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Chiming watches - Three top repeater watches from Baselworld 2018

Chiming watches Three top repeater watches from Baselworld 2018

The concept of chiming the time has gotten a lot more elaborate.

Repeater watches, those that chime the time in a variety of ways, have always been a beloved category of luxury complications.  These magnificently audible watches have roots dating back centuries, when it was easier to learn the time in the dark by pushing a slide on a clock pocket watch than getting up, lighting a candle and looking at a clock. Over the centuries the chiming watch has evolved so that today we have minute repeaters (chiming the hour, quarter hours and minutes), quarter repeaters (chiming the hours and quarter hours), and even decimal repeaters (chiming 10-minute intervals past the hour).  Additionally, we have grande sonneries that chime the time on multiple gongs with multiple hammers.

The making of a repeater or chiming watch is no easy feat. It takes a tremendous amount of watchmaking expertise and of research and development to get everything right, from the slide to the sound.  For this reason, these are rare timepieces that often command a hefty price and sometimes have a waiting list, as well.  Still, the chiming watch remains a coveted collector item and is a benchmark standard for certain brands that enjoy demonstrating their technical prowess. 

This year in particular, there were a host of intriguing repeater watches unveiled at Baselworld 2018 – for both men and women. Here we take a look at three top repeating masterpieces.

Bulgari Diva Finissima Minute Repeater

Let’s start with a watch for women: Bulgari’s Diva Finissima Minute Repeater Watch. Made in honor of the 100th anniversary of Bulgari’s first women’s watch, the new timepiece just unveiled at Baselworld deftly blends art and mechanics. Billed as the world’s thinnest minute repeater movement in a ladies’ watch, the timepiece boasts the Finissimo Minute Repeater caliber -- the manual wind caliber BVL 362 -- that was unveiled (in a men’s watch) two years ago in 2016. Now, the brand has pared the watch down into a 37mm beauty for women.

Three top repeater watches from Baselworld 2018

Diva Finissima Minute Repeater © Bulgari

A world first for the brand, the watch chimes the hours, quarter hours and minutes using three tones. Instead of being activated by a slide on the side of the case, the repeater is activated by turning the gemstone charm that hangs from the watch.  The dial is a work of art thanks to the Japanese Urushi lacquer technique used to create a black dial with actual gold flecks applied by a bamboo shoot. The watch is set with 4.83 carats of diamonds. Because of the labor intensiveness of this watch – from movement to dial – just 10 pieces will be made. Each retails for approximately $190,000.

Patek Philippe World Time Minute Repeater Ref. 5531R

Another work of art worthy of a museum wall comes from Patek Philippe in the form of the Ref. 5531R. For true watch pundits, this reference number may be familiar. It is the same number that the brand used in summer of 2017 when it unveiled its USA-exclusive New York Special Edition Ref. 5531. Now, however, the brand has taken the patented movement of that watch – the first ever to chime the time in any city in the world on demand – and placed it inside a watch that boasts a beautiful hand-painted lake scene on the dial.

Three top repeater watches from Baselworld 2018

World Time Minute Repeater Ref. 5531R © Patek Philippe

The 40.2mm World Time Ref. 5531 R watch will be limited in production just because of the sheer amount of time it takes to create each watch, but there is no limited edition number set for the stunning beauty. Housing the patented 462-part Caliber R 27 HU movement, made in house by Patek Philippe, the ultra-thin self-winding mechanical watch strikes the local time in any of the world’s 24 zones. The patent pending is for the ability to control the hour strike to one-second accuracy.

The watch also marks the first time that Patek Philippe’s master watchmakers have placed the gongs on the case band for stronger sound. The city ring also offers day/night indication thanks to the black-and-white color-coding. As mentioned, the dial is hand painted enamel and depicts the Lavaux vineyard terrace on Lake Geneva – a UNESCO world heritage site. The watch retails for approximately 495,000 Swiss Francs.

Jacob & Co. Twin Turbo Furious

If the first two repeaters in this article didn’t knock your socks off, then this one just might. Its name - Twin Turbo Furious – says so much about this incredibly complex watch that comprises a Double Triple-Axis Tourbillon, Decimal Minute Repeater, Chronograph and more. In fact, this watch packs one powerful punch.

Created in black DLC titanium and carbon fiber, the oversized (57mmx52mm) watch is a complicated work of technology from start to finish. The case alone consists of 88 parts, and the watch is wound via a crank placed on the crown. Made with smoked sapphire crystals, red inner rings and luminescent materials, the watch is powered by the JCFM05 hand-wound caliber.

Three top repeater watches from Baselworld 2018

Twin Turbo Furious © Jacob & Co.

Essentially, this 832-part movement offers twin triple-axis tourbillons that run at 21,600 vibrations per hour, 50 hours of power reserve, a monopusher chronograph, and – best of all—a chiming feature. Instead of equipping the Twin Turbo Furious with a traditional minute repeater, Jacob & Co. adds a decimal repeater to the highly complex three-dimensional watch. The decimal repeater chimes the hours and then the 10-minute intervals past each hour, followed by the last minutes past the 10-minute interval. Just 18 pieces will be made, each retailing for approximately $525,000.

Want something that is truly music to the ears? You don’t have to go far to find it … but you have to go fast because, as mentioned, many of these pieces may have a waiting list.

Lecture 1 Comment(s)

17 April 2018
de doigts Le claqueur
fantastique cette patek philippe 5531R, avec son sublime équilibre entre tradition et modernité. Indéniablement une des montres que j'ai préféré parmi la myriade de pièces présentées au cours de cette edition 2018 de Baselworld. le claqueur de doigts


Bulgari has its own clear definition of excellence, which involves the perfect balance between design, added-value, quality of its products and its worldwide service. In the case of Bulgari...

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Jacob & Co. is an artistic visionary Maison that displays boundless creative freedom. Setting a completely new tone, both in terms of design and complications, it celebrates being different.

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Patek Philippe enjoys outstanding renown and rare prestige, due to the constancy with which the Manufacture has applied its philosophy of excellence ever since it was founded.

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