Now Hear This: The Girard-Perregaux 1966 Minute Repeater

1966 Minute Repeater A stand-out moment at SIHH 2012 occurred following the formal press presentation at Girard-Perregaux. Journalists were chatting and passing the new models around, scrutinizing aesthetics and testing functions. From across the room, over the cocktail party-level din, I heard clearly the chimes of the 1966 Minute Repeater, in the hands of a fellow reporter, sans sounding board. Wow. Today most brands demonstrate their repeaters for journalists (and probably for customers) by mounting them on wood sounding boxes or columns designed to increase the volume of the sound produced by the watch. Many brands include a sounding box with the watch so the owner can show it off to best effect. But of course no one carries their repeater around mounted on a large wooden box. Repeaters are worn on the wrist. If you need a large wooden sounding box to hear your watch, you’re in trouble. Girard-Perregaux 1966 Minute Repeater Girard-Perregaux achieves acoustic excellence using a traditional construction: twin circular metal gongs coiled inside the case. The manufacturer says that in developing this watch, it paid special attention to three aspects of the case construction, which is important given that the case should be the only amplifier required to hear the gongs. The diameter of the caliber and the interior diameter of the case are carefully balanced to guarantee maximum resonance. The case-back is curved in order to increase the volume of air between the movement and the case, which the brand says significantly improves propagation of the sound. Finally, the lower part of the case-back is diamond-polished, which G-P says reduces acoustic interference. Whatever alchemy was employed, it works. Viewed from the back, the movement is a treat for the eyes as well as the ears. The balance cock takes the form of an arrow, recalling the brand’s famous gold bridges. This signature part is meticulously finished. Rounding requires filing the arm in a perfectly regular manner in order to give it a semi-cylindrical shape, while at the same time respecting the delimitation of the center and heels. During the final steps, the craftsmen employ stones, buffs, pegwoods and diamond pastes to obtain perfect rounding and finish. Girard-Perregaux 1966 Minute Repeater From the dial side, 1966 Minute Repeater is a study in understated classicism. The 42mm pink gold case reflects the new normal in dress watch diameter, and the proportions are pleasing. Blued leaf-shaped hands turn above a white enamel dial, while the subtle notation “repetition minutes” above the subseconds informs the knowledgeable this is no ordinary timekeeper. Though not a true limited edition, production is nonetheless exclusive by virtue of the fact that Girard-Perregaux can produce only about 15 to 20 pieces per year. The price is SFr. 250,000. Girard-Perregaux 1966 Minute Repeater
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