PATEK PHILIPPE SOLAR DOME CLOCK, REF. 701
Patek Philippe first announced the development of their dome clocks in the mid-1950s, and news quickly spread of a novel form of timekeeping that harnessed the power of the sun. The original retail price for this clock in the 1950s was $1250 (compared to a ref. 1518 which was $1500). At the time, these clocks were the most cutting-edge technology one could buy for the home, and the most luxurious item imaginable. A closer look at this clock reveals the incredible attention to detail that Patek Philippe committed in order to obtain a level of finish appropriate to this mid century icon of design.
This clock features the first generation solar technology used by Patek Philippe’s solar and atomic labs. A 17 lignes pocket watch movement is at the heart of the timekeeping and it is kept fully wound by a tandem powering system of solar power and a backup system using an accumulator (battery). The result is a clock that runs accurately without human intervention for over a year.
The design of the case is functional in that the upper dome is meant to be turned manually to face the solar panel into the direction of light. The case is decorated by hand engraved geometric forms. At the dawn of the race into space, this clock was a glimpse into the future of technology and a design aesthetic that cannot be separated from the contest to conquer the stars. Is the fact that these dome clocks are shaped the same as R2D2 a coincidence? I think not.
This clock has recently returned from Patek Philippe Geneva from a full service and overhaul. It carries a two year service guarantee.