Money money money.... wristwatch repeaters cost a lot of money. Good wristwatch minute repeaters cost tons of money.
before I continue, here is my best advice (but read the rest too): if you have the money to buy a wristwatch minute repeater, buy also a pocket watch minute repeater. No questions asked, don't debate this, don't lose sleep over it, no arguments. What, you're still here?
I agree with Alex in that the primary purpose of people buying repeaters is for the complication. It is not a very useful one, but it is one of the most mystical ones. The tourbillon is another one, but due to tourbillon craze in my eyes it has lost a lot of its magical appeal (well, it just "seems" so easy to make those things since every Joe, Jack and John seems to come up with a tourbillon model - probably not very good ones, but still).
Unlike other very high end complications, the minute repeater is much more accessible in the form of old pocket watches.
Disadvantages of pocket watch minute repeaters:
- You cannot gloat in front of your friends as to the price of the watch (to some people the whole point of buying an expensive watch is to show off: see all those diamonds!! guess how much it cost me?).
- It will probably need servicing if you want to keep it and cherish it. Not too expensive, but finding someone to do it is difficult.
- You cannot wear it as easily as a wristwatch.
- The style might be so "out of fashion" that you might be embarrased to show it to people who don't appreciate complications.
- Some of the wirstwatches (eg: VC skeleton repeater) are just gorgeous.
- You can buy 862 pocket watch repeaters for one good wristwatch repeater.
- You just will not wear it as often as a wristwatch.
- The sound compared to even the best wristwatch will astound you.
- The sound.
- The sound.
- Teh sound.
- ALWAYS listen to the watch before you buy it. Try to listen to many of them, including wristwatches and pocket watches.
- There can be nothing worse that waiting eagerly for your watch and be disapointed in the sound... it would be heart breaking.
- Don't do like me (ie: buy without hearing it first). But I got very lucky, the quality of sound is just superb.
- Prices vary from $3-4K to much much more depending on brand, no brand, etc... Look at all that is available before making your choice.
- When looking at "unbranded" old pocket watches, you usually get what you pay for (there are no "brand" premiums).
- Although I would love to have a VC pocket watch repeater, they aren't that available. Price would be much higher too.
- Since minute repeater pocket watches were made for a real purpose 100-150 years ago, buying one from an "independant watchmaker" as opposed to a "brand name" can be a good thing. There were some excellent watchmakers in those days.
- Check the pedigree of the watchmaker (internet searches, forum questions); check for prizes, awards, etc... (gold medals in international events (universal expositions, ...) are the best as far as I am concerned along with chronometry prizes in international events as well.
Now, if I had the money I would buy some of the repeater wristwatches (VC skeleton, PP, Journe sonnerie souveraine and Dufour, George Daniels (special order of course)); or I could reduce third world debt by 10% for the same price. Seriously, if I had the money I would get one of those wirstwatches AS WELL AS a pocket watch minute repeater.