Watches made for Gondolo & Labouriau
The Brazilian firm Gondolo & Labouriau was Patek Philippe's sole retailer in Rio de Janeiro as early as 1872. The enormous success of Patek Philippe watches among the firm's clients in Brazil lead to the production of timepieces especially for Gondolo & Laboriau, starting in 1902 with the registration of the trade name "Chronometro Gondolo" in Switzerland until the 1930s. During this collaboration lasting over a quarter century, the Brazilian retailer sold nearly a third of Patek Philippe's total production.
To encourage the sale of "Chronometro Gondolo" watches, Gondolo & Labouriau introduced a lottery system for the members of its buyers' clubs, all passionate watch aficionados. For a modest sum, members would take part in a weekly lottery, with the chance to win a large size gold time only model. The lottery assured each participant to eventually acquire would "Chronometro Gondolo" for a very reasonable amount.
"Chronometro Gondolo" pocket watches (see lots 21 and 22) were available in several sizes, mainly in openface pink gold cases, fewer in yellow gold, or silver and even more rarely, nielloed silver. Diameters ranged from 32 to 57 mm., movements from 10''' to 22''' (22.5 to approximately 50 mm.), with a variety of dials and hands. Certain examples were fitted with centre seconds or a chronograph mechanism (see lot 21).
Watches bearing the celebrated designation "Chronometro Gondolo" featured a number of distinguished characteristics, including:
-stem-wound movement, ratchet wheels of the mainspring barrel arbor with wolf tooth winding and a square indentation for the release of the barrel spring
-9K gold wheel train
-straight line "moustache" lever escapement with a bimetallic compensation balance and a Breguet balance spring
-minimum of 18 jewels (18, 19, 20 or 21)
-cam wheel or snail cam regulator, allowing for very precise but practical adjustment of the watch, an improvement of Jean Adrien Philippe's French Patent no. 142376 of 16 April 1881
"Chronometro Gondolo" watches were Patek Philippe's only timepieces made with gold wheels in the 20th century.
Beginning in the 1920s, the firm introduced "Chronometro Gondolo" wristwatches, which were made in very small quantities and of amazingly avant-garde design. The watches were available in circular, square, rectangular, cushion and tonneau-shaped cases, of different sizes, the largest version boasting an impressive length of 40 mm. or 48 mm. including the lugs (see lot 27).
Around 1924, Gondolo & Labouriau changed its name to Relojoaria Gondolo.
Various examples of "Chronometro Gondolo" pocket and wristwatches are illustrated and described in Patek Philippe Museum - Patek Philippe Watches - Volume II, pp. 120 - 139.