The grande et petite sonnerie is an extremely rare complication in wristwatches; on Patek Philippe’s new Grande Et Petite Sonnerie, it is also a carillon, striking on three pairs of hammers and gongs, instead of the usual two. That said, even with the usual two hammers, it’s already a tremendous horological undertaking for its sheer complexity: and that’s only from the mechanical perspective, not even including the manual aesthetic finishes to many hundreds (703 to be precise) of components.
The new Patek Philippe 6301P Grande Et Petite Sonnerie is exemplary in its execution of striking the time en passant when one considers its svelte 12 mm thickness when complications of this nature, a carillon with three pairs of hammers no less, are usually hefty and thick. Hence, minute repeaters and the chiming wristwatch genre tend to be the purview of all but the most experienced watch ateliers – even with all our technological and industrial advances, complications which blend the arts and the engineering sciences simply require too much manual attention to be produced at scale.
Patek Philippe’s new Grande Et Petite Sonnerie is a welcome return to the post-opulent roots of its other famous cousin – The Calatrava. Unlike the brand’s other high profile grand complications, the fore-mentioned Grandmaster Chime or Sky Moon Tourbillon, the Ref. 6301P has little ornamentation, it’s a purist wristwatch in the vein of one of the Geneva manufacture’s golden age, letting the complexity and audibility of its calibre speak volumes for itself.
Strong mid-20th century aesthetics abound on the Patek Philippe 6301P Grande Et Petite Sonnerie. If you find a certain familiarity with the recess in the mid case through to the lugs and that all too familiar concave bezel profile which adds a visual slimness to the 45mm chiming wristwatch, it’s because the Ref. 6301P shares a case with the 5370P split-seconds chronograph, including many of the classical elements favoured in the brand’s vintage icons like Breguet numerals. Anachronistically, luminous paint on the hands exist on Patek Philippe’s new Grande Et Petite Sonnerie is somewhat an anti-thesis since chiming watches and minute repeaters were developed to ‘chime’ out the time in pre-industrial pre-electric light age.
A Grande Et Petite Sonnerie with Jumping Seconds
On the front, a face of classic black grand feu enamel or email obscures the innovative GS 36-750 PS IRM calibre derived from the original 2014 Grandmaster Chime. It is thoroughly modern movement which includes components from non-traditional watchmaking materials like a silicon ‘Spiromax’ hairspring; that said, the architecture of the movement of this Grande Et Petite Sonnerie is thoroughly traditional: the striking gear train is still controlled by a centrifugal silent regulator, and the gongs and hammers, a joy to behold on traditional chiming watches especially when in operation, is visible through the caseback. However, for the more puritanical collector can opt for a platinum caseback in keeping with the practice of the era.
In terms finishing, anglage, chamfered edges, polished and brushed surfaces, the iconic striping, mirror polished countersinks are all Genevan decorative hallmarks found on this conscientiously classic symbol of fine Geneva watchmaking. A couple of celebrated patents from the Grandmaster Chime also appear on the Patek Philippe 6301P Grande Et Petite Sonnerie – the most impressive being its 72 hour power reserve, among the longest running times for an energy intensive minute repeater: This is enduring run-time is made possible with a strike train mechanically isolated from the going train.
But the ultimate horological coup de gras isn’t the well-treaded ground (at least in terms of Patek Philippe’s expertise with striking the time en passant), instant-jumping seconds mechanism or “true seconds’ better known as a dead-beat seconds in classic watchmaking vernacular, driven by a silicon wheel and lever, an adopted from another 175th Anniversary timepiece: the Ref. 5275P Chiming Jump Hour “175th Anniversary”. Through the caseback, the architecture of the GS 36-750 PS IRM is reminiscent of the Grandmaster Chime, lacking only the perpetual calendar display which appears on the latter.
Limited production Patek Philippe ref. 6301P Grande et Petite Sonnerie, Répétition Minutes Avec Seconde Morte Price & Specs
Movement Manually wound Caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM with 72 hours power reserve
Case 44.8m 950 platinum protected against moisture and dust, with sapphire front and back and optional solid platinum caseback
Price On Request From Patek Philippe