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Having spoken to some of the leading craftsmen in this sub-speciality

November 20 2006 at 2:59 PM

ThomasM  (Premier Login thepurist178)
AP Discussion Group

Response to Does anybody know about a good book or resource about Minute Repeaters...

about the very subjects you are asking about - both the technical specifics and the general available AUTHORITATIVE literature on the subject ("textbooks" if you will) I have to the conclusion that

a) there are no "universally respected authoritative tomes" on the subject, a la Berners or LeCoultre's Complicated Watches

b) there are widely repeated "rules of thumb" -

- size of case
- size of movement
- "tuning" by removing metal from the gong, usually from the area near the block

There are also usually generally accepted but still yet to be rigourously proven "thoughts" on the subject like tempering (horse urine of virgin mares) and how a case is "worked" having as much influence on the final sound as the size of the hammers or the "airiness" of the case.

There are some acoustics "truisms" - tranducers should be light and rigid - that generally hold true (why Ti is usually the preferred case metal for volume of sound, if not necessary quality of tone) in most situations and cases (pun intended)

All above can be elborated, by Suitbert, me, or any experienced repeater specialist at AP RP (Le Brassus and Le Locle), VC, DR/GG, PP; and most of the highly regarded specialists or Master Watchmakers who have done work in this area like Dufour (but see comments below) and Kari Voutilainen.

But bottom line - I have taken to saying, "If they could, they would."

They don't (produce consistently good sounding, loud, well tuned repeaters) so I conclude they can't, yet.

One of the greatest INDIVIDUAL wristwatch repeaters in terms of purity of tone, pitch, resonance / reverberation, average/above average volume - Philippe Dufour Petite Grande Sonnerie No. x

A very mediocre INDIVIDUAL wristwatch repeater in terms of purity of tone, pitch, resonance / reverberation, average/above average volume - Philippe Dufour Petite Grande Sonnerie No. x-2

Most consistent brand for repeater sound quality and volume - Patek Philippe (yet, I have heard really lousy PP repeaters) but for the most part, they are pretty darned nice.

Most widely ranging repeaters (from "among best of best" to "among worst ever heard") - Audemars Piguet

Most consistently too soft volume, with sound quality ranging from very nice to pretty lousy - Blancpain.

And the single highest percentage of great sounding repeaters (so far, 100%, but then, he's only made 4 under his own name ) from one producer/under one brand - Kari Voutilainen - his Masterpiece 6 is magnificent (pitch is just a little off) and MP 7 and 8 are right up there with the best.

To my mind and ears, Daniel Roth (the company, owned by Bvlgari now) seems closest to having the "secret formula" in terms of sound quality for their sonnerie, but they still need to work on the volume. consistently (recent productions) beautiful tones, pitch, but consistently too soft.



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