Many of you are likely to have come across at least a few heated discussions of “finishing,” a topic that seems to fascinate, and divide, watch enthusiasts. Like many people, my starting point for serious watches was with a well-priced brand long known for its expertise in developing movements, justly viewed as offering good value for money – but not necessarily for the refinement of its movement finishing, at least on its less expensive pieces. What have I learned since then?
Christie’s is holding an auction on November 9 called the Patek Philippe 100. One watch is lot number 65, a Reference 2508 Calatrava. What makes this particular time-only Patek Philippe so special? Is it its condition? Its provenance? Its perfect dial and case? Its rare hands? Or perhaps all of the above?
To stay on top of your game, you must continue to better yourself again and again. And this Patek Philippe has certainly done with the presentation of watches created in honor of the esteemed brand’s 175th anniversary. The fill of models is exceptional: beginning with the extremely limited and highly complicated Grandmaster Chime and continuing through a gorgeously engraved Jump Hour model.
Patek Philippe’s 175th anniversary celebration, which took place on October 13, 2014 at the brand’s impressive factory in Geneva, was a firework of artistic expression. From the unique oeuvres that Patek Philippe calls its Rare Handcrafts, I’d like to single out the piece called Dawn on the Lake, by master enameler Anita Porchet.
Patek Philippe’s 5304R comes across as a good-looking watch with a casual, complicated skeletonized dial from the front. There is nothing ostentatious about it, nothing that screams for attention. Instead there it sits on your wrist, like a gentleman in a top hat, politely saying good evening to any who should glance its way.
Welcome to the second installment of “Behind the Lens.” This time, our subject is the Patek Philippe Advanced Research Ref. 5550P, a truly lovely perpetual calendar with some interesting technical twists.
Early American historian and Harvard professor Laurel Thatcher Ulrich titled her 2008 book ‘Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History.’ Ulrich would probably be very interested to know about three famous Swiss and French brands whose very first wristwatches were made for – and in a way by – women. Their watches have made history.
The last few years have seen a slow but steady increase in the number of ladies’ watches with both serious artistically decorated dials and cases and high-quality mechanical movements.
Here we highlight just five of the stunners that caught our eyes from Patek Philippe, Blancpain, Bulgari, Breguet and Delaneau.
* Richard Mille’s team has just returned from Caribbean island St. Barth, where it was the main sponsor of regatta Les Voiles de Saint Barth for the fifth consecutive year. The regatta’s Maxi class winner, Alex Shaerer, was awarded an RM 028 Edition Voiles de Saint Barth in titanium.
One hundred seventy-five years is an enormous span of time for a watch company to be in continuous existence and consistently producing not just timepieces, but top-of-the-range timepieces. What is the secret of this quintessentially traditional company, which has managed to move with the times so gracefully, continuing to appeal to younger people just getting bit by the horology bug as much as older, settled collectors?