Craft & Design
Meticulously Crafting  a Three Million Dollar Wristwatch


While the ostentatiousness of this three million dollar wristwatch might be just a tad over the top, the virtuosity of its craftmanship is undeniable and inspiring. This astounding double-face watch, dubbed the “Grandmaster Chime,” was created to celebrate the 175th anniversary of world-renowned watchmakers, Patek Philippe. Everything in it is handmade. They write of their one-of-a-kind creation:

It is the most complicated wristwatch of the eminent family-owned watchmaking company and decidedly one of the world’s most elaborate wristwatches. This is due not only to the number of complications but also to the horological degrees of complexity, two of which have been added to the annals of watchmaking for the first time. Moreover, the Grandmaster Chime is the first double-face wristwatch presented by Patek Philippe that can be worn with either dial facing up: the one that focuses on the time and the sonnerie, the other dedicated to the full instantaneous perpetual calendar. Changing the face is very simple thanks to the ingenious reversing mechanism in the lugs. It is amazingly easy to operate and firmly secures the case in the selected position.

BTW, in case you’re not up on your watchmaking lingo, Horology is the art and science of keeping time, complications are any watch features beyond basic time and date, and the sonnerie refers to the chimes/sounds that a watch makes.

Looking at this video, seeing just how much time and talent went into this stunning piece of watch art, is eye-opening. You’re obviously looking over the shoulders of some of the most accomplished watchmakers on the planet pushing their skills to the limit (with a sky’s the limit budget).

The Grandmaster Chimes’s double-face case has a diameter of 47mm. It accommodates four spring barrels [watch springs] and no fewer than twenty complications, including such functions as a Grande and Petite Sonnerie, a minute repeater, an instantaneous perpetual calendar with a four-digit year display, a second time zone, and the introduction of two new complications in chiming watches: an acoustic alarm that strikes out the alarm time and a date repeater that sounds out the date on demand.


Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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