Patek Philippe presents two limited edition Calatrava models that combine the legendary ultra-thin self-winding caliber 240 movements with rare artistic and handcrafting skills preserved and promoted by the venerable Swiss watch manufacture based in Geneva. With the new Calatrava “Azulejos” Ref. 5089G-61 and -062, Patek Philippe promote the art of miniature painting on enamel which gained world fame in the 18th and 19th centuries and now, for the first time, is being used to depict so-called azulejo motifs.
Azulejo refers to a form of artistry of Arabic origin which in Portugal and southern Spain gained widespread recognition. Individual square ceramic tiles are assembled in a mosaic-like fashion to create murals that adorn extravagant villas as well as many buildings, walls, and façades in public spaces. The fascinating tile ensembles are extremely weather resistant and can withstand significant temperature fluctuations, torrential rainfall as well as the salty air in coastal regions. They can easily survive even centuries of exposure. Azulejos can be multicolored or monochrome, whereby blue is particularly commonplace. For Sandrine Stern, Head of Watch Creation at Patek Philippe, it was particularly enticing to reproduce this art in miniature painting on enamel, a rare handcraft to which the manufacture is deeply committed. Together with her husband, manufacture president Thierry Stern, she was determined to create a series of rare handcrafts wristwatches in limited editions featuring dials with azulejo motifs in fascinating blue nuances.
The two Calatrava models – Ref. 5089G-061 (The barge) and 5089G-062 (The porter) – exhibit the uniqueness of this art form. Each portrait is applied to a thin round plate in 18K gold that serves as a canvas for the miniature enamel painting. As a first step, the back of the plate must be covered with a so-called contre-émail coating that prevents the deformation of the dial in the subsequent firing passes at 800 to 850°C in the enamel kiln. This is followed by the application of a white enamel primer on the front side. Layer by layer, the artist then adds enamel paints in various shades of blue to recreate, with as much fidelity as possible, the template – a large-format azulejo – on the confines of a small dial.
Using the trompe l’oeil technique, the ceramic look is imitated to a stunning degree, as if the dial were composed of many tiny tiles. When performing this precision work, the enamel artist relies on a binocular microscope and uses brushes that consist of a single badger hair when painting particularly minuscule details. The enamel compounds for the different colors are prepared with finely ground glasslike powders blended with metal oxides and specific oils to obtain the desired hues. The artist must also consider in advance that firing can change the saturation and shade of the individual colors, so the constituents of the compound must be adjusted accordingly. In a painstaking process, one enamel layer after another is applied and fired, always with the risk that the smallest mistake in the oven settings would cause irreversible damage to the dial. The creation of a single azulejos dial calls for a dozen firing passes. After each one, the work piece must be slowly cooled in a controlled manner to prevent stress cracks in the enamel compound. In the end, the finished miniature is sealed with a highly transparent enamel coating that preserves the beauty of the motif for all time.
To keep the focus on the magnificent enamel dial, the classic round Calatrava case in 18K white gold is very understated with a smoothly polished bezel and lugs that are gently fluted from the caseband. The same applies to the straight Dauphine hands in 18K white gold. In the Ref. 5089G-061 (The barge), they have a silvery shine. In the Ref. 5089G-062 (The porter), they stand out with a blue PVD coating.
Both models beat to the rhythm of the caliber 240, an ultra-thin self-winding movement with an off-center recessed minirotor in 22K gold. Even though it is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2017, the caliber fulfills all of the requirements of the Patek Philippe Seal, known to be the strictest set of quality specifications in the industry. They assure not only superb rate accuracy (-3 to +2 seconds per day) but also mandate perfect finissage with decorative Geneva striping, polished chamfers, gold-filled engravings and much more. The movement showcases its beauty with the sapphire-crystal case back protected by a hinged cover in 18K white gold. The exquisite appearance of these watches is underscored by a hand-stitched black alligator strap with large square scales, traditionally secured with a prong buckle in 18K white gold.
Model: Calatrava Ref. 5089G
Ultra-thin self-winding mechanical movement
Diameter: 27.5 mm
Height: 2.53 mm
Number of parts: 161
Number of jewels: 27
Power reserve: Min. 48 hours
Winding rotor: 22K gold minirotor, unidirectionally winding
Frequency: 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour (3 Hz)
Balance spring: Spiromax® (in Silinvar®)
Balance spring stud: Adjustable
• Pushed home To wind the watch
• Pulled out: To set the time
Hours and minutes
Patek Philippe Seal
18-carat white gold
Sapphire crystal back beneath a hinged cover in 18K white gold
Water resistant to 30 m (3 bar)
Case dimensions: Diameter (10 to 4 o’clock): 38.60 mm
Width (9 to 3 o’clock incl. crown): 40.55 mm
Length (across lugs): 45.9 mm
Overall height (crystal to lugs): 9.17 mm
Height (crystal to display back): 9.0 mm
Width between lugs: 21 mm
18K gold with miniature azulejo paintings on enamel
• Ref. 5089G-061 with “The porter” motif
• Ref. 5089G-062 with “The barge” motif
Dauphine hour and minute hands:
• Ref. 5089G-061 18K white gold
• Ref. 5089G-062 18K white gold with blue PVD coating
Hand-stitched alligator leather with large square scales, shiny black, 21- mm prong buckle in 18K white gold