Patek Philippe is most well known for their wonderful wrist watches which feature complicated movements but the company also has a reputation for making extremely fine cloisonne enamel clocks. The exquisite quality of Patek Philippe workmanship is what has distinguished the firm’s timepieces for over 400 years. Still to date, in order to keep the fine tradition of cloisonne enameling alive, a small team of specialists from Patek Philippe continue to carry out the rare art, which, other than being technically difficult, does not forgive errors. Their work is recognised as worthy of the great masters of the Geneva school.
The Pendulettes Dôme of Patek Philippe are decorated in cloisonné enamel. According to this technique, the coloured powder enamels are deposited on the inside of enclosures in string or gold ribbon that mark the outlines of the design. Various decorations can require up to 20 metres of ribbon in 22 carat gold in order to realise the enclosures aimed at containing the coloured enamel. It is possible to obtain very interesting effects and colorsby mixing the colous inside of the enclosures. Given it is normal in the case of working with enamel, to decorate the surfaces which are subsequently vitrified in the furnace, with the instructions to apply an enamelled surface inside the metallic walls of the pendulette to avoid the distortion of the metal and the consequent cracking of the decorations.
Reference 1551 “Lion and leopards hunting antelopes”
A limited edition timepiece, made by Patek Philippe. The decoration of the pendulette is inspired by various renowned paintings of the Italian painter Antonio Ligabue (1899-1965). The dome depicts a leopard inspired by the painting by Ligabue “Leopard with the antelope”, wooden oil painting, and dated 1939/1949. The lateral curved panels recall the paintings of the same painter “Leopard with the sky at sunset”, wooden oil painting, undated and “Lion that attacks two antelopes”, oil painting on faesite, dated 1953/1954.
Antonio Ligabue lived the most important part of his life in Gualtieri (in the province of Reggio Emilia).
Those who have been fortunate enough to visit the Patek Philippe museum in Geneva, Switzerland know first hand to what extent enamel watches and clocks are as an essential part of Patek Philippe’s history. Patek Philippe displayed a dazzling collection of cloisonne enamel clocks and watches at Basel World 2010. One of the most interesting examples of the fine art of cloisonne enameling was the Patek Philippe World Time Reference 5131. Also on display was a limited edition set of watches under the reference 5077P. The timepieces featured depictions of ”Native Indians of the Great Plains”. The timepieces were made from platinum and featured the ultra thin self-winding caliber 240 mechanical movement.
Reference 1552 “Flowers”
Another limited edition timepiece made by Patek Philippe. The decoration of the pendulette is inspired by a renowned painting by Antonio Ligabue (1899-1965). The dome and three curved sides reproduce a vase of flowers with butterflies, bees and other bunches and garlands of flowers inspired by the “Vase of flowers”, cloth oil painting by this painter, dated 1960/1961. Antonio Ligabue lived the most important part of his life in Gualtieri (in the province of Reggio Emilia). Notice how the flowers seem to bloom before your very eyes. This is the magic of cloisonne enameling that only Patek Philippe can create.
As one can see from these photos, the enameler is an artist in every sense of the word. It is the enamelers special relationship with the art of glass, metals and fire that bring us the fantastic objects we know as cloisonne.
Harold Freeman Jewelers is an Authorized Agent for Patek Philippe and other brands of fine Swiss watches.
For more information please call 866-240-7366.