The Westminster carillon of the Reference 57260 watch is the most complicated striking mechanism to devise as it requires a succession of five steel gongs to be struck by their respective hammers. They must all be duly regulated so that the carillon rings in a perfectly harmonious manner.
Westminster carillon chiming with 5 gongs and 5 hammers
The striking mechanism automatically sounds every quarter of an hour, like a large clock. The chime is that of the world-famous clock of the British parliament building in London. Its tower is known as Big Ben and its carillon is known as Westminster. This watch reproduces the historic Westminster carillon with a choice of two striking patterns: grande or petite sonnerie.
Grande sonnerie en passant
The grande sonnerie sounds every hour and quarter of an hour. For example, if it is 9.45 a.m., it plays all three bars of the Westminster melody (one bar for each quarter of an hour that has passed) then nine single notes to mark the hours that have passed.
Petite sonnerie en passant
Activated by the same button as the grande sonnerie, the petite sonnerie sounds the hours only on the hour and the quarters only every quarter of an hour. At 9.45 a.m. in Petite Sonnerie mode, the watch sounds the three bars of the Westminster melody and nothing more. It will not play the hours until the next full hour.
The bolt on the side of the watch can be used to activate the striking mechanism at any time the owner desires. This function is known in watchmaking as a repeater as the displayed time is "repeated" by the ring. This minute repeater sounds the quarters, minutes and hours in order. For example, at 9.45 a.m. the minute repeater plays the three bars of the Westminster melody, because three quarters of an hour have passed since 9 o'clock, then three notes for the three minutes that have passed since the last quarter and finally nine notes for the hours that have passed.
Night silence feature (10 p.m. to 8 a.m.)
The striking mechanism integrates a unique, very easy to use function developed expressly for this watch: an automatically activated night-time silent mode. This innovative system, exclusive to Vacheron Constantin, is automatically activated so that between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. the striking mechanism does not sound and does not disturb the owner.
It is the first time that a night-time silent function can be automatically activated, without it being necessary to select the strike or silent modes manually.
Upon request, the night-time silent period can be custom set by Vacheron Constantin before the watch is delivered.
System for blocking the striking mechanism when alarm barrel fully unwoundIndication for grande or petite sonnerie modes
Indicates which strike phase is in progress according to the position of the hand: - PS : Petite Sonnerie - GS : Grande Sonnerie
Indication for silence / striking / night modes
Indicates which strike phase is in progress according to the position of the hand: - SIL: Silence - NIGHT: Night - CHI: Chime
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