycle. Ingeniously the watch not only allows for this addition but also show the user whether the current year is a 12 or 13-month year via an indicator hand and 12/13 display situated concentric with the chronograph minute register and counter hand in the 9’o clock position.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Reference 57260 Jewish calendar lunar phase

In the Hebrew calendar, there are fixed lunar months of 29 or 30 days alternately. Those of Cheshvan and Kislev can have 29 or 30 days, depending on the year, here, the self correcting date hand is concentric to the Yom Kippur sector and constant seconds. On either side of the date, two windows indicate the number of days and months in Hebrew.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Reference 57260 Jewish calendar

The secular Hebrew calendar, which is displayed in a four digit window below the Yom Kippur sector, is calculated from the supposed date to the creation of the world in 3760 BC. To calculate the present year in the Hebrew calendar 2015 is added to 3760 giving the year 5775. The Jewish New Year begins again in September 2015 with therefore the Hebrew year 5776. Tishrei is the first month of the Hebrew calendar.

Within the centre of the hour chapter ring are four representations of the moon phases and also a hand indicating the age of the moon within its 29. 5305882 day cycle. The Vacheron Constantin moon phase system requires correction only once every 1027 years.

Double Retrograde Rattrapante Chronograph

Featuring a totally innovative design and construction, the Vacheron Constantin retrograde rattrapante chronograph is completely new to the world of watch making. This is the first watch ever to be made with a rattrapante chronograph with double retrograde function.

This ingenious chronograph is read by the user exactly in the manner of a classic split seconds chronograph; uniquely however, whilst both hands still work in unison and from the same axis, unlike all other split seconds chronographs, the two hands never actually meet but operate on two separate scales on opposing sides of the dial. In this respect, the new chronograph can perhaps be the best described as a detached split seconds chronograph.

Double Retrograde Rattrapante Chronograph

To create this function, a new chronograph mechanism has been invented and made entirely in house at Vacheron Constantin especially for this timepiece.

Further, it has been necessary to specially design and make the two long and very fine chronograph hands so that chronograph has perfect stability and extreme accuracy during operation. There are two register dials for the chronograph counting each elapsed minute up to 60 minutes and each elapsed hour up to 12 hours so that events up to 12 hours in duration can be accurately recorded.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Reference 57260 Movement Calibre 3750
Vacheron Constantin Calibre 3750 – First Dial Side

The Westminster Chiming, Alarm and Night Silence Feature

Sectors can be seen on the dial to either side of the hour chapter ring, just above the chronograph registers. These sectors with their corresponding hands are indicators for the selection of the mode of chiming, mode of alarm striking and the alarm power reserve indicator.

This watch offers 3 possible striking modes:

  • Striking: The watch chimes automatically at each passing quarter hour, in the same way as a clock. With five hammers striking five finely tuned steel gongs, the chiming sequence is that of Big Ben, the clock of the Palace of Westminster in London.
  • Night silence: Chiming automatically disables from 22h to 8h
  • Silence: Chiming switched off when it is not desired.

There are two additional options to choose from; Grand sonnerie(striking the hours and the quarters at ever passing quarter) and alternatively petite sonnerie(striking the full hours at the hour but only a quarter strike without hours on the quarters). To repeat the chiming at any time, the slide on the band of the case can be activated whenever it is desired by the user.

Night time silence : A unique and very user friendly new feature has been developed especially for the chiming system of this watch, that of the automatically activated Night Time Silence Mode. A special mechanism has been developed by Vacheron Constantin enables the watch for not chiming between the hours 22h-08h in order not to disturb its owner. This system is unique in being the first to be automatically activated without the need to manually set the chime or silence option.

Alarm: In addition to the chiming mechanism, this model houses an integrally connected alarm system with separate power reserve indication. This mechanism allows a choice between either a traditional alarm on an additional differently tuned single gong with single hammer or Westminster Carillion full chiming alarm in either Grande or Petite Sonnerie mode. The alarm is set via the winding crown which moves an additional alarm hand co-axial with the hour and moon’s age hand. The flush fit winding button is situated in the band of the case.

Vacheron Constantin Reference 57260 – Second Dial

As well as the astronomical indications, several unique and major systems developed especially for this watch are presented here including a 12 hour second time zone governed by a digital world time display, a double perpetual calendar and a remarkable fully visible armillary sphere tourbillon.

The blue star chart in the upper half of the dial represents the night sky and the star constellations visible from user’s home city, with the months appearing around the edge. Concentric around the outer border is the scale for the retrograde date of the perpetual calendar, the hand flying back to its start point at the end of each month. Subsidiary dials for the days of the week and the months flank the star dial and the aperture above the month dial shows the number of the year between 1 and 4 in the leap year cycle.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Reference 57260 second dial

Around the edge of the dial are three astronomic scales which are read using the central gold hand identified by its sun counterpoise. The outermost scale for the year divided into zodiac sign periods additionally indicates the dates of Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices. The interrelated four seasons are displayed on a further inner concentric ring.

The sector above the tourbillon aperture indicates equation of time showing the discrepancy between true solar time and standard meantime which fluctuates during the year but can be ahead by as much as 16 minutes (around November 3rd) and behind by 14 minutes (around February 12th). Solar and meantime are equal on just for occasions each year. Flanking the tourbillon aperture are two dual sectors for the time of sunrise and day length and time of sunset and night length in the user’s home city. These indications are calculated from the hours of light and darkness and not strictly set times.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Reference 57260

Another world premier feature is the 12 hour second time zone dial with separates day and night indicator window located in the 10th clock position; the second time zone is used in conjunction with the digitally displayed world time function which gives a choice of 24 cities and countries and their respective time deviations from Greenwich Meantime.

This thoroughly new and discreet 12 hour system of world time mechanism and display is the first new system to be developed since Louis Cottier’s well known world time system with 24 hour indication invented about 1935 and is therefore of major significance.

The Dual Function Perpetual Calendar

The perpetual calendar systems invented and built by the watch makers of Vacheron Constantin are amongst the greatest achievements made during the construction of this watch. They represent Vacheron Constantin’s supreme mastery of both highly complex mathematical calculations and the ability of their watch making team to translate the calculations into mechanisms functioning in complete harmony in relation to the myriad other functions.

Including the Hebraic perpetual calendar seen on the other dial, this watch has the ability to provide three entirely different perpetual calendar readings. The fundamental new departure is that two possible options are available for the reading of the Gregorian perpetual calendar displayed on this dial: either the traditional Gregorian calendar or the business calendar system known as ISO 8601, a numerical system which utilises 52 weeks and 7 days.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Reference 57260 perpetual calendar

The Gregorian perpetual calendar which automatically corrects itself for the appropriate number of days in the month and the leap years can be read on the dial using the retrograde date, the days of the week and months dials, with the leap year window displaying a number between 1 and 4 located to the right side of the retrograde date sector.

The ISO 8601 business calendar is a specific system founded by the International Organisation for Standardization and used mainly in international financial sector.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Reference 57260 business calendar

The purpose of this standard is to provide an unambiguous method of representing dates and times, so as to avoid misinterpretation of numeric representations of dates and times, particularly when data are transferred between countries with different conventions for writing numeric dates and times. When times are also required under the ISO system, they are given using the 24 hour system and with time zone information where necessary. Both these functions are also present on this dial.

When the ISO 8601 mode is employed, the number of the week within the year and the number of the day within the week takes precedence over the traditional calendar month and traditional date, the number of the week is read from the dial concentric to the month indication and the number of the day within the week is indicated by a number between 1 (for Monday) and 7 (for Sunday) in a window directly above the week dial.

The ISO system has a full cycle of 400 years and employs a seven day cycle with weeks starting on a Monday. However, an ISO year can have either 52 or in some cases 53 full weeks when New Year’s Day falls on a Thursday (Wednesday or Thursday in leap years): this occurs every 5 or 6 years. In the ISO system, week 1 is the one which contains the first Thursday of the year and always contains the January 4th.

The last week of the year in the ISO calendar is the one that contains the last Thursday and always includes December 28th. This system requires the user to adopt a different way of interpretation, for example: if the calendar is displaying Thursday, September 17th, the ISO calendar will read as day 4 in the day aperture and W 38 on the week dial.

Another option in the mechanism of this ingenious system is that it can be switched from ISO mode to traditional calendar year model. A calendar year is the period beginning January 1 and ending on December 31. Its programming mode will therefore also on 1 January of the year put the number of days of the week in synchronization with the first day of the calendar year. If the annual calendar displays the first day of the year on Thursday, January 1, the calendar will display w1 on the week dial and 1 in the day window.

The Armillary Sphere Tourbillon

The mesmerising armillary tourbillon cage containing the watch’s escapement is visible through the aperture beneath the sky chart. This supremely elegant mechanism displays a three dimensional constantly rotating sphere moving with the utmost delicacy simultaneously in three directions. Appropriately, the watch maker has also chosen to use a spherical balance spring which not only adds to the elegance of the mechanism, its special properties contribute to the accuracy of the watch.

This tourbillon was named armillary because visually it is reminiscent of the circles and rings of the scientific instrument known as the armillary sphere. It was placed in the second dial side complementing the astronomical functions to suggest the apparent movement of the stars, the sun and the ecliptic around the earth.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Reference 57260 Armillary Sphere Tourbillon

The frame of the cage itself, made of ultra light aluminium and carrying the escapement and balance, is ingeniously constructed to incorporate the Vacheron Constant company symbol of Maltese Cross, once every 15 seconds during the tourbillon’s   rotation, the Maltese Cross becomes fully visible to the viewer.

Vacheron Constantin Atelier Cabinotiers Reference 57260 Movement Calibre 3750
Vacheron Constantin Calibre 3750 – Second Dial Side

The armillary sphere tourbillon is a feat of high precision watch making. Made of the lightest of material, its purpose is to minimize the effects of gravity on the balance wheel, hair spring and pallet fork of the escapement.

The tourbillon is essentially a revolving platform and cage upon which the whole escapement is mounted that makes one full rotation in one minute. In this tourbillon, the escapement is rotated in three planes at once. the escapement has two further exceptional features: a spherical balance spring and diamond anchor plates.

Technical details

Model: Vacheron Constantin Reference 57260

Reference: 57260/000G -B046
Hallmark of Geneva Certified timepiece

Movement
Calibre 3750
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
Mechanical manual winding
72 mm (31”1/2) diameter, 36 mm thick
Approximately 60 hours of power reserve
Frequency: 2.5 Hz(18,000 vph)
More than 2800 components
242 jewels

Calibre plate
Plate 150: Chronograph
Plate 250: Gregorian perpetual calendar
Plate 350: Chronograph and Hebraic perpetual calendar
Plate 550: Astronomic calendar

Indications
Time functions (6)
Perpetual calendar functions: Gregorian and Hebraic (15)
Astronomic calendar functions (9)
Lunar calendar functions (1)
Religious calendar functions (1)
Chronograph (3 column wheels) functions (4)
Alarm functions (6)
Westminster Carillion striking functions (8)
Further functions (7)

Case
18k white gold
98 mm diameter, 50.55 mm thick
Not water resistant

Dials
Metal
Silvered opaline
Number of hands: front 19/back : 12

Accessories
Delivered with a corrector pen and magnifying glass

Rarity
Unique piece crafted on demand
Total weight: 960 gm

Ulysse Nardin Hourstriker Erotica Jarretière

With the new Hourstriker Erotica Jarretière, Ulysse Nardin reveals a side never seen before – sensuality. Erotic scenes are a long-standing tradition in the watch industry. Ulysse Nardin takes the subject matter to new heights through its implementation of the Hourstriker movement and Jaquemarts. A limited edition of 28 pieces each in rose gold and platinum, the timepiece’s tale is evident on its dial. A delicate, handcrafted miniature painting brings the romance of Venice to life.

The scene exposes lovers, viewable from the interior balcony, enjoying each other. Set amidst traditional Venetian décor, the nude man and woman make love on a chaise; these figures are handmade gold Jaquemarts that move in rhythm with the Hourstriker.

Run by the complex Hourstriker mechanism, the watch gongs on the hour and on request as the couple moves, in the heat of passion, up and down with the sound. Simple for the timekeeper’s owner to operate, the striking mechanism can be activated or deactivated by simply pressing pusher one. One of the earliest manufacturers to lead the rebirth of the striking mechanism, Ulysse Nardin also remains among the rare watchmakers to use Jaquemarts.

Technical details
Model: Hourstriker Erotica Jarretière
Ref. 6116-130: 18ct rose gold
Ref. 6119-130: Platinum
Limited Edition to 28 pieces

Movement
Caliber UN-611
Power reserve: Approximately 42 hours
Winding: Self-winding

Functions 
Hourstriker Erotica
Striking of hours and half hours
Automatic chime activation system
Two animated Jaquemart in 18ct gold

Case
42mm diameter
Water-resistance: 30 m
Crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Case back: Sapphire crystal fixed with screws

Dial 
Genuine black onyx dial

Bracelet
Leather strap with folding clasp

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175, 175th Anniversary Commemorative Edition

This year, prestigious Swiss watch manufacture Patek Philippe is celebrating its 175th anniversary and to mark this historic occasion the Geneva based manufacture unveils limited edition commemorative timepieces displaying the rich traditions of the revered brand.

One of the most remarkable models among them is Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175, so far most complicated wristwatch of the eminent family-owned watchmaking companies and decidedly one of the world’s most elaborate wristwatches.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175,  175th Anniversary Commemorative Edition

This grand complication timepiece boasts twenty complications and two of which have been added to the annals of watchmaking for the first time. Moreover, the Grandmaster Chime is the first double-face wristwatch presented by Patek Philippe that can be worn with either dial facing up: the one that focuses on the time and the sonnerie, the other dedicated to the full instantaneous perpetual calendar.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175,  175th Anniversary Commemorative Edition

Changing the face is very simple thanks to the ingenious reversing mechanism in the lugs. It is amazingly easy to operate and firmly secures the case in the selected position. Incidentally, the information for which a watch is most frequently consulted – the current time and the date – is displayed on both dials.

The ultimate in user-friendliness and safety is assured with intelligent mechanisms that prevent potentially damaging manipulations and thus reliably protect the highly complex movement with its intricate cosmos of tiny parts.

Patek Philippe’s Grandmaster Chime is a wrist-format timekeeping instrument of absolutely unprecedented complexity and ingenuity that establishes new benchmarks in terms of technical and aesthetic elegance.

Its double-face case with a diameter of 47 mm, it accommodates four spring barrels and no fewer than 20 complications, including coveted functions such as a Grande and Petite Sonnerie, a minute repeater, an instantaneous perpetual calendar with a four-digit year display, a second time zone, and two patented global debuts in the domain of chiming watches: an acoustic alarm that strikes the alarm time and a date repeater that sounds the date on demand. Four additional patents emphasize the innovative thrust behind this watch.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175,  175th Anniversary Commemorative Edition

The Grandmaster Chime is a striking example of the “intelligent watch” as envisioned by Patek Philippe’s philosophy. To protect complicated timepieces against damage caused by inadvertent manipulations, the manfacture’s engineers devised clever “isolators” that interrupt the flow of power between individual mechanisms or block certain functions while others are active.

The engraved inscriptions and symbols on the case and the pushers are further hallmarks of convenience that make the Grandmaster Chime a self-explanatory grand complication watch.

The effort invested by Patek Philippe in this unique anniversary timepiece is remarkable. More than 100,000 hours were logged for development, production, and assembly, of which 60,000 hours for the components of the movement.

Each caliber consists of 1,366 parts and each case of 214 separate parts, bringing the total number of components for each Grandmaster Chime to 1,580. Thus, it took 11,060 meticulously hand-finished parts to assemble the seven limited-edition exemplars of Patek Philippe’s commemorative Grandmaster Chime masterpiece.

Grande and Petite Sonnerie

This complication automatically sounds the hours and quarter-hours at each quarter hour (in the Petite Sonnerie mode only the hours at the top of the hour and only the quarters at each quarter hour). It ranks among the functions that aficionados and collectors hoped to see implemented in a Patek Philippe wristwatch.

But it was always clear to the manufacture that this would not happen unless a strike-work power reserve of at least one entire day could be achieved. The necessary technology was not available until just recently. But now, thanks to the double barrels reserved for the strike-work mechanism, the sonneries can be activated during a period of more than 30 hours before they need to be rewound by hand.

Remarkably, this was accomplished even though the quarter-hours are sounded not on two but instead on three gongs with different tone sequences. This requires 50 percent more energy for each quarter-hour strike.

Minute repeater and alarm

The strikework double barrels also deliver the energy for the minute repeater, which on demand strikes the hours and quarter-hours as well as the minutes that have elapsed since the last quarter-hour. Connoisseurs automatically associate the clarity and volume of the sounds with Patek Philippe.

After all, it was the Genevan manufacture that orchestrated the comeback of this queen of complications 25 years ago. The alarm strikes the alarm time by reproducing the complete tone sequence of the minute repeater, with exactly the same sound quality.

This is a function never before integrated in a mechanical wristwatch. And this is not the only “striking” global premiere with which the Grandmaster Chime celebrates its debut.

The date repeater

The idea behind this patented global debut was inspired by a long-standing Patek Philippe customer who in a discussion with the manufacture’s president Thierry Stern mentioned the possibility of a date strike. Now, with the Grandmaster Chime, it becomes sonorous reality when the date repeater is triggered with a pusher.

It sounds ten-day intervals with a double high-low strike and the remaining days with a high strike: the 23rd of a month is indicated with a ding-dong ding-dong followed by ding-ding-ding. The strikework mechanism obtains the date information from the perpetual calendar to which one side of the double-face watch is dedicated, and which controls the date displays on both sides of the timepiece.

Instantaneous perpetual calendar

The dial of the calendar face is eminently legible. It features four subdials with analog displays grouped around the gold-framed four-digit year display in the middle. The month is indicated at 3 o’clock, the date and leap-year cycle at 6 o’clock and the day of the week at 9 o’clock. The time of day appears at 12 o’clock on the 24-hour and 60-minute subdial.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175,  175th Anniversary Commemorative Edition

With the exception of the four-digit year, the calendar displays advance instantaneously and at the same time. As regards the date, this is indispensable because the date repeater must obtain precise information, especially during the minutes before and after midnight.

The perpetual instantaneous date is also displayed on the other face of the watch where it frames the moonphase display at 6 o’clock. A patent granted for the four-digit year display acknowledges the elegant mechanical solution which allows the year to be conveniently incremented forward or backward with two pushers.

Local time and second time zone

When the crown of the watch points to the right, the owner sees the dial that apart from local time also indicates the time in a second time zone together with a useful day/night indication.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175,  175th Anniversary Commemorative Edition

The same dial features the power-reserve indicators for the movement and strikework barrels, the position of the winding crown (winding, alarm setting, handsetting), the selection of the strikework mode (Grande Sonnerie, Petite Sonnerie, or Silence) as well as a bell-shaped aperture for the alarm ON/OFF display and a small round window for the strikework isolator (disabled/enabled) display.

The round double-face case

The term grand complication is used for movements that feature several highly elaborate complications. In analogy, the expression grande construction is justified for watch cases that require the utmost in creativity from master artisans specialized in design, completion, and decoration.

More than any other watch, this applies to the case of the Grandmaster Chime. It took four years to develop. The result: the Grandmaster Chime is a round double-face watch that can be worn either way without compromise because it has two absolutely coequal dials.

The secret lies in the lugs and the ingenious reversing mechanism, which is not only remarkably easy to operate but also firmly and dependably secures the case in the selected orientation. In the Grandmaster Chime, the skills of the casemakers are ennobled by the hand of a master engraver who invests several hundred hours of work to decorate it.

He adorns the rose-gold case with relief engravings of a special anniversary laurel foliage motif and with a sharp burin chisels the inscriptions and symbols that explain the functions of the operating elements into the caseband, so that the complex timepiece can easily be operated without an instruction booklet. The laurel wreath is a symbol of triumph which since time immemorial has adorned the heads of victors and regents.

At Patek Philippe, it is reserved for the seven Grandmaster Chime timepieces that commemorate the manufacture’s 175th anniversary.

The Grandmaster Chime is delivered in a chest made of Makassar ebony and 17 further wood species. It is decorated with intarsia and gold inlays. Apart from the watch, it contains the accompanying documentation and a commemorative medal in gold that depicts milestones of the manufacture’s history as well as portraits of the company’s presidents from the Stern family since 1932.

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175,  175th Anniversary Commemorative Edition

The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime celebrates the 175th anniversary of the manufacture in a limited edition of seven watches.

Six of them will be sold to long-standing collectors of Patek Philippe timepieces. The seventh one will find a place of honour at the Patek Philippe Museum where it can be admired by the public.

Technical details

Model: Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175R-001

Movement 
Caliber GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM.
Manually wound mechanical movement, 20 complications, chiming mechanism with 3 gongs and 5 different time strikes (Grande and Petite Sonnerie, minute repeater, alarm with time strike, date repeater); second time zone with day/night indicator; instantaneous perpetual calendar (date on both sides, day of week, month, leap-year cycle, four-digit year display, 24-hour and minute subdial, moon phases, strikework mode display, strikework isolator display, alarm ON/OFF, crown position indicator, and power reserve indicators for the movement and the strikework
Diameter: 37 mm
Height: 10.7 mm
Number of parts: 1,366
Number of jewels:  108
Number of bridges: 32
Movement power reserve:  Min. 72 hours
Strikework power reserve: 30 hours
Balance:  Gyromax®
Frequency:  25,200 semi-oscillations per hour (3.5 Hz)
Balance spring:  Spiromax®

Functions
3-position crown
• Pushed home: To wind the movement clockwise; to wind the strikework counter clockwise
• Pulled halfway out: To set the alarm time
• Pulled all the way out: To set the time
• Strikework mode selector at 9 o’clock

Time dial displays
Local time in hours and minutes, hours in a second time zone, alarm time, analog perpetual date, moon phases, strikework power-reserve indicator, movement power-reserve indicator, strikework mode display, crown position indicator, strikework isolator display (chimes enabled/disabled), alarm ON/OFF

Calendar dial displays
24-hour and minute subdial, four-digit year display, three calendar subdials with analog indications for the day, month, date, and leap-year cycle

Pushers
Pushers for the second time zone (“+” and “-“), alarm, minute repeater

Correction push pieces
Year display (“+” and “-“), date, month, day, moon phases

Hallmark
Patek Philippe Seal

Case
Round, with patented reversing mechanism on the axis from 12 to 6 o’clock, 18K rose gold, 214 parts, sapphire crystals on both sides, protected against dust and moisture, not water-resistant Laurel wreath motif on bezel, caseband and lugs relief-engraved by hand, hand-engraved function inscriptions and symbols on  caseband and pushers
Case dimensions:  Diameter (10 to 4 o’clock): 47.4 mm
Thickness (crystal to crystal): 16.1 mm

Time side dial
18K gold, silvery white opaline, center with radially undulated guilloché pattern, applied 18K gold Roman numerals, Local time hour and minute hands in black nickel-plated 18K white gold, hour hand for second time zone in 18K rose goldHands for alarm time, movement and strikework power-reserve indicators, strikework mode and crown position in 18K rose gold

Calendar side dial
18K gold, silvery white opaline, center with polished gold frame for the four-digit year display
Subsidiary dials for the 24-hour display, day, month, date, and leap-year cycle with black printed scales and black nickel-plated steel hands

Strap
Alligator with large square scales, hand-stitched, dark brown, hand-patinated, fold-over clasp in 18K rose gold fully engraved by hand

Patents

1. Alarm mechanism with time strike (Mechanism that acoustically indicates a preset alarm time with hour, quarter-hour, and minute strikes using the chiming mechanism of the minute repeater)

2. Isolation of the Grande Sonnerie in the Silence mode
(Mechanism that totally uncouples the Grande Sonnerie from the movement when the Silence mode is selected, eliminating friction and thus power consumption)

3. Selection of strikework operating mode (Mechanism that allows the automatic time strike to be selected or disabled with a single slide switch: Grande Sonnerie, Petite Sonnerie or Silence. Formerly, two separate switches were needed to make these settings)

4. Date repeater (Mechanism that obtains date information from the perpetual calendar and forwards it to the repeating mechanism. Manufacture president Thierry Stern is the inventor)

5. Reversible wristwatch case (Wristwatch case with rotating and latching devices in the lugs, allowing it to be turned along the axis from 12 to 6 o’clock and locked in either of 2 positions)

6. Mechanism for a four-digit year display
(Mechanism that automatically synchronizes the four-digit year display with the leap-year cycle and allows convenient correction of both displays in either direction)

Innovations

The strikework differential: An innovative masterpiece of micromechanical engineering (not patented): the differential between the strikework double barrels and the two strikework mechanisms for the Grande Sonnerie (incl. minute repeater and alarm) and the date repeater.

It has a diameter of 7.2 mm and consists of 19 separate parts, one of which is an 11-part ball bearing with 7 balls with a diameter of 0.3 mm each. Despite its small size, it is robust enough to transmit the torque of the strikework barrels which exceeds 1700 gmm.

The 20 complications

1 – Grande Sonnerie
2 – Petite Sonnerie
3 – Minute repeater
4 – Strikework mode display (Silence/Grand Sonnerie/Petite Sonnerie)
5 – Alarm with time strike
6 – Date repeater
7 – Movement power-reserve indicator
8 – Strikework power-reserve indicator
9 – Strikework isolator display
10 – Second time zone
11 – Second time zone day/night indicator
12 – Instantaneous perpetual calendar
13 – Day-of-week display
14 – Month display
15 – Date display (on both dials)
16 – Leap year cycle
17 – Four-digit year display
18 – 24-hour and minute subdial
19 – Moon phase
20 – Crown position indicator (RAH)

Patek Philippe Chiming Jump Hour Ref. 5275

The Chiming Jump Hour Ref. 5275, a commemorative Patek Philippe watch that celebrates the manufacture’s 175th anniversary, is presented in a classic tonneau shaped Platinum case.

This horology marvel, which combines three jumping indications with an acoustic indication at the top of every hour, incorporates four patented mechanisms.

Patek Philippe Chiming Jump Hour Ref. 5275

A closer look at the Chiming Jump Hour reveals that the seconds hand jumps from one scale marker to the next in one-second steps. Otherwise, everything remains unhurried on the gold dial with the floral motif. But as soon as the seconds hand reaches the 60, the minute hand also jumps from one minute marker to the next.

And finally, once an hour, the digital display in the aperture at 12 o’clock jumps to the new hour precisely at the same moment when the seconds and minute hands advance.

A soft tone can be heard at this moment: the Chiming Jump Hour indicates the top of each hour acoustically as well. The watch pays tribute to the Ref. 3969 with a jumping digital hour which was launched in 1989 on the occasion of Patek Philippe’s 150th anniversary. The Chiming Jump Hour Ref. 5275 is being crafted in a limited anniversary edition of 175 pieces.

Patek Philippe Chiming Jump Hour Ref. 5275

Jumping time indications are complications characterized by a high level of mechanical complexity. In conventional mechanical watches, the hands move continuously in step with the balance. In most watches, it oscillates at a frequency of 21,600 or 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour, corresponding to 6 or 8 oscillations per second.

With every semi-oscillation, the balance allows the escape wheel to rotate by one tooth, and this motion is transferred to the hands by the going train. The hands move forward incrementally. The seconds hand makes this cadence apparent, but the stepwise motion of the minute and hour hands is barely discernible.

The Chiming Jump Hour also has a balance, and it performs 8 semi-oscillations per second. However, the energy is not directly transferred to the seconds hand. Instead, it is accumulated in a storage mechanism that only releases it to the fourth wheel when the eighth semioscillation takes place.

Analogously, the power stored during a time interval of 60 seconds must be delivered to the minute hand instantaneously, and the same process occurs after 60 minutes when the digital hour display needs to be advanced as well.

This particular moment involves a handicap: an hour disk is heavier than an hour hand and thus needs more power to move. But even more energy is needed, since a small hammer strikes a gong at the top of every hour. This aptly illustrates that a watch with three jumping indications plus an hour strike is a remarkable accomplishment in energy management.

This feat was achieved in an ingenious way with the new manually wound caliber 32-650 HGS PS movement. During a period of four years, the in-house ateliers developed mechanisms that could not only store the energy needed for the jumping indications but would also synchronize the jumps of the seconds, minutes, and hours with extreme accuracy.

Patek Philippe Chiming Jump Hour Ref. 5275

Three patent applications were filed for these solutions. The most conspicuous part is the seconds lever made of Silinvar®, a derivative of silicon. It is connected to a spring which stores the energy of the eight semi-oscillations of the balance that make up one second. With a beak, the lever engages with a wolf-tooth Silinvar ®wheel which in turn meshes with the fourth wheel.

After every sequence of eight semi-oscillations, the lever is lifted. The wolf-tooth wheel advances by one tooth and move the fourth wheel by 6 degrees, which causes the seconds hand to jump forward by one second. The high-tech Silinvar® material was chosen for the lever and the wolf-tooth wheel because of its low mass and the nearly friction-free, highly energy-efficient contact between the beak and the wolf tooth.

This is an inestimable advantage for such a challenging venture with three synchronously jumping indications. The fourth wheel itself carries a snail cam that allows a ruby pallet to drop over the peak after each full revolution. Via a lever, it briefly releases the center wheel, allowing it to turn clockwise by 6 degrees concurrently with the fourth wheel. The seconds and minutes jump simultaneously.

As soon as the center wheel has also performed a complete revolution, the hour disk is advanced by one hour, together with the jumps of the seconds and minutes. It moves forward by 30 degrees because the disk has 12 hour numerals to maximize its legibility. When the hour jumps, this also triggers a small hammer that strikes a gong wrapped around the movement.

The top of every hour is thus automatically announced with a gentle tone. This is a homage to the proud tradition of Patek Philippe’s chiming timepieces that contributed significantly to the brand’s unique reputation. A slide in the case flank at 10 o’clock can be used to isolate the hammer and disable the automatic hour strike. The mechanism is the subject of the fourth patent application.

The substantial effort invested in these attractive complications is manifested by the 438 meticulously finished parts contained in the refined caliber 32-650 HGS PS movement.

This latest milestone in Patek Philippe’s repertoire of horological paragons is accommodated in a tonneau-shaped platinum case that is also crafted in the manufacture’s own ateliers. Like the periphery and the minute circle of the dial, its flanks are decorated with  intricate engravings of floral motifs.

The small slide for enabling and disabling the hour strike is located at 10 o’clock. The fluted platinum crown features the Calatrava cross in relief. The watch has a solid platinum case back with the engraving “PATEK PHILIPPE GENEVE 175e Anniversaire 1839 – 2014”.

Patek Philippe Chiming Jump Hour Ref. 5275

At 12 o’clock, the gold dial features an aperture for the digital hour indication. The minute hand revolves in the off-center minute circle that dominates the top half of the dial. The scale is graduated with black Arabic numerals as well as black minute index dots.

The prominent seconds subdial at 6 o’clock has a black railway track scale, black Arabic numerals, and a black nickel-plated Breguet-style hand. These displays are fresh proof of the sublime manufacturing quality upheld by Patek Philippe.

Because they are jumping indications, it is very important that they be precisely aligned in their quiescent positions: the hour numeral in the middle of the dial, the minute hand exactly on a minute marker, and the tip of the seconds hand strictly in line with a railway track graduation.

The Patek Philippe Chiming Jump Hour Ref. 5275 is worn on a shiny black alligator strap secured with a platinum fold-over clasp. It bears the engraved inscription “PATEK PHILIPPE 1839 – 2014” as well as an engraved Calatrava cross in the middle.

Technical details

Model: Patek Philippe Chiming Jump Hour Ref. 5275

Edition
Limited to 175 watches

Movement 
Caliber 32-650 HGS PS
Manually wound mechanical movement, jumping seconds, jumping minutes, and jumping digital hours,  automatic hour strike
Diameter:   32.6 mm
Height:   6.5 mm
Number of parts:   438
Number of jewels:   75
Power reserve:  Min. 48 hours, max. 53 hours
Balance:  Gyromax®
Frequency:  28,800 semi-oscillations per hour (4 Hz)
Balance spring:  Spiromax®
Balance spring stud:   Adjustable

Functions
2-position crown
– Pushed in: To wind the watch
– Pulled out: To set the time and stop the seconds hand

Hour strike slide with 2 positions:
Position 1: Hour strike enabled
Position 2: Hour strike disabled

Displays
With hands: Minutes and hours
In an aperture: Digital hour

Hallmark
Patek Philippe Seal

Case
Tonneau-shaped, in platinum 950, sapphire-crystal glass, solid platinum back with the engraving “PATEK PHILIPPE GENEVE 175e Anniversaire 1839 – 2014”
Case not water-resistant but protected against moisture and dust
Case dimensions:  Width x length: 39.8 x 47.4 mm
Height (crystal to lugs): 11.78 mm
Height (crystal to back): 11.30 mm
Width between lugs: 22 mm

Dial
18K solid gold, silvery opaline, with embossed floral motif in minute circle and on periphery
Satin-finished off-center minute circle with black Arabic numerals minute marker dots
Hour aperture at 12 o’clock over white hour disk with black
Arabic numerals
Subsidiary seconds at 6 o’clock with railway track scale and black Arabic numerals
Black nickel-plated Breguet-style hands for the minutes and seconds

Strap
Hand-stitched alligator leather with large square scales, shiny black, platinum fold-over clasp with the engraved inscription “PATEK PHILIPPE 1839 – 2014” as well as an engraved Calatrava cross in the middle

Patents

1. Isolation of hour strike mechanism: Innovative mechanism that does not merely allow the automatic hour strike to be disabled but also totally disconnects the strikework mechanism from the movement.

2. Jumping mechanism with coaxial wheels (jumping second): Innovative mechanism for jumping time indications that no longer requires springs and levers but instead precisely controls the jumps of the seconds hand via a wheel train. Thus, it is based exclusively on rotation and eliminates the need for reciprocation.

3. Jumping mechanism with coaxial wheels (jumping hour): Innovative mechanism for jumping time indications that no longer requires springs and levers but instead precisely controls the jumps of the hour disk via a wheel train. Thus, it is based exclusively on rotation and eliminates the need for reciprocation.

4. Mechanism for synchronizing two jumping indications: This mechanism assures that the seconds and minute hands jump with absolute synchronicity  as soon as the seconds hand jumps from second 59 to second 60.

Franck Muller Giga Gong Tourbillon

Unveiled at the 24th edition of the World Presentation of Haute Horlogerie (WPHH) in January 2014, Frank Muller’s in house poetic complication – the Giga Gong Tourbillon features a rhythmic chime that strikes every hour is giving a new dimension to the renowned Giga Tourbillon.

Franck Muller Giga Gong Tourbillon

Created in 2011, the Franck Muller Giga Tourbillon watch bears the world’s largest tourbillon. A sheer technical marvel powered with four barrels, it embraces a 20 mm diameter tourbillon on the dial that occupies almost half of the watch. Branching from this Giga tourbillon, the new Giga Gong Tourbillon takes it a step further.

Franck Muller Giga Gong Tourbillon

The new in-house designed and manufactured manual watch is enhanced with an exciting Striking Hour complication that strikes at every hour. The four barrels are paired in series to provide a power reserve of 6 days. An ON-and-OFF push-button at 4 o’clock can set and de-activate the chime with an indicator of this function at 3 o’clock on the dial.

Franck Muller Giga Gong Tourbillon

The entire mechanism is flawlessly decorated with circular graining, rhodium plating and hand chamfering. Seen in an 18-carat gold casing, this collection is available in two versions – the classic Cintrée Curvex and Round.

Technical details

Model: Franck Muller Giga Gong Tourbillon
Ref. 8889 T G GONG SQT

Movement
Manually wound mechanical movement, 4 barrels, hands-fitting decentred
Dimensions of Movement: Width: 34.40 mm X Length: 41.40 mm X Height: 8.50 mm
Tourbillon cage: Cage of Ø 20mm on ceramic ball-bearing, Ø 16.70 mm balance with adjustment screws in gold, high performance FM escapement, in house manufactured Breguet hairspring
Bell: Chimes at every passing hour and option to chime every half-an-hour
Power Reserve: 6 days without bell and 40 hours with the bell
Frequency: 18’000 vibrations/ hour
Number of Components: 447
Number of Jewels: 54
Movement decoration: Engraving, rhodium plating, circular graining, hand beveling

Display
Hours, minutes, optional seconds on tourbillon, power reserve,
Indication (ON/OFF) of the bell at 3 o’clock

Case, dial & strap
Cintrée Curvex: 18 carat gold
Case dimensions: Width: 43.70 mm X Length: 59.20 mmx Height: 14.00 mm
Dial: Skeleton
Functions: Winding crown in 2 positions – 1) Winding and 2) Time setting
ON/OFF push button of the bell at 4 o’clock
Strap: Hand-sewn black alligator strap

A. Lange & Söhne Lange Zeitwerk Striking Time in Pink Gold, Ref. 145.032

Three high-pitched chimes and one lower-pitched tone are the sounds with which the LANGE ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME announces each passing quarter and full hour. The first A. Lange & Söhne wristwatch with a chiming mechanism is now available in pink gold as well.

A. Lange & Söhne explored new avenues when it presented the LANGE ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME its first chiming wristwatch, three years ago. Now, the resonant masterpiece with precisely jumping numerals is also available in pink gold with an argenté-coloured dial and pink-gold hands.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange Zeitwerk Striking Time in Pink Gold, Ref. 145.032

In the LANGE ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME, key chiming mechanism components are visibly integrated into the dial design. The black-polished steel hammers can be seen on either side of the subsidiary seconds dial: one on the right for the quarter hours and one on the left for the full hours. The two gongs, embedded in a recess between the dial and bezel, are also readily recognisable.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange Zeitwerk Striking Time in Pink Gold, Ref. 145.032

Every 15 minutes, the mechanism triggers the striking of one of the two gongs. Three higher-pitched tones sound each quarter hour, while a low-pitched tone chimes the top of the hour. The chiming mechanism can be deactivated to prevent any disturbance during the night or at a meeting. A push piece at 4 o’clock raises the hammers and silences the watch. This process can be observed through the sapphire-crystal glass, so it is always apparent whether the mechanism is switched on or off.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange Zeitwerk Striking Time in Pink Gold, Ref. 145.032

With its precisely jumping numerals display, the new member of the LANGE ZEITWERK family also represents lucid design and crisp legibility. The large numerals of the adjacent hour and minute indications enable the current time to be read clearly. In fractions of a second, the patented constant-force escapement advances the numerals minute by minute until the full hour when all three numeral discs jump forward simultaneously by exactly one increment.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange Zeitwerk Striking Time in Pink Gold, Ref. 145.032

The LANGE ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME enriches the exciting interplay of numbers with a unique tone in a quarter-hour cadence for the wearer’s listening pleasure.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange Zeitwerk Striking Time Movement L043.2 manufacture calibre

The heart of the LANGE ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME, the L043.2 manufacture calibre, fulfils all those expectations that watch connoisseurs legitimately associate with the name A. Lange & Söhne: its assets include the lavish decoration of all movement parts by hand as well as the balance wheel with eccentric poising weights and a proprietary Lange balance spring.

Technical details

Model: A. Lange & Söhne Lange Zeitwerk Striking Time in Pink Gold, Ref. 145.032

Movement 
Lange manufacture calibre L043.2, manually wound, crafted to the most exacting Lange quality standards, decorated and assembled by hand; precision-adjusted in five positions; three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver; balance cock engraved by hand; jumping minutes; constant-force escapement

Movement parts: 528
Jewels: 78
Screwed gold chatons: 2
Escapement: Lever escapement
Oscillator: Shock-resistant glucydur balance with eccentric poising weights; superior-quality balance spring manufactured in-house with patented attachment (balance spring clamp), frequency 18,000 semi oscillations per hour, precision beat adjustment system with lateral setscrew and whiplash spring
Power reserve: 36 hours when fully wound

Functions 
Time display with hours and minutes as jumping numerals, subsidiary seconds with stop seconds, power-reserve indicator, acoustic signal for quarter hours and full hours

Operating elements 
Crown for winding the watch and setting the time;  push piece for activating and deactivating the acoustic signal

Movement dimensions 
Diameter: 36.0 millimetres; height: 10.0 millimetres

Case
Case in Pink gold
Case dimensions: Diameter: 44.2 millimetres; height: 13.1 millimetres
Crystal and back: Sapphire crystal (hardness 9)

Dial
Solid silver, argenté
Time Bridge: Untreated German silver
Hands: Pink gold

Strap
Hand-stitched crocodile strap, red-brown
Buckle: Lange prong buckle in solid pink gold

A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication Watch in Pink Gold with Enamel Dial, Ref. 912.032

German luxury watch manufacture A. Lange & Söhne unveils a limited edition grand complication watch, which is considered as the most complicated and most exclusive timepiece by the revered watch brand based in Saxony.

The Grand Complication features a host of fascinating functions and yet again manifests the ability of the Saxon master watchmakers to conquer ever new peaks with their undisputed ingenuity.

This masterpiece comes with the most elaborate complications which the art of haute horlogerie has to offer: Chiming mechanism with grand and small strike, minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph with minute counter and flying seconds as well as a perpetual calendar with moon-phase display.

A. Lange & Söhne GRAND COMPLICATION watch in pink gold, Ref. 912.032

This Lange grand complication watch in pink gold is available in a limited edition of six pieces only.

Chiming mechanism with grand and small strike, minute repeater

Two carefully hand-wrought gongs produce the seductive tones of the minute repeater and of the hour and quarter-hour strikes. The A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication watch is endowed with a chiming mechanism that automatically indicates the time in the grand strike (grande sonnerie) or small strike (petite sonnerie) modes.

Every fifteen minutes, when set to grande sonnerie, it first indicates the full hour on the low-pitched gong and then the quarter-hours with a double strike on both gongs. In the petite sonnerie mode, it indicates the elapsed quarter-hours with one, two, or three double strikes on both gongs. At the top of every hour, it strikes the time in hours on the low-pitched gong.

The chiming mechanism is powered by one of a total of three mainspring barrels. They are wound with the crown. Turning the crown clockwise tensions the springs for the going train and the chronograph. The chiming mechanism barrel is wound in the opposite direction.

When the slide in the case flank is actuated, the minute repeater indicates the time on demand with two gongs: The hours sound with low-pitched tones, the quarter-hours with double-tone strikes, and the minutes with high-pitched tones. At 7:52, for instance, the melody consists of seven low tones, three double strikes, and seven high tones.

Monopusher Chronograph with Rattrapante Function & Flying Seconds

The chronograph of the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication is a monopusher type (chronographe monopoussoir) with a rattrapante function and flying seconds (seconde foudroyante). This rare supplementary function makes it possible to freeze stopped times to fifths of a second. A blued-steel hand on the lower subsidiary dial performs five jumps to complete each revolution along its five-second scale while the chronograph is running. Thus, the hand precisely emulates the balance frequency of 2.5 Hz.

A gold chronograph hand and a blued-steel rattrapante hand for stopping lap times sweep the main dial from the centre. They begin to run, together with the flying seconds, as soon as the pusher between 1 and 2 o’clock is pressed. After each revolution of the sweep hands, the minute counter hand in the dial at 12 o’clock advances by one interval.

When the pusher between 10 and 11 o’clock is activated, the blued-steel split-seconds hand will stop to indicate the lap time while the gold chronograph hand continues running. When the pusher in the left-hand flank of the case is pressed again, the split-seconds hand instantly catches up and then remains realigned with the chronograph hand.

When the right-hand pusher is actuated, all four chronograph hands will stop. Pushing the button a second time resets them all to zero. Both mechanisms are precisely and reliably controlled in the classic manner via two column wheels – one each for the chronograph and rattrapante functions.

Perpetual Calendar

The perpetual calendar mechanism emulates the Gregorian calendar. Not only does it know how many days each month has in the course of a year, it is also aware of the fact that February has 29 days in leap years. The mechanism first needs to be corrected by one day in the year 2100. This is because of special rule in the Gregorian calendar which stipulates that the leap year is omitted if the year is divisible by 100. The duration of each month is coded into a 48-segment wheel with recesses that are mechanically sampled by the date switching lever. The deeper the sampled recess, the shorter the current month.

Another special feature of the calendar is that it advances all displays, with the exception of the moon phase, at midnight. The calendar indications are positioned at 3, 9 and 12 o’clock. The subdial on the left indicates the date, the upper one the month in the four-year cycle, and the one at right the day of the week. The upper half of the flying seconds dial exposes the blue-enamelled, solid-gold moon disc that precisely tracks the synodic lunation of the earth’s companion.

The A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication features a multi-part white enamel dial with Arabic numerals, a railway-track minute scale, and the four characteristic, symmetrically arranged subsidiary dials. A suite of time-consuming process steps is needed for each of the five dial elements to assure the flawless appearance of the composite dial. The heart of the exclusive manually wound movement is a balance that beats with a frequency of 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour.

As a tribute to Ferdinand A. Lange, who established Saxony’s watchmaking heritage, the watch incorporates a Glashütte lever escapement based on one of his early inventions. Its lever and escape wheel are made of hardened 18-carat gold. The lever is designed to be in perfect equilibrium.

A slight camber of the covered pallets prevents any adhesion with the escape wheel. The perfect execution of these intricate design features contributes to the enhanced rate accuracy of the watch. The oscillator is paired with a balance spring crafted in-house. When the mainspring is fully wound, it delivers a power reserve of 30 hours.

All parts of the complex manual winding movement are manufactured and lavishly finished by hand to the strictest Lange quality criteria. At several points, Lange’s master watchmakers took the amount of work invested in finissage to unprecedented levels: For example, all chronograph levers are black-polished.

The exclusive collectors’ item in the 50mm diameter 18K pink gold case comes in a limited edition of six watches.

Technical details

Model: A. Lange & Söhne GRAND COMPLICATION, Ref. 912.032

Movement
Lange manufacture calibre L1902, manually wound, crafted to the most exacting Lange quality standards, decorated and assembled by hand; precision-adjusted in five positions; plates and bridges made of untreated German silver; balance cock engraved by hand; chronograph levers black-polished
Jewels: 67
Screwed gold chatons: 7
Escapement: Glashütte lever escapement, lever and escape wheel in 18-carat gold
Oscillator: Shock-resistant screw balance, superior-quality balance spring manufactured in-house, frequency 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour, precision index tail adjustment system with lateral setscrew and whiplash spring

Power reserve when fully wound
-Going train: 30 hours
-Grand strike: 30 hours
-Small strike: 42 hours

Functions
Time display with hours and minutes; chiming mechanism with grand and small strike; minute repeater; split-seconds chronograph with minute counter and flying seconds; perpetual calendar with date, day of week, month in four-year cycle; moon phase

Operating elements
Crown for winding the watch and setting the time; one pusher each for operating the chronograph and the rattrapante mechanism; lever for activating and deactivating the chiming mechanism; lever for selecting small and grand strike; slide for actuating the minute repeater; correction push pieces for advancing the date, day of week, month, and moon phase

Movement dimensions
Diameter: 40.5 millimetres; height: 14.2 millimetres

Case
Case material: Pink gold
Diameter: 50.0 millimetres
Height: 20.3 millimetres
Crystal and caseback: Sapphire crystal (hardness 9)

Dial
Five-part enamel dial
Hands: Pink gold; minute counter, rattrapante hand and flying se-conds hand blued steel

Strap
Hand-stitched crocodile strap, red-brown
Buckle: Lange deployant buckle in pink gold

Girard-Perregaux Opera Two

Girard-Perregaux Opera two is an exceptional watch that combines three of the most distinguished and complex complications: the minute repeater, perpetual calendar and Tourbillon. As an additional sophistication, the minute repeater function chimes with a “Westminster” carillon consisting of the use of four different gongs.

The cut out dial displays three of the four chime hammers, with the fourth only visible when the chime is active. The extraordinary complexity of the refined Tourbillon movement can be admired through the case’s transparent back. The manual winding mechanism has a power reserve exceeding 75 hours.

Technical details
Movement
GPME0980, manual
Diameter: 28,00 mm
Height: 8,92 mm
Frequency: 21,600 Vib/h – (3 Hz)
Jewels: 37
Power reserve: min. 75 h
Functions: Tourbillon, hour, minute, repeater on four gongs (hours, quarters and minutes – Westminster chime), perpetual calendar, small second on the Tourbillon

Case
Material: Pink gold, white gold or platinum
Crystal: Antireflective sapphire
Case-back: Sapphire crystal, secured by 6 screws
Diameter: 42,00 mm
Height: 14,54 mm
Water resistance: 3 ATM
Strap size: 20,00 / 16,00 mm
Buckle: Folding

Girard-Perregaux Opera One

The Girard-Perregaux Opera One is an Haute Horlogerie watch that combines two of the most distinguished and complex complications: the minute repeater and the Tourbillon. As an additional sophistication, the minute repeater function chimes with a “Westminster” carillon based on the use of four different gongs.

The absence of dial allows a view of three of the four chime hammers in action.This complication model is equipped with GPME9899 manual winding movement that has a power reserve of 75 hours. Models are available in Pink gold, white gold or platinum.

Technical details
Movement
GPME9899, manual winding
Diameter: 27,60 mm
Height: 7,69 mm
Frequency: 21,600 Vib/h – (3 Hz)
Jewels: 37
Power reserve: min. 75 h
Functions: Tourbillon, hour, minute, repeater on four gongs (hours, quarters and minutes – Westminster chime), small second on the Tourbillon

Case
Material: Pink gold, white gold or platinum
Crystal: Antireflective sapphire
Case-back: Sapphire crystal, secured by 6 screws
Diameter: 40,00 mm
Height: 13,00 mm
Water resistance: 3 ATM
Strap size: 20,00 / 16,00 mm
Buckle: Folding

Loiseau 1f4 Grande Sonnerie Complication : World’s First Dual Automatic Grande Sonnerie Complication Timepiece with Instant Dial Reversibility

Dominique Loiseau, one of the most talented figures of contemporary horology, presents world’s first dual automatic Grande Sonnerie complication timepiece with instant dial reversibility and 32 functions.

A legendary figure working at the summit of complex horology for more than 30 years, Dominique Loiseau has until now been quietly at work creating remarkable timepieces for the major names of watch industry.

Artisan and teacher at the International Museum of Watchmaking in La Chaux-de-Fonds, restorer of collector’s timepieces and automata, he is also the creator of the exceptional pocket watches Renaissance and Capriccio, the Rose des Temps clock, the six Montres de Sables and the Alpha-Omega automaton.

In addition, Dominique Loiseau is the inventor of the famed Blancpain 1735 wristwatch. He is clearly an unequivocal and truly authentic horological inventor of an exceptional level, a master watchmaker who has created timepieces of every type of complexity, either as unique pieces or in highly limited editions.

This new Grande complication timepiece was unveiled at this year’s edition of Basel world watch fair. The event witnessed the world premiere birth of a new brand: Loiseau.

The new timepiece, named 1f4, represents the culmination of a master watchmaker’s lifetime of accumulated knowledge. As one would expect from a master like Dominique Loiseau, his 1f4 brings major new developments and World Premiere patents to the Grande Sonnerie Complication, never before united within this class of timepiece.

Loiseau 1f4 Grande Sonnerie Complication : World’s First Dual Automatic Grande Sonnerie Complication Timepiece with Instant Dial ReversibilityThe development of the 1f4 Grande Sonnerie Complication began 6 years ago. To date Dominique Loiseau has dedicated a minimum of 15,000 man-hours towards its realization and production. Designed, executed, finished and assembled within the confines of his atelier located by the shores of the Geneva Lake, using his own machines and hand tools, the 1f4 stands at the very pinnacle of Switzerland’s finest hand made watchmaking traditions and carries the proud designation of “Entièrement manufacturé en Suisse” as this is where it is 100% made.

Many ultra-complicated watches created today often suffer from dials that visually overload the user with an excess of information utilizing numerous hands and indicators. This can easily result in a dial becoming cluttered and illegible as well as inelegant in appearance. For this reason a leading concept that guided Dominique Loiseau during the visual design stage of the 1f4 was to integrate the highest possible number of useful complications onto two separate dials, each of them having its own specific group of complications as well as different characters.

In essence this meant going into uncharted territory with a new approach towards the creation and design of a hitherto unknown and exceptionally complex movement. The sophisticated clarity of the dial layout on each side of the watch is not the result of simply matching two different movements together. Instead, it requires an extremely high level of integration totaling more than 891 discrete parts occupying different layers on both sides of a central base plate. This new layout concept allows the movement thickness to be kept to a minimum and additionally increases many aspects of the movement’s stability.

The first step in the execution of this elegant solution necessitated the development of a World Premiere patent comprising a totally invisible and secret system allowing the watchcase to be completely reversed within seconds, yet requiring no hinges, brackets, frames or any other visually unaesthetic methods to achieve this goal. Even to the initiated, a close inspection of the watchcase of the 1f4 gives nothing away about this mechanical secret that is quietly contained within its case design.

The challenge was to create an exceptionally slim dual automatic Grande Sonnerie Complication. This ingenious system allows the owner of the watch to make full use of all information the 1f4 offers on its elegantly laid out dials showing more than 32 different complications in total. Indeed, one can truly say that the 1f4 represents a landmark for users with the simplicity it brings to complicated watch design on every level, with one dial directed by the split seconds chronograph, the other by the perpetual calendar. Both of these unified horological manifestations are governed by a Flying Tourbillon beating at 21,600 vph as the heart of the Grande Sonnerie Complication movement.

Loiseau 1f4 Grande Sonnerie Complication : World’s First Dual Automatic Grande Sonnerie Complication Timepiece with Instant Dial ReversibilityAs all connoisseurs will undoubtedly know, the Grande Sonnerie remains unequivocally the most rare and exceptional expression of the watchmaker’s art. Yet rarer is the Grande Sonnerie with an automatic winding system. Nonetheless, the greatest horological, mechanical rarity today is a Grande Sonnerie Complication with a double automatic system utilizing two annular rotors, the only one of its kind in the world, represented by the 1f4, with its total thickness less than 16.64 mm.

Loiseau 1f4 Grande Sonnerie Complication : World’s First Dual Automatic Grande Sonnerie Complication Timepiece with Instant Dial ReversibilityAutomatic winding systems are absolutely essential to the creation of a beautiful and useful Grande Sonnerie Complication; it is even more important when there are additional complicated functions added to the timekeeping properties of the watch. For example, the Sonnerie, when set to chime automatically in Grande Sonnerie mode, requires vast amounts of energy from the movement. In addition, the energy requirements of the basic functions of the movement need to be respected to insure perfect chronometric results; the same applies to the energy requirements of the other complications the 1f4 Grande Sonnerie Complication offers, such as the split seconds chronograph and the perpetual calendar.

Loiseau 1f4 Grande Sonnerie Complication : World’s First Dual Automatic Grande Sonnerie Complication Timepiece with Instant Dial ReversibilityThe solution to the problem is not simply the addition of an automatic rotor to the Grande Sonnerie movement; this would result in the watch being far too thick for comfort and would still not solve the issue of energy supply for the other functions the 1f4 movement must fulfill in addition to the Grande Sonnerie.

Conversely, this means the addition of two rotors is normally speaking totally out of the question. On a mechanical level however, this remains the only feasible and realistic solution for the creation of a truly functional and unusable complication timepiece of this type.

Loiseau 1f4 Grande Sonnerie Complication : World’s First Dual Automatic Grande Sonnerie Complication Timepiece with Instant Dial ReversibilityDominique Loiseau’ s unique and also patented system places the dual automatic rotors on the outside of the movement, communicating with the movement via an annular-geared ring with internally placed teeth. These internal teeth communicate with a specially designed pinion at the edge of the movement, thus transferring their energy to the winding barrels. In this manner, the entire rotor mechanism does not add thickness of the watch’s movement, keeping the timepiece itself to an astounding 16.64 mm overall, a World Premiere feat of mechanical magic.

Subtle balance between classicism and modernism, the finely proportioned exterior of the 1f4 displays its sturdy character and reminds us of the source of its own name: the famous Henry Edward Bird chess opening.

When asked what chess and Haute Horlogerie have in common, Dominique Loiseau always enjoys explaining all about the creation and development of a complicated mechanism: starting it right from the first move – the famous opening – while having in mind the goal to reach, the experience in specific strategies, the capacity to apply instant tactics against sudden and unexpected difficulties, being creative at all time! In other words, creating and developing the complex movements of a Grande Sonnerie Complication can be paralleled to chess: a mastermind’s game.

The King, the Queen, the Knight and the other 3 pawns of a chess play are evidently the visible and mobile players of the 1f4.

The phenomenal creativity and care that have been brought to the conception of its movement, allowing the 32 functions to be intelligently and logically spread over its 2 dials, brings this 1f4 into a new dimension in wearing and using a complex master timepiece on a daily base.

Its perfect wrist comfort fit has been made possible thanks to the exceptional dimensions of such a fully automatic Grande Sonnerie Complication: thinness of 16.64 mm and a diameter of 45.2 mm.

The complexity of this rare timepiece, made by hand in the Loiseau ateliers, the care brought to its construction and quality in each of its just less than 1,000 pieces in a whole, is such that only 2 units can be produced every year. Each one of them will be stamped with a unique reference combining its vintage year – the year it will be delivered – and its owner 3 digits monogram or lucky number.

According to each collector’s desire the 1f4 can be crafted in solid 990 Platinum or solid 18K yellow, red (5N) or white gold.

Technical details

Case 
– Created from 18K white, yellow or red (5N) gold or Platinum 990.
– Two instantly, secretly and fully reversible dials (World Premiere).
– Case thickness less than 16.64 mm.
– Case diameter 45.20 mm.
– Water resistance 3 ATM (30 meters).
– 4 push-pieces, 4 correctors and 2 crowns.

Functions
1. Two instantly, secretly and fully reversible dials (World Premiere).
2. Self-winding movement with annular-geared oscillating rotor (World Premiere).
3. Self-winding striking mechanism with annular-geared oscillating rotor (World Premiere).
4. 60 second Flying Tourbillon.
5. Day/night indicator via a special reflector below the tourbillion cage.
6. Mono pusher split second’s chronograph.
7. Stop and return of the split seconds chronograph via a separate push-piece.
8. 30-minute chronograph counter.
9. Local time hours.
10. Local time minutes.
11. Seconds on the tourbillion carriage.
12. 2nd time zone hours.
13. 2nd time zone minutes.
14. Equation of time.
15. Striking mechanism power reserve indicator on the « Classical » dial.
16. Striking mechanism power reserve indicator on the « Skeleton » dial.
17. Silence.
18. Automatic quarters striking mechanism (Petite Sonnerie au passage).
19. Automatic hours and quarters striking mechanism (Grande Sonnerie au passage).
20. Silence, Petite Sonnerie or Grande Sonnerie selection thru a single push-piece (World Premiere).
21. Minute Repeater (hours, quarters and minutes).
22. Perpetual calendar.
23. Leap years.
24. Day of the week.
25. Month of the year.
26. Date.
27. Moonphase.
28. Perpetual Calendar indications synchronously corrected through the crown (Patented).
29. Day of the week individual correction thru specific integrated corrector.
30. Month of the year individual correction thru specific integrated corrector.
31. Date individual correction thru specific integrated corrector.
32. Moon phase individual correction thru specific integrated corrector.

Movement details
Movement base plate and bridges created from solid 18k white, yellow or red (5N) gold.
– Breguet over coil balance spring.
– Free sprung balance with weight adjustment.
– Movement frequency of 21,600 vph.
– Split chronograph lever with special profile to reduce friction.
– Squared section gong crafted directly from one piece.
– Chronograph functions governed by column-wheel.
– 18K white, yellow or red (5N) gold annular oscillating rotors.
– Movement handmade and finished of more than 891 parts.
– Movement diameter 41.50 mm.
– Movement thickness from hands to hands 14.8 mm.
– Movement thickness from dial to dial 13.0 mm.

Classical Dial
– Created from 18K gold.
– 7 hands.
– Local hours and minutes.
– Moonphase indicator.
– Leap year.
– Month of the year.
– Day of the week.
– Date.
– Power reserve indicator for the striking mechanism.

Skeleton Dial
– Created from 18K gold.
– 9 hands.
– Local time sub-dial with hours and minutes hands.
– Seconds via peripheral markers and the Tourbillon cage
– Second time zone hour and minute sub dial (GMT).
– Day/night indicator via a special reflector below the tourbillion cage.
– 30-minute chronograph counter.
– Equation of time indicator.
– Split seconds chronograph.
– Power reserve indicator for the striking mechanism.

Hands
– Created from 18K gold.
-Total number of 16.

Bracelet
– Bracelet attachment with integrated push-piece bar, requiring no special tools (Patented).
– Alligator.

Buckle
– Created from 18K white, yellow or red (5N) gold or Platinum 990.
– Deployments buckle (choice of 2 or 3 sections) with ‘Comfort Stake System’ (Patented).

Ulysse Nardin Alexander the Great Westminster Carillon Tourbillon Jaquemarts Minute Repeater

Swiss luxury watch brand Ulysse Nardin takes inspiration from the greatest conquer of the history to introduce “Alexander the Great Westminster Carillon Tourbillon Jaquemarts Minute Repeater”, an exceptional timepiece that showcases the mastery of its watchmakers. With this technically advanced yet traditional timepiece, Ulysse Nardin conquers the hearts of connoisseurs and enthusiasts of fine horology.

The complicated mechanisms of this timepiece are housed in a 44 mm case of 18-karat white gold or rose gold 4N, and are water-resistant to 30 meters. The visible one-minute tourbillon is integrated into the dial, its bridge created in the same shape as those used on the tourbillions James Pellaton produced for Ulysse Nardin at the beginning of the 20th century. The superbly finished basic movement features 36 jewels with a diameter of 27.60 and a height of 8.50 mm. Each part of the movement is decorated, angled and hand-finished.

Jaquemarts on the dial depict Alexander the Great clad in armor and engaged in battle. For instance, in one movement he is on horseback armed with a spear, and in another, the combatant stands defiant with a bow and arrow. There are five hand-crafted figures in all, prominent in appearance against the deep, charcoal-colored background of the man made diamond dial.

The movements of the Jaquemarts are synchronized with the sound of gongs, moving to the minutes, quarters and hours, or to a combination of these units of time. On the far left, the warrior stands static, armed and ready for an attack. In another instance, the saber-wielding combatant makes a strike when the gongs sound on the quarters and hours; this is the only Jaquemart that moves on the hour. As a fierce, spear-thrusting horse rider and as a skilled archer, he makes his fighting move when the quarters are indicated. While shielded in red armor, he attacks on both the quarter and minute indicators. This is the only Jaquemart that moves on the minutes. Ulysse Nardin remains among the rare manufacturers in the world to use Jaquemarts on the dial of its wristwatch repeaters.

The Minute Repeater
Minute repeaters are rare and one of the most sought after complications, however its beauty lies not in visible function, but in audible function. This exceptional complication conquers the heart of every connoisseur with its ability to have time not only seen, but heard. The minute repeating mechanism was patented by English clockmaker Daniel Quare in the late 17th century before the invention of electricity. With his minute repeater, Quare discovered a way that his clock could tell the time even after sunset. The first minute-repeating wristwatch was produced in the late 19th century.

Ulysse Nardin was one of the earliest manufacturers to fuel the rebirth of the minute repeater, making its creations finite and superb, its sound quality sublime. The formation of the perfect sound is an arduous process, with each minute repeater having to be individually tuned by a master watchmaker. Tone is often adjusted by removing a small amount of metal from the gongs, but each time this is done the movement must be re-cased since the sound can only be properly tested when the watch is complete.

Each completed and flawlessly tuned minute repeater that leaves Ulysse Nardin is reflective of a truly massive investment in human endeavor – and one that is assumed with vigor.The Westminster has four gongs, each with a different tone (Mi-Do-Re-Sol). When the repeater is activated, the hour sound is Sol and the minute sound is Mi.

All four gongs sound in three different sequences for the quarters:
– 1st quarter: Mi-Do-Re-Sol
– 2nd quarter: Mi-Do-Re-Sol/Sol-Re-Mi-Do
– 3rd quarter: Mi-Do-Re-Sol/Sol-Re-Mi-Do/Mi-Do-Re-Sol 

All movement parts are decorated, angled and finished by hand.

Polycrystalline Diamond Dial
Alexander the Great Westminster Carillon Tourbillon Jaquemarts Minute Repeater features a dial exquisitely crafted with diamond. The development and use of man made diamond signifies years of research, investments and revolutions in watchmaking by Ulysse Nardin. This decorative diamond is the culmination of millions of small, faceted diamond crystals engineered to grow together to form a continuous diamond layer. The result: an authentic, highly resilient, two-dimensional diamond surface that sparkles with intensity, exhibiting various colors depending on its purity.

Alexander the Great Westminster Carillon Tourbillon Jaquemarts Minute Repeater by Ulysse Nardin is a timepiece that tells many stories; one about a historical legend and an explorer whose bravery was fearless, and another about an uncompromising watch brand whose constant quest for inventiveness and beauty continually leads to revolutionary innovations. As Alexander the Great made history, Ulysse Nardin’s Alexander the Great Westminster Carillon Tourbillon Jaquemarts Minute Repeater is history in the making. One hundred of these very special, limited-edition timepieces are available worldwide.

Technical details
Model:Alexander the Great Westminster Carillon Tourbillon Jaquemarts Minute Repeater
Reference 780-90: 18 ct white gold
Reference 786-90: 18 ct rose gold

Movement
Caliber UN-78
36 jewels
Power-Reserve: Approx. 70 h Winding: Manual winding

Functions
Westminster Carillon Tourbillon Jaquemarts Minute Repeater
Striking of hours, quarters and minutes Four different chimes (Mi-Do-Re-Sol)

Case, dial and strap
Case: 18 ct rose gold or 18 ct white gold , Diameter 44 mm
Water-resistance: 30 m
Dial: Man made diamond dial
Crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Case-back: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Crown: Water-resistant
Band: Alligator leather strap, with folding buckle

Limited Edition
50 pieces in white gold and 50 pieces in rose gold

A. Lange & Söhne LANGE ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME Limited Edition

A. Lange & Söhne enriches its LANGE ZEITWERK collection with a resonant horological masterpiece this year.

The LANGE ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME is fitted with a chiming mechanism that is visible in its face. It strikes the quarter-hours with high-pitched tones and the full hours at a lower pitch. Played fast-forward, the result is a famous leitmotif by great musician Ludwig van Beethoven.

Unveiled for the first time at SIHH 2011, the LANGE ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME is the first Lange wristwatch with an acoustic signature.

A. Lange & Söhne LANGE ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME Limited Edition
In 2009, when A. Lange & Söhne announced the beginning of a new epoch with the LANGE ZEITWERK and its unusual design hallmarks, the declared objective was to depart from the beaten track. So it is no coincidence that the first chiming Lange watch is a “ZEITWERK” as well. Additionally, its mechanical design concept offers ideal prerequisites for the integration of a strike train.

When the numeral discs are advanced, a sizeable force vector is unleashed, so after the switching cycle, enough energy remains for other purposes. These reserves are now used by the chiming mechanism to tension the springs that actuate the two hammers.

A. Lange & Söhne LANGE ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME Limited Edition

They are made of black-polished steel and are integrated in the dial layout on either side of the subsidiary seconds. The one on the left strikes the hours, the one on the right the quarter-hours. The two gongs are also readily discernible: they are suspended in a recess between the dial and the bezel. In quarter-hour intervals, the mechanism triggers a strike on one of the two gongs. A higher-pitched tone signals the quarter-hours and a lower-pitched one sounds at the top of the hour.

A. Lange & Söhne LANGE ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME Limited Edition Platinum
A. Lange & Söhne LANGE ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME Platinum

Actuating the push piece at 4 o’clock causes the chiming mechanism to remain mute. The mode is easy to verify, because a glance through the sapphire-crystal glass shows whether or not the hammers are deflected away from the gongs. Incidentally, the hammers are also retracted when the crown is pulled. This allows the time to be set in either direction without activating and inadvertently jamming the chiming mechanism.

A. Lange & Söhne LANGE ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME Limited Edition white gold watch
A. Lange & Söhne LANGE ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME White Gold

With its precisely jumping numeric display, the A. Lange & Söhne LANGE ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME also stands for uncompromising lucidity in style. The large hour and minute numerals in adjacent apertures always deliver an unambiguous reading of the current time.

Accompanied by a soft click and hardly perceivable by the human eye, the numerals advance minute by minute, powered by the patented constant-force escapement. The grand jump takes place at the top of the hour when all three numeral discs advance simultaneously by exactly one increment. Now, the captivating progression of time is enriched by an acoustic accent every fifteen minutes.

A. Lange & Söhne LANGE ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME Movement Calibre L043.2

Beating inside the A. Lange & Söhne LANGE ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME watch is the manufacture Calibre L043.2. As expected, it comes with lavish manual decorations, the balance wheel with eccentric poising weights and Lange’s proprietary balance spring.

The LANGE ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME watch comes in a 44.2-millimetre white-gold case with a black dial or in a limited edition of 100 platinum-cased watches with rhodiumed dials.

Technical details

Model: A. Lange & Söhne LANGE ZEITWERK STRIKING TIME
Ref. Nos. 145.029 / 145.025

Movement Details
Movement: Lange manufacture calibre L043.2, manually wound, crafted to the most exacting Lange quality standards and largely decorated and assembled by hand; precision-adjusted in five positions; three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver; balance cock engraved by hand; jumping minutes; constant-force escapement
No. of movement parts: 528
No. of jewels: 78
Screwed gold chatons: 3
Escapement: Lever escapement
Oscillation system: Shock-resistant glucydur balance with eccentric poising weights; superior-quality balance spring manufactured in-house with patent-pending attachment system (balance spring clamp), frequency 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour, precision beat adjustment system with lateral setscrew and whiplash spring
Movement dimensions: diameter 36.0 millimetres; height 10.0 millimetres
Power reserve: 36 hours when fully wound
Functions: Time display with hours and minutes as jumping numerals, subsidiary seconds with stop seconds, power-reserve indicator, acoustic signal at quarter-hours and full hours
Operating elements: Crown for winding the watch and setting the time; push piece for enabling and disabling the acoustic signal

Case
White gold / Platinum (limited to 100 watches)
Case dimensions: diameter 44.2 millimetres; height 13.8 millimetres
Glass and caseback: Sapphire crystal (hardness 9)

Dial, Hands & Strap
Dial: Solid silver, black / Solid silver, rhodié
Time bridge: German silver, rhodiumed
Hands: Rhodiumed gold
Strap: Hand-stitched crocodile strap, black
Buckle: Heavy Lange prong buckle in white gold / Heavy Lange prong buckle in platinum

Bulgari-Gérald Genta Collection: Octo Grande Sonnerie Tourbillon

Octo Grande Sonnerie Tourbillon is the ultimate embodiment of horological complexity, and all the more so in that the self-winding movement driving it is fitted with a Tourbillon regulator, a retrograde hour display, along with power reserve indicators for the movement and the striking mechanism. This exceptional movement, Calibre GG 31002, is an amazing distillate of excellence and symbolises several centuries of human and horological history.

The complexity of the twin-barrel movement naturally lies in the number of components: 863 in all. It is also symbolised by the internal organs dedicated to sound, or rather to the different types of sound that this musical work of art is capable of playing. For in this model, the supremely accomplished watchmaking art is matched by parameters specifically relating to the fields of metallurgy and acoustic science.

The gongs are made from a special steel alloy with a diameter similar to that of a piano string playing the high notes. The four gongs inside the Octo Grande Sonnerie Tourbillon are suspended between the movement and the inner surface of the case, thus enabling them to vibrate freely and to produce their sounds without any impediment. Each of them has a different length in order to produce its own specific sound, and each corresponds to a hammer that hits a specific spot on the gong. The rhythm, the speed and the strength of the strike are important in generating the purest and clearest sound possible.

Thanks to its 4 gongs, the Octo Grande Sonnerie Tourbillon is capable of playing the tune of Big Ben (Westminster/London). This authentic masterpiece can also perform two major audible functions: the Grande Sonnerie (grand strike) and Petite Sonnerie (small strike). In Grande Sonnerie mode, the mechanism strikes the hours, and then repeat the hour each time it is preparing to strike the following quarters – first, second and third – just like a clock tower bell. This striking mode known as “in passing” operates automatically, without any intervention by the owner of the watch. Meanwhile, the Petite Sonnerie mode also sounds the hour and the first, second and third quarters in passing.

One may of course also opt for the silence mode. And finally, the Repeater mode indicates the time whenever the wearer wishes by activating the repeater slide which triggers the striking mechanism. This mode is referred to as “on demand”.

The right-hand side (between 1 and 5 o’clock) of the dial with its alternating black lacquered, cloisonné segments, carries the strike/silent, striking-mechanism power reserve, time-indication power reserve and strike-mode selector (Grande/Petite Sonnerie) indications. It also accommodates the minute disc. Its left-hand side displays a retrograde hours indication. The white gold case is adorned with two beaded crowns serving to adjust the time functions (at 3 o’clock) and to activate the striking mechanism (at 9 o’clock).

This exceptional creation is all the rarer in that the watchmaker responsible for assembling its movement takes over a year to accomplish this daunting task.

Technical details
Self-winding movement, Grande Sonnerie Westminster Chime, retrograde hours display, power-reserve indicators, disc-type minutes display; 21,600 vph, 48-hour power reserve
43 mm white gold case, transparent caseback
18- carat white gold crown set with a falcon’s eye cabochon
Cloisonné dial
Water-resistant to 30 metres
Alligator leather strap, triple-blade folding clasp in 18-carat white gold

 

Christophe Claret Dualtow Nighteagle – Single Pusher Planetary-Gear Chronograph with Striking Mechanism

Launched in 2009 to mark the company’s 20th anniversary, the DualTow is a gem of horological complexity and a distillate of the innovation, expertise and excellence inherent to the Manufacture Christophe Claret.

At Baselworld 2010, the DualTow returns in an even more spellbinding version. Its subtly sophisticated face provides a discreet backdrop that highlights its exceptional mechanism. Presented in an all-black version and in black with white accents, its stealth-style shape, angular lugs and tinted sapphire bridges are reflected in its intriguing name: NightEagle.

Christophe Claret Dualtow Nighteagle - Single Pusher Planetary-Gear Chronograph with Striking Mechanism

The handful of watch companies capable of creating, developing and ensuring the reliability of totally exclusive and ultra-complex watch movements form an extremely exclusive fraternity to which Christophe Claret SA undeniably belongs. For over 20 years, the Manufacture has consistently devised some of the world’s most complicated new calibres.

From the minute repeater – the first complication developed by this watchmaker – to the orbital tourbillon and the roller-display perpetual calendar, the Manufacture is indisputably one of the most innovative and effective companies in the watch industry.

Christophe Claret Dualtow Nighteagle - Single Pusher Planetary-Gear Chronograph with Striking Mechanism

The DualTow NightEagle – a single-pusher planetary-gear chronograph with striking mechanism and tourbillon, endowed with several inventions, including a patented one – is a concentrated blend of the experience, expertise and mastery of the finest watchmaking acquired and cultivated by Christophe Claret SA. The DualTow collection will in due course comprise 68 unique configurations.

DUALTOW NIGHTEAGLE – CONSTANT TENSION

Representing a stunning alliance between the best of the watchmaking art and a boldly futuristic projection, the DualTow features a variety of references. First of all, to the ultra-secret world of stealth aircraft such as the American F-117 Night Hawk, reflected in the taut lines, sharp angles, tone-on-tone colours and transparency effects.

Christophe Claret Dualtow Nighteagle - Single Pusher Planetary-Gear Chronograph with Striking Mechanism

These are indeed exactly the kind of avant-garde and confidential characteristics that inspired Lamborghini in creating its Reventon, the most powerful Lamborghini ever, an earth-bound alter ego of the F-22 Raptor. The design of its wheel rims with its emblematic angled spokes is echoed in the hammers of the NightEagle’s chronograph mechanism.

There are also nods to the world of heavy and powerful machinery, such as diggers and lunar modules with their caterpillar tracks: these vehicles convey an impression of raw power that is evoked in the belt-type display. And finally, it symbolically alludes to the royal eagle by borrowing some of the noble bird’s chief attributes, such as a black and white coat and a piercing gaze.

BELT-TYPE DISPLAY WITH INTEGRATED WINDING

The two notched belts in a rubber specially developed for Christophe Claret are driven by cylinders placed on either end. To intensify the impression of motion, the design of their sides is directly inspired by racing-car wheel rims. Inside, a screw-tightening module enables ultra-precise adjustment ensuring optimally smooth operation. In addition to this mechanism, the minute belt houses a fully integrated winding and time-setting system.

The left-hand belt provides a digital display of the hour, and the right-hand one shows the minutes. On the NightEagle, this original system is enriched with a new and more dynamic instrument-panel type of font. The now slightly sloping numerals appear in black against a white background, or grey against a black background.

SAPPHIRE CRYSTAL BRIDGES

The culmination of in-depth research and expertise, the DualTow NightEagle features extensive use of sapphire. This material is extremely hard to work with and constitutes the unique field of activity of only certain highly specialised companies such as Christophe Claret.

Christophe Claret has even developed his own production tools in order to be able to machine the material. Not only are all the other components used in the DualTow NightEagle made in-house, but this additional step towards integrating the maximum number of operations relating to Sapphire and watch production remains an exception among movement inventors.

A genuine feat of horological architecture, the DualTow NightEagle fully reveals its interior. On the upper part of the movement, three tinted sapphire bridges form a kind of stealth-type dial – a nod to the world-first tourbillon model presented in 1997 and featuring a sapphire mainplate and bridges.

The upper bridge is plated with the markings of the chronograph minute and hour counters; the central bridge which juts out on both right and left sides provides a window opening onto the belts and their displays; while the lower bridge, which resembles the wing of a stealth aircraft, replaces the tourbillon and incorporates a sweep seconds hand.

No exterior element disturbs the delicate inner workings of the DualTow. This complete transparency affords a striking vision, but also eloquently expresses a sense of life through the motion of the tourbillon and the intricate interaction of the brakes and levers when the chronograph is activated.

TRANSPARENT BACK

The case-back is fitted with a sapphire crystal to reveal the under side of the movement. It is secured to the case by dedicated screws. Thanks to this configuration specific to the DualTow, Christophe Claret guarantees the exclusivity of any operations at the heart of the watch, since only his company has the necessary expertise and tools.

FUTURISTIC FRAME

The rectangular, convex black PVD-coated titanium case is also entirely machined in-house at the Manufacture Christophe Claret. This extremely complex structure consists of 114 parts. The edges are bevelled and the surfaces satin-finished or brushed. On the left-hand side, a wide opening enables one to admire the set of pulleys driving the hour display belt, whereas a smaller window on the right, between the pusher and crown, affords the same fascinating view. The mobile spring-mounted lugs, which adapt perfectly to the wearer’s wrist and guarantee optimal comfort, feature a sharp angle in reference to the avant-garde design of the American F-117 Night Hawk stealth plane.

HIGH-TECH STRAP

Although it has the look and feel of rubber, the strap is in fact in leather. The manufacturing process, involving a series of impregnation and polishing operations, creates a truly striking effect. It is equipped with an exclusive adjustable clasp. Composed of three blades, decorative covers and two mobile parts, it enables the wearer to extend it easily by as much as one centimetre. This user-friendly flexibility ensures undeniable comfort when the wrist is slightly swollen at the end of the day and the initial setting becomes too tight.

SINGLE-PUSHER PLANETARY-GEAR CHRONOGRAPH WITH STRIKING MECHANISM

The major innovation introduced in the DualTow is its single-pusher chronograph function operating by means of three identically structured planetary gears.

Directly linked to the movement, the continuously driven planetary-gear entry wheel is connected to a satellite-holder pivoting on the arbor of the entry wheel which bears two satellites rotating in turn. Placed on an axis parallel to the entry wheel, the latter mesh with the exit wheel located in the upper part of the satellite-holder. At the top, a cam surmounted by a hand is fixed to the same arbor as the entry wheel, connected to the exit wheel, and serves to reset the chronograph.

Christophe Claret Dualtow Nighteagle - Single Pusher Planetary-Gear Chronograph with Striking Mechanism

The entry wheel transmits its movement in two different ways. When the hand rotation is blocked, it drives the satellite-holder which then spins in the void. This operation corresponds to the chronograph stop and reset positions; whereas when the chronograph is in the start position, the satellite-holder is blocked and the rotating motion of the entry wheel is transmitted to the hand.

When the chronograph is activated, the column wheel moves one notch forward and raises the reset hammers . The start brakes then drop to block the three satellite- holders and the hands begin turning immediately, since the energy is transmitted from the entry wheels to the exit wheels.

A second push halts the running of the mechanism. The column wheel moves another notch forward and lifts the start brakes, which releases the satellite-holders. The stop brakes then drop to block a disc connected to the hands. At the third press, the column wheel moves yet another notch forward and the stop brakes lift to release the exit wheel. The hammers then drop onto the cams and cause them to rotate until the hands return to zero. The chronograph cycle is thus complete and the system is ready for another measurement.

Christophe Claret Dualtow Nighteagle - Single Pusher Planetary-Gear Chronograph with Striking Mechanism

An exclusive patent has been filed for this entirely original interpretation of the chronograph, in order to defend the peerless technical qualities of the system. The operational mode of this complication ensures the regular rate of the calibre because the torque required is consistently identical, whatever the position (start, stop or reset).

Contrary to a classic chronograph, the movement is thus not subject to any major variations in the amplitude of the balance liable to disturb its rating regularity, an advantage that naturally improves its precision.

Building on this successful innovation, Christophe Claret has chosen to further enhance the refinement of this calibre by adding a striking mechanism signalling the chronograph start, stop and reset operations. Enriched by the considerable expertise acquired by the Manufacture in the field of striking mechanisms and musical movements, it rings out with an exceptionally pure, clear tone.

The snail-shaped gong is one of the most sophisticated and delicate to develop and produce.
Expressing their unfailing attention to each and every detail, the watchmaker and his team set the finishing touch to the mechanism by equipping it with a chronograph function indicator. The wearer can at any time keep track of its mode of operation.

Playing on a perfectly symmetrical design, the mechanism features chronograph hour and minute counters displayed on a tinted sapphire crystal. Respectively positioned at 11 and 1 o’clock, they complement the chronograph seconds hand occupying the centre of the watch.

This technical and powerful presentation leaves enough space at 12 o’clock to reveal the full chronograph activation system, composed of a column wheel surrounded by levers and hammers serving to drive the chronograph functions. The gentle motion of this flurry of chronograph levers is somewhat reminiscent of a flower blooming.

In an ultimate refined detail, these elements are fixed to a component connected to the mainplate, specially developed and called a “barillot” in reference to its shape evoking the cylinder of a revolver.

TOURBILLON

In the history of the Manufacture Christophe Claret, the tourbillon is the second major complication to have been developed and incorporated within extremely complex calibres. To highlight this mastery of one of the most spectacular technical expressions of horological tradition, it is positioned in a clearly visible manner at 6 o’clock.

Performing a complete rotation in 60 seconds, it is graced with the distinctive carriage featuring the back-to-back double C motif – the initials of Christophe Claret which have become an immediately recognisable signature.

ENERGY

The mechanical hand-wound Calibre CC20A is endowed with an approximately 60-hour power reserve supplied by two barrels. Lined up in parallel in the centre of the movement, the barrel ratchet-wheels are also reminiscent of racing-car wheel rims. An indicator visible on the back of the watch signals the remaining energy available.

FINISHING

Like all the movements developed, fine-tuned and produced by the Manufacture, each component of the Calibre CC20A is crafted to the highest levels of excellence in Swiss watchmaking. Confirming the prestigious stature of the DualTow, they are bevelled, hand-drawn, mirror-polished and coloured in keeping with the noblest traditions of hand workmanship. Depending on the colours chosen by the customer for his own particular model, the parts are blued, anodised or treated using PVD or electroplating processes.

CHRISTOPHE CLARET – THE BENCHMARK

Hailing from the region of Lyon, in France, Christophe Claret studied watchmaking in Geneva before beginning his career as an antique watch restorer.

At the 1987 Basel Fair, the owner of a major Swiss watch company asked him to develop an exclusive minute repeater movement, a commission that encouraged Christophe Claret to found in 1989 his own company in partnership with two other talented watchmakers.

In 1992, his instinctive need for independence led him to become the sole owner, so he bought up his partners’ shares and duly renamed the firm Christophe Claret SA. Ever since, his workshops have been constantly inventing and producing movements featuring an ideal blend of horological tradition and cutting-edge technologies.

2009 was a significant milestone in the history of Christophe Claret SA, a turning point that its owner wished to symbolise by releasing an exclusive timepiece produced under the company brand name and distributed by the finest retailers worldwide. The DualTow is a faithful reflection of the watchmaking philosophy inherent to Christophe Claret.

Housing several inventions including one patented innovation, this single-pusher planetary-gear chronograph with striking mechanism and tourbillon expresses a combination of technical excellence and sophisticated aesthetics. It also embodies the merging of the wide variety of skills united within the company, since almost all operations involved in making it – from movement development to the machining of the sapphire bridges – have been performed in-house.

Christened “DualTow”, the first Grande Complication timepiece bearing the signature of Christophe Claret and exclusively developed to mark the 20th anniversary of his company, vividly embodies the principles guiding the Manufacture. A symbol of excellence and experience, its CC20A movement eloquently conveys the energy and passion driving the company’s hundred-strong workforce.

DESIGN

The shapes of the DualTow resulted from a constant flow of sketches and ideas circulating between Christophe Claret and his team. Far from having been elaborated by a single person, this timepiece stems from a creative approach all the more original in that it emanates from a company specialised in movement construction. In this case, an initial fairly classical sketch evolved into a version with a stronger and more virile character. As the sketches were successively adjusted, the early rounded curves gave way to sharper angles and more powerful lines of force, as the very essence of the DualTow gradually emerged.

UNLIMITED COLOURS

The DualTow shows a different face on each of these unique watches. In step with current demand and the new luxury codes that give customers the freedom of inventing their own version of an object, Christophe Claret offers them a chance to personalise their own DualTow.

Thanks to a “configurator” available on the dedicated http://www.dualtow.ch website, all prospective clients can play with a large range of colours and express their own version of the model. The mainplate and its bridges, for example, are available in a choice of rhodium-plated, black rhodium-plated, 4N gold-plated or black amorphous carbon versions.

The hands, the tourbillon bridge and the screws holding the sapphire dial, the hour and minute display forks as well as the differential gear elements are all available in a wide variety of colours. The components featuring rubber – meaning the belt strips, the pusher and the crown – all offer the same possibilities. From hypnos blue to polka red, lipari black or vespucci white, each DualTow is thus totally and unmistakably unique.

Technical details

Model: Christophe Claret Dualtow Nighteagle – Single Pusher Planetary-Gear Chronograph with Striking Mechanism

Movement
Dimensions:32.60 x 40 x 10.70 mm
Number of parts:574
Number of jewels:65 and 8 ball-bearings
Power Reserve: Around 60 hours
Barrels: Twin barrels placed in parallel

Tourbillon
– Swiss lever escapement
– Balance oscillation frequency: 3 Hz (21,600 vph)
– Tourbillon rotation frequency: 1 revolution/minute

Functions
Hour and minute display on belts
Small seconds on the tourbillon at 6 o’clock
Single-pusher planetary-gear chronograph
Mechanical striking mechanism sounding each change of function (start, stop and reset)
12-hour, 60-minute and 60-second chronograph counters
Operating mode indicator of the chronograph
Mechanical hand-wound movement
Power-reserve display

Case
Watch glasses specially designed and manufactured to ensure an ergonomic fit
Rectangular, curving; fitted with exclusive mobile lugs enabling a perfect fit on the wrist
Dimensions: 42.75 x 48.20 x 15.85 mm (not counting the lugs)
Water Resistant: 3 ATM or 30 metres

Display belts: In rubber with transferred hour and minute numerals
Flange: Flange with ceramic chronograph markings
Dynamometric crown: Crown fitted with an unclicking device at the end of the winding process, which serves to preserve the movement from excessive tension
Pusher: Partially rubber-moulded

Dial
Dial composed of three tinted sapphire crystals: the first serves as a bridge for the chronograph counters and is engraved with the name “Christophe Claret”; the second acts as a central bridge and carries the “Swiss Made” engraving; while the third is the tourbillon bridge which is plated with the small seconds markings.

Buckle
Triple-blade folding clasp with decorative covers and an innovative system enabling comfort-enhancing 10 mm wrist extension

Quantity
Limited edition of 68 timepieces; each unique