Reviving the Art-Deco Spirit with Patek Phillipe’s Gondolo Collection

With their striking Art-Deco designs and bold innovations, the watches of Patek Philippe’s Gondolo collection truly embody the spirit of the period they were inspired by. First sold in 1993, the collection is newer than many offered by the brand. However, this doesn’t make it any less iconic, sophisticated, or prestigious than other collections.

Explore the history of Gondolo watches below to find out more about past and current models available, and learn more about their prices.

The History of the Gondolo Collection

The heritage of the Gondolo collection is rich and extraordinary, by many watch standards. The collection was named after Gondolo & Labouriau, a famous retailer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Patek Philippe enjoyed a strong and successful collaboration with the retailer from 1872 until 1927.

The first timepieces bearing the name Gondolo would be the result of this collaboration, with a series of pocket watches named the “Chronometro Gondolo”. The first wristwatches would follow several years later.

In the time period the relationship lasted, approximately one-third of Patek Philippe’s entire production was sold to and through Gondolo & Labouriau. At first, the watches were exclusive to members of the “Gondolo Gang”, a watch-collecting club and the ultimate expression of having “arrived” in Brazilian society.

The brand eventually became so popular and synonymous with buying a watch, that “Patek” became a substitute noun for “watch”. Whether or not the buyer was buying a Patek Philippe didn’t matter, all watches at the time were Pateks.

Chronometro Pocket Watches

Designed to be on sale exclusively at Gondolo & Labouriau, the Chronometro Gondolo pocket watches would display hours, minutes, and seconds. Sometimes, they would also feature 24-hour dials, or chronograph functions as well. 

There were four basic requirements requested by Gondolo & Labouriau to distinguish these pocket watches from those made for Patek Philippe’s regular production:

  • The watches were made with gilded brass plates and featured the S-shaped fourth wheel patented by Patek Philippe in 1893 (now considered a hallmark of their design).
  • Each watch had to feature a Swiss moustache lever escapement with a bi-metallic compensation balance to meet high precision standards.
  • The watches’ fourth, intermediate, and minute wheels had to be made in 9k rose gold.
  • Each watch had to have a square socket in its mainspring barrel.

Nine different sizes of pocket watch were made over time. These sizes were expressed in 10 to 22 lignes, or about 22.5mm to 49.6mm. They were considered remarkable, owing to their simplicity and lack of pretension. Dials were typically white with Roman numerals. Some featured the names of their owners below the 12 o’clock mark.

The F. Santini’s Patek Waltz

This was a song created for Gondolo & Labouriau in 1912. Made to celebrate the enduring business relationship between the retailer and Patek Philippe, it was played at the Gondolo Gang club events and festivities. 

Gondolo Wristwatch Production in 1910

Patek Philippe began regular wristwatch production for the Gondolo collection in 1910. Back then, the movements of the watches had the same technical requirements as the pocket watches.

The difference lay in the designs themselves. Wristwatches were available in an array of shapes, from square and rectangular to circular, “pillow”-shaped, and tonneau. The largest design was 48mm, including the lugs.

The exuberance of the Gondolo wristwatch design lasted well into the 1920s, with the boldness of the features reflecting remarkably well in the Jazz Age.

The End of the Business Relationship

The end of the business relationship came in 1927 when Gondolo & Labouriau sold their last Patek Philippe Gondolo watch. The retailer would go out of business 8 years later, in 1935. The name now only lives on in recorded history, and in the watches that were produced. The modern Gondolo collection is named in honour of this friendship between brands. Original Chronometro Gondolo pocket watches are now a prized possession to collectors.

Modern Gondolo Watches

As a newer addition to the Patek Philippe legacy, the Gondolo collection is the ideal combination of unique Art-Deco elegance and modern technology, perfected by exquisite attention to detail. This has resulted in a number of carefully-curated and distinctive luxury watch models for both men and women. 

Until 2009, every watch made in this collection had a calibre with a Genevan seal. Since then, Patek Philippe has introduced its own seal. The company’s certification only tests watches once they have been fully assembled.

Case shapes available include “pillow”-shaped, trapeze, and rectangular.

Ladies Gondolo and the Twenty~4 Collection

The Ladies Gondolo model was the inspiration for a contemporary interpretation: the Twenty~4 collection. This was launched in 1999.

Many Gondolo watches available for women are highly adorned, but are often more affordable because they are quartz powered. The more expensive models will feature a large number of diamonds or pearls on the case or the bracelet. 

The Gondolo Gemma

Featuring a squashed “pillow” shape case and dial, the Gondolo Gemma is unparalleled in its distinctive timeless appeal. For a woman who wants to stay refined while also making a statement, this is the watch to do it with. Models are available in yellow, rose, and white gold, with bracelets matching these or in complementing materials such as blue or brown leather.

The Gondolo Haute Joaillerie

The Gondolo Haute Joaillerie varies in its design from the ref. 7099 to the ref. 7074. However, both feature a manual-winding calibre reminiscent of the oldest models of watches. The latter of these is inspired in its design by the ref. 176 209, which was first produced in 1923.

The Gondolo Serata

The name “Serata”, which means “evening” in Italian, is a wearer’s first communication that this ladies’ watch is designed to be the timepiece companion for a gala dinner or night at the opera. The ref. 4972G features a guilloched mother-of-pearl dial to match its white gold and diamond motif. The ref. 4962 features brown lacquer with matte and shiny finishes to blend in with its rose gold material.

The Gondolo Calendario

Ref. 5135 of the Gondolo Calendario features an annual calendar. Sharp hour indices run from the edge of the dial to the middle, surrounding the minute scale, and a moon phase display sits at the 6 o’clock mark. Arabic numerals sit at the 3 and 9 o’clock marks to indicate hours. The day display sits at the 11 o’clock mark and the month sits at 2.

The Gondolo 8 Days, Day & Date

The Gondolo 8 Days, Day & Date Indication (ref. 5200) closely resembles the ref. 5124. However, it is considered higher-end and more luxurious because of the added complications. The lower half of the watch’s dial features a window for the day, as well as a pointer date with a 1-31 scale.

On the other side, the upper half of the scale features the power reserve display. This indicates how much of the eight-day power reserve is left. The white gold edition of this watch is available with a blue or white dial.

The Gondolo Cabriolet

The Gondolo Cabriolet model is about as unique a design as you will find in this collection. Featuring a square dial shape and a case lid for added protection, the model appears every inch an historic model first produced in the early decades of the twentieth century.

What Does a Gondolo Collection Watch Cost in the UK?

Gondolo watches are extremely diverse in their prices. How much you can expect to pay for a watch will depend on a number of factors, including size, design, case and bracelet materials, and how sought-after the piece is. An example of a lower-priced model is the ref. 5030 in white gold, which can be bought at a starting price of around £8,200. 

For a mid-range set of prices, you will have to look to references 5098 and 5135 – both in platinum. These come at prices of around £23,000 and £29,400 respectively. Meanwhile, an example of a higher-priced model may be the ref. 7042. Starting prices for this model begin at about £164,000.

In order to find higher prices when selling a used or vintage model, you will often need to turn to collectors. Admiring the tradition and precision craftsmanship, long heritage, and stylish designs, these enthusiasts are always on the lookout for their next purchase. Burlingtons Ltd. has forged strong relationships with many of these collectors and can sell your watch to them.

Valuing a Patek Philippe Gondolo

Getting a Patek Philippe Gondolo watch valued with our service starts with you getting in touch with us, either online or over the phone. We have years of experience in the fine art of valuing luxury watches and can assist in the identification and valuation of authentic pieces.

We’ll be able to tell you the true market value of your piece, based on:

  • The watch’s age
  • The overall condition of the watch
  • Confirmed use and identification of precious metals
  • Confirmed use and identification of precious stones
  • The complications used in the watch
  • The functions included in the watch

Find Fair Prices for Patek Philippe Gondolo Watches

If you are looking for a great price for your Gondolo watch, or any other piece from the Patek Philippe brand, Burlingtons Ltd. is here to help. Our team will provide the specialist valuation you need, carried out in the comfort and convenience of your own home. All selling prices are fair and market competitive, with an instant, secure payment. 

Valuations are free and have no obligation, and our representative will also be happy to explain their reasoning behind all prices quoted. Contact us if you’d like to find out more, or to start discussing the sale of a Gondolo collection watch.

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    October 30, 2023

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