First of all, I am a big fan of the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Hybris Mechanica Grande Sonnerie watch and the accompanying set. I discussed it at length here when going over the announcement of the Hybris Mechanica. Once again, it is the current most complex watch in the world, comes in a limited edition of just 30 sets, and will cost over $2.5 million. Recently Jaeger-LeCoultre has unveiled the watch itself and the uber display box (the safe), they have also opened a dedicated website to showcase just what the Hybris Mechanica set is all about, focusing of course on the Grande Sonnerie. You can check out the site here. The site is very nice looking and gives you lots of nice little details about the watch that you'd otherwise miss by just looking at it. However, the site is not easy to navigate - another victim of form over function. Just look out for the easy to miss "X" button on the upper right hand corner when you want to go back to the previous page (welcome to a Flash-based nightmare). I am of the firm belief that watch companies will NEVER learn to make websites that they intend anyone to actually enjoyably use. And as I say this, I am speaking also directly to you people at Richemont Group (owner of Jaeger-LeCoultre)!
I highly recommend going to the site and poking around there. You'll find details on all the sonnerie functions and chimes - as well as a bit more about not only how it works, but how to operate the functions as well. This is almost unprecedented as watch companies are notorious for giving you the goods visually without explaining anything. Their excuse? That the sales person will explain all that is necessary to the customer at the time of purchase. Does that really make sense these days? Especially when people are using the Internet more and more to research prospective purchases, not to mention make prospective purchases (also that many watch sales people are...ineffective). So it looks like Jaeger-LeCoultre has started to figure out how to do things - slowly, hopefully surely.
The website covers a few important areas about the watch. First it boasts a bit about the watch, which is nice. Then it talks about the specific types of chimes and "songs" that the watch is able to produce. Recall that this is the first watch to be able to sound out the entire Westminster Carillon. You then get some details and images about the trebuchet hammers, the infernal tower (part of the sonnerie), the cool crystal gongs (really neat), and the complexity of the striking rhythm. You can see that most of this regards the sonnerie functions of the Hybris Mechanica Grande Sonnerie watch, but the fact remains that the watch has a wealth of other very cool complications. I hope that the site continues to evolve to discuss the rest of the features contained in this amazing timepiece.
So why am I so concerned about what is being said about a too expensive, highly limited watch? For one thing I find the product fascinating. I am hungry for details on the mechanics and what went into it. I mean, we are talking about the most complicated watch in the world. The thing is beautiful, I want details people! But a more important point is that the very discussion of the watch has an important role in getting people more interested in mechanical watches. I make it clear that I am trying to get more Americans interested in watches and mechanical watches. All of you who are reading this know that most of the people close to you are sort of curious as to why you like watches so much - like it is some personality defect. But we know they are just among "the uninitiated." A further reason why this is all important is because some of these complications will inevitably fall into lower cost timepieces. No matter how much I wanted this watch, I can't afford $2.5 million. If any of you can, please enjoy your privileged lives. For the rest of us, we can develop an appreciation for the technology now, and recognize it later when Jaeger-LeCoultre or another company places it in a watch that our lifestyles and budgets can finally stomach. By the way, aren't the stacked pushers on the side of the case really cool (as seen above)?
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