With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present gilt brass and green leather dome table clock in 1965 with gilt brass ornaments applied all around the clock with the theme "Commerce et Industrie" (the world of commerce and industry) and its subsequent sale on 12 March 1965. Furthermore delivered with Patek Philippe original fitted green leather presentation box.
Dome clocks with leather-covered cases and applied ornaments are exceedingly rare. To date, only two other examples of this variant, however both with different ornaments, are known to exist. Fresh to the market, the present clock is furthermore the very first reference 714E with such leather-covered case and applied "Commerce et Industrie" theme to appear in public. The themes represented are the caduceus, symbol of commerce and negotiation (often used incorrectly as a symbol of healthcare and medical practice due to the confusion with the traditional medical symbol, the rod of Asclepius), lyre and pan flute as symbol for music, shield, sword and cornet as symbol for armed forces, a wheat sheaf, symbol for agriculture, and a balance and sword, symbol for justice and law.
This reference 714E is from Patek Philippe's early series of the celebrated and highly collectable "Dome" table clocks, fitted with a 17'''250 mechanical movement, electrically wound and powered through the solar cells and through a battery.
Watchmakers are always in quest of free sources of energy, the disadvantage of light however is that it is not available around the clock. Patek Philippe opened its Electronic Division in 1948 with the goal of exploring photoelectric, electronic, and nuclear timekeeping. The department produced the groundbreaking solar clock, the first of its kind.
In 1954, Patek Philippe patented its extraordinary photoelectric energy mechanism (Patent No. 298564). Photoelectric cells charged an accumulator which then powered a motor to wind a conventional Patek Philippe 17''' hand-wound pocket watch movement. With energy stored in either the accumulator or the movement spring, the firm claimed that the clock was capable of running in complete darkness for a year and with an accuracy of within one second per day.
This pioneering technology was used in 1955 in a traditional cloisonné enamel domed case on three ribbed feet, the photoelectric cells set into the top. This first cloisonné enamel dome clock was exhibited at the 1955 World Symposium followed by the Museum of Science in Boston. It was advertised as the "light-wound" table clock which never required winding. The earliest version of the clock was equipped with a 17 ligne calibre with a self-compensating Breguet balance spring and micrometric swan neck fine regulator. Later examples were fitted with calibre 17-250 with 29 jewels, Gyromax balance and free-sprung overcoil hairspring (without a regulator). As with any Patek Philippe equipped with a Gyromax balance, a quarter-turn of a pair of balance weights provided about a seven second correction of rate. Following the arrival of quartz movements in the 1960s, Patek Philippe began integrating this technology into its photoelectric clock production. The earliest quartz versions had photoelectric cells set into the top of the dome, powering a calibre 33 quartz movement and lithium battery.
Since their launch in 1955, few examples of these clocks are produced every year, each unique by its individually decorated case featuring engravings of varying pattern, cloisonné enamel scenes (see lot 100 in this auction), or the very rare leather-covered version such as the present lot. The small production is a result of the few artisans skilled enough to decorate the clock's challenging curved surfaces, works of art in their own right highly appreciated in today's collector market.