Patek Philippe Wants You to Listen to the Music of Time

IMAGE Patek Philippe

What does time sound like? Is it like an ambulance blaring on the street (to wake you up in the morning)? Is it like a ticking bomb signaling the last moments before an explosion (and making you feel more and more nervous)? Is it like a soulless buzzing escaping from a modern device (that you promplty ignore)? 

If you ask Patek Philippe, the music of time, the sound that marks the hours and minutes, is certainly not a violent shake, but a gentle tap. It is never a dull tone that annoys, but a carefully constructed note that reminds you of something important: the passing of finite time.

This month, the Swiss luxury watchmaker explores the polite delights of sound as it releases its first wristwatch equipped with a most elaborate function, the grande sonnerie.  

Photo by Patek Philippe.

Its new watch, ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie, automatically strikes the full hours and the quarter hours in the style of a classic gong in low, medium, and high tones, all tuned to that legendary “Patek Philippe sound.” 


Patek explains the Grande Sonnerie’s song like this: The hours are struck on a low-pitched gong, while the quarter hours with a three-strike, high-low-medium sequence. The melody for the first quarter-hour (15 minutes) sounds once, the second quarter-hour (30 minutes) twice, and the third quarter-hour (45 minutes) thrice. An impressive 1,056 strikes in 24 hours makes up the entire composition.

Photo by Patek Philippe.

Making the grand complication even more precious, it is joined by five other complications: the petite sonnerie (doesn’t strike the quarter hours), minute repeater (strikes on demand), a patented jumping subsidiary seconds, a movement power-reserve indicator, and a strikework power-reserve indicator

Of course, it is not a requirement to know the ins and outs of each complication to wear such a fine watch (platinum case, grand feu enamel dial, leaf-shaped hands, Breguet numerals). You only need to appreciate the Grande Sonnerie’s song. Or just take a look below:

watch now

Photo by Patek Philippe.

Photo by Patek Philippe.

Photo by Patek Philippe.

Photo by Patek Philippe.

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Clifford Olanday
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