Felix’ musical brother
Sounds good? That’s because it is. Felix, the successful Habring² model with a real manufactory movement, has a musical brother – the repeater watch. It lets the sound out but does not let water in. This is because, in contrast to many competitor repeater watches, the new Habring² model is waterproof.
The meeting had already gone on for two hours, but not everyone had yet given their two cents’ worth. And when they did it often triggered an immediate and massive objection from those who were opposed. These naysayers were well-known. Everybody knew: The discussions would not end with a result today. In fact, they once again ground to a halt while work continued to wait on the outside. Then one of the participants had a brilliant idea. He carefully slid his right finger beneath his sleeve cuff and discreetly triggered the repeater function of his wristwatch. The watch gently tolled first the hour and then the quarter-hour. Subtle tones suddenly filled the air, discreet but nonetheless loud enough to be heard. Then the scales fell from the eyes of those participating in the meeting: They had been sitting together for two hours and more than 20minutes.
This little story is authentic and documents the advantages a repeater watch can have – in addition to the practical function of having the time discreetly chimed at night. Owners of a repeater watch do not need to go to bed with a diver’s watch equipped with Superluminova-coated hands. One short press is all it takes to know which hour has struck.
The Habring² collection now includes a model with a five minute repeater. One could also say: The basic model named Felix now has a musical brother.
Grandfather clocks and ornamental clocks are most commonly known to strike the hour and perhaps even the half-hour. In days gone by their loud chimes could be heard throughout the farmhouse, letting the inhabitants know if it was time to get up or if they could catch another forty winks.
The first repeater pocket-watch, however, was built by Edward Barlow in 1686 and featured two pushers. One served to release the hourly chimes, the other sounded the quarter-hours. Daniel Quare later presented the current form of repeater with just one pusher. Ingenious master watchmaker Breguet was the first to fit gongs curved around the movements of his pocket-watches around the year 1795.
How a repeater watch works
So how does a repeater watch actually work? What differentiates a quarter-hour repeater from a five-minute repeater, for instance? And what about a one-minute repeater? The most recently expired hour is always struck first. Let’s assume the time is 08:26. The hammer first strikes eight times against the gong. These chimes are followed by an acoustically different chime for the expired quarter-hours. If nothing else happens then we are dealing with a quarter-hour repeater. The wearer knows it is later than 08:15 and that 08:30 still lies ahead, as the quarter-hour gong would otherwise have chimed twice. If, on the other hand, the time is 08:02 then only the hourly chime would be heard as a quarter-hour would not have yet passed since the eighth hour.
The five-minute repeater is more sophisticated (and accurate) in comparison. It strikes up to a maximum of 11 ding-dong chimes analog to 5-minute intervals. A five-minute chime would not sound at 08:02 as five minutes would not have yet passed since 8 o’clock. That is why there at most 11 chimes per hour and not 12.
Finally, the minute repeater sounds the passing of each minute. It is fairly obvious that a minute repeater is technically far more complicated than a five-minute repeater. This is naturally reflected by the price tag. Currently, the least expensive minute repeater on the market is the IWC Portuguese 5449 for around 80,000 euro. The new five-minute repeater from Habring² costs 17,750 euro. One could therefore say: The purchaser of a Habring² repeater saves an amazing 15,000 euro for each minute of acoustic «inaccuracy».
The functionality of a minute repeater may in theory still sound relatively uncomplicated: A small hammer strikes a gong and creates a clear tone. Implementing this complication, however, requires a goodly portion of watch-making finesse. The sound needs to exit the case and be audible. In other words: it cannot be that the wearer of a repeater watch has to hold it up to his ear to hear the sound of the gong. The case of the Habring² repeater was created using so-called acoustic bridges in a way that lets the sound escape and makes the striking action against the gong clearly audible. «The transfer of sound works so well because we applied insights from the construction of musical instruments», explains Richard Habring.
Titanium makes a brighter sound
The watch has a titanium case as standard. Titanium does not make the gong strikes sound louder, but it does make them somewhat brighter as it oscillates better. It is the first time that titanium is available with a polished finish from Habring² (crown and base). The repeater watch from the house of Habring² is also available with a stainless steel case on request.
The euphonious chronograph from Austria has another feature that sets it apart from its competitors: The Habring² repeater watch is waterproof. That was to date the Achilles heel of any watch with this complication. Even the aforementioned IWC Portuguese 5449 is not waterproof. The problem: A hermetic seal such as the one required to make a watch waterproof has a negative impact on the sound transfer to the outside. In contrast, the Habring² repeater watch lets the sound escape, but does not let water in. It is for this reason that the sound-emitting chronograph is not available with precious metal cases.
The movement is based on the manufactory movement found in the entry level model named Felix. The repeater module is the result of a new collaboration with Dubois Depraz. The movement has an overall height of 7.85 millimeters and measures 36 millimeters in diameter.
Felix’ musical brother costs 17,750 euros.
All the details at a glance
Basic Felix movement; hand-wound with 48 hours of power reserve; 28,800 half oscillations per hour = 4 Hz; tangential screw fine adjustment; anti-magnetic escapement with Carl Haas balance spring in chronometer quality; KIF shock resistance pursuant to DIN and NIHS; 18 rubies.
Hand-polished edges and hand-engraved balance cock
The repeater module is the result of a new collaboration with Dubois Depraz (DD90 measuring 36 mm in diameter and 3.75 mm in height). The repeater is triggered by pressing a pusher at around the ten o’clock position.
Titan Grade 2 (middle part) or Grade 5 (polished base and crown). Grade 2 is also available for allergy sufferers.
Diameter: 42 mm
Height (visible) 11 mm, total height over the lens 13.5 mm.
Front lens concave ground profiled sapphire glass with AR coating; glass base
Blued leaf-shaped steel hands; discreet dial hoop in the lens, rhodanised. Unobstructed view of the movement’s internal workings from both sides.
Further information is available by telephone under +43-4232-51300 and at www.habring.com