Monday, October 26, 2009

A Sonnerie by Gerald Genta

The Gerald Genta Arena Metasonic Watch encompasses a complication rarely accomplished by even the most revered watch makers - the sonnerie. In addition Gerald Genta has incorporated a number of musical complications which heightens the level of complexity.

The Sonnerie is likened to a minute repeater; however, a minute repeater is set to chimes at the will of the wearer, on the other hand a Sonnerie (or sometimes known as a clockwatch) chime automatically. "Sonnerie" is French for "making sound" or "ring". The Sonnerie is like a tower clock which chimes on the hour (petit sonnerie) or quarter hour (grande sonnerie).

Both movements are extremely complex to create, and incorporate a large number of intricate parts. In the early nineties Gerald Genta created its first Sonnerie. The Arena Metasonic has utilized metallurgy to enhance the sounds emitted during chiming. The 46mm wide case is specially designed to carry the sounds. This timepiece is manually wound to power the extremely complex movement which includes a tourbillon escapement, and sonnerie. The face of the watch resembles a clock suspended on a building chiming the time to all the residents on the streets below. The hammers are visible on the lower left hand side.

The watches which will be available in limited edition, will arrive in a box worthy of mention. A light will illuminate the watch in the box, but to get at it you will have to place your hand on a bimometric reader. A wonderful playful edition.

Sonnerie's are quite rare compared with the prolific market of repeaters and minute repeaters. The Sonnerie requires a continuous power supply by the mainspring as it chimes automatically on the hour. The Repeaters are powered by a repeater slide and a spring mechanism, the Sonnerie requires a single strike train. In the past the watchclocks that striked at the hours and quarter required separate strike trains for each (the hour strike train and the quarter), the end-product being a "triple train: clockwatch with three mainsprings.Although these watches are quite rare, albeit rather pricey, they can be quite annoying striking on the quarter of an hour. However the watches are equipped with a rather clever "strike-silent, or Silence mode. Choosing to use the sonnerie complications means sliding the slide bolt on the case. The watch enters the sonnerie mode and chimes, clear and delicate, at the next hour or quarter. Some clockwatches are crafted with a repeater as well. The repetition function is powered by the second mainspring, and usually is operated by a button rather than the slide. The only setback in this case would be the use of the repeater will deplete the power reserve required by the sonnerie.

Gerald Genta timepieces are available at The Watchery for a whopping 75% off the List Prices