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Secrets Behind Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie

It makes little question that Le Brassus-based watchmaker Audemars Piguet was and nonetheless is likely one of the finest representatives of the artwork of haute horlogerie. Actually, the design and magnificence of the watches have developed over the yr to develop into extra up to date, however one factor can’t be denied, it’s the flexibility of the model to fabricate among the most interesting actions. Understand that Audemars Piguet is likely one of the uncommon watchmakers able to crafting a grande complication wristwatch. However the newest creation of the model with regards to conventional, hand-crafted actions is fully devoted to the music of time. Combining two distinctive options, that of the Supersonnerie idea and the Grande Sonnerie (someway a speciality of Audemars Piguet), the model has not too long ago launched the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie, and in the present day, in certainly one of our in-depth motion pictures (which you’ll see on prime of this text), we deliver you contained in the manufacture to see how precisely they’ve finished it, along with Michael Friedman, Head of Problems at Audemars Piguet.

What’s a Grande Sonnerie?

Whereas most of you could be acquainted with the minute repeater, the grande sonnerie is an idea of its personal, a uncommon complication that’s, indubitably, amongst probably the most advanced ones to develop and manufacture. If the minute repeater is the prince of chiming watches, then the grande sonnerie is king. 

The thought of chiming watches (a generic time period to point watches that sound the time, as a substitute of solely visually displaying the time) comes again to a quite simple situation, the dearth of sunshine at evening. Earlier than the arrival of synthetic mild, most individuals relied on church bells or hanging clocks to inform the time in the dead of night. In response to historic information, the primary clock to strike the quarter-hour on-demand appeared in England, circa 1675. The extra refined minute repeater was produced round 1710 in Friedberg, Germany. By activating a pusher or a slider on the case of a transportable minute repeater clock, privileged people may hear the time because the hammers struck gongs to sound the hours, quarters and minutes. 

However, as you’ve understood, the minute repeater is a complication “on-demand” that must be manually activated by its consumer, by the imply of a set off or a pusher – which supplies vitality to the mechanism and prompts a sequence of gears that can “learn the time” and later rework this right into a sound indication of the time – the motion will thus chime the time. The sonnerie watch, or clock watch, is a so-called “au passage” complication, which means that’s each displaying the time and hanging the time (the sound a part of the motion) robotically, with none interplay of the consumer. With the sonnerie watch or the clock, you’re in a position to hear the passage of time on the full hour and on the quarter-hour (for a grande sonnerie) and on the full hour solely (for a petite sonnerie). What makes it much more advanced is that we’re speaking about a wholly automated “passing” complication and never one which requires to be triggered. 

What makes the grande sonnerie such a problem to provide and why so few watchmakers have managed to create one is generally a matter of the variety of parts it requires, and the ultra-complex coordination it implies between all these small, delicate parts to accommodate all of the calculations required for the motion to “learn the time” indicated by the arms and translate it right into a “mechanical music.” There are certainly two elements to the motion of a chiming watch. First, a sequence of racks and gears are studying the time that’s indicated by the arms. Then, the motion “translate” it into the movement of the hammers that can strike the time on the gongs. 

However that’s not all. Certainly, not solely a grande sonnerie watch is able to hanging the time “au passage” however it is usually typically mixed with a minute repeater, which might point out the time “à la demande” too. It thus signifies that a grande sonnerie watch has two layers, one for the repeater and one for the sonnerie mechanism.

Simply so that you can perceive, a minute repeater is an intricate mechanism that’s programmed for 720 completely different musical sequences. A grande sonnerie provides to that the capability, with a passing mechanism, to strike the variety of hours (at each full hour), and each quarter-hour it repeats the hour and strikes the quarter(s). It thus has to make 96 sequences over 24 hours, for a complete of 912 hammer strikes. And since the complication is fully automated, it additionally requires its personal vitality storage – an important level for a grande sonnerie watch. Necessary to notice, most grande sonnerie watches embody a mode selector, so the mechanism could be switched between grande sonnerie, petite sonnerie or silence. 

The Grande Sonnerie at Audemars Piguet

The grande sonnerie is definitely one of many signature issues of Audemars Piguet, because the producer is definitely one of the prolific makers of this mechanism. It begins proper on the basis of the corporate within the late nineteenth century (in 1875 to be exact), as there are items of proof within the archives of grande sonnerie pocket watches by the early Eighties. 

An vintage Grande Sonnerie pocket watch by Audemars Piguet

Most significantly, when mechanical watchmaking got here again on the finish of the twentieth century, the grande sonnerie was someway reintroduced, and that was potential because of Audemars Piguet and Philippe Dufour. Within the Nineteen Eighties, Philippe Dufour was commissioned by Audemars Piguet to provide 5 Grande Sonnerie actions, thus reviving curiosity within the complication, but again within the days nonetheless in pocket watch type. In 1992, Mr Dufour offered his imaginative and prescient of a grande sonnerie wristwatch, a primary for the trade, and the motion of this wristwatch additionally included a minute repeater. 

The Grande & Petite Sonnerie Audemars Piguet Pocket watch commissioned by Audemars Piguet to Philippe Dufour

In 1994, Audemars Piguet offered 1 / 4 repeating grande & petite sonnerie wristwatch (the references 25750BA and 25847BA, with calibre 2868, which are illustrated right here) and in 1996, only a yr after one other legendary watchmaker (Gerald Genta, with the assistance of Pierre-Michel Golay) offered its grande sonnerie wristwatch, Audemars Piguet got here with its personal imaginative and prescient of a grande sonnerie wristwatch, throughout the Jules Audemars assortment – the grande et petite sonnerie minute repeating watches (together with the reference 25936 you may see right here).

Audemars Piguet quarter repeating grande and petite sonnerie wristwatch 25750BA calibre 2868Audemars Piguet quarter repeating grande and petite sonnerie wristwatch 25750BA calibre 2868

These watches had been powered by calibre 2890 and calibre 2891, each nearly similar with the distinction that the latter had a further energy reserve for the hanging prepare and for the gear prepare. And one thing essential to notice is that these watches had been geared up with a carillon complication… That means that it chimes the time on greater than 2 gongs, what’s normally the norm – right here, it has 3 hammers and three gongs. 

Even in the present day, the grande sonnerie wristwatch stays distinctive and solely a dozen of watchmakers have been succesful or are nonetheless producing such timepieces – Patek Philippe with the Grandmaster Chime, the 6300 and the 6301P, Greubel Forsey and Vacheron Constantin (with the identical base motion), Bvlgari with the Octo Roma Grande Sonnerie (based mostly on a Genta motion), Credor with a Spring Drive motion, F.P. Journe with the recently-discontinued Sonnerie Souveraine, Jaeger-LeCoultre with the Hybris Mechanica Grande Sonnerie, Franck Muller with Aeternitas Mega 4, A. Lange & Söhne with the Grand Complication or Ulysse Nardin with the Imperial Blue. 

Enters Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie

The Grande Sonnerie is a uncommon complication, even by AP’s requirements, however one which has by no means been forgotten. What must be reminded, nonetheless, is that Audemars Piguet has not too long ago been engaged on enhancing (and I imply, drastically) the idea of chiming watches. A number of years of researches have resulted within the Supersonnerie Royal Oak Idea. And in the present day, with this very particular model of Code 11.59, the Le Brasses-based model combines each applied sciences right into a single masterpiece of chiming extravaganza. 

Video In depth - Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie

The Supersonnerie was first offered throughout the Royal Oak Idea case, in a watch that was again then named the RD1 Acoustic Analysis. A watch that summarized 8 years of analysis and growth, all dedicated to enhancing the quantity, pitch, tones and concord of sound of a minute repeater. It redefined the thought of how a chiming watch sounded. A joint creation between Audemars Piguet and EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), the thought was to create a minute repeater of superior acoustic depth, and it got here with three new pioneering chiming sound developments which have develop into technological achievements, patented improvements. 

Video In depth - Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie

Behind the Supersonnerie idea are a number of vivid concepts. First is the general development of the watch, which has been imagined as a musical instrument, and to be extra exact, like an acoustic guitar. It signifies that the gongs behave just like the strings, the hammers just like the participant’s finger and the inner soundboard, a brand new ingredient of the case, seen when turning the watch over, acts because the physique of the instrument and helps to amplify the sound. However there’s greater than this amplifying development of the case. As an example, AP has labored on a brand new methodology for pre-preparing the metal used to create the gong construction, to realize a novel sound – by wanting on the materials cross-section, size and rigidity of the gongs. This helps to enhance the readability and musicality of the chimes.

One other essential enchancment with Supersonnerie comes from the development of the chiming components. In a standard chiming watch, the gongs are mounted to the motion’s mainplate. Within the Supersonnerie watches, the coiled gongs are hooked up to a brand new system, a cloth unfold beneath the motion that acts as a soundboard. Now, the gongs transmit vibrations on to the soundboard and to not the mainplate, thus enhancing the sound high quality, the tone and the amplification of the sound. 

Video In depth - Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie

Lastly, Audemars Piguet has been engaged on an essential mechanical ingredient of a chiming watch, the hanging regulator – a tool additionally named governor and that units the tempo of the hanging sequence of hours, quarters and minutes. It has been fully redesigned to be extra versatile and thus turns into a shock absorber in order that undesirable shock noises are eradicated. This helps to cut back drastically parasite noises that might degrade the standard of the chimes heard by the wearer of the watch. In case you mix these components, the sound turns into clearer, richer, brighter and louder too, because of the amplifying development. 

With this new Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie, the model is for the primary time implementing the Supersonnerie idea right into a Grande Sonnerie watch. The watch is predicated on a motion often known as the Calibre 2956, an evolution of the Calibre 2890 and 2891 which have been developed by AP in the course of the Nineties. And if its hand-wound structure has been barely up to date for 2020, the foundations stay similar. This engine consists of 489 parts, fully assembled and adorned by hand by a devoted staff of three watchmakers, able to producing 1 to 2 watches a yr. 

Video In depth - Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie

Apart from the Grande Sonnerie perform defined above, the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie can also be geared up with a further crown that enables choosing two different modes, Petite Sonnerie and Silent – if you need the watch to be quiet at evening or throughout a gathering, or if you wish to avoid wasting vitality within the hanging barrel. In fact, as most sonnerie watches, the Code 11.59 Grande Sonnerie Carillon additionally incorporates a minute repeater. It’s actuated by a pusher at 10 o’clock on demand.

There’s an essential phrase to be highlighted within the identify of this watch, and it’s Carillon. Opposite to most minute repeaters and grande sonnerie watches which are geared up with 2 hammers and a couple of coiled gongs, the Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie comes with a so-called carillon structure with a set of three gongs and three hammers, able to producing a much more musical chime on 3 notes (excessive, center, low), one thing that’s including dramatically to the complexity of the motion. As you may hear in our video, the richness and complexity of the chime are merely spectacular. 

Video In depth - Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie

However the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie isn’t solely a sum of technical options and mechanical savoir-faire. It is also a watch that’s paying tribute to conventional craftsmanship, with dials executed by Swiss artisan enameller, Anita Porchet. Born in 1961, Anita Porchet is certainly one of Switzerland’s most recognised and revered enamellers. Her work has been seen on among the most unique and rarest commissioned watches. 

Video In depth - Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie

For Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie, Anita has created a trilogy of “Grand Feu” paillonné enamel dials handcrafted with ancestral savoir-faire and instruments. Every dial, with a blue enamel base, is exclusive. A skinny layer of glass sand blended with water is utilized by hand on the gold dial earlier than being heated at greater than 800°C in a devoted oven. The process is repeated a number of instances to realize transparency, depth and lightweight.

Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie

To match the up to date nature of Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet, Anita has created three distinctive patterns with the paillonné approach utilizing vintage handcrafted gold spangles (“paillons” in French), not less than a century previous. Every spangle was meticulously lower and curved into skinny gold shapes with vintage instruments and strategies. The enameller has rigorously integrated every spangle by hand onto the dial’s enamelled plate earlier than fusion within the oven. The dial is then coated with a skinny layer of clear enamel for a mirror-polish end. To keep up the purity of the creative work, no indexes, numerals or issues have been added to the dial – apart from the hour and minute arms. Along with this handcrafted trilogy of dials, Anita Porchet’s atelier can also be on the disposal of shoppers to craft a personalised enamel dial of their alternative for the 2 remaining watches.

Video In depth - Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie

As you may see, Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie is a real demonstration of savoir-faire, combining conventional approach with innovation, one thing that few can obtain, however Audemars Piguet actually is certainly one of these uncommon watchmakers.

For extra particulars, please go to www.audemarspiguet.com.

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