Style / World of Watches (WOW)

50th Anniversary of the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse

The embodiment of two venerable art forms – engraving and enamel arts, the 2018 Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 5738/50P-001 is a 100-watch limited edition, accompanying it to the celebrations is a rose-gold Grand Taille series production model

May 04, 2018 | By Jonathan Ho

After the Calatrava, the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse is the second oldest watch in the maison. Patek Philippe recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the cult watch (we say “cult” because the Golden Ellipse is not as popular as it should be) at Baselworld 2018 by seeking specialist artisans to create a 100 piece limited edition series of Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse sets, each consisting of a platinum watch and matching cuff links.

History: 50th Years of the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse

Launched in 1968, the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse managed to achieve cult status as a symbol of the Geneva manufacture’s audacious yet harmonious vision for innovative watch design. At the time, the old elliptical case, a progenitor of the modern form watches popularised by Genta, was a blend of circle and rectangle in balance proportions inspired by the “golden section” aka golden ratio – the so called divine proportions of 1:1.6181. And thus imbued with this legendary aesthetic ratio long discovered by mathematicians and used by Ancient Greek artisans in creating the Parthenon, Patek Philippe created an architectural and artistic masterpieces in their Ref. 3548 Golden Ellipse, a svelte 27 x 32mm Patek Philippe dress watch so completely unlike the famed Calatrava, featuring a  blue-gold dial with sunburst effect.

The embodiment of two venerable art forms - engraving and enamel arts, the 2018 Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 5738/50P-001 is a 100-watch limited edition that pays tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Golden Ellipse.

The embodiment of two venerable art forms – engraving and enamel arts, the 2018 Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 5738/50P-001 is a 100-watch limited edition that pays tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Golden Ellipse.

By the 1970s, the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse had become adopted as an accessorial synonym for class and elegance and just shy of the 80s, the popularity of the Golden Ellipse had led to 65 unique variations in a myriad of sizes and precious materials. At its peak in 1979, Patek Philippe released three iterations, the Ref. 3880, Ref. 3858 and the 3839/1 where the Golden Ellipse adopted a more circle in square (as opposed to rectangle) case shape like the 3739/2 from 1977. Such where the many variations and play on shapes that in 1981, the boldest Golden Ellipse was a Nautilus Ellipse.

In its history, the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse has been paired in a variety of leather straps and metal bracelets in braided, chained and milanaise executions as well as dial colours and hour marker appliques. The famous ellipse design was eventually adopted for luxurious accessories such as cufflinks, rings and lighters.

 

Baselworld 2018 Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 5738/50P-001: A limited edition fusion of rare handcrafts

The embodiment of two venerable art forms – engraving and enamel arts, the 2018 Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 5738/50P-001 is a 100-watch limited edition that pays tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Golden Ellipse. The dial of the new 2018 Golden Ellipse is remarkably distinctive thanks to its 18k white gold engraved volute pattern set within black enamel. A single dial takes hours of work from a single master engraver, the slightest mistake mars the glossy enamel background and he has to start once again.

The crown of the new Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse is set with an onyx cabochon with the same color as the black enamel dial.

The crown of the new Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse is set with an onyx cabochon with the same color as the black enamel dial.

The hours and minutes are indicated with delicate satin-finished white gold cheveu hands, a dance of time across a delicately engraved stage reminiscent of the Calatrava cross, all serving to emphasize the harmony of the case’s golden ratio. The case back in solid platinum is decorated with the commemorative engraving “Ellipse d’Or 1968–2018”. The crown is set with an onyx cabochon with the same color as the black enamel dial. And as all Patek Philippe platinum watches, the Ref. 5738/50P-001 features a diamond set in the caseband at 6 o’clock.

The classic elegance of the new 2018 Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse with engraved enamel is borne with black hand stitched alligator strap and a platinum prong buckle echoing the shape of the elliptical case. The limited-edition Golden Ellipse comes in a box with white-gold cuff links featuring in the exclusive Golden Ellipse design: the black enamel inlay showcases hand-engraved volutes around a Calatrava cross.

2018 Golden Ellipse Jumbo 5738R-001

In 2008, Patek Philippe debuted a grand-taille Golden Ellipse in platinum to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the collection. Grand-taille or ‘large’ was an appellation to introduce watch connoisseurs to a “jumbo” edition of the Golden Ellipse collection oft perceived (rightly so) to only encompass diminutive dress watches. Although it can be argued that the 1977 36.4mm Ref. 3739/2 was already “large-ish”, officially, the provenance of the jumbo version Golden Ellipse begins in the maison’s recent history. For the 50th anniversary of the the Golden Ellipse, Patek Philippe, a new grand-taille version arises, this time in rose gold.

 For the 50th anniversary of the the Golden Ellipse, Patek Philippe, a new grand-taille version arises, this time in rose gold.

For the 50th anniversary of the the Golden Ellipse, Patek Philippe, a new grand-taille version arises, this time in rose gold.

For Baselworld 2018, Patek Philippe pairs the Ref. 5738R-001 Golden Ellipse in the warm glow of the polished precious metal with an ebony black sunburst dial adorned with applied hour markers and delicate cheveu hands in rose gold. A black onyx cabochon set in the winding crown rounds out the harmony of this timepiece. As in the other Golden Ellipse models, the strap attachment is discreetly concealed beneath the caseband. Matching cuff links in rose gold with sunburst ebony black inlays are also available with the latest Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse.

Editor’s Note: The new Golden Ellipse Ref. 5738R-001 in rose gold complements the grand-taille version in platinum with a blue dial. The smaller Ref. 3738/100 in yellow, white, and rose gold has been discontinued.

Limited 100-watch edition Golden Ellipse Ref. 5738/50P-001 Price and Specs

Movement Automatic Calibre 240 with 48 hours power reserve
Case 34.5mm platinum case protected against moisture and dust
Strap Alligator leather
Price SG$119,500 (incl. cufflinks)

Golden Ellipse Ref. 5738R-001 Price and Specs

Movement Automatic Calibre 240 with 48 hours power reserve
Case 34.5mm rose gold case protected against moisture and dust
Strap Alligator leather
Price SG$40,700

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