The Grandmaster Chime is a striking example of the “intelligent watch” as envisioned by Patek Philippe’s philosophy. To protect complicated timepieces against damage caused by inadvertent manipulations, the manufacture’s engineers devised clever “isolators” that interrupt the flow of power between individual mechanisms or block certain functions while others are active. The engraved inscriptions and symbols on the case and the pushers are further hallmarks of convenience that make the Grandmaster Chime a self-explanatory grand complication watch.
The Grandmaster Chime automatically sounds the hours and quarter-hours at each quarter hour (in the Petite Sonnerie mode only the hours at the top of the hour and only the quarters at each quarter hour). It ranks among the functions that aficionados and collectors hoped to see implemented in a Patek Philippe wristwatch. But it was always clear to the manufacture that this would not happen unless a strikework power reserve of at least one entire day could be achieved. The necessary technology was not available until just recently. But now, thanks to the double barrels reserved for the strikework mechanism, the sonneries can be activated during a period of more than 30 hours before they need to be rewound by hand. Remarkably, this was accomplished even though the quarter-hours are sounded not on two but instead on three gongs with different tone sequences. This requires 50 percent more energy for each quarter-hour strike.
Minute repeater and alarm
The strikework double barrels also deliver the energy for the minute repeater, which on demand strikes the hours and quarter-hours as well as the minutes that have elapsed since the last quarter-hour. It was the Genevan manufacture that orchestrated the comeback of this queen of complications 25 years ago. The alarm strikes the alarm time by reproducing the complete tone sequence of the minute repeater, with exactly the same sound quality. This is a function never before integrated in a mechanical wristwatch.
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