A marriage of technological innovation and human touch
To mark the company’s 150 years anniversary back in 1989, then President of Patek Philippe, Philippe Stern, made a bold move to re-introduce minute repeaters into the brand’s collection of wrist watches.
The minute repeater is a rare masterpiece of precision and mechanical engineering through of its ability that chimes the time on demand. It strikes every quarter of the hour to the minute, which sounds the time to the minute using separate tones for the hour, quarter hour, and minutes. As is so often the case in the art of watchmaking, the success or failure of this venture ultimately depends on the steady hand, the patience and the skill of a master craftsman.
Simply ingenious the strike of the minute repeater is one of the most complex types of complication. Striking watches were designed in the mid 18thcentury and first examples were muffled sounds detectable if it was hand held. This allowed royal courtiers to discreetly check any slow and tedious councils without offending the monarch.
It takes 200 to 300 hours of an experienced watchmaker with extensive horological skills to assemble a minute repeater. Of the 100 unique components integrating a minute repeater into a wristwatch, intricate skills are required to fit the already miniaturization of what are extremely small parts. When they attach the gongs to the movement, armed with a magnifying glass, a pair of tweezers and a precision screwdriver, it becomes clear that watchmaking tolerates no impatience whatsoever. The journe, is only accomplished by the application of rigorous scientific practice.
One other example of distinctiveness and individuality of Patek Philippe’s minute repeater is no one timepiece is shown to sound exactly like another. The same watch reference in the same metal case will be subtly different, much like a human fingerprint.
The extent of which, the family owned watch company, Patek Philippe takes ultimate care of their minute repeaters, is that every single one of which is personally checked by the President before leaving the workshops. It is this precision, integrity, and excellence that marks them as world class watch market.