Two Engraved Skeletonized Beauties: The Patek Philippe ‘Art Piece” 5180/1 And The IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère Squelette Watches

Two Engraved Skeletonized Beauties: The Patek Philippe ‘Art Piece” 5180/1 And The IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère Squelette Watches

Two Engraved Skeletonized Beauties: The Patek Philippe Art Piece 5180/1 And The IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère Squelette Watches   feature articles This is not going to be one of those articles that is seeped in watch movement technicalities. This is going to be about the visual appreciation of thorough watch decoration. Sometime you want a watch that is just stunning to look at. You gaze deeply in its rich complexity noticing minute details bearing the attention of the engraving tools, and you consider again, that luxury has a face.

IWC and Patek Philippe are known for creating high quality, high desire watches. Though they are not known for highly decorated watches, at least on the face. Rather, most IWC and Patek Philippe watches are conservative and classic, but in a good way. These watches represent extremes for the brands, and as such are limited editions. I"d like for you to compare the different types of engraving that the watches have. The IWC is done by the wonderful Jochen Benzinger, while Patek Philippe uses another (perhaps internal) process that is more like arabesque.

Two Engraved Skeletonized Beauties: The Patek Philippe Art Piece 5180/1 And The IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère Squelette Watches   feature articles Both watches are also skeletonized. This is an interesting process whereby decoration on the movement is complimented by an actually decorated movement. Almost all necessary metal is removed, and just the bare 'skeleton' of the movement is retained. This way you can seriously appreciate all aspects of the watch. Skeletonized watches make the dials less legible, but the trade off is having a beautiful machine to look at on your wrist.

The Patek Philippe 5180 and 5181 (two different metals used) are part of Patek Philippe's Art Collection. Watches that are designed to be beautiful. This 39mm wide watch contains Patek Philippe's own Caliber 240 automatic movement, that has a mini-rotor. Why a mini-rotor? because it allows for better view of the movement, that is why they were developed. The movement is pretty basic, just the time, but you'd never know it was simple based on how lovely it looks. Like the best skeletonized watches, you see right through the movement through the double sapphire crystal windows (with a slight blue tint). Really nice watch, and you can sure there there is mostly gold in this case and bracelet.

Two Engraved Skeletonized Beauties: The Patek Philippe Art Piece 5180/1 And The IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère Squelette Watches   feature articles The IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère Squelette is a different type of skeletonized watch altogether. Rather than decorating a simple movement as with the Patek Philippe 5180, IWC decorated what is essentially a very complex movement; an IWC-manufactured 5000 calibre. Along with having the time and date, this watch includes a tourbillon escapement and a seven day power reserve, which is a lot for an automatic watch. There are further items of interest in the movement which represents a pinnacle of what IWC can achieve, but I will leave it at that.

You could argue that the level of detail in the IWC decoration is above that of the Patek Philippe. You'd be correct, but they repersent different styles. The 150 IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère Squelette watches (50 in Platinum, 50 in rose gold, 50 in white gold) will (or were) be given to Jochen Benzinger whose shop hand machines each watch meticulously with special "engine tuners." While the 44mm Portuguese case remains clean and solid, Benzinger goes to work on every square millimeter of the movement with an impressive level of detail and attention. The decorations seems to frame the flying tourbillon, and the small subdials for the date and seconds. Turn the watch over, and you'll notice a typical Benzinger style decorated rotor with the IWC logo painstakenly applied to the a gold section on the rotor.

Two Engraved Skeletonized Beauties: The Patek Philippe Art Piece 5180/1 And The IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère Squelette Watches   feature articles These two watches are not cheap, with the IWC likely to be much more ($$$$$$). Regardless they are amazingly impressive, with my pick being the IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère Squelette, although the Patek Philippe is an amazing depiction of what a traditional skeletonized watch should be. Overall, these watches are something that you wear to look at, being distracted by the generous level of detail, only to forget to check what time it is, and back again for another look.

See IWC, Patek Philippe, and Benzinger watches on eBay here.

See IWC watches on Amazon here.Two Engraved Skeletonized Beauties: The Patek Philippe Art Piece 5180/1 And The IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère Squelette Watches   feature articles

See Patek Philippe watches on Amazon here.Two Engraved Skeletonized Beauties: The Patek Philippe Art Piece 5180/1 And The IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère Squelette Watches   feature articles



Two Engraved Skeletonized Beauties: The Patek Philippe Art Piece 5180/1 And The IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère Squelette Watches   feature articles
PATEK PHILIPPE WATCH ADVERTISING CLIPPING 1995
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Two Engraved Skeletonized Beauties: The Patek Philippe Art Piece 5180/1 And The IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère Squelette Watches   feature articles
PATEK PHILIPPE WATCH ADVERTISING CLIPPING 1983
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Two Engraved Skeletonized Beauties: The Patek Philippe Art Piece 5180/1 And The IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère Squelette Watches   feature articles
PATEK PHILIPPE WATCH ADVERTISING CLIPPING 1985
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3 comments
Stephen Delaney
Stephen Delaney

Hi Ariel,
Could you imagine one little slip of the wrist after all those hours of work, talk about patience!
My grandfather was a jeweler in Germany and its funny I went to visit my mom on Wednesday of last week and we were talking about my Grandfather and how long his nails were on his fingers. I never realized it before she mentioned it, but, as soon as she did, I remembered when we would go and visit them I always wondered why his nails were so long! My mom explained that "it made it easier to pick up all the very small components that made up these watches. We talked for at least an hour about how he would come home from the city with his briefcase loaded with jewlery and expensive watches, and how concerned my gandmother was for his safety! It's funny how genetics work and where my passion for watches came from! Maybe from him? He gave me two pocket watches when I was a kid and I have them to this day, one in white gold, and one in yellow a matching set, the white gold watch still works, the one in yellow gold doesn't.
If you guys could only hear some of the stories my mom tells about her parents. I wish I could go back in time, to meet them again (my grandparents), I think I would have alot more resepect and admoration for what they have been through and what they acomplished back in the day. I know one thing, I would have had alot more questions for my grandfather regarding fine time pieces!
Regards,
Stephen Delaney

admin
admin

Kyle,
The precision needed to apply these types of engravings is intense and requires an extremely high amount of discipline and patience.
Many of the tools are like small Dremel tool drills. Thin, quickly rotating points that are guided by a machine are typical methods used. A lot is actually done by hand. When considering why a watch costs so much money, consider the many hours it takes to apply such decoration, and you begin to understand why you are paying for many hours of a professional watch maker's time.

Kyle
Kyle

OUTSTANDING! Of all the many components of a watch that can be enjoyed, I think I appreciate a finely engraved movement or dial the most. It is hard for me to fathom the immense amount of skill and care that is required to achieve such beauty at such a scale. Thanks for sharing.