In terms of grand complications, nothing fascinates more than a minute repeater. It not only tells the time with its hands, but also chimes.
Only a master watchmaker is qualified to make one, and his skill is judged by the complication’s pitch and resonance. And boy does Girard-Perregaux have a real gem this year, in the form of the Minute Repeater Tourbillon with Gold Bridges— which reportedly takes a minimum of 200 hours to assemble.
Their engineers have given the 17th century technology a few modern updates of their own, including the spring barrel reserve for the minute repeater rewound with a slide of the trigger that also has a safety mechanism built in to prevent over-winding; the flywheel that regulates the hammers has been moved to the underside for better acoustics; the two hammers each sit on jewels to reduce friction; and the sound transmission has been enhanced by two striking gongs, for high and low tones.
On the openwork dial, the upper gold bridge holds the central wheel and the hour and minute cutout gold hands, while the lower bridge holds the flying tourbillon. The third gold bridge is found directly on the reverse side of the tourbillon carriage and regulates the flywheel.
This beauty is truly a work of art as components are handmade and finished, according to the haute horlogerie standard. When worn, a rotor automatically powers the mechanical movement, which has 48 hours of power reserve. The marvels are housed in a pink-gold case with a sapphire crystal caseback.
First published in Esquire Singapore's October 2015 issue.