When complications are a good thing

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Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie

WE now live in a world of endless complications, but a new wristwatch from Patek Philippe gives us a good kind of complication.

In timepieces, complications meant extra features that go beyond simply displaying time. During a presentation last week, Patek Philippe president Thierry Stern (the Sterns have owned the company since the 1930s) introduced the Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie, and their new building in Geneva. “Today, 2020, we are ready to produce, since June, and I’m really proud about really, all the work that has been done here. This is done for the future, and also for the present,” said Mr. Stern. “I believe that now, we should be ready for the next 20 years,” he said, but then noted “That’s also what we said with the other building. Four years later, we had to build another one. Who knows?”

The 6301P follows in the footsteps of a much grander older sister. Minute repeaters (essentially, miniature chimes that reminded one of the time) have been present in watches before, to mimic how church bells in town reminded people of the hour. Patek Philippe has made them since 1839. However, Philippe Barat, Head of Watch Development pointed to 2014, during the company’s 175th anniversary celebrations, when they had created the 6300G which had five different striking functions: a Grande Sonnerie, a Petite Sonnerie, a minute repeater, an alarm, and a date repeater. The new 6301 is a simpler sibling: one with a Grande Sonnerie, a Petite Sonnerie, and a minute repeater.

It has a manually wound mechanical movement, and the minute repeater works with a chime on three classic gongs (the presentation opened with the sound of the chimes; bringing to mind a call to supper during the Edwardian Era), jumping small seconds, a movement power reserve indicator, and a similar indicator for the strikework. The case has a resemblance to the 5370; masculine and refined. It’s made in platinum, with interchangeable solid and sapphire crystal case backs. It isn’t water-resistant, but it has protections against dust and humidity. It has a diameter of 44.8 mm and a height of 12mm.

“Patek Philippe has been working on Grande Sonneries for many, many years, but most of these were on pocket watches. This time, it’s a bracelet watch,” Mr. Stern pointed out.

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He is confident that the company will weather through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “Patek Philippe is still working very well; I’m quite confident. Of course, it’s not to be a record year; we all know that. At least, we are strong; we have a very strong reserve also. I think that the new products are also very nice, and I can only tell you that Patek Philippe is still very happy to create watches. I hope I can see you in a better world in 2021.” — Joseph L. Garcia

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