Patek Philippe Calatrava: A new sparkling robe

The launch of Patek Philippe's Calatrava Ref. 7200/200R ushers in a new form of gemsetting artistry that adds extra brilliance to the fire of diamonds. The technique, with the name Flamme® registered for use in the horological industry, emphasizes the skills of the Genevan manufacture in the domain of watch exteriors and addresses the demand among many women for a classic piece of inimitable finesse.

Together with engraving and enameling, gemsetting ranks among the oldest artisanal techniques used to decorate watches. Even the very first portable timepieces were often lavishly adorned with precious stones. As a custodian of the grand Genevan traditions in craftsmanship, Patek Philippe has been preserving and furthering these and other rare handcrafts since the manufacture was founded in 1839. Many timepieces in the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva testify to this commitment. Under the supervision of Creative Director Sandrine Stern, the wife of manufacture president Thierry Stern, Patek Philippe has created a stunning collection of jewelled timepieces with a broad spectrum of gemsetting techniques ranging from the classic bead setting, prong and claw setting, and baguette setting to gridless pavé and the extremely challenging invisible setting, not to mention the precious stones of the Twenty~4® Haute Joaillerie watches that are set in gold appliques. This rich array of timepieces exhibits top-tier creativity, artistic sensitivity, and immaculate execution pursuant to the strict directives of the Patek Philippe Seal.

A trained eye and a steady hand

Patek Philippe is presenting a new gemsetting technique that magnificently enriches the portfolio of the current collection. For its première, the manufacture picked a model that is particularly popular among women: the Calatrava Ref. 7200 launched in 2013. It stands out with a sleek, subtle personality in an ultra-thin Officer’s-style case. The Flamme® gemsetting technique, employed on a watch case for the very first time, adds extra sparkle and lucidity to the ensemble of diamonds. The bezel of the Calatrava 7200/200R in rose gold features 142 diamonds set in two staggered rows. After the stones have been placed in their intended positions, the gemsetter manually sculpts the gold between the two rows into small prongs and then bends them over the diamonds either toward the outside or inside to secure the stones from above. Then, with the aid of a sharp burin and measured force, he carefully cuts a groove into the gold of the bezel between the diamonds, a process which requires great uniformity and a keen eye. In the next step, he forms small supports with the gold to the left and right of the groove to secure the diamonds lined up along it. The gemsetter completes the process by polishing the delicate prongs and the small flame-shaped supports and by verifying the secure seat of each stone. Thanks to staggered apertures beneath the stones, the light can also shine through them from below, thus amplifying the inherent fire of the diamonds. Because the prongs are offset against each other, they create a texture on the bezel that is reminiscent of bobbin lace. A refined detail: The crown is flanked with two tiny diamonds which assures that even the tiniest surface is diamond-set.

Stonesetting at its very finest

Like the stonesetting methods used for all of the manufacture’s other jewelry watches, the new Flamme® setting technique reflects the genuine artistry of master jewelers and is executed in accordance with the rules of the Patek Philippe Seal. To maximize gloss and achieve the ultimate in brilliance, the diamonds must comply with the strict Top Wesselton “fine white” color grade, be flawless, and exhibit an immaculate cut. The gemsetter also makes sure that all stones are set vertically, equidistantly in their axes, and evenly in depth. This eliminates protruding facets and keeps the diamonds precisely aligned with the contours of the case. The stones are always mechanically secured and never glued. The setting geometry is chosen to cover the largest possible area of the metal.

Elegance in beautiful harmony

In the new Calatrava 7200/200R, the Flamme® setting elegantly highlights the classic design of the ultra-thin Officer’s-style case in 18K rose gold with its gently curved flanks and the straight lugs with screwed strap bars. A silvery grained dial with applied Breguet numerals, minute pearls, and Poire Stuart hour and minute hands in rose gold underscore the harmony of this watch. This feminine appeal is emphasized by the hand-stitched shiny royal purple alligator strap with large square scales that is secured by a prong buckle decorated with 26 brilliant-cut diamonds. The course of time is tracked by the ultra-thin self-winding mechanical caliber 240 movement featuring a Spiromax® balance spring made of Silinvar®. Its 22K gold minirotor is completely recessed in the bridge plane. The architecture of this legendary movement and its lavish finissage (chamfering, perlage, and Geneva striping) can be admired through the sapphire-crystal case back.

With its understated style, the innovative Flamme® setting, and the exclusive mechanical movement, the Calatrava 7200/200R is a trailblazing embodiment of the timeless feminine classic.

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