A watch with petite sonnerie function will chime the hours only when the full hours pass. For the remaining three quarters of an hour, it will only chime the corresponding number of quarters.
This type of watch almost always has a selector which will allow it to be set in the Grande Sonnerie position or in the silence position which allows the chiming to be deactivated as it passes.
Generally, they are equipped with the Minute Repeater function, but the watches equipped with chiming by passing are often distinguished by the mechanism of its activation. This is done by a pusher and not by a lock as on a watch with only the Minute Repeater as chiming mechanism.
This is due to the fact that a watch with a striking mechanism must store energy in advance in its barrel, which is not the case with a Minute Repeater where precisely by this movement of the lock one arms the spring which will make it possible to strike during the twenty seconds which will follow.
Watches with a passing chiming mechanism always have a crown that goes up in both directions of rotation, so to speak. In one direction it is the barrel of the movement that is wound and in the other the chiming barrel.
There are two mechanisms for regulating the speed of the chimes, one with an escape lever and the other with a flywheel. The one with an escape lever has the advantage of having an eccentric screw where the watchmaker can adjust the speed of the striking to the customer’s request. The one with a flywheel has the advantage of being quieter than the previous one in its action of regulating the speed of the chime but it is more difficult to adjust the chime to the speed at which the customer wishes to hear his chime.
The petite sonnerie has the advantage over the Grande Sonnerie that it uses up the power reserve of the chiming barrel less quickly.