Seeing the astounding work from watchmaker Patek Philippe is a highlight of each year’s Baselworld in Basel, Switzerland. Watch enthusiast Billy Ruvelson was able to view the rare handcraft watches from Patek Philippe at this year’s show, and he is sharing his photos with us.
Rare Handcrafts Collection 2018
Each year Patek Philippe creates roughly 40 unique handcrafted timepieces that are not available in stores or catalogs, but rather offered to the brand’s best collectors. The annual Rare Handcrafts Collection is made available for the public to see each year at Baselworld. This rare opportunity to see the collection in its entirety is one of the highlights of the show and the main reason why Billy makes the annual trip to Switzerland.
These watches feature the very finest craftsmanship. The cost of a one-of-a-kind timepieces like this is commensurate with the degree of skill that goes into making it.
Demand in this area far exceeds supply. Artisans practicing their craft at this level are few and far between, and Patek Philippe will never compromise on quality by sacrificing its standards and increase production quantities. Rarity is the common denominator: in the finely tuned skills, the artisans who master them, and the products that are a testament to their abilities.
This may very well be the nicest ladies’ watch that Patek Philippe has ever created. Named the “Four Leaf Clover” this wristwatch is decorated with hand-executed guilloche work and gold applied ornaments. The delicate lucky charms turn the dial into a true picture in relief with its play of light and shade.
Wood marquetry is a precise technique blending patience and artistry, ultimately taking small pieces of wood of different colors and grains, then assembling them to create a work of art. The process requires tremendous patience as a single dial can take over 100 hours to complete. You can see this same technique on a larger scale on furniture and clock cases.
Discover the collection of rare handcrafted timepieces presented at the occasion of Baselworld 2018. As the guardian of ancestral Genevan traditions, Patek Philippe is dedicated to the preservation of artisanal skills that have been directly associated with horology for more than four centuries. More than fifty remarkable creations that pay tribute to a broad palette of exquisite artisanal skills are showcased. Manual engraving, cloisonné enamel, miniature painting on enamel or wood micro-marquetry, discover all the limited editions and one-of-a-kind pieces that reflect eclectic sources of inspiration and combine technical prowess with remarkable creativity.
5089G-059 “Roped Alpinists”
This gorgeous watch comprises 262 individual pieces of wood from 27 different species to create the image of two explorers traversing Alpine mountains.
5077/100G-031 “Ponte Vecchio”
Inspired by the oldest bridge in Florence, this enameled timepiece captures water flowing underneath the Ponte Vecchio. The enameler here used the “Grand Feu” technique and approximately 20” of fine gold wire to create the individual “cloisons” or cells that contain the enamel. The dial required approximately 10 firings at 1500 degrees.
5077P-102 and 5077P-103 “Bhutan Textiles”
Here again the Grand Feu cloisonné technique is used to bring the beautiful textiles of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan to life. 24-carat gold powder was added to create an illumination effect. Look closely at the dial of the watch on the left and you will see how the flowers appear to sparkle.
50th Anniversary of the Golden Ellipse
5738/50P “Ellipse d’Or”
A rare handcrafts model commemorating the collection’s 50th anniversary. To celebrate the 50th birthday of the legendary Golden Ellipse, Patek Philippe enlisted rare handcrafts artists to adorn the limited edition of the 100 anniversary sets, each consisting of a platinum watch with a pair of matching cuff links.
You can also learn more about this benchmark anniversary in the video above.
Ref. 5531 World Time Minute Repeater
Ref. 5531 World Time Minute Repeater
The first minute repeater that always strikes local time everywhere. The New Ref. 5531, launched as a limited-edition global debut at the “The Art of Watches Grand Exhibition New York 2017,” has not become part of the current Patek Philippe collection.
The is the first minute repeater able to strike the local time indicated by the center hands for a freely selectable time zone. This is a very special watch indeed as it incorporates the very difficult minute repeater complication and a world time movement with the tremendous beauty of a rare handcraft enamel dial.
The World Time Minute Repeater is now available as part of the current collection. It is sure to be a popular item for watch enthusiasts and collectors.
We have so much more from Baselworld 2018 to come! You might also enjoy our coverage from the 2017 event. See that post here.