Unique – Patek Philippe: World Time

Since Patek Philippe fake reintroduced its World Time watch in 2000, the cult status of this complication has reached dizzying heights, as evidenced by watch auctions over the past 20 years. But it was the enamel and cloisonné enamel dials that made it to the auction block that really made the list. why is that? What makes them so special?

To truly understand this phenomenon, it is first necessary to realize that Patek Philippe produces fewer than 1,000 World Time watches a year. Of these, only 50 to 100 have enamel dials. In addition, there are few master enamels today, and even for them the process of making the dials of these enamel models is very rigorous. Let’s take a look at a brief history of enamel and its various applications.

While the earliest decorative enamel works are found on rings found in Cypress more than 1300 years before modern times (BC), our modern techniques handcrafted by major Geneva residents date back to the late 1700s and early 1800s . The market is expanding due to increasing interest in portable timepieces.

In its purest state, enamel is a powdered glass spread over a metal surface and fired in an oven at 1,380 to 1,560°F. When it melts at extreme heat, it liquefies, flowing outward to the edges of the surface. As it cools, it hardens into a smooth and very durable coating. For each layer or color, depending on the application used, continuous firing is required. Since the glass becomes liquid, it needs bezels to prevent it from spilling over the sides of the metal substrate. The two most common techniques are Champlevé and Cloisonné. fashion replica

Champlevé is a technique in which metal is carved quite deeply to form a pool or reservoir in which the enamel can be placed, which is then fired. If the guilloche works first, the artist may want to accentuate the guilloche work and therefore use a single or thinner fire. If it’s just a deep etched engraving, the artist will usually use multiple fires, which will make the color deeper and richer, just as a car enthusiast might apply 10 clear coats of flake paint, only to put the It is polished to 5 shimmering ultra clear coats.

Cloisonne, on the other hand, took the opposite approach. It starts with a flat surface, where the artist draws the basic outlines of the design features. The artist then takes the gold or silver wire and painstakingly places it on those same contours, carefully bending the wire to match the drawing. The result is walls that form clapboards or compartments (“cloisons” in French), in which the enamel is placed before firing. This is the most important point: no two descriptions are the same. The artist has a pattern, but only when examining two or more works side-by-side do small but perceptible differences from one work to the other emerge.

Enamel dial watches reached their heights of popularity in the post-World War II period from the 1940s to the early 1960s. Dial makers such as Stern Frères and Beyeler have produced various depicting artworks for Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Rolex and Omega. However, it is important to understand that these dial companies often have to outsource this type of work to local artisans,
Only a few of them are able to provide this level of service. By the 1970s, enamel dials had all but disappeared, and the industry had all but disappeared in the wake of the “quartz crisis.”

The history of Patek Philippe World Time watches is similar to their close collaboration with Louis Cottier, who developed this complication. A separate, longer article is required to delve into this history, so I’ll save it for another time. But after the death of Louis Cottier in the late 1960s, Patek Philippe eliminated the complication entirely. Thus, in 2000, Patek Philippe launched its first World Time watch in 35 years, the 5110, with a diameter of 37 mm and a new movement, the Calibre 240 HU (Universal Time or Universal Time).

The case has an A-shaped symmetrical design, and the crown guard protrudes smoothly to the outer rim of the crown to prevent impacts. However, watch lovers who know the history of Patek Philippe enamel dial World Time watches will need to wait another 6 years before the brand relaunches one of its most coveted and cherished dial designs.

In 2006, Patek Philippe introduced the 5130, a 39.5mm case housing the now-legendary 240 HU movement. Manufactured in the same style as the 5110, albeit with slightly longer lugs, this model is an instant welcome addition to the collection as taste in men’s watches is getting closer to the 40mm mark. With its slim round bezel, the 5130 is worn visually close enough to this evolving standard to meet the needs of many customers.

With the introduction of the 5130 in 2006, Patek Philippe also expanded by adding the 5131J (gold), a cloisonné enamel dial depicting an orbital view of the Atlantic Ocean, with the Americas on the left of the dial and Europe and Africa on the right. From the moment it was released, the model sold for two to three times its retail price on the secondary market due to very low production volumes. Since almost no one has produced dials of this type since the 1960s, there are no schools offering courses to train a new generation of watchmakers and dialmakers. It was passed down by artists who were willing to take apprentices, and even Patek Philippe had to hire local Geneva artists.

The 5131J is followed by the 5131G (white gold), which depicts a view of the Asian orbit centered on India, with Africa and Europe on the left, most of Asia at 12 o’clock, and Australia and East Asia on the right of the dial. This dial was followed by 5131R (rose gold), depicting a view of the Pacific Ocean with the Americas on the right and Asia and Australia on the left. All 3 variants are available on alligator leather straps with deployment clasp. The series concludes with the release of the 5131/1P (Platinum), depicting views of the Arctic ice sheets, with Asia and Europe on the right, and Greenland and North America on the left. Since the piece is on a platinum bracelet, the watch costs twice as much as any gold piece,

In 2016, Patek Philippe decided to completely redesign the case and delved into its extensive catalog to create the 5230, at the same time releasing the extension 5231J. Patek Philippe aims to differentiate it from its siblings in a number of ways, starting with its size. Noting the growing trend of Asian customers and Europeans towards smaller dress watches, the brand decided to reduce the World Time from its 39.5mm 5130 case size to a more elegant 38.5mm size. The difference, by itself, is almost imperceptible on the wrist. But more strikingly, Patek Philippe decided to ditch the crown guard in favor of a symmetrical case design. Another detail they changed, and one that the author likes, is that the lugs can flow off the case smoothly.

The 5321J was released with the now classic Atlantic orbital view, very similar to the 5131J, but with an arguably more colorful dial. Also, as mentioned, each dial is unique to each model, and even looking at the pictures of any particular model, you’ll notice that the lay of the gold line outlines and the color of the continent is slightly different.

Indeed, to own a piece of cloisonne enamel is to own a “one-of-a-kind piece,” which is why these pieces require a large investment from the initial buyer, and why they command such a high premium on the secondary market and at auction. When we look back at the enamel dials of the 1950s and ’60s, if history is any guide, these pieces invested in today will pay for a second home 30 to 40 years later, and why “you never really owned a Patek Philippe . You Just taking care of it for the next generation.” quality replica watches in store

Richard Mille RM 67-01, the flattest Richard Mille to date

Richard Mille’s main trade inventory has never been ultra-thin watches – if anything, his timepieces over the years have been more striking in terms of depth, some downright gigantic. He can certainly make the watch thinner when he wants to, though, and it often works well. Both the rectangular RM 16 and the more recent RM 33-01 deviate from his usual habit, this year at SIHH he presents his latest RM 67-01, his flattest watch to date and the first he has made An extra-flat watch with a tonneau-shaped case, which has been the basis of his designs since the company launched its first watch in 2001.

Richard Mille’s trading stock has never been an ultra-thin watch – if anything, his timepieces have been more notable over the years for their depth play, and some are downright huge . He can certainly make the watch thinner when he wants to, though, and it often works well. Both the rectangular RM 16 and the more recent RM 33-01 deviate from his usual habit, this year at SIHH he presents his latest RM 67-01, his flattest watch to date and the first he has made An extra-flat watch with a tonneau-shaped case, which has been the basis of his designs since the company launched its first watch in 2001.

Richard Mille’s design work is hard to fault. Assuming you totally like this approach to watch design, there’s basically Richard Mille and those who try (often unsuccessfully) to imitate him. (Designing watches after Richard Mille is a bit like a painter after Jackson Pollock, or a writer after James Joyce; trying to replicate their success by replicating their language or visual vocabulary is both tempting and a bad idea idea.) The RM 67-01 is a great looking watch. The titanium version shown here does an excellent job of overall fit and finish; obviously each surface has been carefully considered in relation to the dial, gear train and other elements of the case, as we looked at Apple As the Watch said, attention to detail is true luxury.

Granted, Richard Mille has its own unique design language, but this celebration of the aesthetics of industrial materials is also a classic modernist design strategy, with a few other notable exceptions (such as the Royal Oak, which does have an important role in stainless steel in watches). , as Mies van der Rohe did in architecture) not many watch designers can do it like Richard Mille.

One of the interesting things about his approach is that, at least broadly speaking, it’s actually pretty conservative, which I think is a big part of Mille’s success. He’s very smart about challenging expectations, but offering the challenge in a reassuring framework so the whole thing doesn’t get too alienating.

Much of the appeal of his work lies in traditional watchmaking, both in finish and mechanics. boasting that you have a fast-spinning mainspring barrel and optimized gear tooth profiles, almost like a baseball, although Richard Mille’s watch has modern industrial materials and finishing methods, overall his aesthetic remains Relying on alternating, matt and brushed surfaces of polish, it has been the mainstay of Geneva watchmaking for hundreds of years.

Where I really struggle with Richard Mille copy is the pricing. Almost everyone you talk to these days will agree that things are getting out of hand, not just potential customers for the watch; quite a few CEOs or near CEO level have commented to us that they really want to know (I care about paraphrasing) this Has the industry not yet cornered itself. Where exactly does the disconnect between offered value and actual price start to become unacceptable? Of course, this depends on a lot of variables. Often, when we write about very expensive watches, we end up shrugging and saying “I believe that for its target customers, price doesn’t matter” or something like that. It’s also very easy to start thinking of price as an abstraction unrelated to watch design criticism. However, I think these two are really starting to feel like abdication of the responsibility to discuss important things. After all, sky-high prices in the art world are fair game to discuss how art is viewed; why not in watchmaking?

This is a titanium case chronograph watch with a date knob. Undoubtedly, high prices are part of the appeal to many Richard Mille clients – and it’s part of the reason his watches are such effective symbols of exclusivity, and if they weren’t so recognizable, they wouldn’t play that role well ( Also, it doesn’t hurt that they are often very attractive as design objects). I think it’s pretty clear that having a lot of talk about high cost and exclusivity about his watches is a deliberate strategy.

Regarding the RM 67-01, it’s obviously very expensive, but then again, watches from the likes of Kari Voutilainen and Roger Smith are similarly priced but offer very different The value proposition, perhaps the real disconnect for mechanical timepieces, at least at the high end, is not between value and price, but function and price. At this level, it is almost accidental that the object in question is a watch.

Update 2/11: Richard Mille clarified to us that the movement is designed in-house and manufactured externally; the company noted that it has always been transparent about its suppliers and will only refer to its movements as ” Made in-house”. An earlier version of this story failed to notice that the watch shown was a white gold model, not titanium. The story has been updated; we regret any confusion.

Richard Mille RM 67-01 Automatic Extra Flat; as shown, white gold case, 38.70mm x 47.52mm x 7.75mm. Hours, minutes, date; function indicator showing crown position. Movement, CRMA6 movement, 3.6 mm thick, designed by Richard Mille; platinum oscillating weight, 50-hour power reserve, 25 jewels at 28,800 vph. Water resistance, 50 m. The movement was designed by Richard Mille and manufactured externally.