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Patek Philippe - A Louder Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe A Louder Patek Philippe

The all-new 5750P with a natural amplification system is designed to preserve Patek Philippe's leadership in minute repeaters

It's not a self-promoting claim. Patek Philippe really does manufacture some of the very best minute repeaters. Their intensity, their rich sound, and the length of every note hangs in the air. This is verified in comparative acoustic analysis sessions, making them the crème-de-la-crème of chiming watches. No surprise here, as the brand has been one of maybe two or three that have been manufacturing them consistently throughout the 20th century, along with cases to match.

A Louder Patek Philippe

Minute Repeater ref. 5750P « Advanced Research » © Patek Philippe

Practice does make perfect, as they say, but competition has become fierce. Patek's flagship calibre R 27 goes back to 1989. New movements and approaches keep on coming, and they keep making these prestigious pieces sound better and louder across the board. Patek Philippe decided to remain a cut above the rest thanks to innovation and progress, which is integral to their philosophy and product development. That's why their Advanced Research department has introduced the new 5750P minute repeater watch, fitted with a natural sound amplification system called Fortissimo.

A Louder Patek Philippe

Minute Repeater ref. 5750P « Advanced Research », back view © Patek Philippe

Its mission is to crank up the chiming volume of the hours, quarters and minutes. Indirectly, it should help Patek keep their edge and hold on minute repeaters when addressing a younger, more innovation-savvy audience.  

How does the Fortissimo system work? It separates the chiming gongs from the movement and places them on a heel, which is positioned in front of the hammers. This heel is integral with a flat lever a few millimeters long. The end of the prong is attached to a round, transparent sapphire plate. The sound vibration stimulates the chimes, the lever and is transmitted to the disc. As it is thin, light, and rigid, it starts to vibrate and creates a loud sound. Since the chimes and lever are separated from the movement, the vibration isn't transmitted to the case via the movement. In addition to this, Patek has fitted an isolating ring around the latter. The sound escapes through the case via four openings in a titanium ring which lead to the outside world. 

A Louder Patek Philippe

The modified Caliber R 27 PS inside ref. 5750P, dial side © Patek Philippe

All in all, this is a synthesis of several inventions released in recent years. Fortissimo's core principle is akin to that of Audemars Piguet's Super Sonnerie and the Hourstriker Phantom by Ulysse Nardin that was developed jointly with the audio manufacturer Devialet. By inserting a new component inside the case, the sound can resonate better, more freely and with more intensity than with just the case. With the Chopard L.U.C Full Strike, the brand is using sapphire, although it uses it to craft the chimes and crystal in one piece, which then acts as a loud speaker. There is also the example of Vulcain’s alarm, where the openings help release the sound outside of the case.

There's another, more discreet secret to the modified R 27 PS calibre. Its hammers are made of platinum rather than the usual steel. Patek claims they produce a softer sound. But since platinum is much heavier, it has got more inertia. When lifted at an equal distance, they strike with more force, which helps make the sound louder.

A Louder Patek Philippe

The modified Caliber R 27 PS inside ref. 5750P, movement side © Patek Philippe

This is not something Patek put a number on. It would be a moot point anyway because any intensity comparison requires a steady, agreed-upon standard, which doesn't exist in watchmaking. The only hint they're giving is that instead of being heard at 10 meters, like a regular chiming watch such as their 5178G, the 5750P can be perceived as far away as 60 meters. In the watch's introduction address, Patek Philippe's President, Mr. Thierry Stern, insists that he still isn't quite satisfied with the harmony. Each of the 15 pieces still has some way to go before meeting with his full approval.

 

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