Patek Philippe Calatrava Diamond Ribbon Joaillerie Ref. 4978/400G: Swirl Into Infatuation
by Martin Green
As much as they may glitter, the diamonds are not the most critical thing in a diamond-set watch: the setting is.
Setting is what makes the difference: good designers and setters know that carat weight is a means to an end, not the goal. “Loading” a watch with as many diamonds as possible rarely makes these stones captivating by themselves.
Creating a diamond-set watch is not at all as easy as many think, but when done right the result can be spectacular – as is the case with the Patek Philippe Diamond Ribbon Joaillerie.
A swirl if you please
Can a watch be both serious and not take itself too seriously at the same time?
Patek Philippe shows that this is possible: the Diamond Ribbon Joaillerie features a diamond-set swirl on the dial outlined in white gold resulting in something that is playful yet not overly so. In fact, it could be worn with an evening gown (if you don’t care about breaking fashion protocol by wearing a watch with formal dress in the first place).
But what if you were to fit the Diamond Ribbon Joaillerie with a strap made of jeans fabric and wear it casually? I think it would suit both occasions equally well, and that is something not too common for diamond watches.
To create this design with brilliant-cut diamonds is quite a challenge, as each diamond has to be placed just right but also be of precisely the right size, otherwise the effect is ruined. For this, the setter has to sculpt four prongs to hold each diamond. A tremendous task given the number of diamonds.
Creating such a captivating design is nice, but how do you take it further? For this, Patek Philippe made great choices by not only opting for blued leaf-shaped hands but also applied blued Arabic numerals.
This serves two purposes: the contrast with the hands makes the diamonds seem to shine even more and reading the time becomes a breeze. While blued hands are often seen on more classic watches, they provide a different effect here as in combination with the numerals it almost becomes a sporty watch – if only it weren’t set with a total of 770 diamonds!
Case closed. Or not?
While the dial is a work of art, so is the case. The Diamond Ribbon Joaillerie is part of the Calatrava family and features a very elegant case 36.5 mm in size. Because it has quite a few angles, there are always diamonds catching the light, showing off the fire and scintillation that makes these gemstones so desirable.
The beauty is also that Patek Philippe even sets diamonds on the sloped edge that connects the bezel to the case back. This ensures that while the owner is wearing the watch, the view from the side will only show diamonds and no metal.
For the back, Patek Philippe opted to make Caliber 240 visible through a sapphire crystal case back. Rightfully so, because this micro rotor movement is a work of art: it is quite robust for being an ultra-slim movement and has beautiful architecture and finish more than worthy of being seen.
Because this caliber is so slim, the overall height of the Diamond Ribbon Joaillerie is a mere 8.23 mm. In combination with its diameter, the svelte sizing results in a very well-proportioned watch. That is also an essential aspect of diamond-set watches, as the designer wants to hit just the right note.
Too large could be considered vulgar, yet sized just right it becomes a precious creation in which diamonds take on the lead role – and you fall instantly in love.
For more information, please visit www.patek.com/en/collection/calatrava/4978-400G-001.
Quick Facts Patek Philippe Ref. 4978/400G Calatrava Diamond Ribbon Joaillerie
Case: 36.5 x 8.23 mm, white gold, set with 743 diamonds (4.29 ct.)
Movement: ultra-thin automatic Caliber 240, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency, Spiromax balance spring
Functions: hours, minutes