Of course the occasion of the legendary brand’s 175th anniversary would always be a special one, and for the legions of devotees of the world’s undisputed Number One watch brand around the globe, Patek Philippe made sure it would be one they would not forget, whether they were in attendance or thousands of miles away.
Such an occasion surely justifies pushing the boat out a little more than on any other anniversary, and so Patek used the opportunity to reveal a number of pieces, each one of which would be a showstopper in its own right.
Patek Philippe GrandMaster Chime – A Timepiece Fit For An Emperor
The real icing on this illustrious birthday cake and the most technically complex watch (ever?) was the Patek Philippe GrandMaster Chime, a timepiece so lavishly created and bristling with so many individual complications that one side of the watch was never going to be sufficient to show those which rely on visuals – never mind those which perform their particular functions hidden from sight – to be displayed.
The GrandMaster Chime packs in no fewer than twenty complications inside a gold case, every millimetre of which has been hand engraved to a point somewhere beyond elaborate, featuring a laurel wreath motif around the bezels and employing multiple engraving disciplines to decorate the case, and which can be reversed to display one side with its array of functions or the other, depending on your whim.
With one side of the watch dedicated exclusively to a perpetual calendar, four subdials display the time in twenty-four hours and minutes on a display which features numerals and a minutes track at the 12, next to that, at the 3 o’clock position sits the month display and then at the 6 the sweeping date (which is the only feature to appear on both sides) is shared with a leap year indicator. Finally there is a weekday display at the 9 and right in the centre of the dial, the year is shown through a gold-edged aperture. This Calendar Dial probably offers all of the functionality one would need from their timepiece, and in white enamel, is a token of modesty in comparison to the opulence of the case engravings.
Patek Philippe GrandMaster Chime – A Celebration of Horologic Excellence
Turning the case on its axis reveals the Time Dial, whose splendour contrasts markedly against the sobriety of the Calendar Dial. Here, time is displayed ‘conventionally’ using central hours and minutes against applied gold roman numerals, with a second time zone indicator in gold also eminating from the central pinion. The displays include the alarm on a twenty-four hour dial at the 12 o’clock, with the legend ‘175 ans’ pride of place, and a little bell-shaped on/off indicator just off centre. A tiny round aperture between the 1 and the 2 indicates that the chiming is active or not and just beneath that, another little opening displays day/night.
The date and moonphase occupy the 6 o’clock display, flanked on either side with little triangular panels on which selected functions are shown via letters which denote the operation performed by the crown or pushers when winding (R) the supremely complex manual calibre or adjusting the alarm (A) or time (H), and then the options of Silence, Grand or Petit Sonneries (S, G and P). Above this arrangement and opposing one another at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions are two arc shaped scales which descend in graduations and which show the power reserves for the three-gong chiming mechanism (3), and the remaining energy in the actual timekeeping movement (9).
Inside the Patek Philippe GrandMaster Chime Calibre GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM manual winding movement features no fewer than a staggering 1366 components including 108 jewels. The five chiming strikework functions, each with its own distinctive combination of tones, use three chiming tone gongs, to indicate the minute repeater, grand and petit sonnerie as well as the date repeater and alarm, and as the sonnerie strikework requires so much of a watch’s power reserve, its energy is derived from dedicated twin barrels, independent from the power reserved for timekeeping, which gives the GrandMaster Chime an impressive 30 hours of reserved power. More than an iPhone ?
The Twenty Complications of the Patek Philippe GrandMaster Chime (Ref. 5175R-001):
- Grande Sonnerie
- Petite Sonnerie
- Minute repeater
- Date repeater
- Alarm with time strike
- Strikework mode display – Silence/Grand Sonnerie/Petite Sonnerie (S-G-P)
- Movement power-reserve indicator
- Strikework power-reserve indicator
- Strikework isolator display
- Second time zone
- Second time zone day/night indicator
- Instantaneous perpetual calendar
- Day-of-week display
- Month display
- Date display (on both dials)
- Leap year cycle
- Four-digit year display
- 24-hour and minute subdial
- Moon phase
- Crown position indicator (R-A-H)
Seven Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175R-001 will ever be produced.
Six for clients and one for the Patek Philippe Museum.
The price will be 2.5 million Swiss francs, or about $2.6 million each.