World of Patek
Article from the BEYOND magazine, Edition 30
Anecdotes, background and insights from the world’s foremost watch brand.
INTERVIEW: Nicolas Afonso (1992), customer adviser in the Patek Philippe Boutique at Beyer
Your favourite model?
The Calatrava Ref. 5088/100P-001: With its volutes and arabesques in platinum on a black enamel dial, it is the best example of how a Patek Philippe watch is never just a timepiece, but always a work of art too. Each year, very small numbers of these watches are made by hand using traditional methods.
Your favourite complication?
The minute repeater! All the levers and wheels, beautifully arranged in the smallest of spaces, that have to engage precisely to make the tiny hammer hit the gong spring (which incidentally has to be of a good length to give a perfect sound): It’s an almost inconceivable miniature wonder.
Your favourite innards?
For me, a kind of holy grail of watchmaking artistry is the calibre CHR 29-535 PS Q, a combination of a split-second chronograph and perpetual calendar, so beautifully crafted that it almost brings tears to my watchmaker’s eyes.
What his boss says about him:
“Mr Afonso is not just a qualified watchmaker, but also a gifted artist. He paints pictures and once played the violin in a symphony orchestra for a while. He understands and appreciates complex compositions – and that applies to watches too.”
YET ANOTHER REASON
During the refurbishment of Beyer Chronometrie, one of Zurich’s top ten attractions will regrettably also remain closed: the Beyer Clock and Watch Museum, home to the world’s most important private collection. Another good reason to make a trip to Geneva once the corona crisis has passed, to visit the utterly exceptional Patek Philippe Museum in the Plainpalais district. It is divided into two collections: one comprising antique timepieces from the 16th to 19th centuries, including the oldest Patek Philippe; the other showing the most beautiful treasures from the company’s own workshops, such as the legendary Calibre 89, which stands as the most complicated watch ever made. When certain exhibits from the Patek Philippe Museum go on tour, such as to New York or Singapore, they create a real hype. And we have them virtually on our doorstep in the middle of Geneva, an exciting little day trip from Zurich.
Circular and minimalist in its design: the Calatrava model is considered “the perfect watch” and is at the origin of the meteoric rise of Patek Philippe.
1932 Ref. 96: the famous original Calatrava.
1985 Ref. 3919: one of the most sought-after Calatravas.
1989 Ref. 3960: the first in an officer-style case with a hinged back.
2016 Ref. 7200/200R: the ladies’ Calatrava.
2017 Ref. 5522A: steel watch, made exclusively for the exhibition in New York.