Piaget. An extremely fine and possibly unique 18K white gold two train minute repeating and grande and petite sonnerie striking wristwatch with power reserve, visible hammers, black dial and wooden box
On lots marked with an + in the catalogue, VAT wil… Read more PIAGETGrande Sonnerie Gouverneur The Property of an Important European Private Collector
Piaget. An extremely fine and possibly unique 18K white gold two train minute repeating and grande and petite sonnerie striking wristwatch with power reserve, visible hammers, black dial and wooden box

SIGNED PIAGET, GRANDE SONNERIE, 1997, GOUVERNEUR MODEL, CASE NO. 660’329, MANUFACTURED IN 1997

Details
Piaget. An extremely fine and possibly unique 18K white gold two train minute repeating and grande and petite sonnerie striking wristwatch with power reserve, visible hammers, black dial and wooden box
Signed Piaget, Grande Sonnerie, 1997, Gouverneur model, case no. 660’329, manufactured in 1997
Movement: manual, two train, cal. 1996P, 33 jewels
Dial: engine-turned black, visible hammers, power reserve, striking mode indicator, subsidiary seconds
Case: glazed sapphire crystal snap on back, upper push button to activate minute repeating, lower push button to select striking mode (Grande Sonnerie, Petite Sonnerie, Silence)
Signed: case and dial
Dimensions: 37 mm. diam.
With: Piaget 18K white gold buckle, instruction manual and wooden presentation box
Special notice
On lots marked with an + in the catalogue, VAT will be charged at 8% on both the premium as well as the hammer price. Many of the watches offered for sale in this catalogue are pictured with straps made of endangered or protected animal materials such as alligator or crocodile. These endangered species straps are shown for display purposes only and are not for sale. Christie’s will remove and retain the strap prior to shipment from the sale site. At some sale sites, Christie’s may, at its discretion, make the displayed endangered species strap available to the buyer of the lot free of charge if collected in person from the sale site within 1 year of the date of the sale. Please check with the department for details on a particular lot.

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Lot Essay

Due to the extreme cost and complexity of repeating and striking wristwatch production in the mid-20th century, only an exceedingly small number of such horological masterpieces were ever made by an even smaller number of watch manufacturers.

Piaget’s ongoing pursuit of ultra-thinness and miniaturisation of a grand complication movements resulted in the creation of the ultra-thin 13 ligne calibre 1996P movement comprising 350 parts and with a width of only 6.7 mm., the smallest of its kind ever created, based on a fundamentally new concept. The chiming mechanism is placed at the back of the movement, allowing the beholder to observe its motion, while the striking hammers are visible through the dial. The racks of the striking mechanism are arranged around the centre of the watch, hence doubling the working radius while maintaining the same working tolerance between the racks and hammers – as in a grande complication pocket watch. The revolutionary shape of the chiming gongs with a thickness of only 0.3 mm. is designed for optimal efficiency, enabling the sound to escape from the case despite the latter being water-resistant.

To select the striking mode Grande Sonnerie, Petite Sonnerie or Silence is chosen by depressing the lower push button, thus simplifying use. The relevant mode is indicated by the colour showing in the small aperture near the 10 position of the subsidiary seconds dial: white for Grande Sonnerie, gold for Petite Sonnerie, black for Silence.

Made in 1997 in an exceedingly small series, the movements were made by the eminent watchmaker François-Paul Journe, who like many talented independent watchmakers, worked behind the scenes in the Swiss watchmaking world: providing ideas, expertise and complicated movements to the major brands before establishing his own brand in 1999.

Originally, ten examples of the Gouverneur Grande Sonnerie model had been planned. It is however thought that only a handful were actually made, the present specimen believed to be the only one in white gold.

Consigned by a private collector and preserved in excellent overall condition, the present “Grande Sonnerie” is a trophy for the connoisseur of ultra-complicated timepieces.

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