Patek Philippe minute repeater: Chimes from the early 19th century

Video: TimeWerke Videos on YouTube

One of the pleasures of horology is the appreciation of the engineering works behind the mechanical wonders, one of which is the striking mechanism found in minute repeaters.

In the video above, Michael Manjos of Betteridge demonstrates how one such pocket watch minute repeater made in the 1800s and from Patek Philippe works.

In the example, after activating the pusher at the side of the case, the chiming mechanism strikes the time of 3.49 by way of three “dings” (to sound 3 o’clock), six “ding-dangs” (for three quarters, each quarter indicated by a “ding-dang”) and four “dings” (to sound 4 minutes). Add these up and one will know the time is 3.49.

This vintage Patek Philippe pocket watch from the 19th century featuring the minute repeater was offered for US$16,500 by Betteridge. Photo: © TANG Portfolio/TimeWerke.

While the principle of chiming the time remains unchanged, modern minute repeaters, especially those from Patek Philippe now sound much more refined and rhythmic.

The inner case of the Patek Philippe pocket watch with an engraved name and the number 90913. Photo: © TANG Portfolio/TimeWerke.

The Patek Philippe pocket watch shown was a bespoke piece as it has an elaborate decoration on its case, indicating that meant that it was made for royalty or nobility.

Though the inner case of the pocket watch indicates the number 90913, Manjos highlights that this Patek Philippe pocket watch does not have a reference number as the numeral referencing system only began in 1932 (with the Calatrava Reference 96 of 1932).

If such vintage watches interest you, what are the main factors to consider when buying or selling such products? To find out, we recommend the article:
i. “Betteridge: a quick guide to buying vintage watches… with better knowledge“.