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Patek Philippe rings in surprise Christmas chimer

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Patek Philippe’s Advanced Research engineers have developed a multi-patented mechanical sound amplification system that is being used in a new 15-piece limited edition minute repeater.

The fortissimo (ff) module is made from a suspended sound lever and an oscillating wafer made of transparent sapphire-crystal glass that, according to Patek Philippe, delivers “clearly amplified sound of excellent acoustic quality”.

Patek Philippe obsesses about the perfection of its chimes, so much so that president Thierry Stern listens to every minute repeater before it leaves the manufacture.

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The ff module transmits sound from the gongs to the sapphire-glass oscillating wafer via a steel sound lever. One end of the lever is attached to the middle of the oscillating wafer, the other end resembles a tuning fork.

When the hammers strike the gongs, their oscillations are transmitted to the sound lever which amplifies them and transmits them to the rigid oscillating wafer where they are further amplified.

The angular motion of the oscillating wafer excites the air layers above and beneath the sapphire glass, producing a noticeably louder sound, Patek Philippe claims.

Most minute repeater movements are used in gold cased watches, because the metal transmits the chiming better.

Patek Philippe has chosen platinum for the new limited edition Ref. 5750 Patek Philippe “Advanced Research” Minute Repeater, which requires an additional engineering solution to help with the transmission of the chimes.

The watch has an insulation rim made of a high-tech composite material designed to acoustically uncouples the amplifier from the movement.

The sound is first routed to the sound lever and then to the oscillating wafer, then through four openings at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock in a titanium ring and finally through a narrow slot between the case back and the case band.

This means the watch is not water resistant, but it is protected from dust by a special filter.

Patek Philippe says the sound is amplified to the extent that it can be heard from six times further away than normal and it fades more slowly.

Ref. 5750 Patek Philippe “Advanced Research” Minute Repeater

The Ref. 5750 Patek Philippe “Advanced Research” Minute Repeater has been specially created to show off the movement and its new chiming system.

It comes in the usual 5750 40mm width case, but is 0.6mm thicker.

The dial, with small seconds at 6 o’clock, has an openworked motif inspired by the spoked wheels of vintage cars.

White gold hours and minutes hands are in the flat Dauphine style.

The watch is sold on an orange crocodile leather strap for $595,000 (excl. tax).

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