In the world of horology Patek Philippe is considered by most to be the crème de la crème of watchmakers. Originally Antoni Patek established the company in 1839 with the assistance of Franciszek Czapek. Subsequently they parted ways and Antoni joined forces with French horologist Adrien Philippe. Together they produced exquisite timepieces for royal clientele including Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and the King and Queen of Denmark.
Within the industry Patek Philippe are synonymous for the production of exceptionally complicated mechanical movements. Most collectors aspire to own their timepieces as they offer an unrivalled level of prestige. They also command staggering prices, sometimes well in excess of a million dollars. In fact at an auction in 2010 a chronograph dating back to 1943 was purchased for the unbelievable price of $5,500,000.
In June this year (2013) I published an article entitled ‘If Money Was No Object’. As the title suggests the editorial showcased five aspirational watches that might tempt a fortunate lottery winner. The sensational Sky Moon Tourbillon was one of my choices for its sheer elegance. This superb creation is one of the company’s most intricate designs and consists of 12 complications including a minute repeater, tourbillon and perpetual calendar. The dial also displays champlevé and cloisonné techniques of enameling. Incidentally this is the first and only model I have featured from Patek Philippe so far. On a business trip to Sydney I got the opportunity to try on another one of their magnificent timepieces. The model in question was from their Grand Complication range and is called the Platinum Celestial 6102P.
My first impression of the Platinum Celestial 6102P was how luxurious the watch looked and felt. The watch has a case diameter of 44mm, which in my opinion suits the style of the piece. These proportions should also appeal to the serious collector, as they are not too imposing. On the wrist the watch felt very comfortable and there was no protrusion or friction from the lugs. Primarily this is down to the sophisticated case design and use of opulent Platinum in production. This material has an absolutely beautiful appearance and really is in a class of its own. I suspect a watch of this caliber wouldn’t be worn on daily basis and only for extra special occasions.
A few weeks ago I reviewed the Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Tradition Grande Complication, which is approximately the same size and follows a similar theme. Visually the facades of both of these watches are utterly mesmerising. The dial on the Platinum Celestial 6102P is composed of three metalized sapphire-crystal discs. These rotate on a teeth/gear system to track the orbital position of the moon and the moon phases. They also skilfully depict a beautiful illustration of the sky as viewed from Geneva, Switzerland. Other striking features include the intricate hour/minute hands and chapter ring displaying the date. Overall the design is magnificent and the attention to detail is superlative.
To power this objet d’art Patek Philippe have equipped it with the complex Caliber 240 LU CL C. This mechanical self-winding movement comprises 45 jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz). Each of the 315 components has been hand decorated including the 22 karat gold (off centre) mini rotor. All this incredible craftsmanship is displayed through the sapphire crystal case back. The Platinum Celestial 6102P has a staggering list of functions. The watch features hours, minutes, date, Sky chart, phases and orbit of the Moon.
The Platinum Celestial 6102P has a hand stitched blue alligator strap with platinum folding clasp. Priced for the connoisseur at: $345,550. (Available to purchase at: http://www.jfarrenprice.com.au).