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Four Coveted Chiming Watches to Excite Watch Enthusiasts

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In the middle of the 18th century, watchmakers devised a way for timepieces to strike the time. The feature was handy, so people could tell the time even in the middle of a dark night.

Digital devices may have rendered these traditional functions obsolete today, but the enchanting sound of a chiming watch remains one of the most prized features of high-end watchmaking. Known as minute repeaters, they are among the most difficult and revered complications in precision watchmaking, resulting in creations that not only display the time, but also translate it into sound.

Here are four chiming watches that are currently making waves among watch enthusiasts and collectors.

Jaeger Lecoultre

The new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox Timer in rose gold

When its first alarm clock wristwatch, the Memovox, was launched in 1959, Jaeger-LeCoultre established itself in fine watchmaking. Since then, it has gone through many iterations. Launched in 2020, the Master Control Memovox and Master Control Memovox Timer continue to resonate with aficionados and collectors alike. Both 40mm models with a 45-hour power reserve feature a redesigned movement and sleek new case, although they still emit the original “school bell” sound when the alarm is set.

The 250-piece limited edition of the Master Control Memovox Timer in steel from 2020 features an open sapphire case back and a new striking mechanism, so you can now see the alarm go off and hear it , while the rose gold rotor of the automatic caliber is skeletonized to reveal as much of the striking action as possible. The alarm function is activated by the triangular marker inside the central disc on the dial. Elegant as ever, the watch presents
a slanted bezel, dynamically curved lugs and a mix of polished and satin-brushed surfaces.

Launched in a rose gold reference this year, the Master Control Memovox Timer offers a flexible feature that allows the alarm to be set for a particular time, such as an appointment or a wake-up call. The dial display is arranged in concentric circles – the sun-brushed black background provides a rich contrast to the gray of the outer minute ring and alarm indication disc. Water-resistant to 50 meters, the pink gold version is produced in a limited edition of only 100 pieces.

Vacheron Constantin

Miniature painting of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring

The French word ringtone, which means to make sound, generally applies to campaniles or bells of mechanical clocks or wristwatches. However, the exquisite Les Cabinotiers Westminster Sonnerie – Tribute to Johannes Vermeer 98mm pocket watch, which Vacheron Constantin took eight years to produce, is much more than that.

A masterpiece in the true sense of the term, the bespoke and one-of-a-kind creation offers a rare insight into the world of fine watchmaking. Powered by a new in-house caliber 3761, the custom hand-wound 806-component movement with tourbillon regulator features Westminster Grande and Petite Sonnerie chimes referencing that of the famous bells of Big Ben in London, as well as a minute repeater .

Unlike an ordinary minute repeater equipped with two gongs and two hammers, this extremely complex mechanism has five gongs, five hammers and four racks. The chime is a four-bar melody played at different frequencies, with notes struck in perfect harmony. The Grande Sonnerie strikes the hours and quarters as it passes and repeats the hour every quarter. The small strike repeats the hours and quarters in passing, without repeating the hours at each quarter, while the minute repeater repeats the hours, quarters and minutes on demand. If that all seems too excessive, the watch can also be set to silent mode.

Beyond its technical prowess, Vacheron Constantin’s expertise in craftsmanship is showcased on the hand-engraved yellow gold case of the pocket watch which uses an array of techniques. The bow is adorned with two lion heads sculpted in a block of gold, while the dial is presented in eggshell-coloured enamel. But the real art of the watch is in its officer-style caseback cover, which bears a remarkable miniature painting of famous enameller Anita Porchet from Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer’s 1665 artwork, Girl with a Pearl Earring. . Phenomenal reproduction took Porchet no less than seven months.

Patek-Philippe

Set against a black background of spiraling spiral lines, the elaborate dial features an openwork pattern inspired by the spoked wheels of vintage automobiles.

Patek Philippe has been making minute repeaters since its inception in 1839 and in recent years the manufacture has focused on improving its chiming complications. Unveiled last December, the Ref. 5750P Advanced Research is a 15-piece platinum limited edition that uses new experimental technologies and claims four patents related to the repeater amplification mechanism. The patented device, Fortissimo ‘ff’, allows the chimes of the 40mm model to be heard from 60 meters away, putting it far ahead of conventional repeaters, which can normally be heard from a maximum distance of only 10 meters.

Inspired by the gramophone, the mechanism results from modifications and additions to the traditional repeater construction, with improvements for optimum sound, including keystroke rhythm; the hours, quarters and minutes have also been adjusted so that they are slightly further apart.

The exhibition fund of Ref. The 5750P Advanced Research model features “Advanced Research” engraving

The movement still relies on hammers and gongs, but the former are platinum – it offers the longest chimes – instead of hardened steel. To ensure that every Patek Philippe chiming watch produces the perfect sound, the brand’s president, Thierry Stern, personally listens to each one before it leaves manufacturing.

The openwork design of the Ref. The white gold dial of the 5750P is reminiscent of the spokes of vintage automobile wheels and also features a central rotating sub-dial. Its transparent bottom bears the inscription “Advanced Research” to designate the special release. The self-winding caliber R 27 PS has a power reserve of up to 48 hours.

Chopard

It took 190 hours to shape the case of the LUC Full-Strike Sapphire

In 1996, the co-president of the Swiss manufacture, Karl-Fredrich Scheufele, presented the first LUC wristwatch, a tribute to the company’s founder, Louis-Ulysse Chopard. Since then, the house has created numerous timepieces, in particular those in the LUC series, with a strong design and horological identity. At this year’s Watches and Wonders, Chopard showcased three updates to the original 2016 Chopard Full Strike Minute Repeater, which won Best in Show at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) in 2017 for its masterful gong system. Crafted from a single piece of sapphire with no screws, joints, solder or glue, it produces a crystal clear tone similar to tapping a wine glass with a knife.

The new 42.5mm LUC Full Strike tourbillon features a basic minute repeater with tourbillon, which required reworking and rearranging many components of the striking mechanism and resulted in an impressive movement comprised of 568 parts . Available in a limited edition of 20 pieces in pink gold, it features a guilloché gold dial. It is joined by the 42.5mm LUC Full Strike Sapphire, whose case, crown and dial are cut from blocks of transparent sapphire, and the 40mm LUC Strike One in a 25-piece limited edition, which rings with a single gong every hour. The latter is available in ethical pink gold with a guilloché gold dial and is driven by a mechanical movement with automatic winding.

A remarkable nugget of information: Chopard collaborated with violinists brothers Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, who refined the sound produced by the patented gong/sapphire crystal technology.

This story first appeared in July 2022 from Prestige Singapore.