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Listen to the Sound of Time

Anna Zhong 2018-04-11 09:30

In the past, it was difficult to tell the time in the dark. The minute repeater was invented by skilled craftsmen to differentiate the sounds of hours, quarters and minutes through the varied sounds of respective strikes, which perfectly combines the principles of acoustics and dynamics. Up till now, the historic technology retains all its complicated procedures, yet different features have been developed with the advancement of technologies and aesthetics. Through all the years, the enduring function has emerged as different styles in different watches.


Super Slim Design

Super slim design feature is regarded as one of the most popular designs in the modern era for both its aesthetic and pragmatic values. The watchcase and movement are required to be light and modernistic. However, it is unquestionably a challenge for the designer to apply the idea of super slim onto a complex minute repeater watch. Since a super slim watch means very limited space of watchcase, the intricate minute repeater must find a way to fit into the narrow space. Hard job it is to create a perfect model under such strict conditions of design. Octo Finissimo from Bvlgari managed to overcome this barrier and shows the world how she made it: the movement is as thin as 3.12mm, with the overall watchcase as 6.85mm. Typically the super slim design would sacrifice the space of resonance, but Octo Finissimo defies the limitations of narrow space and presents excellent performance as well as her competitors.



The Art of Acoustics

When talking about the technology of the minute repeater, we can’t possibly miss talking about the quality of sounds. After years of development, the acoustic effect of minute repeater has gradually gained significance in the specific field of study. To be noted, the standard of minute repeater is largely based on acoustics, which is not in line with the mechanical standard of a typical wristwatch. The key of the technology lies in the gongs, while the location of the gongs is the other aspect worth attention. The Royal Oak concept wristwatches from Audemars Piguet specially made adamant steel gongs onto the fixed bridge. After winding, the sound transfers to the resonant board and create precise resonance in the titanium alloy watchcase, through which the sound presents to be extraordinarily full and eloquent.


The Technologies of Gongs

A small slice of gong is able to create infinitesimal ideas through its variations. Besides the material, ways of fixation, directions and forms of striking, as well as forms of buffering are also open to possibilities. Usually the gongs twirl around the movement with the hammers strike horizontally. However, in Breguet’s Tradition7087 Minute Repeater Tourbillon watch puts the gongs on the bezel and the hammer strikes vertically, creating a better resonance with the air and realize optimized acoustic effect when the sapphire watch glass and bezel are vibrating vertically. At the same time, in order to prevent the hammer from rebounding and influence the gongs after striking, a typical minute repeater adopts a buffer balance spring.



Complicated Overlapping

In the world of minute repeaters, there is no superlative of “complicated”. Saying this puts more focus on the word “complicated” itself, pointing out the tricky features hidden behind the vocabulary. And when we are talking about minute repeater’s rivals in terms of complication, tourbillon probably is one of them. And when the tourbillon and minute repeaters are combined into one, well, you will see what complication really is. It’s not extremely rare to see this combination. Yet, the Rotonde de Cartier perfectly interprets how the combination could reach the utmost refinement. The mysterious tourbillon seems like floating above the watch glass, totally detached from the watchcase, like a visual trick showing for the audience. But actually, a huge number of complex components are fixed within the watchcase.



Luxurious, Luxurious

Minute repeater watches are known for their high prices due to their complexity. This inspired Laurence Graff, the King of the Diamonds, to play up the concept to its fullest extent. Graff is fond of adding diamonds to luxurious objects, and here he puts diamonds all over the watchcase, making the minute repeater watches luxurious “in and out”. The previously introduced MasterGraff Minute Repeater Tourbillon Diamond Wristwatch in terms of style matches suits and tie, with more than 30 carats of diamond laced to present supreme luxury.



Reverse the World of Aesthetics

Since the minute repeaters carry a long history, why can’t we give it an extra touch of aesthetical charm? In the customized Reverso series by Jaeger-LeCoultre, the minute repeaters infuse them with extra value of aesthetics. Speaking of the outline, the minute repeater watches remain the vintage design – the dial starts time announcing immediately after sliding the curtain down. After the curtain is reversed, the minute repeater module would come into view, with an intense air of decorative art.



Now, the varied designs of minute repeaters and the innovation hidden within enable the watch lovers to feel the history and the energy, right at the moment when they turn on the switch.

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