At Patek Philippe, beauty is paramount. Crucially, this goes beyond purely the design aesthetics of the timepiece and represents the mechanical perfection in every component; from the movement, the case, the dial… to the numerals. This never-ending pursuit of beautiful perfection demands an unparalleled level of quality and fine workmanship. What then, does this mean for the numerals of a Patek Philippe watch, when anything less than perfection is unacceptable?
At Patek Philippe, beauty is paramount. Crucially, this goes beyond just the design aesthetics of the watch and represents the mechanical perfection in every component; from the movement, and the case, to the numerals.
When Thierry Stern, President of Patek Philippe, wanted the most beautiful, hand-set gold numerals for a new timepiece, he was willing to wait for them. For years, in fact. Normally, numerals of this size had been printed due to the intricacy and small size. But such patient dedication to detail and drive for perfection is worth it; “my solid gold numerals make a difference to the beauty of this Patek Philippe watch. And beauty is all that counts.”
When Thierry Stern, President, asked for hand-set gold retrograde date numerals, he had to wait. Patience is worth it; “Beauty is all that counts.”
The beauty of a perfect numeral
For Patek Philippe watches, the numerals for the retrograde date display are usually printed onto the dial. For the Ref. 5496 Patek Philippe felt it could be improved, and could be even more beautiful. So, for a new version of the Perpetual Calendar with retrograde date, each solid gold numeral was finished and then set by hand. The development process took a number of years, due to their size and complexity, but the end result was exquisite in its beauty and execution. Proof that patience is needed when striving for perfection.
Ref. 5496P’s gold date numerals are finished and set by hand. They took years to develop, but the result is proof that patience is needed for perfection.
The irreplaceable skill of hand-finishing
The gold numerals are an example of our dedication to hand-finishing (or Savoir-Faire) and outlines why it is integral to the Patek Philippe philosophy; we take great pride in that each of our watches are finished by hand by a trained specialist, with skills nurtured over many years, and sometimes passed down through generations.
The creation of the gold numerals are an example of dedication to hand-finishing (or Savoir-Faire), something integral to the Patek Philippe philosophy.
Savoir Faire Explained
The term “hand-finishing” includes a wide array of fine decorations and subtle enhancements, painstakingly manually performed on watch components once they’ve come from the machine that produced them. Hand-finishing of any kind calls for hard-won knowledge or centuries-old techniques – as well as great dexterity, since it’s often carried out on minuscule surfaces you’d struggle to see with the naked eye.
The term “hand-finishing” includes a wide array of fine decorations and subtle enhancements, manually performed on all watch components.
The Patek Philippe seal
A Patek Philippe watch’s beauty is in its elaborate jewel-like finish, performed entirely by hand with an ingenuity, dedication and respect, difficult for a machine to replicate. It is why Patek Philippe stands unmatched in its field. This standard of excellence is embodied in the Patek Philippe Seal, the benchmark applied to all our mechanical watches that guarantees the company’s quality criteria – the strictest in Swiss watchmaking – have been met.
A standard of excellence applied to all our mechanical watches that guarantees the company’s quality criteria – the strictest in Swiss watchmaking.