Patek Philippe Vintage Gondolo


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Patek Philippe Vintage Gondolo

The story of the brand and the model

In the world of Haute Horlogerie, there is no brand like Patek Philippe. Their design influence and shape the trends, while the precision movement they create is what sets the standard for the entire industry. But what makes this almost two centuries old brand such a unique and legendary force? In order to understand the present, we first need to explore the past. 

The concept of Patek Philippe can trace its roots back to 1839 when the company was formed by Antoni Patek and Franciszek Czapek, two Polish watchmakers who settled in Geneva. In 1844, they were joined by Adrien Philippe, a French inventor who developed the keyless winding mechanism, which eliminated the need for a separate key to wind the watch. In 1845, Patek and Czapek parted ways, and Patek formed a new company with Philippe, called Patek & Cie. In 1851, the company was renamed Patek, Philippe & Cie, and soon gained international recognition for their timepieces that astounded everyone with the elegance and technical ingenuity they presented themselves with.

Patek Philippe has been known for creating some of the most complicated and prestigious watches in the world, such as the Calibre 89, which has 33 complications and to this day is considered the most complicated watch ever made, or the Henry Graves Supercomplication, which was the most expensive watch ever sold at auction, fetching $24 million in 2014 Patek Philippe has also been the watch of choice for many celebrities, royals, and leaders, such as Queen Victoria, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, and Brad Pitt. 

One of Patek Philippe’s most iconic collections is the Gondolo, which manifests the “form” watches, or watches that have non-round shapes, such as rectangular, tonneau, or cushion. The Gondolo line was named after the famous retailer in Rio de Janeiro, Gondolo & Labouriau, with whom Patek Philippe had a strong and successful business relationship between 1872 and 1927. The retailer commissioned Patek Philippe to create exclusive watches for its customers, called the Chronometro Gondolo, which were initially pocket watches and later wristwatches. These exclusive watches were very popular in Brazil, and even became a synonym for “watch” in the country. 

The Gondolo collection of today reflects the diverse shapes and styles of the Chronometro Gondolo timepieces from the past, as well as the Art Deco influences of the 1920s and 1930s. The collection features both men’s and women’s watches, with various complications, such as moon phases, annual calendars, or chronographs. It is a tribute to the extraordinary heritage and craftsmanship of Patek Philippe, a testament to the brand's unending pursuit of horological excellence.

Why is this watch popular? 

Patek Philippe is a legend, the ultimate expression of luxury, wealth and status. Having a timepiece from Patek means you have achieved the lifestyle the majority of the population could only dream of. You show you are a person of substance and class, because Patek is also synonymous with good taste, the choice of gentlemanly connoisseurs and lady-like madames. All of this and more counts twice for the Gondolo line.

The Gondolo watches were always going a little against the crowd. Most of the Patek Philippe timepieces have a distinctive round shape, which is a traditional and widely recognized form for horology. Gondolo, on the other hand, has not a single round watch in the entire collection, creating a signature visual effect for the line. For this reason, it is the favourite status symbol of the ultra-rich, being easily recognizable in the sea of round timepieces.  

The watches are also widely sought after and praised by collectors for their heritage - after all, Gondolo & Labouriau helped to shape the history of the Swiss brand, and Patek gained access to an untapped South American market; this has significantly helped them with expanding their manufacture and reinvesting in the revolutionizing of Haute Horlogerie. This fact ensures the utmost respect of anyone who realizes the importance of the Gondolo line in the overall history of Patek Philippe.

The looks

Starting with the dial, we can notice twelve baton hour markers, at which the black hour and minute hands point powered by a manual-winding movement. The name of the brand is clearly visible under the 12 o’clock hour marker, also made in black.

Now, for the main visual spectacle - the whole timepiece is made of 18k white gold. This beautiful material reflects perfectly on light, especially thanks to the unique wave pattern that can be found everywhere, from the dial to the strap. This creates a breathtaking effect as if the watch was made out of liquid moonlight.

We we flip the watch, we can admire the back of the white gold case, this time polished to the maximum smoothness. On the back of the white gold bracelet, we can see that it’s made out of tiny links, which make a flowing effect whenever moved. The timepiece sits steadily on your wrist thanks to the folding clasp with the Calatrava symbol, again made in 18k white gold. 

The investment value of this model  

The Patek Philippe Vintage Gondolo 3553/1 is a highly sought-after timepiece that can be a valuable addition to any watch collection. 

The value of the Patek Philippe Gondolo series has seen a slight increase of 0.4% over the past 180 days. Watches in this collection typically sell for between $9,510 - $158,529 on the private sales market. The Vintage Gondolo 3553/1, in particular, has been listed for sale at prices ranging from $9,000 to $11,950.

Investing in this timepiece could potentially yield a decent return given the brand’s reputation for quality and the increasing market value of the Gondolo series. The unique value-adding point of this particular watch is the extraordinary condition in which it has been preserved - probably the best of all the watches with this ref. number.

How it feels on the wrist & Why I love this watch

Having a Patek Philippe is the ultimate status symbol. Everyone recognizes it, and everyone respects it. But not every PP watch has such a great effect as this Gondolo. When people see this timepiece, their jaws drop and they come to you asking what is it you’re wearing on your wrist. After you explain it’s a Patek, you can see the light of understanding in their eyes, and the tone in which they continue the conversation radiates the limitless admiration they have for this vintage masterpiece. 

When you hold this watch, you will be very surprised by the weight of it. For such a small timepiece, it feels way heavier than anyone would guess at first. When you put it on the wrist, you will appreciate the smoothness of the bracelet, which feels amazing on your skin. The smaller size of this watch is not a problem, as the hour markers are nicely visible. The timepiece slips perfectly under shirt sleeves since it’s quite flat. It’s mainly intended for upscale events and evening gala’s, but it won’t betray you on more relaxing activities, such as golf or afternoon walks.

Brand: Patek Philippe

Model: Vintage Gondolo

Gender: Unisex

Reference: 3553/1

Year: Circa 1975

Movement: Manual

Case size: 26 x 33.5 mm

Case material: 18K White Gold

Bracelet material: 18k White Gold

Water resistance: No

Glass: Sapphire

Condition: Excellent condition. Very possibly the best known example. 

Papers: No

Box: No

Guarantee: Invoice and 2 Year Warranty