The Patek Philippe Grande and Petite Sonnerie Minute Repeater, Ref: 6301A-010
Only Watch

Guilloché-a-Go-Go: Mesmerizing Engine-Turned Dials Dazzle at the Upcoming Only Watch Auction

It’s exciting to once again see one-of-a-kind timepieces in the spotlight as the May 10th Only Watch auction approaches. So, today, we’re showcasing three remarkable lots that are each a masterpiece skillfully crafted by esteemed guilloché artisans from Switzerland and the United States.

By Henri Lee

Only Watch, the watch industry’s premier fundraising event, is marking its 10th edition on Friday, May 10th, and it has ignited creativity, fostered collaborations, and stirred excitement among the watch community worldwide.

And since the artistic ingenuity of fine watchmaking shines most brilliantly through its dial designs, particularly those meticulously handcrafted through the art of engine turning, or guilloché, today, we’ll spotlight three exceptional timepieces, masterfully crafted by the most esteemed Guilloché artisans in both Switzerland and America.

The Patek Philippe Grande & Petite Sonnerie Minute Repeater, Ref. 6301A-010

Patek Philippe recently unveiled its submission for Only Watch. And with a grand and petite sonnerie and a minute repeater underneath its dial featuring blue-green Grand Feu enamel and a hand-guilloched swirling pattern, this lot truly stands out!

The estimated auction price is between CHF 1.5 million and CHF 1.8 million; however, the hammer price is expected to surpass this considerably. So, let’s start by delving into the chiming functions, and then we’ll discuss its rare and exquisite guilloché dial.

A grand sonnerie chimes each new hour with the corresponding number of low-pitched strikes. At each quarter-hour, it first sounds the hours on the low-pitched gong, followed by a concert of the gong and chimes that signifies the number of elapsed quarter-hours. In the petite sonnerie mode, the low-pitched gong for hours will not sound on the quarter- or half-hours. A minute repeater, on the other hand, announces the hours, quarter-hours, and minutes on demand (usually at the push of a button).

The Reference 6301P-001, Patek Philippe’s first timepiece combining the grand and petite sonnerie and minute repeater, debuted in 2020 with a platinum case.

It was a magnificent timepiece and one of the most complicated watches released by Patek Philippe in recent years. Unsurprisingly, the unique piece for Only Watch, the Reference 6301A-010, is derived from 6301P-001; however, the version for Only Watch is adorned with a dial of Rare Handcrafts status, a designation reserved only for Patek Philippe’s highest level of craftsmanship.

The dial for the Ref. 6301A-010 began as a gold plate, manually engine-turned to produce a swirling pattern. And, of course, the complexity of the guilloché only increases as the pattern converges at the center.

The guilloché surface was then coated with enamel paint and subjected to high temperatures in an oven, a delicate process known as the flinqué enamel technique. The result is a translucent, blue-green enamel that reveals the beautiful guilloché pattern shining beneath.

The Calibre GS 36-750 PS IRM powering this tremendous timepiece includes an astonishing 703 parts, features three classic gongs, has power reserve indicators for the movement and the strikework, and boasts a jumping seconds display. On the power reserve indicators, two words are inscribed and stand out: “ONLY ONE.”

Voutilainen Cushion Shape Worldtime (CSW) Only Watch

Mr. Kari Voutilainen is a master watchmaker at the pinnacle of his career, but he is especially known for his breathtaking hand-guilloché dials. And for the latest Only Watch auction, Kari donated a brand new timepiece, a cushion-shaped world timer with a new movement.

The elegant shape of this piece echoes the cushion pocket watch made for the 2019 Only Watch auction by Kari and his daughter Venla, a young watchmaker in her own right. However, this new piece has a case made from titanium, with short, curved lugs to ensure comfort on the wrist, satin finishing, and polished surfaces.

Meanwhile, the eye-catching feature of this lot, its stunning green dial, consists of a sunburst guilloché pattern divided into 24 sections and split in two by a ring with “VOUTILAINEN” and “HAND MADE” applied to it. Beyond the outer section of the guilloché is a 24-hour ring with yellow and gray portions for day and night and a time zone ring with 24 cities.

Fun Fact: Among the famous places listed on the time zone ring are “MOTIERS” for Kari’s first workshop location and “KEMI” for Kari’s hometown in Finland.

Upside Down Blue Feather by Ludovic Ballouard and Brittany Nicole Cox

First released in 2015, the Upside Down by the Geneva-based brand Ludovic Ballouard is a grail watch for many collectors, especially those who favor independent watchmaking. Not least of the many reasons why is that the “standard” model features a novel time display and is powered by an ingeniously designed movement to make it possible. Moreover, the Upside Down has a long waitlist due to its low production volume.

A guilloché artist based in the USA and one of few independent female clock- and watchmakers in the industry, Brittany Nicole Cox is highly skilled at engine-turned, hand-done guilloché decoration and opened her Seattle-based workshop Memoria Technica in 2015.

After meeting due to their participation in the documentary Making Time (2022), Ballouard invited Cox to collaborate on this special Only Watch creation.

Cox, inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poem “Hope is the Thing with Feathers,” designed and made the dial by hand. The soaring birds denote optimism, resilience, and perseverance, while their blue feathers symbolize giving back.

This dial was not easy to produce, as it was done on an antique engine-turning machine from 1935. Moreover, due to the twisting deformation of the pattern, it took several attempts to perfect. However, the result is stunning guilloché that lines up seamlessly with the Upside Down complication. It comes as no surprise that this timepiece has garnered such strong admiration from watch collectors.

The upcoming Only Watch auction, scheduled on Friday, May 10th, 2024, will showcase 47 lots of extraordinary, one-of-a-kind timepieces. The fortunate winners will be granted the privilege of possessing these highly sought-after watches (among them, the three pieces highlighted here) crafted by the most skilled watchmakers and guilloché artists.

And receive each week a custom selection of articles.

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