Portugieser Minute Repeater
Even for Portuguese mariners, the ship’s bell had transformed the abstract notion of time into something acoustic. In the Portuguese Minute Repeater, depressing the slide causes a strike train to sound the time out audibly in hours, quarters and minutes. With a hunter-style 98950-calibre pocket watch movement and stylistic elements from the
- The Minute Repeater is one of the haute horlogerie's most emotive complications.
- Classic simplicity: The dial with railway track chapter ring and slender feuille hands.
- The minute repeater chimes out the time in hours, quarters and minutes whenever required.
- See-through sapphire case-back
Acoustic Signs of the Time
For Portuguese explorers out on the open sea, timekeeping was of crucial importance. Using a log together with a special sandglass – the log glass – they were able to measure the vessel’s speed. The ship’s bell, on the other hand, was used to signal the beginning and end of sailors’ watches: the bell would be struck once every half-hour and twice every full hour, with four double strikes signalling the end of a watch. The abstract concept of time was thus being converted into acoustic signs even back then. In the Portuguese Minute Repeater, depressing the repeating slide causes a delicate strike train to sound the time out audibly in hours, quarters and minutes: the full hours on a lower tuned gong, the quarters with double strikes, and the number of minutes that have elapsed since the last quarter on the higher of the two gongs. The repeating mechanism consists of over 200 individual parts working together as if they were in a mechanical orchestra. An all-or-nothing piece ensures that the chimes are only struck if the repeating slide is fully depressed. The watch is equipped with the 98950-calibre hunter pocket watch movement, which comes with stylistic elements from the early F. A. Jones calibres. Both versions are limited to 500 watches.
It took 50,000 hours to develop the highly complex minute repeater strike train for the Grande Complication and the Portuguese Minute Repeater.
It is operated by an eye-catching repeating slide on the left-hand side of the case and chimes out the time in crystal-clear tones: the hours on the lower-pitched of the two
gongs, followed by a double strike on both gongs for the quarters and finally a single strike on the higher-pitched gong for the minutes. Every gong is individually handmade and carefully tuned for pitch and tonal purity. The all-or-nothing piece, as it is known, ensures that the mechanism will never chime out an incomplete – and thus incorrect – series of acoustic tones even if the repeating slide is released too early.
Also known as: IWC IW544906, IW-544906, IW 544906