Patek Philippe Tonneau-shaped Gondolo


Tonneau-shaped Gondolo

A totally new jeweled watch design with an unusual relief pattern
La Cote des Montres - July 8th, 2007

But there are more facets that make this watch a paragon of refined timepiece design. Its flanks are decorated with a reliefed, braided tress pattern that will make every woman’s heart skip a beat. The Ref. 4949 wouldn’t be a Patek Philippe watch if there were not something very special about this decorative braiding.


The remarkable art of casemaking


The amazing braided pattern is not engraved or milled into the finished case. Instead, it is embossed into the flanks during the cold-forming process that converts a solid block of white gold into a stunning case. During the casemaking process, a coarse case blank is first punched out of an 18K white-gold bar and then, in several consecutive steps, pressed into its ultimate shape in a die-and-punch pair compressed with a force of several tons. This not only forms the gold but also makes it denser for added stability. Between the individual steps, the workpiece must be repeatedly heated and slowly cooled to continuously relieve the stress that builds up in the press. One of the special aspects of the case of the Gondolo Ref. 4949 is that the die is engraved with a negative image of the elegant braiding pattern to impart the positive pattern to the caseband when the pressure in the swaging die reaches its apex. Patek Philippe is one of the last watchmaking companies that produces its cases in-house with this traditional manufacturing technology. It has its own tooling department staffed with specialists who manually build, mill and polish the high- precision dies in countless time-consuming steps. The result is that even the raw cases exhibit smooth, high-definition surfaces.

Nonetheless, after it has been die-formed, the case must be finished in numerous manual steps to give it the inimitable Patek Philippe character. Many grinding and polishing passes are needed to complete the case of the Gondolo: the braided relief must be carefully sandblasted, also by hand, to impart the incomparable matte sheen.


A window on time illuminated by the fire of diamonds


The time is indicated by two white-gold hands over a champagne dial whose hour-marker periphery is decorated with a radiant guilloché pattern. At 12 and 6 o’clock, it has two applied Roman numerals in 18K white gold. The date aperture is at 3 o’clock. Two rows of diamonds, 13 flawless Top Wesselton stones on each side, totaling about 0.18 carats, frame the dial. Extraordinarily, these gems are not set in the bezel. Instead, they are aligned along the bezel beneath the crystal, lavishing their fire upon the stage of time while creating a fantastic contrast to the champagne hue of the dial and the chocolate-colored satin strap. Fourteen Top Wesselton diamonds totaling about 0.07 carats also adorn the 18K white-gold crown. Patek Philippe’s new Gondolo Ref. 4949 is worn on a chocolate satin strap with an 18K white-gold prong buckle.

The Ref. 4949 enriches the Gondolo collection for ladies with a novel, eye-catching design and unique features.


Timekeeping with extreme precision


Patek Philippe’s caliber E19 C quartz movement is responsible for the accuracy of the Gondolo Ref. 4949. Its battery has a life of at least two years. Crafted in-house, it has a going train that is manufactured with the same care and quality as the components of the company’s legendary mechanical movements. It consists of 80 individual parts, including seven jewels, and is controlled by a quartz crystal with a frequency of 32,768 hertz. A tiny stepper motor drives the hour and minute hands as well as the date disc. The watch is operated with a crown that has a halfway position for rapid date adjustments and an outermost battery-saver position to interrupt the power circuit in case the watch will not be used for an extended period of time.

Patek Philippe Tonneau-shaped Gondolo

Ref.: 4949

Movement:Caliber E19 C
Quartz movement
Diameter:19.4 mm
Height:2.5 mm
Number of parts:80
Number of jewels:7
Quartz frequency:32,768 Hz
Power source:Silver-oxide battery, 1.55 V
Battery life:More than two years
Functions:Three-position crown:
- Pushed in: normal operation
- Pulled out halfway: to correct the date
- Pulled out fully: to set the time and stop the movement
Displays:Hours, minutes and date display in an aperture at 3 o’clock



Case:In 18K white gold
Braided pattern embossed on the flanks of the case
Polished solid back in 18K white gold, secured with four polished screws
Water-resistant to 25 meters
Case dimensions:30 x 37 mm
Thickness: 8.2 mm crystal to case back
Thickness: 9.6 mm crystal to lugs
Width between lugs: 16 mm
Dials:Champagne, with a guilloched sunburst pattern on both sides of the dial
Set with 26 flawless rare white Top Wesselton 1.5 mm round diamonds, totaling approx. 0.18 ct.
2 applied Roman numerals in satin-finished white gold at 12 and 6 o’clock
Leaf-shaped hour and minute hands in 18K white gold
Crown:18K white gold set with 14 round Top Wesselton diamonds (approx. 0.07 ct.)
Strap:Chocolate satin with 14-mm Calatrava prong buckle in 18K white gold