Swiss Enameler Creates Dial for Audemars Piguet's New Supersonnerie

Swiss Enameler Creates Dial for Audemars Piguet's New Supersonnerie
Courtesy of Diode SA - Denis Hayoun

Gold spangles have been hand-applied to each piece.

Audemars Piguet's Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie, the latest addition to its Code 11.59 collection, proves the Swiss watchmaker remains committed to the line even after receiving a frosty reception at launch. In spite of the naysayers, the collection's high-horology pieces are sure to win them over. In order to ensure this timepiece represents the very best of Swiss craftsmanship, Audemars Piguet went one step further by topping it off with a dial designed by Anita Porchet, one of the most revered dial artisans in the country. Grand sonneries represent the pinnacle of high-watchmaking, the most supreme level of horology.

Aside from being an artist, Porchet has also worked in enameling due to her godfather who inspired her to pursue the craft. Her work has been commissioned by elite houses from Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin to Piaget. In addition to playing the violin and painting, both he and Porchet shared a passion for both of these art forms.


The Grand Sonnerie by Porchet comes in three versions, each featuring hand-crafted grand feu enamel in a striking greenish-blue hue. Porchet continues to learn new techniques in both the art and architecture of dials. With antique gold spangles dating back over 100 years, each is decorated with a unique design.

But Porchet says she swiped all she could from the remnants of their diminishing craft so she could reuse it in the future.

Porchet believes that the art of spangling dials dates back to the 18th century, but gained popularity in the early 19th century: Sadly, it has since been lost. Before a client came to Porchet in 1995 with an old pocket watch from the 1870s that he wanted restored, she had no special training or knowledge of the craft. It took two years for her to complete the process. The watch had thin spangles in the form of guilloché.

As part of the Grand Sonnerie collection for Audemars Piguet, Porchet has revived the technique in three ultra-exclusive iterations. Two other pieces will include Porchet's custom design option. Each enamel dial is hand-applied with the spangles, which are carefully hand-cut and curved in thin gold leaves using ancient tools. To create a mirror-polish finish, the gold leaves are heated up to 800 degrees Celcius in an oven to fuse them to the dial.

Courtesy of Audmears Piguet

When asked how long it takes Porchet to apply each gold spangle by hand, he demurs when asked how long the process takes.

These watches are unique not only because of their dials, but also because of what lies beneath the hood. A new caliber 2956 movement is used in the Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie, which combines the traditional grande sonnerie movement, an complication that strikes the hours, quarter hours, minutes, on request, as well as the hours and every quarter hour by default, with Audemars Piguet's supersonnerie technology that embodies the acoustics of a pocket watch in a wristwatch. Ultimately, it was the result of 8 years of research by a team of watchmakers, technicians, academics, and musicians in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, which required a team of hundreds of watchmakers, technicians, academics, and musicians.

Courtesy of Diode SA - Denis Hayoun

In addition to the four gongs and hammers found in traditional chiming watches, the piece is also fitted with a carillon, which means it strikes the quarter hour in three successive notes instead of the two found in traditional chiming watches. In the petite sonnerie position, the watch will chime only the hours, and the minute repeater mechanism can be activated at any time by the wearer.

At CHF 710,000, or approximately $650,045 at current exchange rates, it's a behemoth of a timepiece Audemars Piguet managed to fit into a 41 mm case that's quite wearable, and to get one, you will need giant pockets and probably some jockeying. Although it's visually and audibly impressive at the same time, it's a piece that creates a piece of horological history on its surface, one that will certainly be a prize in the collection of just five collectors worldwide. With this watch, Audemars Piguet has added one more notch to its belt, having produced the first minute repeater ever produced in 1892 with Louis Brandt & Frère.

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