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Patek Philippe - 6301P: A New Sonorous Chapter

Patek Philippe 6301P: A New Sonorous Chapter

Patek Philippe reasserts its mastery of the music of time by launching its first wristwatch with a grande sonnerie in its purest manifestation.

Patek Philippe has leveraged its momentum to enrich its regular collection with a masterpiece of miniaturization and acoustic perfection: the Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie. This grand complication is the manufacture’s first wristwatch that presents the grande sonnerie as the epitome of horological complications in its purest form, complemented with a petite sonnerie and a minute repeater. It is an event long awaited by watch enthusiasts.

A New Sonorous Chapter: Grande Et Petite Sonnerie 6301P

Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie © Patek Philippe

To implement the grande sonnerie as envisioned, Patek Philippe developed a new movement as a spin-off of the caliber 300 of the Grandmaster Chime. Given its 703 parts, the caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM is remarkably compact for such a complex mechanism (diameter: 37 mm; height: 7.5 mm). One of the traditionally greatest difficulties for the engineers of grande sonneries is mastering energy flows and power reserves. Unlike in minute repeaters which must be triggered on demand by actuating a slide or a pusher, the grande sonnerie needs to have sufficient reserve power to automatically sound the required number of time strikes with uniform acoustic quality.

A New Sonorous Chapter: Grande Et Petite Sonnerie 6301P

Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie © Patek Philippe

As regards the strikework, Patek Philippe opted for three classic gongs – low, medium, high. This technical option requires more energy than systems with two gongs. It also complicates the watchmaker’s work when tuning each gong until all three create the legendary “Patek Philippe sound” so coveted by connoisseurs. Attached to the movement, the three gongs must not touch one another nor other parts of the case or movement despite the compact space in which they hover. Three hammers of identical size and mass guarantee a uniform strike for all three pitches. The selection of platinum as the case material also presented a challenge because it is difficult to master acoustically and requires Patek Philippe know-how that at the manufacture is handed down from one generation to the next.

A New Sonorous Chapter: Grande Et Petite Sonnerie 6301P

Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie © Patek Philippe

The hours are struck on a low-pitched gong, the quarter hours with a three-strike high-low-medium sequence. The melody for the first quarter hour (15 minutes) sounds once, for the second quarter hour (30 minutes) twice and for the third quarter hour (45 minutes) three times. Each quarter-hour sequence is automatically preceded by the number of elapsed hours, and followed by the number of quarter hours. Thanks to the energy stored in the twin mainspring barrel of the strikework, this adds up to an impressive total of 1056 strikes in 24 hours. The owner can also select the strikework mode petite sonnerie; it strikes the full hours but omits the repetition of the hours when striking the quarter hours. In the silence mode, the automatic time strike is switched off altogether.

The selection of the strikework mode is performed with a slide switch in the caseband at 6 o'clock. The petite sonnerie mode is on the left adjoining the grande sonnerie mode in the middle and silence on the right. This special feature is the subject of a patent that was already developed for the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime and describes a mechanism that enables the selection and activation of the strike mode with a single slide switch. Formerly, two switches were needed to execute these steps. Another patent, also developed for the Grandmaster Chime, allows the complete isolation of the grande sonnerie in the silence mode, eliminating power consumption.

A New Sonorous Chapter: Grande Et Petite Sonnerie 6301P

Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie © Patek Philippe

When they reworked the caliber 300 from the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime, the engineers and designers at the manufacture added a small jumping seconds display, which was never done with a grande sonnerie. They endowed the new Ref. 6301P with an innovative jumping seconds mechanism. Its system does not rely on jumper springs as usual but instead with wheels and a release lever that instantaneously unblocks the wheel train every second, making energy consumption easier to regulate and control. Thus, the new Ref. 6301P chiming watch presents a novel face characterized by the subsidiary seconds hand at 6 o'clock. With the blink of an eye, it jumps along the railway track minute scale from one second to the next, recalling the regulator clocks that were used in old watchmaking ateliers to synchronize the time.

A New Sonorous Chapter: Grande Et Petite Sonnerie 6301P

Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie © Patek Philippe

The new caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM – it can be admired through the sapphire-crystal case back – fulfills all the strict requirements of the Patek Philippe Seal. This applies to the technical parameters (rate accuracy, dependability) and to the finissage and attractive architecture of the individual components. Yet again, this clarifies the fact that at Patek Philippe, the complexity of a movement should never lessen its beauty and elegance, and like the case and the dial must measure up to the strict scrutiny of manufacture president Thierry Stern.

The antireflective sapphire-crystal back positioned very close to the movement offers a fascinating glimpse into a micromechanical realm. It can be replaced with a solid platinum back that is delivered with the watch.

A New Sonorous Chapter: Grande Et Petite Sonnerie 6301P

Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie © Patek Philippe

The new Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie stands out with finesse, true to the Patek Philippe key principle that a grand complication must also be pleasant to wear in everyday situations. The platinum case expresses subtlety and balance in its curves and rounded contours, with the concave bezel for a perfect transition from the slightly cambered sapphire-crystal glass and the countersunk satin-finished case flanks. Like all Patek Philippe platinum cases, it sports a small diamond set in this instance at 12 o'clock because the usual 6 o'clock position is occupied by the slide switch for selecting the strikework mode.

Patek Philippe has leveraged its skills with respect to artisanship and rare handcrafts, notably on the black grand feu enamel dial with the “glacé” finish, applied Breguet numerals, and leaf-shaped hands in luminescent white gold. The displays for the hours, minutes, and subsidiary seconds at 6 o'clock are well proportioned alongside two power-reserve indicators for the movement and the strikework at 3 and 9 o'clock with semicircular scales identified with the inscriptions MOUVEMENT and SONNERIE. The timepiece is worn on a hand-stitched shiny black Alligator strap with square scales and a fold-over clasp.

 

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