Today’s high-end watch aficionados increasingly seek unique products; watches that no one else has and reflect their personality. Some brands offer bespoke watches, but companies specialised in watch customisation services are one avenue to exclusivity and personalisation. There are a handful of such companies, but Artisans de Genève is in a league of its own. This independent workshop does not manufacture or sell watches but is commissioned by clients to transform their watches. What has really put Artisans de Genève on the map is its expertise and approach to creating something truly unique. While most players typically offer blacked-out versions of Rolex timepieces, Artisans de Genève goes a few steps further. The Blausée, a skeletonised and hand-wound take on the Rolex Daytona is an example of its approach and capabilities. One of the latest commissions is even more surprising… A client entrusted the company with reinterpreting an absolute icon, a Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711!
Note: Artisans de Genève is an independent company specialized in the personalization of timepieces. Artisans de Genève is not affiliated with PATEK PHILIPPE SA nor authorized by them to intervene on their products for any reason whatsoever. This personalization was ordered for his private use by a customer who owns a Patek Philippe® timepiece.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus needs little introduction (more info about the model’s history here). Patek’s take on the luxury sports watch was introduced in 1976. Nicknamed the Jumbo, the original reference 3700 was discontinued in 1990, and its direct descendant, the reference 5711, was launched in 2006. This horological icon is one of the most sought-after watches on the market today. Is it relevant to transform a 5711? Although opinions are bound to differ on the question, one thing is clear, the way Artisans de Genève has personalised this Patek Philippe icon is rather impressive.
Pushing the envelope of custom watch design
The idea here was not to transform a few components but to create a unique skeletonised version of the 5711. This customisation work implied the recreation of the external components of a watch (the habillage, for those eager to build their French watchmaking vocabulary) and even the movement, which has been thoroughly transformed.
The case has been fitted with a forged carbon bezel, a signature of Artisans de Genève and the caseback now features specific engravings. To reveal the movement, the dial was entirely skeletonised and bevelled by hand. It is satin-brushed with a matte finish. The rose gold markers enhance the subtle colour contrast. New hands were made specifically for this project to ensure an optimal match with the movement. These are carved, bevelled, and satin-finished by hand.
The movement itself is where more substantial work was involved. Skeletonising the PP 26-330 calibre required much more than just disassembling it, carving out metal and redecorating some parts. Artisans de Genève mentions that it took them three years to achieve this design. Each piece is decorated by hand with top-notch finishing. This can be appreciated, for instance, on the openworked balance bridge with its mirror-polished finish. The overall anthracite treatment gives the movement a resolutely modern look. Last, the gold rotor is openworked and bevelled by hand.
Overall, this customisation process gives the watch a distinctly modern and technical look. Naturally, many Patek Philippe aficionados will think that this is inappropriate and that the Nautilus is perfect as it is and does not need touch-ups. But the way this personalisation has been performed to realize the wish of a private collector is quite impressive.
For more information, please visit www.artisansdegeneve.com.