WATCH•SWISS

STRIKING MECHANISMS

At a time when electricity was still unfamiliar and luminous hands had not yet been invented, it was more convenient to listen to the time than to try to see a dial in the dark. Several different kinds of striking mechanism exist: strikes for the hour, half hours, quarters, five minutes, minute repeaters, grand strike and alarm.

The minute repeater strikes solely on demand the hour, the number of quarters and minutes shown by the hands. The repetition is acoustic: a deep pitch for the hours, a double acute-deep pitch for the quarters and an acute pitch for the minutes.

The grand strike is the pinnacle of attainment for a mechanical striking watch. Once every quarter of an hour, the watch automatically sounds the number of hours and quarters indicated by the hands. In the “small strike” mode, the watch will only strike the full hours. The great difficulty consists in enabling the functions of the grand strike to be performed with the limited power reserve of a wristwatch, while at the same time ensuring the quality and reliability of the sound.