By now you are all no doubt familiar with the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175R, a $2.2 million masterpiece made in celebration of Patek’s 175th anniversary (if not, here you go…). But there was another piece among the anniversary collection that I wanted to highlight: the Chiming Jump Hour 5275P. This is an intriguing watch for more reasons than one, so let’s take a closer look shall we.
The 5275P, presented in a classic tonneau-shaped case (39.8 x 47.4 mm, made of platinum), combines three jumping indications with an acoustic indication at the top of every hour. The periphery and the minute circle of the dial, as well as the case flanks are engraved with an intricate floral motif (which, like the ostentatious engraving on the Grandmaster Chime, I am not particularly fond of). The watch has a solid platinum case back with the engraving “PATEK PHILIPPE GENEVE 175e Anniversaire 1839 – 2014”.
The small slide for enabling and disabling the hour strike is located at 10 o’clock.
At 12 o’clock, the gold dial features an aperture for the digital hour indication. The minute hand revolves in the off-center minute circle that dominates the top half of the dial. The scale is graduated with black Arabic numerals as well as black minute index dots. The prominent seconds subdial at 6 o’clock has a black railway track scale, black Arabic numerals, and a black nickel-plated Breguet-style hand.
The platinum fold-over clasp bears the engraved inscription “PATEK PHILIPPE 1839 – 2014” as well as an engraved Calatrava cross in the middle. Superb!
The name of the watch tells us that this is a jump hour watch, but in fact it is more than that — all timekeeping functions on the watch are “jump” (rather than “sweep”). A closer look at the Chiming Jump Hour reveals that the seconds hand jumps from one scale marker to the next in one-second steps. As soon as the seconds hand reaches the 60, the minute hand also jumps from one minute marker to the next. And finally, once an hour, the digital display in the aperture at 12 o’clock jumps to the new hour precisely at the same moment when the seconds and minute hands advance. Also at the top of each hour, the Chiming Jump Hour gives a soft chime, thus marking each hour acoustically as well.
These mechanics are achieved in an ingenious way with the new manually wound caliber 32-650 HGS PS movement. During a period of four years, the in-house ateliers developed mechanisms that could not only store the energy needed for the jumping indications but would also synchronize the jumps of the seconds, minutes, and hours with extreme accuracy. Three patent applications were filed for these solutions. Also of note is the use of Patek’s Silinvar (a silicon derivative) for some of the components, as described further below.
A most conspicuous part of the caliber is the seconds lever made of Silinvar®, a derivative of silicon. It is connected to a spring which stores the energy of the eight semi-oscillations of the balance that make up one second. The lever engages with a wolf-tooth Silinvar wheel which in turn meshes with the fourth wheel. After every sequence of eight semi-oscillations, the lever is lifted. The wolf-tooth wheel advances by one tooth and moves the fourth wheel by 6 degrees, which causes the seconds hand to jump forward by one second. For more on general jump hour mechanics, see “Did You Know”, below.
The watch pays tribute to the Ref. 3969 with a jumping digital hour which was launched in 1989 on the occasion of Patek Philippe’s 150th anniversary (side note: compared to the 1989 Ref 3969, you can see just how far Patek has progressed during the past 25 years!).
The Chiming Jump Hour Ref. 5275 is being crafted in a limited anniversary edition of 175 pieces. Price is 310,000 Swiss Francs, or about $350,000 US.
Did You Know?
A Patek Mini-Primer On Jump Hour Watches
In conventional mechanical watches, the hands move continuously in step with the balance. In most watches, it oscillates at a frequency of 21,600 or 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour, corresponding to 6 or 8 oscillations per second. With every semi-oscillation, the balance allows the escape wheel to rotate by one tooth, and this motion is transferred to the hands by the going train. The hands move forward incrementally. The seconds hand makes this cadence apparent, but the stepwise motion of the minute and hour hands is barely discernible.
The Chiming Jump Hour also has a balance, and it performs 8 semi-oscillations per second. However, the energy is not directly transferred to the seconds hand. Instead, it is accumulated in a storage mechanism that only releases it to the fourth wheel when the eighth semi-oscillation takes place. Analogously, the power stored during a time interval of 60 seconds must be delivered to the minute hand instantaneously, and the same process occurs after 60 minutes when the digital hour display needs to be advanced as well. This particular moment involves a handicap: an hour disk is heavier than an hour hand and thus needs more power to move. But even more energy is needed, since a small hammer strikes a gong at the top of every hour. This aptly illustrates that a watch with three jumping indications plus an hour strike is a remarkable accomplishment in energy management.
This Audemars Piguet Yellow Gold Triple Calendar Chronograph Moon Phase No 45589 was made in 1941 and sold in 1942. To say that it is a goregous and highly desirable watch would be quite an understatement, in my opinion.
As one of only 286 chronographs made by AP between 1930 and 1950 (see Did You Know? below for more on this), the 45589 is among the rarest and most desirable models that combines the chronograph complication with complete calendar and phases of the moon. Click through to read and see more »
The first watches made from Hublot “Magic Gold” were presented at Baselworld 2012 in a very limited Big Bang Ferrari edition. 2015 will see an important expansion of the “Magic Gold” family, as Hublot has now decided to produce the Big Bang Unico (its in-house chronograph) with a bezel in Magic Gold. The Hublot Big Bang Unico “Magic Gold” is, well, pure Hublot DNA. The fusion of a revolutionary material – the famous Magic Gold, which is the world’s only scratch-resistant gold, certified as 18K and developed by Hublot – and the iconic design of the Big Bang, with a Hublot manufacture chronograph caliber: the UNICO.
While most of the attention in the auction market last week went to the $24 million Patek “Graves Supercomplication”, there were a couple of neat Breguet pocket watches that sold last week at the Christie’s “Important Watches” auction in Geneva last Monday (November 10th, 2014). Both pieces were acquired by Marc A. Hayek (President and CEO of Breguet) on behalf of the house of Breguet. Most notable among the two historic gold pocket watches is this rare quarter repeating watch equipped with the first free escapement with natural lift ever made by Breguet. The Breguet N° 1135 (circa 1806) sold for a tidy sum of 605,000 Swiss Frances, or about $630,000, including premiums. This piece, in the present owner’s collection since 1983, fetched more than 2x its pre-auction estimate. As a fan of Montres Breguet (in fact the name of this blog was directly inspired by A.L. Breguet’s perpétuelles of the late 1700s), the No. 1135 strikes me (sorry for the pun) as a particularly noteworthy piece and a wonderful example of the talent of A.L. Breguet.