What is Minute Repeater?

Some folks asked me what kind of mechanical watch is the most complicated design and requires the longest time to product. What do you think? Tourbillon? Perpetual Calendar? Moon Phase? The answer is minute repeater.

Patek Philippe Minute Repeater

Patek Philippe Minute Repeater

A repeater is a type of watch that can chime the time by pressing or sliding a button on the watch. There are mainly three different types of repeater:

Hour Repeater

The repeater strikes the number of hours. For example, if the time is 12:00, the hour repeater sounds 12 tones to represent 12 o’clock.

Quarter Repeater

The repeater strikes the number of hours, then the number of quarter hours. For example, if the time is 3:45, quarter repeater sounds “ding ding ding; ding-dong ding-dong ding-dong”.

“ding” represents hour; “dong” or “ding-dong” represents quarter.

Minute Repeater

The repeater strikes the number of hours, then the number of quarter hours and the rest of the minutes. For example, if the time is 2:50, minute repeater sounds “ding ding; ding-dong ding-dong ding-dong; dong dong dong dong dong”.

Two “ding”s represent 2 o’clock, three “ding-dong”s represent 3 quarters, five “dong”s represent 5 minutes.


Example of how minute repeater sounds:

Most Complicated Watch

Good sound or tone requires vibration of air. When the space is big enough, the sound or tone will be stable and the sound is good listening. Since the space between the movement and the case is tiny, it is hard to tune the tones. Even if the watches are same model with exactly the same materials and designs, the tone can be totally different. There is no short cuts for making a minute repeater, the watchmakers require to assemble over 100 unique components and test the sound continuously until a perfect tone can be archived. As a result, a minute repeater requires 200 to 300 hours of work by a sufficient level of horological skill watchmaker.

Who needs Minute Repeater?

Back the old days when there is no light, minute repeater is useful to tell time when it is dark. Nowadays, there are tons of ways to tell time in the dark, minute repeater is less useful comparing to the old days. Most of the minute repeaters are rare, precision and complex that represents a perfection of a mechanical engineering. As a result, today minute repeaters are coveted by watch lovers or collectors.

Every watch lovers want to have a mechanical minute repeater from top brand like Patek Philippe. However, the price is too expensive. If you really want to own an affordable one, minute repeater with quartz movement may be your choice. Take a look at Invicta Men’s Black Minute Repeater or Invicta Men’s Minute Repeater.

Invicta Men's Minute Repeater

Invicta Men’s Minute Repeater