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4 things tagged “watchmaking”

Minute Repeaters

Developed in England during the 17th and 18th centuries, minute repeaters sound the time in hours, quarters and minutes—hence their name. Repeaters served a practical purpose: telling time in the dark. When streetlights were rare and matches and candles precious, chiming watches were a logical solution but not a simple one.

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A minute repeater chimes different sounds for the hours, the quarter hours and minutes. The lowest tone—dong—is for hours, the highest tone—ding—is for minutes and a combination of both—ding-dong—counts quarter hours. If the slide is pushed at 12:59, the sounds heard are: 12 dongs for the hour then three ding-dongs for the quarter hours followed by 14 dings for the minutes.

A Minute Repeater Is as Close to Time Travel as We Can Get Today

How delightful! Watches with these complications are very difficult to make and are hence very expensive. Here’s a video of Patek Philippe’s entire line of minute repeaters. Cursory Googling tells me that the nine watches on the table are worth a total of ~$5.4M.

How a Watch Works

A delightful, 20-minute video from the Hamilton Watch Company1

and a tl;dw version of the above

  1. Bought one after looking to get the “Murph Watch” in Interstellar. That article notes that they only made 10 for the movie (and gave one away.) Well, they’re offering it now 😍 ↩︎

The Watchmaker

The calmest 9 minutes I spent today.