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GPHG - Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève
GPHG 2015 - Round table: Striking watches

GPHG 2015 Round table: Striking watches

Another split decision from our contributors in a category that cannot be judged purely on visual criteria.

David Chokron - WorldTempus contributor
The striking watch is a mystery on various levels. The recipe for success is as unknown as the reality of the sound they emit... which hardly anyone can hear. More than anything, these are timepieces that you need to feel, handle and hear to judge their quality, rather than just see them. A whole range of innovative mechanical solutions is currently breathing new life into this category, but some brands still stick to tried-and-tested methods to generate sound from their watches. Girard-Perregaux is one of them and the technical approach used in the Tourbillon Minute Repeater with Gold Bridges is the most common that there is. Apart from the fact that this watch strikes really loudly, with genuinely harmonious notes and, above all, with a richness of tone that is often lacking in such powerful watches. No compromise: this watch produces what it was created to produce, which is an easily audible musicality.

Round table: Striking watches

Olivier Müller - WorldTempus contributor
It needs to strike the time and be beautiful: that is what lies at the heart of this category of grand complication. But is it also possible to go beyond the search for acoustic perfection and add something genuinely new? Taking this additional variable into account, one model rises up above the others: A. Lange & Söhne’s Zeitwerk Minute Repeater. It demonstrates the creative and technical prowess of the company, with an exceptional calibre consisting of 771 components beating at an uncommon frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour and offering an intuitive way or reading the time. Whether you like it or not, it is quite simply yet another example of perfection at its highest level from A. Lange & Söhne.

Round table: Striking watches

Paul O’Neil - editor-in-chief, WorldTempus
Having to pick a minute repeater from such a worthy selection is a bit like having to choose between a Ferrari 250 GTO and a Jaguar E-Type. Both are automotive icons, both are absolutely stunning and both come with an unmistakable V12 grunt. Faced with such a difficult choice, it’s less a question of the mechanics and acoustics of each and more about the overall look and feel of the piece. Do I want a showy movement, as in the case of Christophe Claret’s Allegro, perhaps with a tourbillon, as with Akrivia, Franc Vila and Girard-Perregaux? Sorry, no. Nor do I want the technical look of Hublot’s Big Bang Alarm Repeater. This is only my personal opinion, of course, but the A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater wins the category hands-down before you even hear it. It has a unique oversized digital time display that is instantly legible. But the brand leaves things at their simplest level with a relatively understated dial that belies all the complicated mechanics beneath. It’s only when you activate the striking mechanism (with a pusher, rather than a slider) that you “hear what you see”, as the brand likes to say. In other words, the time is chimed decimally in hours and minutes, which corresponds exactly to what you see on the dial. Personally, I find this decimal repetition much easier to remember than the more complex hour, quarter-hour and minute repetition.

Vote for your favourite watch in the striking category in our readers' poll.

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