In 1902, Patek Philippe created pocket watches for a prestigious watch and jewellery retailer based in Rio de Janeiro, named ‘Gondolo & Labouriau’. The first watch produced was an exclusive timepiece, the ‘Chronometro Gondolo’, equipped with a gold gear train. This pocket watch was the first dual-branded timepiece created for the Brazilian retailer. However, the Genevan based maison had already enjoyed a long relationship with the Gondolo & Labouriau that harked back to 1872 with the supply of the first Patek Philippe timepiece, an 18-lignes pocket watch presented in silver.
After the release of the first model in 1902, Patek Philippe went on to create numerous special models bearing the two words, ‘Chronometro Gondolo’. This relationship continued up to 1927. The first wristwatches created for Gondolo & Labouriau were released in the 1920s and were strongly influenced by the prevailing Art Deco period, embracing both cushion-shaped and rectangular forms.
In 1993, Patek Philippe launched its ‘Gondolo’ collection of men’s and ladies’ watches, eschewing conventional round cases and embracing the notion of ‘form watches’, popularised during the Art Deco movement. The selection of men’s watches is diverse. The tonneau-shaped Reference 5098 features a hand-guilloché dial and bears the iconic words, ‘Chronometro Gondolo’. Its curved case back follows the contour of the wrist, augmenting wearer comfort.
In 2013, the Swiss maison released the Reference 5200, featuring a hand-wound movement, power-reserve indicator, day and date displays, all handsomely packaged within a rectangular shaped case. The case exquisitely captured the Art Deco style with two-tiered flanks positioned either side of the sapphire crystal, heightening the sense of depth.
Today’s ladies’ models include Haute joaillerie timepieces, sometimes equipped with quartz movements, gem-set cases and guilloched mother of pearl dials. However, would-be female buyers seeking the allure of a mechanical watch are magnificently served with the gorgeous Reference 7041 which blends the manually-wound Caliber 215PS with a dial adorned with 108 diamonds, all nestled within a cushion-shaped case.