I don’t want to get too Buzzfeed here – FYI the title is wholly stolen from a One Direction related post – but these are genuine moments of shock and emotion experienced watching the mini-movie about the making of the Patek Philippe 175th Anniversary 5175R Grandmaster Chime and I want to share them. Because shock and emotion is why we are into watches. They can be the catalyst for feelings.
In this case, the shock was totally compounded by the fact that a watch video could move me at all. We see SO many of them these days. You know the type; highly stylised brand pieces with jerky CGI, lots of cogs turning and breathy voiceovers. This usually leads, for some reason, to watches turning into cars or animals or buildings or flowers.
There’s absolutely none of that here. With no narration whatsoever, not a word spoken – the voiceover guys were out of luck this day – the story of the Grandmaster Chime 5175R is told.
The first heart-stopping moment is an opening shot of Patek Philippe President Thierry Stern, who we were privileged to meet at Basel (my grin here has enough wattage to power a Swiss suburb), just looking out the window deep in thought with a melody of chimes playing. From here, it’s purely the story of the watchmakers, the components, the machines that assemble the timepiece.
Sit back and soak in the 10 minute video at the bottom of the post – it’s unlikely you’ll spend a better 10 minutes today.
0.06 – WHEN THIERRY STERN IS LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW. This is not a faked reflective moment. This is a reflective moment. Should we make the most complicated PP timepiece ever? 20 complications? 7 years of effort? Really?
0.38 – WATCHING SOMEONE DRAW THE FIRST CONCEPTS FREEHAND. Skills. Mad, mad skills. You can see the birth of the idea to engrave this watch heavily a design decision some of us were a little divided on….
0.46 – THE LARGE SCALE PERSPEX MODEL THEY MAKE OF THE MOVEMENT COMPONENTS. Want to see this IRL. Would make the componentry so much easier to comprehend. Like large print novels. So easy to read.
2:58 – THE GUY PAINTING THE PATEK PHILIPPE ENGRAVING WITH RED DYE. This is how it is done. Good job, watchmaker guy.
3:19 – THE MACHINING OF THE CASE. That is one thick case….
4:21 – THE WAY THE NUMERALS ARE APPLIED. With some kind of balloon contraption. No words really.
4:25 – WHEN THE ANGELS START SINGING IN APPRECIATION AT THIS PERFECT, PERFECT BEGINNING TO A DIAL. Look at that dial. No wonder the watchmaker is admiring it.
4:34 – THIS WATCHMAKERS BENCH WITH ALL THE ROMAN NUMERALS TO BE INDIVIDUALLY APPLIED. Why does the watch cost 1.6million US? This is why.
4:52 – IT’S A LOT OF ENGRAVING. A LOT. All done by hand as well.
7:11 – THE FIRST MOMENT THE WATCH WHIRS TO LIFE. Incredible. Speechless.
8:26 – APPLYING THE HANDS. The watchmaker that gets to do this part must be senior, you’d think.
9:09 – THE WAY THIS WATCHMAKER KEEPS RUNNING HIS GLOVED FINGER ACROSS THE DIAL. The angels start singing again and perhaps they’re coming from this guy. He is in awe.
9:24 – MORE ANGELS AS YOU SEE THE DIAL FOR THE FIRST TIME. Perhaps they’re coming from you? Amazing.
9:35 – THE LONG, LINGERING FINAL SHOT. So, were you shocked and awed? Tell us on Insta.