If a picture says a thousand words, then this hands-on video probably says a million. Describing a minute repeater watch in text does it about as much justice as describing Scarlett Johansson over the phone – not much, and probably not the experience you’re looking for. At Baselworld 2016, we went hands-on with and filmed four very rare and very complicated Bulgari minute repeater cheap replica watches, all four cased in titanium. The four, in order of appearance in the video, are: the Bulgari Carillon Tourbillon Minute Repeater, the Bulgari Magsonic Grande Sonnerie, the Bulgari L’Ammiraglio Del Tempo, and last but not least, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater.
Originally designed a few hundred years ago, the repeater chiming mechanism was invented to help tell the time in the middle of the night, in the dark – before electricity or, much less, luminescent materials were available. It sure has come a long way in that time, though: today we have a choice of hour, quarter and minute repeater watches – their name tells you the smallest increment of time they can chime away, using one or more tiny hammers and gongs. Along with repeaters, we also have petite and grande sonnerie pieces – the sonnerie is what could best be described as an automated chiming mechanism, that goes off on every hour, or on every quarter.
We will let the video and its loud, clear audio (neither is particularly easy to achieve in Baselworld’s typically under-lit and noisy meeting rooms) do much of the talking. Our goal with this article is to discuss finer technical details and to show what makes these four so similar – and yet so different at the same time.
Something important to bear in mind right from the start is that, while these four pieces were all made in-house by Bulgari, they actually contain hugely different movements. Since Bulgari took over the Gerald Genta and Daniel Roth brands in 2000, they have invested heavily into bringing all that knowhow in-house and further developing on it. Hence, today, Bulgari Replica Watches Uk can design, manufacture, and assemble watches as complicated and as versatile, as these four. One with over 900 components, one with a uniquely shaped three-gong and tourbillon-equipped movement, one with the singular combination of a detent escapement and a minute repeater, and last but not least, the new thinnest minute repeater in the world. All four chime, yes, but they each achieve and perform this impressive feat in their own way. Let’s dig in.
Minute repeaters are regarded by the absolute majority of master watch makers we have spoken with over the years as the single most challenging complication in wrist watches – and there are numerous solid reasons for this.
First, let’s begin with the most glaringly obvious of them all: minute repeaters are awfully complex mechanisms. Imagine overcoming the technical challenge of creating something so compact and yet so smart, a device that can run on its dedicated power source, counts in the weird system of twelve hours, four quarters and fourteen minutes, and then delivers this almost instantaneously gathered information to you – anytime, on demand.
Hence, a wide range of uniquely shaped wheels, cams, and so-called snails (those long, curved components with teeth cut on some segments of them) are installed, along with the function’s dedicated little energy source – a spring, that is wound when the repeater’s slider or pusher is activated.
Second, they require a lot of tuning. Because of their inherent complexity, repeaters are finicky machines inside machines. Despite today’s extremely small manufacturing tolerances, even those of the same design for swiss replica watches never function the same way when assembled. As you can see in the video, any time the repeater function is started, a lot of movement happens inside… well, the movement. Numerous parts begin to mesh, turn, and slide, and every single tooth and weirdly shaped part has to fall into its exact desired position, or the chiming will not initiate, will not be accurate, or will be weak or not timed properly.