Dubai, 21 September 2023 – Christie’s Middle East is proud to announce the upcoming Watches Online: The Dubai Edit auction featuring a stunning bespoke creation in 18k white gold by Patek Philippe Reference 3843/1 from 1991: its case, merging with an integrated bracelet, was designed around a 13.43-carat portrait-cut diamond that serves as the watch crystal, enhancing the dazzling blue sunburst watch face. It is the only timepiece known to feature lasque diamond, to both enhance and protect the dial.
Remy Julia, Head of Watches Christie’s Middle East, India & Africa: “It is extremely rare for Patek Philippe to make special orders, even for its most important clients. It follows that the appearance of a bespoke Patek Philippe at auction is an event, and for a bespoke Patek Philippe to be adorned with a portrait diamond, probably the third largest known, is a truly rare sight.”
This fascinating wristwatch ingeniously incorporates one of the world’s most precious treasures, the diamond. The 13.43-carat transparent flat gem – the third-largest portrait-cut diamond known – was supplied by the original client to Patek Philippe when he commissioned the project in 1990. The completed watch was delivered to him on 18 January 1994, in Geneva, as a Pièce Unique.
Lasque – when the diamond becomes the medium
Like no other gemstone, diamonds have always captivated the imagination, with no other purpose than to enchant. There is one exception, however, when rather than being showcased, they fulfil a function – as lasque diamonds or, as they are also known, portrait-cut diamonds. Exhibiting an extremely rare mastery of gemstone cutting, they are polished flat on both sides, with the top surface faceted at the edges, and owe their name to the fact they were used to glaze precious miniature portraits in medallions.
The most famous examples, created almost exclusively for royalty, date from the 17th to 19th centuries and constitute the highlights of legendary jewellery collections. According to jewellery historian Diana Scarisbrick, “the reflections of the facets illuminate the portrait, the highly polished limpid surface lets the subject shine through with much more brilliance than crystal and also draws the eye towards it. Only the clearest stones could achieve this magical effect”, an effect that renders the deep blue gold dial of this Patek Philippe all the more stunning.
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