Striking time
Gulf Business|January 2021
Patek Philippe recently unveiled its new Ref 6301P Grande Sonnerie wristwatch, which is as much a testament to the technical superiority of the brand as it is a revealing statement of intent for its future path
VARUN GODINHO
The Grandmaster Chime Ref 5175R, which was launched in 2014, was a breakthrough timepiece – and not by some narrow, inward, company-defined metric, but on a universal watchmaking standard. Need proof? The two-sided wristwatch, which was released to commemorate Patek’s 175th anniversary, featured a staggering 20 complications.

Among those many complications, the Grandmaster Chime carried a grande sonnerie for the very first time in a Patek wristwatch. In fact, it went further. It also had a total of four other strikework complications apart from the grande sonnerie (which strikes the hours and quarter hours), including a petite sonnerie (which strikes the hours), an alarm, a date repeater and a minute repeater (which chimes the time on demand). An approximately $2.5m price tag placed it in the rarified company of multi-million dollar timepieces.

By 2016, Patek decided to launch the Grandmaster Chime as part of the regular collection and the Ref 6300G was the result – a statement piece that is the watch of choice for moguls like Jay-Z who wore one to Diddy’s 50th birthday party in 2019.

A few weeks ago in November, Patek launched this new 6301P Grande Sonnerie which is a further evolution of the Grandmaster Chime and the Ref 6300. It is fitted with a new Patek calibre GS 36-750 PS IRM that is modelled on that of the Grandmaster Chime. However, the chiming mechanism hasn’t just been lifted from Grandmaster and placed into the 6301P. As Patek’s Philip Barat, head of watch development explained to us, there were adaptations made over the course of crafting the 6301P. “When we conceived this movement, we had to decide how many gongs we were going to include – two, three, four or even five. We wanted to have a melody, and for a melody, the minimum is three gongs,” explains Barat.

He adds that the company’s president, Thierry Stern, is always closely associated with the development of all of the brand’s creations and asked the design team whether they could integrate four or even five gongs. However, adding more gongs would mean reducing each of their size to fit within the wristwatch. Smaller gongs would result in a weaker sound and so the team decided to stick with the three-gong arrangement that would ensure a louder chime.

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