What is a minute repeater?

One of the most complicated parts of a watch (they often use more parts than many tourbillons); a minute repeater sounds the time in a sequence of tones.

Minute repeaters came about at the time of the pocket watch; watchmakers wanted to engineer pieces that could tell the time in the dark and the best way to execute this was via a series of sounds. This is most often remembered with bells in town halls or gongs that rang out the time – making sure if you weren’t in eye-view of a town’s clock you could still envisage the time.

To simplify it, a minute repeated is name as such because it repeats the minutes and hours to you. When active, a minute repeater chimes to indicate the hour and the minutes. So 4 chimes followed by 1 chime, followed by 2 chimes would mean 4.17.

While minute repeaters don’t serve as a necessity today, the complexity and beauty of the sound makes them a highly desirable complication for any modern watch fanatic.