Chime time: The best minute repeater watches
by Zoe Dickens
It doesn’t matter how much bling is on your fine jewellery watch or how sleek your black-tie timepiece is, if you’re after something that will really turn heads then you can’t beat a fabulous minute repeater. Often featuring some of the grandest complications and frequently combined with world time, chronograph and calendar functions, whether you prefer a subtle chime or a huge bong, here are the minute repeater watches to buy now.
Patek Philippe Ref. 5531R World Time Minute Repeater New York 2017 Special Edition
Unveiled at Patek Philippe’s Art of Watches exhibition in New York in July 2017, the new Ref. 5531R represents the first time the brand has united world time and minute repeater functions in one timepiece. Available in two versions, one showing the New York skyline by day, the other by night, each model is limited to five pieces and can be set to tell the time in any time zone. Accordingly the watch also chimes the hours and minutes in the time zone selected by the wearer with Patek Philippe president Thierry Stern personally approving the sound of each timepiece before it leaves the workshop.
Case: 18 carat rose gold, 40.2mm
Movement: Calibre R27 HU self-winding mechanical
Complications: Minute repeater, world time
Limited edition: 10
Price: $561,341, patek.com
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Minute Repeater Tourbillon
A dress watch whose traditional looks belie the artistry going on beneath the dial, this understated timepiece features no fewer than five separate complications including a power reserve on the caseback. Crafted with an easy-to-wear 44mm platinum case, its lightly textured white gold dial and intricate tourbillon are the jewels in the crown of this stunning watch.
Case: Platinum, 44mm
Movement: Calibre 2755 TMR manual-wound
Complications: Small seconds on tourbillon carriage, tourbillon, power reserve on back, minute repeater
Price: $546,600, vacheron-constantin.com
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication
Like your timepieces big and bold? Then a watch described as ‘grande’ not once, but twice, in its name is probably for you. At 15.4mm thick, the calibre 945 movement contains 527 parts and boasts a power reserve of 40 hours while the deep blue dial is set with diamonds showcasing the constellations and surrounded by a further 118 baguette cut diamonds on its white gold case.
Case: White gold, 44mm
Movement: Calibre 945 manual-wound
Complications: 24-hour display, month, minute repeater, tourbillon, Voûte céleste
Waterproof: 50 metres
Price: POA, jaeger-lecoultre.com
Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater Mysterious Double Tourbillon
A fine example of Cartier’s ever-growing catalog of highly complicated and technically advance fine watches, this gorgeous skeletonised minute repeater’s star attraction is an intricate floating tourbillon inspired by the brand’s famous ‘mystery’ clocks. For all its mechanical innovation and surprising wearability, however, the chime has not been forgotten with the minutes tuned to a D 6th octave and the hours to a B 5th octave sounding with crystal-clear clarity.
Case: Titanium, 45mm
Movement: Calibre 9407 MC manual-wound
Complications: Minute repeater, tourbillon
Limited edition: 50
Price: $449,400, cartier.com
Jaquet Droz Bird Repeater Fall of the Rhine
For those with a penchant for Metiers d’Art watches, Jaquet Droz’s Bird Repeater collection will undoubtedly be familiar both for their beautiful design and rich striking tone. A modern wristwatch take on the eponymous founder's famous innovations in automata, the latest addition to collection captures the natural beauty of Europe’s largest waterfall, the Rhine Falls. When the mechanism is activated a pair of 18k gold hand-painted black redstarts swoop down to feed their chicks and unfurl their feathers while an egg hatches and the waters of the Rhine fall gently on the painted mother-of-pearl background behind them.
Case: 18k red gold, 47mm
Movement: Jaquet Droz RMA88 hand-wound mechanical
Complications: Minute repeater, automata
Limited edition: 8
Price: Circa £430,000, jaquet-droz.com