Surprise! Watching A $2.6 Million Watch Get Made Is Gorgeous – Core77
Nice watches live in a weird world of engineering and opulence. This video shows some of the tight tolerances, subtle labor and utterly bonkers design that went into Patek Philippe’s 175th anniversary wrist watch: the Grandmaster Chime 5175.
If you aren’t familiar, the Patek Philippe brand is legendary for skilled watchmaking and an objectively batshit level of mechanical complexity. We design likers tend to be familiar with fancy objects of all types, but the realization that a $2.6 million watch really exists was a shock for me. While its price tag will never feel reasonable, this commemorative edition was intended to push the brand’s already famous limits on design and execution. While it’s ludicrous as a watch it succeeds at pushing an envelope. The result is a mind boggling mess of solid filigree gold and frivolous functions, and the process shots are fittingly dramatic and exacting:
When the Grandmaster debuted in 2014 (after a decade of conception, design, troubleshooting and meticulous Swiss wizardly construction) it was the most mechanically complicated wristwatch anywhere on record. Its final design utilizes both front and back faces, flipped with a mechanical pivot, to add room for more complicated gadgetry.
Its jam packed features include a manually wound movement, chiming minute repeater, alarm with time strike, date repeater, a second time zone, a second time zone day/night indicator, a perpetual calendar, day and month indication, date indication (NOT to be confused with day) on both faces, leap year cycle (god forbid you have to look it up), and real time moon phases.
By now the hyper-limited run of 7 pieces probably all live in temperature controlled safes, rather than on the wrists of international unicorn trading tycoons. But it’s kind of fun to imagine these overwrought masterpieces hanging out of a sleeve, ready to offer up a zillion types of time.