After all, Patek Philippe has launched the world’s first Patek Philippe Ref. 5940 Perpetual Calendar …
When the little known Patek, Czapek & Cie first founded the now eponymous Patek Philippe Grand Complications watch replica in 1839, it was with scant knowledge that their humble maison on Quai de Bergues, Geneva would become a purveyor of high horology.
That said, in the scant five months of operation, Patek Philippe would sell 18 watches but make their 19th sale their first Minute Repeater. Sold 4th September for a princely sum of 450 Swiss Francs; After all, the year of their founding was likely reminiscent of our own witnessing of the first iPhones; we had taken our first photograph of the moon, the first commercial electric telegraphs became operational and even Michael Faraday, a name which would soon be associated with horology for his concept of the “shielding cage”, would present his scientific treatise – Experimental Researches in Electricity. How could astute entrepreneurs, living in an age of electrical sciences, have envisioned the longevity of their non-electrical creations? the Patek Philippe minute repeater enjoys poetic testament to its immortality, the Minute Repeaters we know and love today are only slightly different (albeit mechanically improved) from the modified Victorin Piguet calibres from that period, yet the first camera sold by Louis Daguerre that same month are vastly different creatures from what we recognise today.
Thus, it can be intuited that his mechanical contributions were instrumental in propelling the fledgling Genevan firm in the rarefied realm of striking watches; in the 12 years before Patek, Czapek & Cie would become Patek Philippe & Co with the new partnership with Jean-Adrien Philippe in 1851, the company had already built upon that initial foundation with other chiming watch firsts like a quarter-repeater with independent seconds, a half-quarter repeater and finally, the pinnacle of haute horlogerie – the vaunted minute repeater. In the wake of such historical gravitas, Patek Philippe developing a reputation as a maker of Patek Philippe Ref.5078R-001 copy watches which were literal sound investments.
Until the widespread proliferation of electrical light sources, pocket watches like Patek Philippe minute repeaters and quarter repeaters with tactile hands (that is a watch which could be read by fingertip) were the main sources of time telling in the twilight hours. Born to Daniel Henry Piguet and Louise Françoise LeCoultre, Victorin Piguet, a name woefully forgotten, can be considered one of the world’s premier watchmakers. While he was not particularly inventive like Breguet, Victorin Piguet was a natural mechanical genius. He worked within the limitations of existing technology to create some of the era’s most sophisticated movements including the computation of sidereal time and eventually the famed Henry Graves Supercomplication which included “Grande sonnerie” (Westminster chimes) and “Petite sonnerie” with carillon functions.
For over 150 years, chiming watches which could deliver acoustic readings of time were by their very nature, practical rather than artistic technologies and so, it could be argued that the dawn of modern era hastened the demise of the minute repeater. Sadly, even before the mass perpetuation of quartz Patek Philippe Grand complications copy watches, Patek Philippe had virtually stopped making such an integral complication by the early 1960s.