La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton earlier this year unveiled the impressive Louis Vuitton Tambour Jacquemart Minute Repeater 200th Anniversary, a white gold and titanium-cased minute repeater with an astral-themed dial Louis Vuitton says is meant to mimic “a porthole opening onto an endless galaxy.”
In that dial-borne galaxy you’ll find an unusual space capsule automaton mechanism endowed with a cathedral gong minute repeater.
Within the watch’s 46.8 mm by 15.2mm titanium case (with white gold lugs and bezel) Louis Vuitton places nine gold automatons (known historically as jacquemarts, characters devised to strike gongs on church bells).
When the wearer presses the slide, the rocket takes off to expose diamond ‘passengers’ in its cockpit. At the same time, the planets on the dial spin while the Louis Vuitton Monogram flower rotates and two stars shoot across the blue void. Even the case itself is finished with the celestial theme as its design is meant to echo the shape of an astronaut’s helmet.
As this astral show unfolds, a cathedral gong minute repeater chimes the hours, quarter hours and minutes.
La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton spent two years developing this unique piece as a tribute to the 200th birthday of Louis Vuitton. The watchmaker enlisted the creativity of engraver Dick Steenman and enameler Anita Porchet to decorate the the case and to craft the dial elements.
You might recall that Steenman and Porchet also collaborated on the Louis Vuitton Tambour Carpe Diem,an earlier automaton unique piece, which won the Audacity prize at the 2021 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG).
Look closely at the dial at 7 o’clock on this new watch and you’ll see Ms. Porchet’s signature.
On the bezel, the Louis Vuitton signature is encrusted in blue rubber letters. The pusher, crown and the LV initials are set with a gradation of tourmalines and sapphires to match the deep blue dial.
From the back of the case, a sapphire crystal allows a peek at the LV200 caliber, a hand-wound movement with 480 components, several of which have been finished in a celestial blue hue.
The watch nicely blends traditional high-end watchmaking and gem-setting techniques with a contemporary, space-themed design. Its unique character again demonstrates how La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton has successfully marked its own path among its peers within traditional high-end Swiss watchmaking.
With the new Rosa Mystica, Parmigiani Fleurier presents the latest addition to its stunning Roses Carrées collection of five unique minute repeaters decorated with Grand Feu enamel and intricate hand engraving.
On the new watch you’ll find a red Grand Feu enamel dial, an engraved rose on the back and a bezel, the lugs and case band hand-engraved with the flowery La Rose Carrée motif. Parmigiani Fleurier underscores the red theme with a natural garnet cabochon on the 42mm 18-karat white gold case.
Like the blue-enamel La Rosa Celeste, which Parmigiani Fleurier launched in 2022, the Rosa Mystic is cased in a hinged hunter’s caseback that reveals a manually wound minute repeater caliber with cathedral gongs.
The chime has been optimized by a suspended movement, with the heel of the gongs physically connected to the case. In addition, watchmakers have redesigned the case to create resonance pockets and to lighten the white gold mass.
Parmigiani Fleurier has also devised an unusual ringing sequence for this movement that automatically skips dead time. For example, at 3:19, the three chimes for the hour are immediately followed by a double chime for the quarter-hour and again, without silence, by up to four chimes for the minute.
For the series, Parmigiani Fleurier has skeletonized the PF355 caliber (which recalls the PF361 caliber from 2016) with intricate curves and counter-curves, 114 inward and outward angles, and hand-applied beveling, polishing and surface treatments.
Parmigiani Fleurier has expanded on the work done for last year’s impressive unique-piece La Rose Carrée pocket watch to create the unique-piece La Rosa Celeste, the first minute-repeater wristwatch within a new five-piece Les Roses Carrées collection.
You may recall that a year ago the luxury watchmaker celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary with the release of the La Rose Carrée pocket watch, a unique minute repeater based on a Louis-Elysée Piguet caliber that had been restored in Parmigiani Fleurier’s workshops.
The new Rosa Celeste offers a 42mm white gold case that is hand-engraved with the same motif found on the 2021 pocket watch, and also includes a hunter’s caseback. Theback and the chiseled dial of the new watch are finished with richly detailed blue grand feu enamel, a painstaking artisanal process that requires multiple high-temperature firings.
For the repeater, Parmigiani Fleurier chose to create cathedral gongs. Here, the chime has been optimized by a suspended movement and with the heel of the gongs physically connected to the case. In addition, watchmakers have redesigned the case to create resonance pockets and to lighten the white gold mass.
Unusually, Parmigiani Fleurier watchmakers have also devised a ringing sequence automatically skips dead time. For example, at 3:19, the three chimes for the hour are immediately followed by a double chime for the quarter-hour and again, without silence, by up to four chimes for the minute.
The beautifully skeletonized PF355 caliber also features an unusually long 72-hour power reserve. Parmigiani Fleurier mounts the new La Rosa Celeste on a blue, hand-sewn alligator leather strap.
Price: CHF 600,000.
Specifications: Parmigiani Fleurier La Rosa Celeste
Movement: PF355 manual wind with minute repeater on cathedral gongs, continuous chiming sequence. Power reserve: 72 hours, 21,600 Vph (3 Hz). Finishings: Côtes de Genève, openworked bridges, hand-beveling and circular graining.
Case: 42mm by 13.39mm white gold, polished and hand-engraved with “La Rose Carrée” pattern, crown topped with cabochon-cut natural sapphire, sapphire crystal and back. The Hunter caseback is white gold, hand-engraved with “La Rose Carée” pattern, Grand feu enamel, interior engraving, “Rosa Celeste”, “PF” seal and Michel Parmigiani’s signature. Caseback engraving serial number, “Parmigiani Fleurier,” Swiss Made, and ‘Pièce unique’. Water resistance: 10 meters.
Dial: Hand-engraved with chiseled pattern, blue “Grand feu” enamel, hand-applied indices, 18-karat gold and rhodium-plated appliques, hours and minutes hands in 18-karat gold, rhodium-plated, skeletonized and delta-shaped.
Bracelet: Blue alligator leather strap, double-sided, hand-stitched with 18-karat white gold pin buckle with hand-engraved “La Rose Carée” pattern.
Hublot extends its already wide-ranging collection of ceramic-cased watches with its first minute repeater entirely cased in the high-tech material. The new Big Bang Integral Minute Repeater Ceramic, a 43mm model in white or black ceramic, joins the firm’s Integral Ceramic collection, which debuted in 2020.
Beyond its in-house distinction, the new Big Bang Integral Minute Repeater Ceramic is also the first watch of its kind (a tourbillon minute repeater) made by any watchmaker that has been cased entirely in ceramic, according to Hublot.
Like its brethren in the Integral Ceramic collection, the new watch is made with an all-ceramic case (here at 43mm) and with an integrated all-ceramic bracelet, bezel and case back. And the new watch also is Hublot’s first model regulated by a tourbillon within the collection.
Inside Hublot fits its own existing manual-wind MHUB801 caliber with eighty hours of power reserve. The watchmaker will make eighteen watches in black ceramic and eighteen in white ceramic.
Hublot has placed minute repeating movements into numerous watches in the past, sometimes also paired with a tourbillon. You might recall that in 2014, Hublot received a Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) for its Classic Fusion Cathedral Tourbillon Minute Repeater.
Specifications: Hublot Big Bang Integral Minute Repeater Ceramic
References: Black Ceramic (458.CX.1170.CX.YOS, 18 pieces) and White Ceramic (458.HX.1170.HX.YOS, 18 pieces).
Dial: Black matte: Rhodium-plated satin appliques with black SuperLuminova or Grey matte: Rhodium- plated satin appliques with white SuperLuminova. Satin-finished and polished white or black ceramic bezel.
Case: Black or white 43mm by 14.15mm satin-finished and polished ceramic. Water resistance to 30 meters.
Movement: Hublot MHUB8001.H1.RH Caliber Hublot Tourbillon with manual winding cathedral minute repeater, frequency: 21,600 vph, power reserve of approximately 80 hours.
Bracelet: Satin-finished and polished black or white ceramic with titanium folding clasp.
Patek Philippe underscores its reputation as the source for the finest minute repeaters with a new model, the Ref. 5750 Advanced Research Minute Repeater, an extra-loud chiming wristwatch that utilizes a new sound amplification system.
The Geneva watchmaker says its new watch delivers dulcet time-telling tones that can be heard up to 180 feet away from the wearer’s wrist.
Patek Philippe’s new system, dubbed ‘Fortissimo ff,” consists of a sound lever, or metallic ‘blade,’ that oscillates a sapphire crystal wafer located on the back of the watch. Patek Philippe’s Advanced Research arm has spent several years developing the Fortissimo ff and will place it into fifteen 40mm platinum-cased Ref. 5750 Advanced Research Minute Repeater watches.
The watchmaker says its new system, for which Patek Philippe registered three patents, essentially builds a novel pathway for the sound to reach the wearer’s ears. The hammers on the new model, built directly from the design of Patek Philippe’s famed caliber R 27 PS (from 1989), strike in a traditional manner on a titanium ring. Then the new ‘Fortissimo ff’ module takes over to amplify the tones.
The new design transmits the gong oscillations to the sapphire wafer, which, unlike a traditional repeater, is not connected to the case and vibrates on its own. This effectively amplifies the sound, sending it out through four openings at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock in the titanium ring. A dust filter protects the movement.
As noted, the resulting chimes can be heard up to 180 feet away from the watch, according to Patek Philippe. Traditional repeaters become difficult to hear approximately when listening thirty feet from the watch.
Platinum case and components
Since the sound waves created using the new ‘Fortissimo ff’ technology never touch the watch’s case, the case metal for the watch does not affect the sound.
However, Patek Philippe did make several metal changes to the movement design when compared to the slide-activated Ref. 5178 minute repeater, which served as the inspiration for the new Ref. 5750.
The watchmaker replaced the steel hammers found on the Ref. 5178 minute repeater with platinum hammers, which produce a softer strike. Furthermore, a mini-rotor in platinum replaces the original model’s gold rotor. With its greater material density, the platinum version delivers the same winding power but with a thinner design.
Patek Philippe tops its new watch with an openworked dial of contemporary design that differs considerably from the watchmaker’s generally classical minute repeater dials.
The watchmaker says spoked wheels of 1960s automobiles inspired the watch’s skeletonized dial. The primary dial is inset with a seconds subdial with a similar pattern. And in another break from Patek Philippe tradition, the seconds dial indicates seconds using a rotating disc rather than a traditional hand.
The watch is set with a shiny orange alligator strap with black seams and a platinum fold-over clasp. Patek Philippe will make fifteen platinum-cased Ref. 5750 “Advanced Research” minute repeaters. Price upon request.
For additional technical details and several excellent videos about the Patek Philippe Ref. 5750 Advanced Research Minute Repeater, click here.
Below we list the technical achievements of Patek Philippe Advanced Research division since its first results in 2005.
2005: Silinvar, a novel, patented material based on monocrystalline silicon. It was developed in collaboration with Rolex, the Swatch Group, and CSEM in Neuchâtel, and is suitable for applications in watchmaking. Also in 2005: First escape wheel in Silinvar. This new part improves dependability because it requires no lubricants. It also reduces the mass to be moved (better efficiency), is corrosion-resistant, and remains perfectly concentric.
2006: Spiromax balance spring in Silinvar, which optimized rate accuracy by improved isochronism thanks to concentric breathing (expansion and contraction) of the balance spring.
2008: Pulsomax escapement in Silinvar, which optimized geometry of escape wheel and lever and increased energy efficiency by 15%.
2011: Oscillomax ensemble (Pulsomax escapement with GyromaxSi balance and Spiromax balance spring) .
2017: Optimized Spiromax balance spring. Also, correctors with compliant mechanism in steel. This utilizes the elasticity of materials in microstructures and replaces articulations with pivots and leaf springs. This technical development offers numerous advantages: simplified assembly (12 parts as opposed to 37 previously), flatter design, no mechanical play, no friction, no arbor wear, which results in totally lubricant-free functionality and excellent energy efficiency.