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PATEK PHILIPPE. A UNIQUE GILT BRASS SOLAR POWERED DOME CLOCK WITH CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL
PATEK PHILIPPE. A UNIQUE GILT BRASS SOLAR POWERED DOME CLOCK WITH CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL
PATEK PHILIPPE. A UNIQUE GILT BRASS SOLAR POWERED DOME CLOCK WITH CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL
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PATEK PHILIPPE. A UNIQUE GILT BRASS SOLAR POWERED DOME CLOCK WITH CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL
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This lot incorporates batteries which may be desig… Read more
PATEK PHILIPPE. A UNIQUE GILT BRASS SOLAR POWERED DOME CLOCK WITH CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL

REF. 1123M, ‘TRISTAN DE LÉONOIS’, MANUFACTURED IN 1976

Details
PATEK PHILIPPE. A UNIQUE GILT BRASS SOLAR POWERED DOME CLOCK WITH CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL
REF. 1123M, ‘TRISTAN DE LÉONOIS’, MANUFACTURED IN 1976
Movement: Quartz
Dial: White
Case: 22 cm. height
With: Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives and Patek Philippe service invoice dated 2021
Remarks: Myriad of exceptional colours, unique hand-decorated works of art, remarkable quality
Special notice

This lot incorporates batteries which may be designated as “dangerous goods” under international laws and regulations governing the transport of goods by air freight. If buyers request shipment of such lots to regions outside the region in which the saleroom is located, the batteries will be removed and retained prior to shipment. If such lots are collected from the saleroom, the batteries will be made available for collection free of charge.

Brought to you by

Alexandre Bigler
Alexandre Bigler Vice President, Head of Watches, Asia Pacific

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Lot Essay

Made in 1976, this superb and extremely beautiful example of the revered Patek Philippe dome clock is signed by the eminent enameller Madame Luce Chappaz, the captivating scene ‘Tristan de Léonois’ features a myriad of colours, each different glass compound contained within wire cells (cloisons). This unique work of art is inspired by the chivalric romance of Tristan and Isolde, often considered one of the greatest tales of the Middle Ages in Europe.

Vintage dome clocks such as this dating from the 1970s are not only highly collectable but are appreciated as unique hand-decorated works of art by some of the finest 20th century artists working in enamel. Now becoming much harder to obtain and rarely offered on the open market, these stunning and functional timepieces perfectly represent Patek Philippe’s mastery of both advanced technology and rare handicrafts over the past half century.

Enamel Artist Luce Chappaz
Luce Chappaz was a master artist enameller working mostly for Patek Philippe from the mid-20th century. Her signature is found from the late 1950s to the early 1990s on dome clocks but also on pocket watches and miniatures. Incredibly, one of her first jobs for the firm was the painting of some of the King Saud portraits, in 1956-1957, one of the last important work identified is the 1991 700th Swiss anniversary clock. During the four decades she worked for Patek Philippe, we can see her signature on more than 50 pieces total. Along with Suzanne Rohr and Elizabeth Perusset Lagger she will be remembered as one of the best enamellers at Patek Philippe.

Tristan and Isolde is a chivalric romance retold in numerous variations since the 12th century, with a lasting impact on Western culture. The story is a tragedy about the adulterous love between the Cornish knight Tristan (Tristram) and the Irish princess Iseult (Isolde, Yseult). It tells of Tristan’s mission to escort Iseult from Ireland for marriage to his uncle, King Mark of Cornwall. On the journey home, the two of them ingest a love potion which brings about the adulterous relationship. The legend has come down in two forms, known as the courtly branch and the common branch. The first inspired the romances of the 12th century poets Thomas of Britain and Béroul. The second is derived from The Prose Tristan, which links to the Arthurian legend, establishing Tristan as a Knight of the Round Table.

Patek Philippe Dome Clocks
Patek Philippe launched the solar-powered dome clock in the mid-20th century. They boast lavish and uniquely decorated cases featuring engravings of varying pattern or cloisonné enamel scenes. Still in production today, most likely due to their continued popularity, they were made in three series.

First series: Produced in the 1950s and 1960s with a mechanical 17’’’250 E pocket watch movement powered through the solar panel in the dome, the number ‘17’ derived from the diameter measurement of the movement which comes from an old industrial measurement tradition whereby measurement was carried out using candle wicks in ‘lines’ or ‘lignes’, ‘250’ for the thickness, and ‘E’ for electric. The large solar panel supplies power to the cylindrical storage device which then transmits energy to wind the movement. The beauty of this patented mechanism allowing the clock to be functional in the dark. At the time, this patented technique was seen as revolutionary, Patek Philippe were seen as being able to “master the energy of light.”

Second series: Beginning in 1970, dome clocks were produced with Quartz movement with a smaller solar panel that seemed to have a higher position on the dome, becoming even smaller in the 1990s.

Third series: The only dome series with cell battery movement. This has a smaller solar panel or no solar panel seen from 2007 onwards.

Towards the end of the 1940's, the Swiss watchmaking industry revived the technique of cloisonné enamel which had been used since the Byzantine period. This technique uses fine bands (filaments) of gold 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 at varying temperatures between 700 and 900 degrees centigrade to achieve different colours. Patek Philippe's enamellers can take up to one year to complete such a dome clock and less than a handful can be complete each year at their workshops. The artistry had been perfected over the decades and the artists could eventually miniaturize it to be made on wristwatches seen only from 1949 at Basel.

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