Among the limited edition commemorative timepieces created on the occasion of Patek Philippe’s 175th Anniversary, the Grandmaster Chime is by far the most complicated, and one of the most elaborated wristwatch ever created. A new benchmark in technical and aesthetics elegance.
The numbers behind this amazing creation are quite impressive: a double-face case with a diameter of 47 mm, accommodating four spring barrels and no fewer than 20 complications, including coveted functions such as a Grande and Petite Sonnerie, a minute repeater, an instantaneous perpetual calendar with a four-digit year display, a second time zone, and two patented global debuts in the domain of chiming watches: an acoustic alarm that strikes the alarm time and a date repeater that sounds the date on demand. 1366 movement components and four additional patents emphasize the innovative thrust behind this watch.
A new pinnacle in haute horlogerie, which development started in 2007, this is a watch with an intricate inner life. It is a visionary triumph, as pleasing to the ear as to the eye, and a truly melodious companion. Only seven pieces with the unique engraved case will ever be made; six will be sold to collectors and enthusiasts, while the seventh will join the collection at the Patek Philippe Museum.
Main Complications overview
Grande sonnerie, one of the rarest of complications, which automatically chimes the hours and quarters on three gongs. When the grande sonnerie is not required, the watch can be set to the petite sonnerie, or in fact to silence, when the hours will pass without so much as a whisper.
For the first time in the history of watchmaking, this watch uses the minute repeater strike sequence as an acoustic alarm signal, providing a gentle alert using the same sequence of strikes. When the alarm is activated, all other chiming functions are disabled, remaining mute until the alarm has sounded or is switched off. As a reminder that the alarm is activated, the color in the bell-shaped aperture on the alarm dial will turn red; once the alarm has sounded, the color changes back to white.
A date display is present on both Grandmaster Chime dials. And because this is a perpetual mechanism that recognizes the different number of days in each month and the leap-year cycle, it always displays the right date. Not just this; a refined repeater mechanism – a world debut – also indicates the date acoustically, signalling it with a high-low note for each multiple of 10 days and a single higher note for each unit. Inspired by a conversation that Thierry Stern had 10 years ago with a well-established collector.
In the Grandmaster Chime, the instantaneous perpetual calendar – displaying date, day, month, leap year cycle, and year – has its own elegant dial, with a clean and appealing layout that ensures legibility. Surrounding a four-digit year display (a very rare indication in wristwatches for which a patent application has been filed), four stately dials indicate day of the week (on the left), month (on the right), time in a 24-hour format (top), and date and leap-year cycle (below).
The Grandmaster Chime presents a unique repertoire of acoustic functions, but it also tells the time in the customary way, featuring extremely useful complications. Often, one needs to know what time it is elsewhere, perhaps when family or business partners are on another continent. Thus, a gold hour hand can be set to a second time zone; this is coupled with a day/night indicator to prevent unintended calls in the middle of someone else’s night. The moon will never lose its mystique, and its waxing and waning ranks among the most popular horological complications.
Let us dive now into the making of this authentic masterpiece with this fascinating video released by Patek Philippe, also available on Patek Philippe YouTube Official Channel:
A unique double-dial, fully reversible supercomplication wristwatch, with a total of 20 complications, it is an absolute micromechanical masterpiece, featuring complex mechanisms and elaborate case decoration: the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime is destined to hold a singular place in horological history.
Material source Patek Philippe official website.