Artya’s Most Complicated Watch Ever...and a True Watchmaking First
There’s no question that there is a lot going on in Artya’s newest complication, expanding the brand’s Complications line, and that’s exactly how Yvan Arpa, founder and president of Artya, wanted it.
“I wanted to do something completely different,” Arpa says. “Something special, something that the watch industry has never seen before. And we have done it, with a double axis tourbillon combined with a minute repeater with three gongs.”
The project was initiated when Arpa created the Son of Sound tourbillon and he started to think about expanding the collection to include a special minute repeater. Inspired by the exceptional sound of the famous Bo Diddley 1959 Gretsch guitar, Arpa designed a unique case to amplify the sound and show off the incredible movement, the mainplate of which looks like the Gretsch guitar.
The sapphire back of the watch even has a space-expanding bubble in the crystal to add to the volume of the sound, and to allow the tourbillon to turn on its second axis.
The minute repeater has three gongs – one to let the customer know that the minute repeater chiming system is engaged, one for the hours, one for the minutes and the two striking together for the quarter hours. The timber, the part the gongs strike, is specially designed for the case, winding through the movement and around the tourbillon cage.
In fact, upon purchase, customers can even fine-tune the sound of the minute repeater to exactly fit their tastes, with the help of Artya’s master watchmaker.
The gong reserved for the start of the minute repeater is a first, and Arpa demanded it because he knew that many users of minute repeaters were cautious about handling their watches too roughly and don’t push the slide hard enough to engage the mechanism. “The minute repeater is an all or nothing system,” he explains.
“This way, the customer knows that he’s pushed hard enough to get the minute repeater started.”
The tourbillon itself is very complex, turning on two axes – rotating in 60 seconds in one axis and in 30 seconds seconds in the other axis. The cage of the tourbillion is comprised of 50 parts using ten different materials to make it light yet strong enough for the operation.
The case itself is a work of art, using sapphire crystal on the sides, the top and the bottom, to showcase the movement on all levels and to allow for the sound of the minute repeater to be phenomenal.
The watch is powered by two barrels, one for the movement and one for the minute repeater. The first barrel is big, as the double axis tourbillon requires a great deal of energy to operate, while the barrel for the minute repeater is smaller, and the spring is charged when the slide is activated.
The time display is a nod to the tradition of watchmaking – a regulator display was the ultimate in precision, as watchmakers used the large minutes to regulate the watches they were working on. In addition, the regulator display allowed Artya to keep the watch wearable, as a regular hour and minute hand would have made the case too thick and bulky, to allow the hands to pass each other.
The movement has been realized by complications specialist MHC, and the production and assembly requires over 1,000 hours of hand work to complete.
The new 3 Gongs Minute Repeater, Regulator & Double Axis Tourbillon is a first for Artya and for the watch industry. A masterpiece of sight and sound on the wrist.