The Man Who Invents Chimes
August 2, 2011 Innovations

The man who invents chimes

Swiss manufacturer JMC Lutherie has created a resonating case to amplify the vibration of Audemars Piguet's chiming watches. An interview with Jeanmichel Capt, the man behind the concept of this melodious case.

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The story behind the birth of this resonating case is as charming as that of Audemars Piguet's timepieces themselves. This because it is the fruit of a close collaboration between luthier and horology craftsmen who mingled their ancestral know-how and sensitivity in the heart of le Brassus, just a few steps away from Audemars Piguet's headquarters.

“When the horology Manufacture commissioned me to come up with a harmonious, wooden resonance support that would be able to amplify the very sustained sound of a chiming watch, I thought of a case that would look like a grand piano,” recalls luthier Jeanmichel Capt, who founded JMC Lutherie. This particular case comprises two ultra-thin harmonic tables made of Vallée de Joux's native spruce. Three chords tuned to the watch's frequency give sustainability (the ability to maintain a note) to the very short sound of the timbres allowing the watch's ring to be tuned. Mr. Capt's passion for his craft is obvious as he explains, “This allows the note to be prolonged while having fun approaching it as closely as possible” while demonstrating the chiming device in his workshop.

This unusually elegant object is not created by chance. The harmonious wood must be absolutely perfect. The specialist himself goes out to find it, selecting his trees in the surrounding forests. The best specimens are very rare, less than 1 in 10,000. “I learned the technique with a tree gatherer, an old lumberjack who spent the better part of his life in the forest. I found out how to discern perfection using objective – as well as subjective – criteria by trying to sense the tree's vibration,” explains Jeanmichel Capt. Once the tree has been felled, the trunk is quartered and stored all winter before being cut into thinner planks which are aged for 15 to 20 years. It's only after this long period of rest that the wood can reveal its sensitivity by vibrating on either an instrument or a modern audio speaker (Soundboard) the luthier manufactures.

The resonance cases are sent across the globe with Audemars Piguet's chiming watches.

www.jmclutherie.com

Some Audemars Piguet's chiming watches

Some Audemars Piguet's chiming watches

Some Audemars Piguet's chiming watches
  • Some Audemars Piguet's chiming watches

    Royal Oak GRANDE COMPLICATION

    Selfwinding watch with perpetual calendar indicating the day, date, week, moon phases, month, leap years, minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph and small seconds at 9 o'clock. 18-carat white gold case, blue dial, 18-carat white gold bracelet.

    View Details
    Reference 25865BC.OO.1105BC.01 Thumbnail

    Calibre 2885 Manufacture

    Calibre 2885 Manufacture, front
    Front
    Calibre 2885 Manufacture, back
    Back
  • Some Audemars Piguet's chiming watches

    Royal Oak GRANDE COMPLICATION

    Selfwinding watch with perpetual calendar indicating the day, date, week, moon phases, month, leap years, minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph and small seconds at 9 o'clock. 18-carat white gold case, silvered dial, 18-carat white gold bracelet.

    View Details
    Reference 25865BC.OO.1105BC.04 Thumbnail

    Calibre 2885 Manufacture

    Calibre 2885 Manufacture, front
    Front
    Calibre 2885 Manufacture, back
    Back
  • Some Audemars Piguet's chiming watches

    Jules Audemars MINUTE REPEATER WITH JUMPING HOUR AND SMALL SECONDS

    Hand-wound skeleton minute repeater watch with jumping hours and small seconds at 6 o'clock. 950 platinum case, white dial, blue strap.

    View Details
    Reference 26356PT.OO.D028CR.01 Thumbnail

    Calibre 2907 Manufacture

    Calibre 2907 Manufacture, front
    Front
    Calibre 2907 Manufacture, back
    Back
  • Some Audemars Piguet's chiming watches

    Jules Audemars GRANDE COMPLICATION

    Selfwinding watch with perpetual calendar indicating the day, the date, the week, the moon phases, the month and the leap years, minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph and small seconds at 9 o'clock. Titanium case, sapphire dial, black strap.

    View Details
    Reference 25996TI.OO.D002CR.01 Thumbnail

    Calibre 2885 Manufacture

    Calibre 2885 Manufacture, front
    Front
    Calibre 2885 Manufacture, back
    Back
  • Some Audemars Piguet's chiming watches

    Jules Audemars GRANDE COMPLICATION

    Selfwinding watch with perpetual calendar indicating the day, the date, the week, the moon phases, the month and the leap years, minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph and small seconds at 9 o'clock. 18-carat pink gold case, sapphire dial, black strap.

    View Details
    Reference 25996OR.OO.D002CR.01 Thumbnail

    Calibre 2885 Manufacture

    Calibre 2885 Manufacture, front
    Front
    Calibre 2885 Manufacture, back
    Back
  • Some Audemars Piguet's chiming watches

    Millenary MINUTE REPEATER WITH AP ESCAPEMENT

    Hand-wound minute repeater watch with small seconds, Audemars Piguet escapement and double balance-spring. Titanium case, anthracite dial, black strap. Limited edition of 8.

    View Details
    Reference 26371TI.OO.D002CR.01 Thumbnail

    Calibre 2910

    Calibre 2910, front
    Front
    Calibre 2910, back
    Back