The best Christmas-themed gadget for the holidays is a chiming replica watch – actually not a gadget at all but the highest achievement in complicated watchmaking. Hublot and Chopard recently introduced new chiming watches with unique engineering and extra-sonorous chimes. Minute repeaters are mechanisms that sound out the time using a series of chimes created by tiny hammers and gongs inside the case. The trick is to make them as loud as possible so that the wearer doesn’t have to hold the west women watch up to his/her ear to listen to the chime.
Chopard is launching its first-ever minute repeater, striking hours, quarters and minutes, with the L.U.C Full Strike, a watch that was six years in the making. The movement, the Caliber 08.01-L, has three pending patents relating to the nature of the gongs as well as to the operation and ergonomics of the striking system as a whole. Uniquely the gongs are made of sapphire, which are attached to the sapphire crystal that covers the dial – breaks in material are detrimental to the transmission of acoustic waves, so the integration of gongs and dial crystal is an improvement on traditional engineering, which attaches steel gongs to the inside of the case. The Chopard system transmits the sound directly outside the unnique watch. Sapphire also plays the role of acoustic amplifier. The hammer strike on the gong can be seen at 10 o’clock on the dial.
The crown serves to wind the movement in one direction, and its striking mechanism in the other and is equipped with a double power-reserve indicator. The L.U.C Full Strike thus accumulates enough energy to strike 12:59 – the longest time in the minute repeater repertoire – 12 times. The case is made of Fairmined gold, which is mined according to high standards of environmental protection and social responsibility.
The Hublot Classic Fusion Tourbillon Cathedral Minute Repeater was launched in a 50-piece limited edition in 2014, when it won the Grand Prix de Genève as best striking watch and is now being reissued as an eight-piece special edition dedicated to Chinese-American virtuoso pianist Lang Lang. The pink gold and purple masterpiece watch has a cathedral gong, which means the steel tubular gong placed around the inside circumference of the case is doubled, strengthening the power of the notes when they are hit with the tiny hammers to chime hours and minutes.
Lang Lang partnered with Hublot because he feels the brand, like him, respects tradition yet keeps an eye the future and innovation. Hublot embraces the same philosophy with its Art of Fusion series, which often combines traditional materials with new materials. The Tourbillon Cathedral Minute Repeater, for example, combines a traditional complication with a modern case material – carbon fiber, which not only gives the watch an unusually sporty look for a classic tourbillon/minute repeater but an enhanced sound. Chiming watches are a challenge in today’s world of water-resistant women’s stylish unique fake watch because cases, crowns and crystals are so tightly sealed that the sound of hammers meeting gongs has less chance of resonating outside the watch. The low density of carbon fiber, however, makes a great sound chamber that provides a deep, rich chime that resonates well outside the case. The HUB 8001 movement is manually wound with an 85-hourpower reserve. The movement and caseback bear the signature of Lang Lang, and the indexes on the dial at 3, 9 and 12 o’clock are replaced by a bass clef, a treble clef and a stylized sixteenth note that recalls Lang Lang’s initials.