Give Me Five! Chiming Watches At SIHH 2017

by Elizabeth Doerr

 At a fair that I fully expected to be a “let’s just get through this year” edition, the 2017 SIHH surprised me with an incredible fill of mechanical delicacies of all sorts.

AND — and this is a big AND — these didn’t all come from the independent creators in the Carré des Horlogers as one might suspect. In fact, the lion’s share of the breathtaking specialties came from the big brands — those same big brands that spent the previous year’s edition basically “just getting through it.”

I counted no less than nine new striking timepieces at the 2017 SIHH. This has to be some sort of record! And of these, two brands — Vacheron Constantin and Ulysse Nardin — presented two new chiming watches each.

Here are five of these delightful new striking timepieces.

Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie on the wrist of Stephen Forsey

Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie on the wrist of Stephen Forsey

Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie

The long-anticipated Grande Sonnerie by the perfectionist firm Greubel Forsey finally arrived in early 2017 — and it was every bit as wonderful as we had hoped and expected.

Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie

Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie

I’ll save my raving enthusiasm for this timepiece, which I named best in show of SIHH 2017 during our annual SIHH round table, and send you to see and hear all the details in Ian’s fabulous review: Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie: Confounding Expectations In A Class Of Its Own.

For more information, please visit www.greubelforsey.com/en/collection/grande-sonnerie.

Quick Facts
 
Case: 43.5 x 16.1 mm, titanium with white gold pushers and crown, convex display back and asymmetrical case band window onto tourbillon, 30-meter water resistance
 Movement: hand-wound movement with patented 25-degree inclined 24-second tourbillon, two patents pending, 11 movement safety mechanisms, automatic winding (platinum mini rotor) for striking mechanism, two coaxial series-coupled fast-rotating barrels, security system disengages strike mechanism if crown pulled out, one-piece cathedral gongs on three levels, dedicated striking barrel maximizing hammer force and striking power reserve (about 20 hours in grande sonnerie mode), no quarters pause in striking rhythm, 855 components (movement only), superlative hand finishing
 Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds; petite and grande sonnerie, minute repeater on demand by crown-mounted pusher, strike mode selection by pusher (grande sonnerie/petite sonnerie/silence), striking power reserve indicator, movement power reserve indicator
 Price: 1,150,000 Swiss francs (excluding VAT)

Ulysse Nardin Hourstriker Pinup in platinum

Ulysse Nardin Hourstriker Pinup in platinum

Ulysse Nardin Hourstriker Pin-Up

Even though Ulysse Nardin had two new striking watches on show — this and the North Sea Minute Repeater — I choose to highlight the Hourstriker Pin-Up here because I love its connection to Ulysse Nardin’s history with jaquemarts models and, frankly, I think it’s an interesting and eye-catching timepiece that brings watchmaking yet another step into the modern era with its burlesque dancer coming to life on the dial.

This is a fully different kind of automaton!

Ulysse Nardin Hourstriker Pinup in pink gold

Ulysse Nardin Hourstriker Pinup in pink gold

For more information, please visit www.ulysse-nardin.com.

Quick Facts
 
Movement: manually wound Caliber UN-610 with automatic chime activation system and jaquemarts; chime on half and full hour
 Case: pink gold and platinum, 43 mm
 Dial: black with two hand-miniature painted Jaquemarts
 Functions: hours, minutes; hour strike with chime on half hour and full hour
 Limitation: 28 pieces each in pink gold and platinum
 Price: €99,000 in pink gold and €119,000 in platinum

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Decimal Strike

I’ll admit it: I didn’t think that A. Lange & Söhne would have been able to top the Zeitwerk decimal minute repeater of 2015 that I loved so much.

Movement side of the A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk Decimal Strike

A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk Decimal Strike

But I’ll also admit it when I am proved wrong: the Zeitwerk Decimal Strike has done exactly that for me.

Lange Zeitwerk Decimal Strike

Lange Zeitwerk Decimal Strike

Now, I realize that is probably a controversial thing to say. After all, a full-blown decimal repeater is so much more complicated to make than a movement that makes one ding every ten minutes, even if five of those dings are high and one (on the hour) is low. Right?

Maybe.

Beautiful tremblage engraving on the Lange Zeitwerk Decimal Strike

Beautiful tremblage engraving on the Lange Zeitwerk Decimal Strike

But there are two other things that you have to take into consideration: those exquisite little hammers with the sublime tremblage engraving and the warm, Lange-exclusive honey gold case (Joshua provides more on the art of tremblage engraving in The A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst: I Can Just Feel It!).

A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk Decimal Strike

A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk Decimal Strike

Yummy!

For more information, please visit www.alange-soehne.com/en/timepieces/zeitwerk/zeitwerk-decimal-strike.

Quick Facts
 
Case: 44.2 x 13.1 mm, honey gold
 Movement: manually wound Caliber L043.7 with constant force and free-sprung balance spring; 2.5 Hz/18,000 vph, superlative hand finishing
 Functions: jumping hours and minutes, running seconds; power reserve, decimal minute repeater
 Limitation: 100 pieces
 Price: €120,000

Close up look dial side of the Speake Marin Crazy Skulls minute repeater

A close look at the dial side of the Speake-Marin Crazy Skulls minute repeater

Speake-Marin Crazy Skulls

Like the Ulysse Nardin Hourstriker Pin-Up, Peter Speake-Marin’s Crazy Skulls uses the energy from the chiming function to move a figure on the dial — in this case a pair of skulls, which open and close to reveal the watch’s beating heart: a flying one-minute tourbillon.

Speake-Marine Crazy Skulls minute repeater tourbillon

Speake-Marin Crazy Skulls minute repeater tourbillon

In fact, this creative timepiece combines three incredible functionalities: a carillon minute repeater, a flying tourbillon, and the dial animation, all three of which combine to tell a story of two souls doomed to separate again and again, even in death.

When the slider is activated, the carillon minute repeater chimes and a mechanism separates the two aluminum craniums to reveal that rapidly beating heart.

Speake-Marine Skulls minute repeater tourbillon

Speake-Marin Crazy Skulls minute repeater tourbillon

Heartbreakingly cool!

For more information, please visit www.speake-marin.com/medias/Crazy20Skulls/CrazySkulls_EN.pdf.

Quick Facts
 
Case: 42 mm, titanium case band and lugs, platinum bezel and case back
 Movement: manually wound Caliber SMC01 with one-minute flying tourbillon
 Functions: hours, minutes; carillon minute repeater, moving skulls on dial
 Limitation: 2 pieces, each unique
 Price: 388,800 Swiss francs

Panerai Radiomir 1940 Minute Repeater Carillon GMT

Panerai Radiomir 1940 Minute Repeater Carillon GMT

Panerai Radiomir 1940 Minute Repeater Carillon GMT PAM00600

I could describe my slight bewilderment at Panerai undertaking the development of a wristwatch like this, but I won’t. The reason is simple: though Panerai is squarely positioned in the elegant sports watch category, whenever this brand has decided to up the ante and develop a high complication, it has been surprisingly good.

Panerai Radiomir 1940 Minute Repeater Carillon GMT

Panerai Radiomir 1940 Minute Repeater Carillon GMT

And so it is with the Minute Repeater Carillon GMT, whose sweet tones pleasantly surprised the cynic in me as our team apprehensively perched in the SIHH booth waiting to hear it. And we were not disappointed!

Panerai Radiomir 1940 Minute Repeater Carillon GMT

Panerai Radiomir 1940 Minute Repeater Carillon GMT

But perhaps even more exhilarating than the sweet sound of the chimes was the fact that this unique minute repeater is able to chime both local and a second (travel) time. And — wonder of wonders — it is also a decimal repeater, making it the fifth ever wristwatch decimal repeater after stunning examples made by Kari Voutilainen, Credor (Seiko), Audemars Piguet, and A. Lange & Söhne.

Ding, dong!

For more information, please visit www.panerai.com/en/collections/special-editions/2016/radiomir-1940-minute-repeater-carillon-tourbillon-gmt-oro-rosso-pam00600.

Quick Facts
 
Movement: manually wound Caliber P.2005/MR with one-minute tourbillon and double minute repeater with three security systems, 96 hours of power reserve, twin spring barrels, 633 components
 Case: red gold or white gold, 49 mm, water-resistant to 30 meters
 Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; power reserve indication (on back), 24-hour GMT function (second time zone), carillon decimal minute repeater able to chime both local and travel times
 Limitation: no specific number, but this watch is only made upon order
 Price: approx. $395,000

Originally published at Quill & Pad.