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Editorial - A Story Worth Repeating

Editorial A Story Worth Repeating

Last week, we spoke about the most common complication seen in a feminine timepiece — now we turn to the most exalted…

We must remember our history. The first complicated wristwatch (that is, a watch purpose-built to be worn on the wrist and not simply a converted pocket watch) of note that still persists in the consciousness of watch lovers everywhere is a woman’s watch. More precisely, it is the oblong repeating watch in gold that Abraham-Louis Breguet made for Caroline Murat, née Bonaparte, Queen of Naples in the days of the Napoleonic Empire. The fact that there has been no record of this watch since it was last brought into the Breguet workshops in 1855 parallels the role it played in establishing wristwatches in the feminine domain — marooned in the mists of time.

In recent years, outstanding examples of chiming watches have made their mark in the field of feminine timepieces. The Patek Philippe Ladies First Minute Repeater ref. 7000 is an absolute reference in terms of chiming watches — whether men’s or women’s. The self-winding movement R 27 PS is one of the rare automatic minute repeater movements to be made, and its 28mm diameter makes it perfect for the 33.7mm watch case. Its pure and dulcet tones, rounded by the shapely rose-gold case, have been meticulously tuned and have passed Patek Philippe CEO Thierry Stern’s personal inspection (as has every minute repeater leaving the manufacture).

A Story Worth Repeating

Ladies First Minute Repeater ref. 7000 © Patek Philippe

The Breguet Queen of Naples ref. 8973 is an hour-striking confection of diamonds and sapphires, released in commemoration of the 10th year of the collection named in Caroline Murat’s honor. Launched in 2012, the ref. 8973 is a double-anniversary timepiece — debuting exactly 200 years after the delivery of the original watch into the hands of Queen Caroline in 1812. The queen’s watch was at the forefront of 19th-century technology, incorporating a straight-line lever escapement instead of the cylinder or verge escapements that were more common at the time. The ref. 8973 is as much of a credit to its makers as its progenitor was, featuring a silicon balance spiral that represents Breguet’s commitment to furthering research and development in new watchmaking materials.

Une histoire qui vaut la peine d’être répétée

Reine de Naples ref. 8973 © Breguet

The Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Poetic Wish is a rather rare bird of the species — it is a five-minute repeater. Instead of chiming the hours, quarters and minutes, it chimes the hours and five-minute increments. In addition to the novel construction of its chiming mechanism (with thin spiral gongs and vertical hammers), the Poetic Wish also incorporates an animated dial that shows a young girl in the first flush of romance, stepping lightly towards the edge of the Eiffel Tower to make a wish on the kite she sees soaring through the sky.

A Story Worth Repeating

Lady Arpels Poetic Wish © Van Cleef & Arpels

Jaeger-LeCoultre premiered the Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute Repeater in 2014, writing another chapter in its exceptional mastery of the so-called “Queen of Complications” that had already been established by groundbreaking creations such as the Master Répétition Minutes Antoine LeCoultre and the Hybris Mechanica Duomètre à Grande Sonnerie. This compact exercise in haut de gamme watchmaking showcased La Grande Maison’s savoir-faire in creating exquisite musical watches and demonstrated how at home this complication is in a feminine timepiece.

A Story Worth Repeating

Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute Repeater © Jaeger-LeCoultre

More recently, Bulgari — traditionally known for their audacious and exuberant jewellery pieces — demonstrated just how much they deserve to enter the highest tiers of watchmaking excellence by releasing the Diva’s Dream Finissima Minute Repeater. Housing Bulgari’s celebrated record-setting ultra-thin minute repeater movement, the aptly named Diva’s Dream Finissima Minute Repeater possesses a chime that is at once melodious and astonishing in its volume and clarity. Generally speaking, loudness and euphony do not always come hand-in-hand, something which is particularly true in minute repeaters.

A Story Worth Repeating

Diva's Dream Finissima Minute Repeater Malachite © Bulgari

Time after time, we’ve seen how the Queen of Complications belongs unequivocally in feminine timepieces. Long may she reign!

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