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Patek Philippe Gondolo

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Patek Philippe Gondolo Cabriolet 5099 18k Pink & White Gold Patek Philippe Gondolo Cabriolet 5099 18k Pink & White Gold
$10,499

Patek Philippe Gondolo: Elegant and Rectangular

The Gondolo is Patek Philippe's rectangular dress watch. Its classic design was inspired by Art Deco and its case is made of either white, yellow, or rose gold. The Gondolo is available for men and women.

Highlights

  • Dress watch with a tonneau or rectangular case
  • In-house movement
  • Art Deco design made of yellow, red, or white gold
  • Luxurious diamond-set women's watches
  • Eight-day power reserve

Gondolo: Inspiration from Brazil

Patek Philippe introduced the Gondolo in 1993, making it a somewhat newer collection from this luxury watch manufacturer. The Calatrava, in contrast, has been produced since 1932. However, that doesn't mean the Gondolo doesn't have the traditional Patek roots. Its history goes all the way back to before the 1920s.
The history of the Gondolo actually began on November 12, 1872. Patek Philippe had delivered the first pocket watch to the Brazilian retailer Gondolo & Labouriau in Rio de Janeiro. The watches were known as Chronometro Gondolo in Brazil. More than 120 years later, the name was used again for the new collection.
A third of all Patek Philippe watches were sold in South America via this partnership towards the end of the 19th century. Rich Brazilians loved to wear Patek Philippe watches as status symbols. The Gondolo Gang sprung into existence, a group of rich watch lovers. They wore large, straw hats with "PATEK" written on the front to distinguish themselves as a member. Even at this time, owning a Patek Philippe was a way for someone to show off their social status and success. Only members of the Gondolo Gang could purchase a Chronometro Gondolo, however. The so-called gang was comprised of individual clubs, each with 180 members. In 1907, there were a total of 54 clubs in Brazil.
An ingenious sales strategy boosted revenues. In the Plano do Club Patek Philippe System, the members could pay for their watches in installments. One watch cost 790 Swiss francs, and every week members would pay 10 francs. If you were one of the unlucky ones, you'd pay 10 francs for 79 weeks. However, there was also a weekly lottery set up by Gondolo & Labouriau. If your name was drawn, then you didn't have to finish paying for your watch. With a little luck, many people were able to get their Pateks more or less for free - a pretty enticing offer. Starting in 1910, Patek Philippe began producing men's wristwatches, which were also shipped overseas.
The cooperation ended with the Brazilians in 1927, making the Chronometro Gondolo a piece of history. Around the same time, in the late 1920s, Art Deco became a popular art and design movement. It's a mix of elegance, playfulness, and decorative elements. Unlike the Bauhaus art school, Art Deco embraced the superfluous. The Gondolo design is definitely inspired by Art Deco, while the simple Calatrava has more of a Bauhaus feel.

Buying Advice

The Gondolo is most appealing to lovers of uniquely shaped watches, such as rectangular or oval watches. You have the choice between about a dozen different models for men and women. The Gondolo is currently available exclusively in yellow, white, or rose gold.
If you prefer a tonneau watch, then you should consider the Gondolo with reference number 5098. With its rose gold case, large artsy Arabic numerals, and hand-guilloched gold dial, it's also Art Nouveau-inspired. The 5098 has hour and minute hands and features the manual caliber 25-21-REC. The case measures in at 32 x 42 mm and has a sapphire crystal back. You can buy a new 5098 for around 27,000 euros.
The other men's versions of the current Gondolo series are not tonneau-shaped, but rather rectangular. They have the reference numbers 5124 and 5200 and have a somewhat more serious feel than the 5098. This is in part due to the dauphine hands and stick indices. If you want a look quite different from the rose gold 5098, then try the white gold version. The 5124 and 5200 both come with a sapphire glass case back, giving you a view of the movement.
The 5124 has a small seconds at the six o'clock position. The 5200 is a bit more intricate when it comes to complications. It has a day of the week display in the bottom half of the dial near a date by hand display. The hand points to the day of the month on a scale from 1 to 31. The 8-day power reserve display is located on the top half of the dial. The simple 5124 costs around 20,000 new, while the more complicated 5200 costs about 45,000 euros new.
The Gondolo is a refreshing, classy alternative to other well-known uniquely shaped watches, such as the Cartier Tank or the Reverso from Jaeger-LeCoultre. All of these watches are considered dress watches and pair well with a suit.
If you're looking for a women's watch, then you're in luck: You can find an astounding number of pre-owned gold watches in good to very good condition for less than 10,000 euros. Most of these watches are quartz-powered, which accounts for their lower price. The most expensive women's watches in the collection, on the other hand, have mechanical movements and are set with diamonds. The 7099 model has an impressive 847 diamonds on the case and dial. You should be prepared to spend 70,000 to 100,000 euros for such a watch.

Founders & Patenters

Patek Philippe has existed since 1851. Antoni Patek (1811 - 1877), a Polish exile, began working with the Frenchman Adrien Philippe (1815 - 1894) in 1845 in Geneva, Switzerland. A year prior, Philippe had invented the crown, which wound and set pocket watches. Before this creation, watches required a key to wind their movements.
Patek and Philippe sold two watches to Queen Victoria in 1851 at the Great Exposition in London, an important sale for the fledgling business. European nobility quickly became regular customers. Tiffany & Co. ordered 130 watches. Patek Philippe acquired many patents in the following years, such as the patent for the first double chronograph in 1902. In 1925, the company introduced the first wristwatch with a perpetual calendar.
Brothers Jean and Charles Henri Stern bought the company in 1932. Since then, Patek has belonged to the Stern family. Previously, the Sterns had produced dials exclusively for Patek Philippe. Thierry Stern took over the company in 2009 from his father. Every year, Patek Philippe produces around 50,000 watches. Aside from Rolex, it's one of the few independent luxury watch manufacturers left. If you're looking for comparable watches from a different brand, then take a look at the Glashütte-based company !{man- alangesoehne,A. Lange & Söhne}.