The heiress and guardian of the great Geneva tradition, Patek Philippe, since its founding in 1839, has always cultivated a technique of high skill. In the 1970s and 1980s, when demand for this type of product fell sharply, the Manufactory tried to preserve this endangered know-how, including miniature enamel paintings.
Patek Philippe today seeks to ensure the transfer and future of all these skills, as well as to expand them and expand their boundaries in close collaboration with the masters.
To illustrate the beauty of high-end techniques and raise awareness of this important aspect of the watchmaking heritage, PP presents each year a collection of unique products and limited series that the public can discover at Patek Philippe showrooms in Geneva.
For the first time and not far from Geneva a few weeks ago, the factory also decided to present this collection in Paris, in a completely converted gallery on the rue Faubourg Saint-Honore. Two steps from another beautiful house, Cifonelli.
The High Craftsmanship 2022 collection (a total of 59 items, ie 15 Dôme watches, 9 Dôme mini watches, 10 pocket watches and 25 watches, to which are added three exclusive items created for the Paris event) has once again mobilized a wide variety of know-how requires dexterity, long experience and artistic talents.
Hand engraving, the oldest form of decorative art associated with the decoration of watches, decorates the back of the cases of pocket watches, bezels, handrails and hands. For its part, the Grand Feu cloisonne enamel, which has also been used for a long time in watchmaking, creates ornaments in dazzling and timeless colors, where the craftsman first circles his motif with a thin gold thread. , and then fills the “partitions” with translucent, opaque, translucent or opalescent enamels.
Miniature enamel painting, a remarkable 17th-century Geneva specialist, is also very present in the exhibition, with its small dots painted with a tiny brush and mixed enamel powders with lavender oil.
No less traditional paillonné enamel technique makes it possible to integrate under the translucent enamel small motifs (paions), carved from gold or silver, which will be visible through the transparency.
The manual guilloche, which consists of digging thin geometric ornaments into a metal support with the help of manual control of generic machines, unfolds its play of relief and light under translucent enamel in the Flinque enamel technique.
Micro-wood marquetry is a very sophisticated technique that Patek Philippe introduced a few years ago to decorate wrist dials or pocket watch backs. He gives birth to small paintings that unite several hundred tiny pieces of wood of different species, colors and streaks.
The diamond frame illuminates the bezel of the Calatrava watch. 18-carat gold pocket watch cases, made entirely by hand, are also decorated with a variety of stones in subtle colors.
Patek Philippe also demonstrates all his creativity and skill in a number of so-called mixed media techniques that combine different skills, such as Grand Feu partition enamel on a hand guilloche or Grand Feu partition enamel complemented by miniature enamel painting.
On the other hand, open to all traditions of handicrafts, the factory also uses two original techniques developed in France – white enamel grizzly from Limoges and enamel on earthenware from Longwy with decoration outlined in black. To admire all the sophistication of this wonderful skill, visitors to the exhibition can visit the demonstrations of experts at the top of their game.
Like previous harvests, the Haut Artisanat 2022 collection also presents itself as a true “firework” of creativity, where designers and craftsmen draw on many sources of inspiration, unleashing their ingenuity.
The three hand-engraved pocket watches on the back, created especially for this event, pay tribute to the landmarks that marked the history of the World’s Fair in Paris: the 1878 Giffard Balloon (992 / 154G-001), the head of the famous de la Liberté statue also in 1878 (992 / 156G-001) and the Eiffel Tower in 1889 (992 / 155G-001).
Three unique products, where the masters, drawing inspiration from the illustrations of the time, used all the exquisite models of engraving to create a three-dimensional effect at a very small thickness.
Among many other themes to open this year, the showcase brings together several items related to Geneva, the birthplace of Patek Philippe – including the Dôme 20118M watch “Bol d’Or” with cloisonne enamel and peony enamel, a tribute to seven victories , won by Philip Stern, Honorary President of Production, during the famous regatta on Lake Geneva.
A perfect example of mixed media, the Dôme 20116M “Geneva-style view of Geneva” (a unique work) combines exotic floral decor with cloisonne enamel, which requires 41.2 m of gold wire and 41 colors of translucent enamel. to the panorama of the city, inspired by ancient images, in a miniature painting on enamel.
The showcase recreates the magic of the tropical jungle, including two realistic portraits of chameleons with cloisonne enamel (Calatrava 5177G-026 and 5177G-027).
On the Calatrava 5089G-109, a limited series of six items, the gold dial plate is first finely guilloche by hand with various patterns that draw streaks of leaves, and then decorated with cloisonne enamel, which reveals these reliefs through transparency. – with a small arrow. – engraved gecko, whose shadow stands out against the background of the sheet with illumination.
Wildlife under another sky also occupies an important place in the collection, with the backs of pocket watches made of wooden marquetry or cloisonne enamel, as well as the dials of Calatrava and Ellipse d’Or watches with cloisonne enamel depicting various savannah animals (large kudu, oryx , zebra, lion, rhino, buffalo, Namibian white elephants and leopard).
For the pocket watch 995 / 128J-001 “Cheetah” (a unique copy), the master needed an incredible amount of 610 tiny details and 50 wooden inlays, covering 16 different essences, to recreate a cat run.
Inspired by early 19th-century naturalistic plates, the four limited-edition Ellipse d’Or series, each released in six copies, depict some of the world’s most amazing monkeys in their miniature enamelled dials with a miniature enamel pattern. like the Golden Ellipse 5738 / 50G-019 and its mischievous American callitrix.
Other wonders of nature, including flora, are a source of dazzling color ornaments, such as the Dôme 20142M watch “Fleurs d’églantier” with cloisonne enamel or the Dôme 20104M “Volubilis” watch made of enamel on earthenware from Longwy.
The human adventure is illustrated by the Dôme watch and three Calatrava cloisonne enamel watches that pay tribute to the first aviation intersection of the English Channel, the Atlantic and the Pacific, including the Calatrava 5089G-089, with a raised diaphragm enamel pattern. enamel, where Louis Bleriot aboard his monoplane Blériot XI flies over a seaside landscape with exquisitely painted beach cabins.
Cultures around the world have been inspired by other very diverse items, such as the Dôme 10003M-001 Cerfs-volants cloisonne enamel mini-watch with its air dragons, inherited from Chinese tradition, or the Azulejos 995 / 121J-001 pocket watch. »And his delicate trombone in a miniature painting on enamel, framed by hand engraving.
A set of Dôme watches, pocket watches and Calatrava enamel watches honor Cuba’s magic – for example, the 992 / 162G-001 handmade enamel pocket watch with handmade guilloche, back rim, bezel and engraved hand.
To this are added other creative creations, such as the Dôme 20114M Circus watch made of cloisonne enamel, complemented by a silver leaf and a miniature painting on enamel, with a dome decorated with a point resembling a capital.
The exhibition “Haut Artisanat 2022” is open to the public from 14 to 22 May 2022 daily from 11:00 to 18:00 at: rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 85. Visitors are kindly requested to pre-register online at patek.com.
This event is the last chance to admire all these exceptional products before they join private collections around the world …