Bypassing a two-year waiting list, actor Brad Pitt managed to procure a Patek Philippe Minute Repeater in a hurry so he could present it to fiancée Angelina Jolie in time for their wedding. Soon the “world’s most beautiful woman” will be able to listen to the time in addition to reading it, all with the push of a button.
The history of the minute repeater begins before the days of electricity, when telling time in the middle of the night involved getting out of bed and finding a light source. Horologists sought to ameliorate this inconvenience by crafting a watch that could convey the time by a tactile or audio cue on demand, rather than looking at a passive dial.
The invention of the first minute repeater is credited to Englishmen Edward Barlow and Daniel Quare in the late 1600’s. A patent dispute between the two ended with Quare coming out on top, though history still remembers Barlow’s contributions.
The earliest minute repeaters were called “dumb repeaters” and they ticked off the closest hour through a series of vibrations that could only be felt when the watch was held in one’s palm. Legendary horologist A.L. Breguet is credited with creating the first modern minute repeater by engineering coiled wires that struck miniature gongs, sounding the hour and minute measurements by different tones.
With the invention of gas lanterns, minute repeaters eventually fell out of style, though not with master watchmakers like Patek Philippe. Today minute repeaters are seen as the ultimate complication, showcasing the elite artisans who populate the workshops of master watchmaking houses, like Patek Philippe.
Patek Philippe is particularly proud of the chiming repeater that will eventually grace the wrist of Angelina Jolie. The ultimate power couple is expected to marry at their château in France sometime this year, but as the most sought-after target for paparazzi, no date has yet been disclosed to the public.
Source and photos courtesy the Sun.