Time Chimers: 4 Notable Minute Repeaters from SIHH 2015

Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute RepeaterIt is not uncommon during the SIHH watch fair to hear the popping of Champagne corks and the clinking of glasses in the luxuriously appointed halls of Geneva’s Palexpo. This year, guests also heard the pleasant chiming of several new minute repeater watches from the exhibiting luxury watch brands. Here are four repeater watches from SIHH 2015 that caught our eye — and ear.

The A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater is the first Lange watch to combine  jumping time displays for the hours and minutes with a 10-minute interval repeater. The simple, legible dial belies the complexities of the movement and its chiming mechanism.  Since the time can be read quickly (jumping hours are displayed in a window at 9 o’clock, minutes are on two discs of different heights at 3 o’clock, and small seconds at the bottom of the dial), the wearer can then turn his attention down to the bottom of the dial, where the two black-polished steel hammers for the minute repeater are readily visible on either side of the seconds subdial. When the pusher at 10 o’clock is pressed, the hammers strike the gong encircling the dial. The hours hammer, with a lower pitch, is on the left side; the higher-pitched minutes hammer is on the right. Ten-minute intervals are signaled via a “double tone”: the higher pitch is hit with the lower one immediately following. The maximum duration it takes to strike out the time (at 12:59) is approximately 20 seconds. For more detail on the Lange Zeitwerk Minute Repeater, click here.

A Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater soldier 560
A Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater


To develop its prototype Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept RD#1, the luxury watch brand from Le Brassus partnered with the École Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), a Swiss organization dedicated to the study of acoustics. The result of their intensive sound research program is, according to AP, “the first chiming watch so acoustically considered as to become a sound concept in its own right.” By applying the principles of stringed instrument making to the development of the watch’s chiming mechanism, the brand has created a repeater watch with a significantly enhanced sound transmission. The movement features a brand-new, almost silent striking mechanism regulator, along with a column-wheel chronograph and a tourbillon.For more on this year’s Royal Oak Concept, click here.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Acoustic Research
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept RD#1

While not truly a “grand complication” in the strictest sense of the term (it lacks, for example, a chronograph function), the Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Grand Complication was nevertheless regarded as one of the most impressive debuts at this year’s SIHH. This is in part because of its astounding thinness (the 45-mm platinum case is just 12.6 mm thick, while the skeletonized movement, Cartier Caliber 9406 MC, is a mere 5.49 mm thick) and also because of its incorporation of several major haute horlogerie functions, which include a flying tourbillon and perpetual calendar in addition to a minute repeater. The bottom of the dial showcases the minute repeater, which is equipped with an inertia-free fly wheel, with its hammers and gongs on display thanks to the openwork of the movement. Click here to read more about the Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Grande Complication.

Cartier Grande Complication soldier 560
Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Grande Complication

Jaeger-LeCoultre has created many minute repeater watches over its long history, but this year the grande maison from Le Sentier rolled out its first repeater in a ladies’ collection, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute Repeater, a timepiece that is striking in more ways than one. The watch gets its name from the ivy motif on the white gold, blue-enameled dial, which features diamonds in a snow setting on the curling ivy leaves — symbolizing, JLC says, the evening of winter’s first frost in the Vallée de Joux. The bezel, lugs, caseband, crown, and push-piece are also diamond-set, making for a total of 548 diamonds, including 255 on the dial. Inside the 39-mm case is the new automatic Caliber 942A, whose innovative repeater mechanism is fitted with two patented trebuchet hammers that strike two crystal gongs connected to the sapphire crystal. The mechanism is also equipped with a silent regulator to reduce peripheral sounds. The repeater is activated by a single push-button rather than a traditional slide, and features a security system that ensures that the movement will not be damaged if the push-button is inadvertently activated while the repeater is already in motion.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute Repeater

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