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BY ROBERTANAAS I PHOTOGRAPHY BY KENJITOIVA hen dealing with a craft that is centuries old, it isn't easy to invent something new. However, when building luxury timepieces-an art that is more than 500 years old-watchmakers dedicate their energy to working tirelessly with tiny mechanical pieces that translate into coveted, innovative collectibles. Complicated watches are the ultimate draw, commanding hundreds of thousands of dollars atretail, with waiting lists several years long. Among the most complex watches on the market, the repeater-or sonnerie-truly stands alone. Easily the most beautiful of all timepieces, a repeater is one that not only shows the time, but also musically chimes it. With hundreds of tiny mechanical pieces of lessthan an inch in diameter in its movement, the repeater watch houses hammers and gongs that work in unison to audibly tell time with melodious notes. Bill Lind, watch expert at Roya[ewelers in Andover, notes, "Each minute regeater has its own unique character. Two of the same reference side by side will have slightly different sonic profiles in terms of pitch, resonance, and pace, just as no two Steinway pianos sound alike." From Harry Winston, this Midnight Minute R e p e a t e r ( $ 2 7 9 , 5 O O )i s c r a f t e d i n 1 8 k r o s e g o l d a n d b u i l t i n a l i m i t e de d i t i o n o f j u s t 2 0 p i e c e s .T h e 4 2 m m w a t c h f e a t u r e s o f f c e n t e r e d h o u r s a n d m i n u t e s ,a n d a transparent sapphire case back for viewing the movement. Neiman Marcus, Copley Place, 617-5 3 6-366O; harrywi T h i s U l y s s e N a r d i n S a f a r iJ a q u e m a r t s M i n u t e R e p e a t e r ( $ 3 7 5 , O O O - $ 4 O 5 , O O Of e) a t u r e s t w o b a k e d e n a m e l c l o i s o n n 6 d i a l s .l t h o u s e st h e c a l i b e r U N 7 2 m a n u a l w i n d t h a t i n d i c a t e st h e hours,quarters,and minutes on two different chimes,with two animated Jaquemarts.The 42mm watch is offered in a limited edition of 50 pieceseach in l8k rose gold or platinum. Royal Jewelers, 58 Main St., Andover, 978- 475-3 3 3O; ulysse-na rd i This 44mm Hublot Big Bang Minute Repeater T o u r b i l l o n ( $ 2 9 O , O O O i)s c r a f t e d i n 1 8 k r e d g o l d a n d h o u s e sa m a n u a l - w i n dH U B S O O O skeletonminute repeatertourbillon movement with 3O8 components. lt chimes the time on two gongs. Tourneau, Copley Place,617-2678463;

F r o m B r e g u e t , t h i s C l a s s i q u eG r a n d e C o m p l i c a t i o n 7 6 3 7 positions Mi nute Repeater ($227,7OO) f eatu res i n novative patented f o r t h e g o n g s , g o n g r e s t s ,a n d h a m m e r s T h e a d e s i g n h o u s e sa m i n u t e r e p e a t e r m o v e m e n t f e a t u r i n g s u b d - i aflo r t h e s e c o n d s a t 9 : O Oa n d a 2 4 - h o u r d i s p l a y . *itn auy and night sectorsat 3:OO The 18k white-gold g o n g t o f t h " r e p e a t e r o f f e r a c r y s t a l - c l e a rc h i m e T h e h a n d - w o u n d m o v e m e n t i s v i s i b l ev i a a t r a n s p a r e n t ' sipphire caseback. Tourn eau, Copley PIace, 617-2678463;

With minute repeaters' the wearer activates the 'repeater" sound function via a slide or button on the side of the watch. This engagesthe hammers and gongs, which chime the time in a series of differenttones' The timepieces work via a comPlex mechanical network of gears, trains' and memory. Typically they have between 500 and 600 piecesin their movements, and sometimes more' nComplications are the highest achievement in the watchof making art," saysJean-Claude Biver, chairman of the board may in demand Hubloi. "Which complications are currentV vary, but they always prevail despite economic 1 trenjs'', the Many brands work with metallurgists and audiologists to find the achieve to hammers perfect'mix of case metals, gong springs' and allurmost the had gold rose test sound. Until recently itwas believed that as such materials high-tech ing tones, but with the introduction of newer experimentare Hublot, as titanium and carbon fiber, some brands, such ing with these alloYs. iW" hurr" entered anewerafor complications," Biver says."Byintroducthe sound' ing our minute repeater in a carbon case we have perfected



needing to watches strike on the hour and quarter-hour without the wearer the chimes extra loud. And since watchmaking striking quarter the combine (that Sonneries Grand press a button. There are using new materials is an extra asset or added value.' and hour the it strikes hour quarter the on so watch size, Lechanism with the repeater, other recent innovations are smaller movements to reduce not do (that Petit sonneries and passed) hour the the number of quarters since complex funcnew slide-activation mechanisms and silencers, aswell as new hour)' quarter and hour the on strike simply but have repeater functions, tionstojointherepeaterJaeger-Lecoultrenotonlyminiaturizeditsrepeater watches' dubbed Girard-ierregaux has even created a series of musical calirectangular a into fit to system, but also developed an entirely new one box' The opera music of a principle the on work patek philippe has released the opera, whose mechanisms ber to create the Reverso Minute Repeater. of 2Oblades and akeyboard and carillon Three has aheartthatis aminiature and instantaneous '-' first-ever ultra-complex minute repeater, chronograph, onedrumsetwithl50hand-assembledpins' perpetuarcarendarall-in-onewristwatch. ^^, ,-, r^ r-r /.-\N rr| | | L-r \/\-/ -tHE chiming systems of tower clocks built in the is an ever-evolving art,

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calledthefatherofmodernrepeatingwatches) invented a gongspringto replace the traditional Smallhammerswould bell,whichwasplacedwithinthetimepiecemovement. and enabled watchquality strike the gong. This invention improved sound so that pocket timeiieces, makers to begin creating ever-smaller repeating systems. similar hold watches-and in the 20th century wristwatches-could the maron sonneries There are many different types of repeaters and difficult so are watches ket, albeit in extremely limiteJ numbers, as these muchthe are of repeaters and time-consuming to create. Among the types and quarter-hour, hou^r, coveted minute repeater (that strikes on the quarter last the urrd hor,, minute);.quarter repeater (that strikes on the last the quarter hour); and live-minute repeater (that strikes on the last hour, of ti-" strike Each hour). hour, and every five minutes past the last quarter hamdifferent of system -t ---has its own distinct sound thanks to the complex mer{and gongs in contrastingreverberations.




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features a Repeater westminster carillon TourbillionJaquemarts' which gongs to four houses that repeater a with along one-minute tourbillion, the of Alexander movingJaquemarts is one chime the time. on the dial sound'Just gongs the time every action takes that Greatwearing a red cape 100 pieces of this watch will ever be made' that challenge "ioduy's watch collectors are most excited about watches director Groffenberger' Michael says time," the way we think about telling limited-edition Low' "with & crump of watch operations at Shreve, because these watches, there are usually more customers than watches quo'" pieces challenge the status to build' and Indeed, today's repeaters and sonneries usually take months meticuin switzerland' watchmaker the as the customer must be as patient BC of excellence' standards to extreme louslybuildingthatsingle piece

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