"Rare Handcrafts" timepieces

"Rare Handcrafts" timepieces: Artisanship beyond compare

< Discover the Rare Handcrafts 2013 collection in the exhibition catalogue

The Patek Philippe Salons on Rue du Rhône in Geneva hosted from May 28th to June 1st 2013 an exhibition entitled "Rare Handcrafts" in which the focus was on the external elements of watches: cases, dials, and bracelets. It featured an eclectic selection of 47 exclusive Patek Philippe timekeeping instruments – wristwatches, pocket watches, and table clocks – for which the most eminent masters of now rare artisanal talent were able to demonstrate their incomparable skills.

The rare handcrafts encompass a number of fascinating decorative techniques that were used to adorn the dials and cases of clocks and watches for centuries. They helped establish the reputation of Geneva all over the world and the respective masterpieces were coveted by emperors, kings, tsars, and ruling families throughout Europe and Asia. Magnificent works of art were created and endowed with elaborate engravings, lavish enamel decorations, as well as unique goldsmithing and gemsetting artistry.

They lived up to the precision, complexity, and exquisite finishing of famous Geneva-made movements in every respect. Some of these handcrafts are still flourishing, while others gradually faded away in the course of the past decades, reaching the brink of extinction – in danger of vanishing from the collective memory of human society. But over fifty years ago, under the auspices of the Stern family, Patek Philippe began to secure the future of these rare occupations.