If you have been following my writing all these years, there are a few things you probably know about me. One, I am extremely enamored of the rare handcrafts that almost died out of the mechanical watch industry when it was declared dead during the quartz crisis of the 1970s and early 1980s. I am talking about unique crafts demanding high amounts of skill and concentration like guilloché (a particular favorite of mine), engraving, skeletonization and enamel. Two, I really, really like German watches.
There are truly so few watch brands that take creating timepieces for the female watch connoisseur seriously. Jaeger-LeCoultre, naturally, takes enthusiasts seriously, ably demonstrated by the fill of amazingly complicated and innovative masterpieces introduced over the last 180 years.
But how many of these have been expressly created with the feminine wrist in mind? Very few. Even Jaeger-LeCoultre has “only” generally created lines for women that focus on the decorative rather than the complex …
Though it may seem that using rare and even unusual artistic crafts is a major trend running through high horology at the moment, it is important to remember how very difficult both the execution of and inspiration for these crafts can be. Guilloché, enamel, engraving, and even gem-setting are skills that almost died out in the pre-mechanical renaissance watch industry along with the art of mechanical watchmaking itself. Therefore, there are truly very few artists today able to perform them.
Hopefully that loud bang didn’t startle you too much! If it did, take a moment to go watch a video of a cute kitten and come back when you have calmed down a bit. Better? Ok! Here at the beginning of the new year, I am reminded there is a lot of advice out there saying you should always start with a bang.
When most people think of Patek Philippe, they think of the evergreen models that roll off the lips of enthusiasts all over the world: Nautilus, Gondolo, Calatrava and, perhaps even, that delectable worldtimer that appeared in 2013’s new Patek Philippe offerings as Reference 5130. But one of the many elements that I personally adore about Patek Philippe is its love of the handcrafted arts and the perpetuation of them in highly aesthetic ways.
To mark its 50th anniversary in 2009, the International Museum of Horology in Le Locle, Switzerland launched an international chronometry competition. This effectively broke a long drought of 37 years since the last timing trial, which was held by the Observatory of Neuchâtel back in 1972.