One of the most difficult complications to produce, a minute repeater transforms a watch from mere timekeeping device to miniature music box. Below we take a look at seven new minute repeaters that are more than just bells and whistles.
The Audemars Piguet Tradition Tourbillon Minute Repeater Chronograph is available in a very limited edition of 10 pieces each for both versions, a rose gold and a titanium model. The titanium version, the company says, is ideally suited for the watch’s highest complication, the minute repeater, which strikes on two gongs. As many may not be aware, the quality of the sound emitted by a repeater watch is largely dependent on both the case material and the case’s dimensions. Larger cases (the Tradition Tourbillon Minute Repeater Chronograph’s is 47 mm in diameter) and lighter, harder materials (such as titanium) are best suited to maximize the sound volume of the chimes by allowing the acoustic waves to expand inside the case.
At the push of a button (located at 10 o’clock), or when it strikes a pre-set time, Breguet’s Ref. 7800 Classique “La Musicale” plays Bach’s “Badinerie.” Its musical mechanism resembles a music box, utilizing a disk with pegs that strike the 15 blades of the “keyboard.” A membrane made of Swatch’s LiquidMetal fitted under the movement amplifies the sound while maintaining water resistance.
Bulgari’s Brighella, the first in its series of Commedia del’ Arte watches, is equipped with a cathedral-gong minute repeater (operated by a slide at 10 o’clock) with two hammers, along with a jumping hour and retrograde minutes display. When the watch’s chime sounds, the characters on the dial begin moving in choreographed, balletic motions. The case is made of 18k white gold and an alloy called Magsonic, developed to amplify the resonance of the repeater’s chimes.
The Jaquet Droz Bird Repeater is inspired by the brand’s namesake, Pierre Jaquet-Droz, known for his automaton creations, which often featured birds. A push-button triggers the minute repeater, which strikes the hours, quarters, and minutes as the birds on the dial come to life. The system uses a cathedral gong whose resonant, mellow tones are generated by two turns around the mechanism.
At SIHH 2013, Piaget unveiled its first-ever minute repeater, the Emperador Coussin Automatic Minute Repeater. Activating the slide at 9 o’clock triggers the minute repeater on demand, with the sound generated by a gong designed for enhanced transmission of the vibrations – and thus the sound – through the movement and on through the case. In order to preserve the purity of this sound throughout its duration, the movement, Caliber 1290P, is equipped with an inertia flywheel to regulate the rhythm between the start and finish of the chiming.
Tutima released its first chiming watch with an in-house movement, the Hommage Minute Repeater, this year. Tutima, a company that traces its history back to the 1920s, spent three years developing the movement for the watch, Hommage Caliber 800. From the back, the owner can see Tutima’s historical insignia, the relief engravings on the cover of the striking mechanism’s barrel, and the mechanism that activates the repeater’s tiny hammers.
The Ulysse Nardin Stranger chimes the melody of the iconic 1966 Frank Sinatra song, “Strangers in the Night” on the hour or on demand. The Stranger’s movement, which took five years to develop and includes functions that emulate those of a classical music box, is visible through a sapphire crystal in the caseback. The on/off pusher that activates and deactivates the chiming mechanism is located at 10 o’clock; the wearer uses this to “program” the watch to play its “Strangers in the Night” melody on the hour or not at all.
source: watchtime.com By Jason Francisco
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