In case Geneva wasn’t on your travel itinerary earlier this year, you can now take an online tour of Patek Philippe’s Rare Handcrafts 2022 exhibition. The digital tour, designed to show off contemporary interpretations of ancient techniques by the house’s artisans, is a virtual peacock’s fan of virtuosic objets d’art.
The sumptuous show is an aesthetic swerve from the sleek, austere luxury that probably comes to mind when thinking of the heritage horologist. The brand does audacious color and ornamentation just as well, combining Swiss precision and artisanal techniques into a stellar 59-piece collection that was displayed for three weeks in the flagship’s salons in April. The selection of pocket watches, wristwatches, and clocks weren’t just timepieces, but handcrafted heirlooms and exquisitely enameled objects.
All the items are rich in technique and narrative, but the dome table clocks are particularly decadent in their splendor and construction, offering 360 degrees of storytelling—like desktop murals or sculptures.
In more portable formats, a selection of monkey-adorned watches derive from the work of Nicolas Huet the Younger (1770–1830), the French naturalist and resident painter of Paris’s Muséum d’Histore Naturell (as well as Empress Josephine’s personal menagerie). The four designs—featuring an African Diana monkey, a squirrel monkey, a marmoset, and a South American callithrix—are limited to editions of six watches per simian. Other animals, such as zebras, cheetahs, lions, and camouflaged chameleons, make guest appearances on other watches. The natural world then segues to themes of aviation and lively depictions of life in Las Vegas and Cuba.
The seemingly disparate subject matter has a cohesive through-line in that they all encapsulate and depict the beauty and wonder of our world. Here are some of our favorites from the collection.