From April 6 to 23, 2022, at its historic headquarters on Rue du Rhône, the iconic watch manufacturer is presenting nearly 60 Rare Handcrafts creations that pay tribute to a wide range of artisanal skills. Apart from these treasures that reflect wonderfully inspired, magnificent craftsmanship, visitors can also watch masters of their art demonstrating tradition-steeped techniques.
Patek Philippe’s Geneva Salon has been in the company since 1891, when they bought the entire building, asking celebrated architect Jacques-Elisée Goss to renovate it. The result was a splendid space of classic proportions and beauty. In the mid-noughties, Philippe Stern – father of current CEO Thierry Stern – put some final touches to it, transforming the ground floor Salon into an exuberant window exhibit of the entire Patek Philippe collection in all of its splendour.
The Swiss manufacture is considered to be by many the guardian of the grand Genevan watchmaking tradition. As such, they are deeply committed to preserving the artisanal skills with which timepieces have been lavishly decorated for nearly five hundred years. It is with this aim in mind that every year, Patek Philippe unveils a new collection of one-of-a-kind pieces and limited editions that focus the spotlight on such talents.
This year is no different. A total of 59 creations including 15 dome table clocks, 9 miniature dome table clocks, 10 pocket watches, and 25 wristwatches make up 2022’s Rare Handcrafts collection, showcasing a rich palette of different artisanal techniques such as grand feu cloisonné enamel, miniature painting on enamel (a genuine Genevan speciality), manual engraving, manual guilloching and paillonné enamel – not to mention skills like wood micromarquetry and Longwy enamel on faience that are so unique in watchmaking artistry.
20118M “Bol d’Or”- Dome table clock in cloisonné and paillonné enamel. A homage to the seven times Philippe Stern won the eponymous regatta on Lake Geneva.
Among the numerous topics of this year, a showcase also exhibits several objects directly related to Geneva, the home of Patek Philippe. One of them is the dome table clock 20118M “Bol d’Or” in cloisonné and paillonné enamel as a reminder of the seven trophies that the manufacturer’s honorary president Philippe Stern won at this famous regatta on Lake Geneva.
The dates of these victories are inscribed in miniature paintings on enamel, while the course of the race is charted in gold wire on the dome. Embedded gold leaf illuminates the buoy and 13 star-shaped spangles called paillons that light up the dome. Each enamelled plate required 8 to 10 firings at 820°C. An hour circle in ebony, set with 12 gilt applied hour markers in the shape of mooring posts, frames a dial centre in cloisonné enamel. A handcrafted cable motif resembling cordage adorns the borders of the hour circle and the clock frame. This piece is powered by the calibre 17’’’ PEND mechanical movement rewound by an electric motor.
Another gem in this year’s Rare Handcrafts collection is the 995/130G-001 “Swan” / Pocket watch with a case back in wood marquetry and enamelled dial with hand-engraved hands.
The 995/130G-001 “Swan” / Pocket watch shows this typically Genevan bird in wood micromarquetry.
A swan, symbolizing light, grace, love and fidelity and emblematic of Lake Geneva, glides across the back of this unique piece in white gold. To reproduce all the elegance of the plumage and the long curving neck, as well as the subtle play of reflections in the water, the marquetry maker cut out and assembled 223 pieces of veneer and 30 tiny inlays, shaped from 23 species of wood of different colours, textures and veining. The dial, in black enamel, presents white-gold applied Breguet numerals and white-gold leaf-shaped hour, minute and seconds hands, embellished with hand-engraving. A spessartine cabochon (0.44 ct) adorns the crown.
This pocket watch is accompanied by a white-gold handcrafted stand resting on a foot set with a spessartine cabochon (0.46 ct) on an oval-shaped base in silver-sheen obsidian. It houses the caliber 17’’’ LEP PS manually wound movement with small seconds.
Another showcase in the exhibition presents the magic of the tropical jungle and a further one recalls the maiden flights across the English Channel, the Atlantic, and the Pacific.
This is a visit de rigueur for any watch enthusiast and an opportunity to soak in the love and knowledge for the craft of watchmaking that Patek Philippe has been sharing with the world since 1839.
The “Haut artisanat 2022” (Rare Handcrafts 2022) exhibition at the Patek Philippe Salons on Rue du Rhône 41 is open to the public every day except Sundays from April 6 to 23, 2022, from 11 am to 6 pm. Visitors are requested to preregister online at the patek.com website starting on March 28, 2022.
For the first time, the “Haut artisanat 2022” exhibition will also take place in Paris: From May 14 to 22, 2022, in a gallery on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 85, totally remodelled for this event.
PATEK PHILIPPE SA GENEVE
Chemin du Pont-du-Centenaire 141 – 1228 Plan-les-Ouates
P.O. Box 2654 – CH – 1211 Geneva 2 – Switzerland
Tel. + 41 22 884 20 20