It's not everyday that one gets to play with an expensive watch, so obviously, when given the chance, one would drop everything and take up the offer.
The timepiece in question is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition A Repetition Minutes
Minute repeaters are extrememly underrated as a complication in the Haute Horology department, simply because it offers little visual stimulation, unlike, say... a tourbillon. A lot of minute repeaters are also very conservatively/traditionally styled, meaning if you didn't catch the lever on the side of the case, you just wouldn't know.
There is a brilliant depth to the dial, and depending on how you catch the light with the watch you can clearly see the different layers. I tried to capture this with my iCamera to no avail. But even then it is something that must be seen in person to fully appreciate.
Something else that can only be fully appreciated and realised is the crispness of the tone from the minute repeater. I reckon it's crisper than the air on a winter morning. It's a major art form to 'tune' the gong to get the 'best' sound.
(Please excuse the dodgy iVideography)
Here are some technical mumbo jumbo from the press release for those of you more technically-inclined...
"The product of a lengthy research process, its crystal gong, made of a material that remains a trade secret, represents a major innovation in sound. This material propagates sound waves at a remarkable speed, which ensures that the vibrations are maintained and can sound with their full melodic intensity. The Master Minute Repeater’s gong has other distinctive characteristics, including a square section that thins down as it nears the heel so as to further optimize resonance. For the same reason, the gong and its support are formed of a single block."
Now I don't know if minute pepeater watches are harder to make than tourbillons, or simply because there are more people making tourbillons, prices for the repeaters are much higher than your average tourbillons. It is a more "practical" complication and of course, not every watchmaking "maison" can make/buy one, let along make one that sound this good. So in that regards, this JLC minute repeater, all things considered, is priced extremely well, and given the Tivan15 case (Titanium/Vanadium) it's also light on the wrist, and much tougher than the precious metal encased repeaters.
Only 1 piece available in Australia/New Zealand (Limited Edtion No. 19/100)
Movement: Cal. 947 Jaeger-LeCoultre in-house mechanical manual wind minute repeater. 21,600 v/h, 413 parts
Functions: Hour, minute, 15 day power reserve, barrel torque indicator. Minute repeater featuring hour, quarter-hour and minute
Case: TiVan15 (Titanium/Vanadium)
Crystal : sapphire on both sides
Water resistance : 5 atm
Size: 44 mm.
Height : 15.6 mm
Dial: Ruthenium Skeletonised
Strap: Alligator strap, folding clasp
Limited edition: 100 pieces
[o] is an employee of JLC, hence access to such a piece...