Held earlier in June at the historic Geneva headquarters of Patek Philippe on rue du Rhône, the Rare Handcrafts 2020-2021 exhibition was a rich showcase with a vast selection of more than 75 pocket watches, wristwatches as well as dome clocks and table of the last rare artisanal objects of the manufacture. collection.
The remarkable unique and limited edition timepieces paid homage to demanding craftsmanship and esteemed traditional watchmaking techniques. Six grand complication timepieces were also presented at the exhibition.
Among these, three models featured particularly elaborate artistic decorations, including hand engraving, grand feu cloisonné enamel, champlevé grand feu enamel, flinqué grand feu enamel, manual guillochage and setting. Let’s take a closer look at this trio of extraordinary Rare Handcrafts masterpieces enriching the Manufacture’s already exceptional selection.
Ref. 6002R-001: Sky Moon Tourbillon Haut Craftsmanship
Patek Philippe’s first double-sided wristwatch launched two decades ago, the Ref. 5002 Sky Moon Tourbillon is the second most complicated wristwatch of the manufacture after the Grandmaster Chime, and also one of the great complications most coveted by collectors and connoisseurs.
From 2013 to 2016, the double-sided watch, sporting a sumptuous white gold case with blue enamel dial, was offered in a Rare Handcrafts version, Ref. 6002G-001. Replacing its 2016 predecessor, the Ref. 6002G-010 with a black enamel dial – is ref. updated and equally ornate. 6002R-001 Sky Moon Tourbillon Haut Artisanat, which features a new face combining the warm reflections of rose gold with a decor of brown grand feu enamel.
The rim of the dial, the moon phase window and the moon on the rotating disc are executed in champlevé grand feu enamel. This intricate and centuries-old craft requires that the base metal be precision-milled by hand, while individual elements such as the minute scale remain in relief. Then these sculpted recesses are manually filled with enamel compound before the firing process.
The center of the dial is adorned with a sumptuous grand feu cloisonné enamel decoration carefully traced with fine flat gold thread. The case, crowns, repeating slide, leaf-shaped hands as well as the folding clasp are hand-engraved with a pattern of scrolls and arabesques on all sides – a painstaking job that took over 100 hours to a master engraver.
The powerful 44mm Sky Moon Tourbillon houses 12 fascinating complications. These include a tourbillon and a minute repeater that chimes on cathedral gongs. The front dial displays a perpetual calendar with a retrograde date hand, moon phase display and leap year cycle. Its reverse side reveals a celestial map that reproduces the visible movement of the moon and stars in the northern hemisphere.
The two hands of this face indicate sidereal time, that is, the time taken for a given star to return to the same point in the sky. Patek Philippe has created a complex system of three superimposed discs that move in different and precisely calculated trajectories to orchestrate this great celestial ballet.
Equipped with the manually-wound R TO 27 QR SID LU CL caliber, the Sky Moon Tourbillon is associated with a brown patinated alligator strap and comes with a pair of rose gold cufflinks adorned with hand-engraved outer rings and of Calatrava cross patterns in the center.
Ref. 7040 / 250G-001: Rare Handicraft Minute Repeater for Ladies
Available from 2011 to 2017, Ref. 7000R-001 The Ladies’ First Minute Repeater in pink gold with cream dial gives way to the new model in very refined white gold, Ref. 7040 / 250G-001. Displaying a slightly larger diameter of 36mm, a grand feu blue flinqué enamel dial and diamond-set bezel, its contemporary yet timeless aesthetic adorns the typical officer-style case with straight lugs and screw-down bars.
The fully hand-guilloché gold dial plate features a swirling sun pattern inspired by the one-of-a-kind Siamese Fighting Fish pocket watch, Ref. 992 / 137G-001, from 2019. The hypnotic motif is covered with a translucent midnight blue enamel which reveals the underlying decoration using the technique known as flinqué enameling.
The timeless color and timeless sparkle of the dial form a striking backdrop for the faceted white gold lancet-shaped hour and minute hands that sweep over the hand-shaped printed gold indexes and a subdued seconds dial discreetly positioned at 6 o’clock.
Adding a dazzling touch to the bezel, 168 impeccable Top Wesselton brilliant-cut diamonds set in two staggered rows using the Flame technique. Patek Philippe trademark in the watch industry, the exclusive and patented setting method requires the craftsman to cut grooves in the gold between each stone with a sharp chisel to allow light to illuminate the diamonds from below, as well as giving a light, airy touch to the timepiece.
The self-winding Caliber R 27 PS is powered by an eccentric 22-karat gold mini-rotor embedded in the movement. Not only does it stand out for its very slim 5.05mm profile – giving the case its elegance – but also for the harmonious sound of its two classic gongs. The architecture and sumptuous finishes can be admired via the sapphire crystal caseback, which is interchangeable with a solid white gold caseback supplied with the watch. The elegant timepiece is presented with a patinated ocean blue alligator strap with a white gold pin buckle adorned with 26 brilliant-cut diamonds.
Ref. 5738 / 51G-001: Ellipse d’Or High Craftsmanship
In 2018, Patek Philippe introduced a limited series of 100 sets featuring a platinum timepiece and matching cufflinks in honor of rare craftsmanship and on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Golden Ellipse collection. The Manufacture enriches the current line with an incredibly elegant and sophisticated iteration of the watch – Ref. 5738 / 51G-001 Golden Ellipse Haut Artisanat – dressed in a polished white gold case and featuring subtly reworked dial decoration details.
For this watch, the house combines two of the oldest and most revered techniques used to embellish timepieces: hand engraving and champlevé enamel. The 18-carat gold dial plate is first hollowed out to form cavities which will be filled with black grand feu champlevé enamel. The areas of gold in relief are then engraved by hand with a magnificent decoration of arabesques and volutes which
It also highlights the perfectly balanced proportions of the 34.5mm by 39.5mm case inspired by the “golden section”. Also known as “divine proportion”, it is the basis of some of the greatest architectural creations of mankind. Thin white gold hair-style hands indicate the time, while the crown is finished with an onyx cabochon.
The ultra-thin self-winding caliber 240 with a 48-hour power reserve is displayed under the artistically crafted dial. Powered by an off-center recessed 22-karat gold mini-rotor, it fits a 6.58mm case thanks to its slimline design. The timeless style of the new model is accentuated by a hand-sewn shiny black alligator strap with a white gold pin buckle in the shape of the case.
The Golden Ellipse joins the current collection, which also includes the Ref. 5738P-001 in platinum with a blue sunray dial, as well as Ref. 5738R-001 sheathed in rose gold with an ebony black sunray dial.
This story appears in our 2021 annual watch supplement, Cachet. Read the full magazine today on Magzter.