Craft & Design
Meticulously Crafting  a Three Million Dollar Wristwatch

patekWatch_10

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.

https://youtu.be/yIXPplShtg0

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.

7 thoughts on “Meticulously Crafting a Three Million Dollar Wristwatch

  1. I bet I could make a $4M watch. All I need is the right customer.

    I don’t see how they can claim that it’s a perpetual calendar when they haven’t even solved the Y10k problem.

    Anyway, I expect someone will make an Apple Watch app with exactly the same complications and arrangement of dials as soon as they get the idea.

    But it won’t be the same as strapping 35 years of Swiss per capita GDP to your wrist.

  2. But seriously, the How It’s Made video is impressive. This is not something that your MakerBot will be able to do in the next 20 years. There’s a reason why ‘that watch cost more than your car’.

  3. That video was almost stressful to watch, seeing the level of detail and craftsmanship. Patel Phillipe also made the most expensive watch ever sold, the “Supercomplication,” which was owned at one point by a member of the Qatar ruling family who had borrowed/embezzled money to purchase it and died at a young age from undisclosed reasons in France. The watch was sold to cover debts he had incurred after a scandal involving inflated invoices associated with his government purchases. He was addicted to buying art. After living in Qatar for two years, his story did not surprise me.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/sheikh-saud-bin-mohammed-bin-ali-althani-sheikh-who-became-qatars-culture-minister-and-spent-15bn-on-one-of-the-worlds-foremost-art-collections-9866377.html

  4. That is one of the most beautiful works of art I’ve ever seen. The close up pics of the watch at the end of the article are amazing. To me no less amazing than making a satellite for the Space Program. Lots of parts, invent new things never done before, make it look stunning and highly crammed with information in a long lasting package – yep – just like something from NASA! Congratulations to them. I’m in awe just looking at the innards.
    And the design on the outside – I think it fits with a European made theme. Looks like ancient maker-style for Roman gold and leather art or statues etc. Very nicely done!

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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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