Audemars Piguet recently announced a special edition watch, the Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie, that combines a Supersonnerie with “Grand Feu” enamel work by renowned Swiss enameler, artisan Anita Porchet.
Grande sonneries are the pinnacle of high-watchmaking – considered one of the most sophisticated complications in the history of Haute Horlogerie.
The Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie houses a new caliber 2956 movement that combines a traditional grande sonnerie – a complication that strikes the hour, quarter-hour and minutes on request, as well as the hours and every quarter-hour by default – with Audemars Piguet’s supersonnerie technology that expresses the acoustics of a pocket watch in a wristwatch. The latter was the result of 8 years of research, done in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, and required a team of watchmakers, technicians, academics and musicians to achieve.
The Supersonnerie’s acoustic power, sound quality and harmonic tone are granted by patented gongs and case construction. The gongs are not attached to the mainplate, but to a new device acting as soundboard, which improves sound transmission. This innovative Supersonnerie technology also provides a sharper tempo.
The watch is also endowed with a carillon, meaning unlike traditional chiming watches it has three gongs and hammers instead of two in order to strike the quarter-hour in three successive notes.
To celebrate the magnificence of the Grande Sonnerie, Porchet created a trilogy of enamel dials decorated with antique gold spangles over a century old, seamlessly blending ancestral essence and contemporary design.
The spangles, which were meticulously cut and curved in thin gold leaves by hand using ancient tools, are hand-applied on each enamel dial.
A thin layer of glass sand mixed with water is applied by hand on the gold dial, before being heated at more than 800°C in a dedicated oven. The procedure is repeated multiple times to achieve remarkable transparency, depth and light. Each cooking session necessitates different temperatures and times; a perilous procedure requiring extensive knowledge of colour alchemy.
For the remaining two pieces, clients have the possibility of requesting a personalized enamel dial crafted by Anita Porchet’s atelier. Retail is approximately $775,000.