In 2007, the legendary Patek Philippe Gondolo collection was relaunched which had literally been in limbo for eighty years: the Chronometro Gondolo. Since then Patek has introduced the Patek Philippe Gondolo 5098R, a new version with an 18K rose gold case and a matching dial. The warmth that it radiates played a particularly important role in the art nouveau and art deco periods.
The first Chronometro Gondolo wristwatches appeared around 1910. They were available in square, rectangular, and tonneau shapes, and also in a cushion-shaped carré cambré version. For this reason, all current Patek Philippe form watches – timepieces whose cases are not round – belong to the so-called Gondolo collection. In the second half of the Roaring Twenties, the global business climate began to deteriorate, and the last Chronometro Gondolo watch was dispatched to Rio de Janeiro in 1927.
Both the tonneau shape and rose gold of the Patek Philippe Gondolo 5098R are typical for art deco watch cases. But rarely have these two assets been so systematically and purely implemented as for the Patek Philippe Gondolo Ref. 5098. Its geometry was inspired by a Chronometro Gondolo that dates back to 1925, except that its silhouette is now gently curved to embrace the wrist. The fact that this curvature extends across the crystal and the transparent back, however, called for latest-generation precision technologies and the ability to accurately grind the extremely hard sapphire crystal to achieve a tight fit with the case. The result is a watch that has a fascinating aura of perfection.
The Patek Philippe Gondolo Reference 5098R has a hand guilloched two tone silvery honey brown dial in gold with Patek Philippe Chronometro Gondolo inscriptions and Breguet numerals. The Gondolo Reference 5098R is the epitome of art deco styling that only Patek Philippe could create. The Gondolo watch demonstrates Patek Philippe’s commitment to form watches which figure proudly in the company’s legacy.
The movement that ticks inside the Patek Philippe Gondolo 5098R is as iconic in style as the superb tonneau case. It is Patek Philippe’s manually wound caliber 25-21 REC (REC for Rectangular), an exemplary study in modern horology. But it is also endowed with many of the formal details that set the Chronometro Gondolo movements of the early 20th century apart from all others. This applies especially to the S-shaped center-wheel bridge and to the slender escape-wheel and fourth-wheel cocks that afford a generous view into the depths of the movement. The Gyromax balance wheel invented by Patek Philippe has a frequency of 4 Hertz (28,800 semi-oscillations/hour) and assures the high rate accuracy of this watch. The 18 jewel mechanical manually wound movement caliber 25-21 REC is comprised of 142 individual parts. The manually wound mechanical movement is greatly appreciated by aficionados of traditional watchmaking. 100% of Patek Philippe mechanical movements are awarded prestigious hallmark of the Patek Philippe Seal.
The cambered dial of the Patek Philippe Gondolo 5098R, as authentic in style as its 1925 predecessor, is a small work of art that descends gently toward the lugs. Its silver-plated center and the surface that surrounds the railway track minute scale are artistically hand-guilloched using a now very rare artisanal technique. Between the two guilloched zones lies the brown gilt hour scale with brown painted Breguet numerals. Two cartouches that touch the hour scale at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock contain the signature of the maker, Patek Philippe Genève, and the “Chronometro Gondolo” model designation. The two pear-shaped hands are made of brown-colored gold.
Patek Philippe sent the first pocket watch to Gondolo & Labouriau, a watch retailer in Rio de Janeiro, on November 12, 1872. The consignment launched a strong business relationship that, from 1902 onward, eventually culminated in a collection of timepieces which the Geneva workshops designed exclusively for this Brazilian customer: the Chronometro Gondolo was born. A totally novel sales strategy was devised by Gondolo & Labouriau for these watches. Since the sales price of 790 Swiss francs was roughly equivalent to what a qualified worker in Brazil earned in a year, customers were offered an attractive payment scheme: ten francs a week for a maximum of 79 weeks and admission to an exclusive 180-member club that operated the Plano do Club Patek Philippe System. Clubs like this one were considered private entities and so could legally circumvent the ban on public gambling. Indeed, the Plano do Club Patek Philippe System was effectively a lottery with 79 consecutive weekly drawings, and the prize every time was a Chronometro Gondolo. Thus, the first winner received his watch for free, whereas the winners in the 78 subsequent drawings ended up paying anywhere between 10 and 780 francs for their watches. The remaining 101 members had to pay the full price.
The Gondolo collection is Patek Philippe’s contemporary interpretation of the art deco style.
Follow this link to view the entire collection of Patek Philippe watches
Harold Freeman Jewelers is a Patek Philippe authorized dealer .