Shadow like embroideries: the skeleton watch ref. 5180/1R by Patek Philippe
Guess what is it? LIght embroideries.
At Baselworld 2017, Patek Philippe introduced a new version of its rare and marvellous skeleton watch: the Calatrava “Squelette” Ref. 5180/1R in rose gold. It showcases the extremely rare craft of skeletonization alongside magnificent engravings to imbue the elegant mechanism with enigmatic sensuousness.
The aesthetic appeal and transparency with which the caliber 240 SQU keeps track of time makes it a miniature opus of kinetic art. The plate and bridges are pierced to the maximum extent possible to create a seductive view without compromising the reliability and functional integrity of the movement. The work involved requires not only artistic flair and a steady hand, it also calls for the skill of the watchmaker who knows exactly where the limits of skeletonization lie. The plate is open-worked even above the barrel, exposing the coiled mainspring beneath the pierced contour of the Calatrava cross, which has been a registered Patek Philippe trademark for over one hundred years. It takes more than a week to create the filigreed transparency of the movement, but at that point, the project is far from over.
The next steps take place on the workbench of the engraver who further refines the watch with his artisanal skills. He invests more than 130 hours to decorate the remaining structures with vivid arabesques and volutes. In the end, the skeletonized movement chassis is plated with rose gold and then polished to match the case and bracelet.
The self-winding caliber 240 SQU is framed by a movement holder ring in 18K rose gold 5N. The ring itself is also skeletonized down to 12 spokes that serve as hour markers. The assembled movement is accommodated in a rose-gold Calatrava case that puts the focus on the heart of the watch. With its large-format sapphire crystal glass and display back, the case assures total transparency yet offers optimized protection to 3 bar.
The great effort involved in skeletonization and engraving does not infringe any horological principles as evidenced by the rate parameters of the completed watch. With a tolerance of -3 to +2 seconds per day, its rate accuracy complies with the strict directives of the Patek Philippe Seal. This is due not least to the Spiromax® balance spring made of high-tech Silinvar®. Its purple iridescent shimmer is readily visible in the totally skeletonized movement.