With Patek Philippe fitted cardboard case. Furthermore delivered with Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present clock with Roman numerals in 1977 and its subsequent sale on 31 October 1985.
Dome Table Clock
The world renowned watch manufacture Patek Philippe owes their continuing success after 175 years to their ability to focus on the present, create the future while learning from the past. Ever since Patek Philippe was founded in 1839, the manufacture thrives to safeguard the heritage of watchmaking by maintaining manual skills and traditional techniques and to showcase the rare handcrafts such as engraving and enamelling on the cases and dials of their watches. Many of these timepieces are considered some of the most technically advanced and aesthetically sophisticated creations in horological history. The Dome Table Clock, as presently offered, is the perfect example of the manufacture’s fusion of relentless pursuit of technical virtuosity and the finest craftsmanship.
Of all the decorative techniques, the art of enamelling is without a doubt the most challenging to master. Patience, steadiness of hand, artistic sensibility and above all, dedication to a long apprenticeship are all needed to become an expert artisan in this field. The risk of failure is extremely high due to the complicated process and even a small variation in firing temperature or contamination of any kind, however miniscule, could destroy a work which could take up to one year to complete depending on the intricacy of the design.
Dating back to the time of Ancient Egypt, the cloisonné technique consists of bending fine wires, often in gold, measuring less than 0.5 mm in diameter, to outline the design subject, which are then soldered to the surface of a plate. The empty spaces are then filled with ground enamel and fired multiple times so that the surface becomes perfectly leveled. Even the most talented enamellers may need up to one year to complete such work on a clock, consequently only a handful of these decorative timepieces leave the workshops of Patek Philippe every year.
The Dome Clock is the ideal vehicle for cloisonné enamelling due to its rounded panels which offer the perfect surface for multiple scenes of the same theme. This elaborate technique also allows the creative team to give free rein to their choice of themes, colours and play of transparency and opacity to create the desired effects.
The revival of the technique of cloisonné enamel in the Swiss watchmaking industry towards the end of the 1940's coincided with the time when Patek Philippe, in 1948, established its Electronic Division with the ambition to explore the use of photoelectric, electronic, and nuclear technology for timekeeping. After introducing this new department, Patek Philippe eventually developed and invented the groundbreaking solar clock and following their tradition of adorning their timepieces, they came up with the ingenuous idea of decorating the panels with cloisonné enamel scenes. In 1955, the Dome Table Clock was introduced to the market, ever since then, it has remained one of the most desirable objets d’art among collectors.
Throughout the years, Patek Philippe have made many alterations and improvements to the design of the Dome Clock which scholars and collectors concur, can be divided into three different series.
The 1st series - Dome Clocks were produced between the 1950’s and 1960’s. These clocks were produced with a mechanical 17”” pocket watch movement, wounded by an electric winding device connected to the solar panel in the Dome.
The 2nd series - Dome Clocks were produced between the 1970’s and 1990’s. These clocks were produced with a quartz chronometric movement where the solar panel in the dome charges the quartz battery in the movement. These clocks can easily be identified by their decorations which include the use of enamel panels, skeletonised hands, Roman hour markers amongst other.
The 3rd series - Dome Clocks were produced after the year 2007. The main difference from this series to its predecessor is that the current series no longer contains a solar panel in the Dome, and its movement is now replaced with a quartz movement.
Since the launch of the Dome Clocks in 1955, collectors look forward to the few examples of Patek Philippe’s annual production, each unique by its individually decorated case featuring engravings of varying patterns, cloisonné enamel scenes, or leather-covered with applied ornaments. Its small production is a result of the few artisans skilled enough to decorate the clock's challenging curved surfaces. They are, therefore, highly appreciated in today's collectors’ market.
The presently offered Dome Clock features scenes from the joyful occasion of a “vendange” festival – grape harvest festival. In a carnival-like atmosphere, villagers dress in colourful costumes to celebrate the end of the grape harvest and the beginning of the new cuvée. Festive activities include dancing, wine drinking, grape pressing, religious rituals and short sketches referencing the ancient wine god Bacchus and his many attendants as depicted in one of the panels. Using the vibrant colours of the enamels, the master artisan, Marie-Françoise Martin, managed not only to depict the autumnal colours, they also convey expressively the joyfulness of this festive occasion.