Just Because Unlocking The Patek Philippe Naviquartz
There is an exceptional space saved for watches – and tickers – which have demonstrated to be immortal. There is no such space presently saved for the Patek Philippe Naviquartz. It is a lot of a result of the time it was made, to such an extent that you may never have even known about it. The Naviquartz is a nautically themed, quartz-controlled check delivered by Patek in the 1970s. It was initially planned as a back-up navigational framework for ships, yet later consigned to dryer environs. As watches became collectible, this check fell undesirable. At a certain point, the Naviquartz was a superficial point of interest. It is representative now just of a period passed by. Yet, on the grounds that we don’t discuss it, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t.
I have extremely unmistakable recollections of the Naviquartz. We had one in my youth home growing up. It sat on an end table in my dad’s home office, simply ticking – and ticking – away. Recently, when we as a whole started telecommuting, my significant other and I invested some energy at my folks’ home. I took each HODINKEE meeting in my father’s office. My partners couldn’t see it, however behind the scenes, alongside my computer, was that noisy ticking clock. The sound alone brought a whirlwind of those beloved recollections back. Truth be told, quite possibly the most sense-setting off parts of this clock is the sheer volume and forcefulness of its ticking. A portion of that sound is suppressed by the wooden case in which it sits, however nothing can hose the sound of the Naviquartz.
My father was (and still is) glad for his clock. “It’s a Patek Philippe,” he generally says – that simple assertion, a state of pride. However, I get it. The actual brand is one of the genuine superficial points of interest that we have. My dad bought his Naviquartz at some point during the 1970s for – as he reviews – $1,700 (which was no little aggregate). In any case, for what reason did he get it? From multiple points of view, I think his story is the story of many Naviquartz proprietors. This clock, in its day, was a genuine showpiece. Be that as it may, naming it as such really undermines the mechanical parts of its development, just as the reason for which it was initially built.
Advertisement for the Tiffany Naviquartz, like the Elton John Naviquartz sold at Christie’s.
This is no modest library relic, yet rather a genuine chronometer. The Naviquartz is a genuine nautical clock, a nearly scaled down variant of the refined electronic clockmaking endeavors led by Patek Philippe in the center piece of the twentieth century.
It would be putting it mildly to call the Naviquartz underestimated. Its value today is basically in accordance with swelling, so there is a decent lot of balance regarding any expansion in cost. There are three varieties of the Naviquartz – appropriately named I, II, and III. In this article, I will zero in on the whole on the Naviquartz E 1200 model, which had a creation run from the mid 1970s to the mid-1980s.
Rendering of the Naviquartz ref. 1202 from a Patek Philippe October 1982 catalog.
The root story of this clock involves some discussion. The main Naviquartz was reported at the Basel Fair in 1970. The discussion revolves around the way that a few models have showed up, in the wild, which date back to 1969. As per John Reardon, noted Patek master and author of Collectability, some Naviquartz times have been sold at sell off which date back to as ahead of schedule as 1968. However, in every practical sense, we can date the clock to roughly 1970, which was when Patek really started advertising it in earnest.
Though the Naviquartz was delivered in 1970, it didn’t jump up out of the blue. In 1964, at the World’s Fair in Queens, New York, Patek had a huge corner completely devoted to flaunting electronic timekeeping. This was the peak of horological innovation at that point, and a ton of that innovation later showed within the Naviquartz.
Upon its delivery, and for a large part of the 1970s, Patek pushed the clock’s nautical inclination. The Naviquartz was made to be put on boats – in any event that was the first vanity. By the 1980s, the showcasing changed course. By then, Patek started promoting it as an element for the work area – which is an obliging method of considering it a work area decoration. Presently, you may think it somewhat peculiar for a brand like Patek to have at any point delivered an enormous, burdensome, nautical-themed clock, with a quartz development, however taking a gander at the people behind the brand – the Stern family, which bought Patek Philippe in 1932 – it starts to make sense.
The Naviquartz III introduced to Henri Stern on May 1, 1974.
Former brand presidents Henri Stern and his child Philippe (who is currently Honorary Chairman) were particularly into nautical games, and explicitly cruising. Henri Stern had an intense enthusiasm for the nautical point of the Naviquartz. Indeed, he had his own personal Naviquartz – a Naviquartz III – presented to him on May 1, 1974, which the brand included in a promotion during the 1970s. That very clock is said to in any case be inside the family today (Patek Philippe is right now run by Philippe’s child, Thierry).
In 2017, Christie’s sold a Tiffany-stepped Naviquartz E 1200 which was a blessing from Elton John (it isn’t known whether John possessed it himself), yet that just fetched $13,750. It even accompanied a gold record. HODINKEE Vintage Manager Brandon Frazin worked at Christie’s at that point. “At last, I wasn’t that astounded at the cost. I was simply glad that it sold,” he says. Presently, who can say for sure what the Stern family’s own Naviquartz may accomplish for the market on the off chance that it at any point crosses the square, however plainly premium in the clock isn’t especially high.
The dark dial Naviquartz close to a delivering in a 1982 Patek index highlighting a very much like clock, the ref. 1202.
There is a nautical capacity to the Naviquartz too. During the 1960s, it was common for huge flatboats to have Patek Philippe timing frameworks. These were utilized for route and were repetition frameworks that kept time all through the boat. To possess a Naviquartz clock was similar to claiming a scaled down variant of that technology. The Naviquartz was the zenith of Patek’s quartz clockmaking exertion, particularly considering the quartz revolution. It was created simultaneously as the Beta 21 movement, which was the principal development delivered by Switzerland’s Center Electronique Horloger (C.E.H.), a consortium of 20 Swiss watch brands, including Patek Philippe. The Naviquartz was consequently viewed as the bellwether of bleeding edge electronic timekeeping innovation upon its release.
The rear of the Naviquartz, eliminated from its box.
This is intriguing for various reasons. We regularly read, or hear stories, about the quartz emergency and how it nearly annihilated the Swiss mechanical watch industry. Indeed, as Reardon notes, Patek was a pioneer in creating quartz innovation, pushing the envelope for exactness. More than that, Patek had a genuine business activity with its execution of quartz clocks (or auxiliary clock frameworks) on boats and barges.
In now is the ideal time, the Naviquartz was absolutely something attractive, yet not really a thing the brand was selling in volumes. In Reardon’s view, the clock was more a vessel for Patek to put the entirety of its assets – and innovation – into the retail market, with the goal that purchasers could have a superficial point of interest on their boat or their work area. Notwithstanding the name, this never truly turned into a route gadget, however rather a truly pleasant oddity. You get that sense when you take a gander at it – with the luxurious wooden box, the gold accents, and the key.
The screw-in battery chamber, taking into consideration the check to be lowered in water.
The absolute first development used in the Naviquartz was the type RH29. In 1974, the type 33QZ was delivered, which is the type frequently found in the line. This is an in-house development made of a strong circuit development. The actual clock was noted by Patek – in its list – as an “electronic marine chronometer with quartz time base” including a “hopping seconds-hand.” While there is no enrichment at all on the development, it is marked Patek Philippe. The clock expects batteries to control the development; be that as it may, the technique for placing the batteries into the clock is very unique in relation to most quartz timepieces.
The Naviquartz takes standard D batteries, which fit into a cylinder, and that cylinder is in a bad way into the instance of the clock. The cylinder should then be secured set up. Thus, it works a lot of like a screw-down crown. As per Reardon, this clock is fit for being lowered in water. Reardon likewise noticed that while Patek’s promoting never ventured to such an extreme as to explicitly express a particular water opposition or profundity rating, that is the perceived reason for the screw-in battery chamber. The list depiction for the Naviquartz does, nonetheless, list the clock as being “Stickiness Protected.”
While both of the checks shot in this article are of a similar E 1200 arrangement, around the 1970s, they couldn’t be more unique regarding style. From one viewpoint, you have the more old style looking, Roman numeral dial variation, with resplendent content Naviquartz composed working on this issue (sans Patek logo). On the other, you have a more lively, nearly device like, dark dial with Arabic numerals for the two minutes and hours. The typeface is really suggestive of a portion of Patek’s flight driven pieces. The typeface on the aluminum outside is printed, and incorporates the Patek logo.
The E 1200 arrangement quantifies in at 169mm wide, 229mm long, 80mm tall, and with a load of 2.9kg (roughly 6.4 lbs). Like all Naviquartz timekeepers, it comes within a wooden box with a delicate red covering. The container can be bolted by a little key. At the point when shut, the discernible ticking, noted earlier, becomes milder underneath the display glass seeing window. At the point when you eliminate the clock from its case, there is a kickstand on the underside. This permits you to prop up the clock both outside of the case and within.
When Patek increased its advertising pitch for the Naviquartz from a route gadget to an office piece, the slogan became, “From Boat, to Office.” I have just at any point seen the check in an office climate, and I imagine that air adds to its superficial point of interest impact. In its day, the Naviquartz was a stellar expansion to any office – its ticking, an at the same time comforting and premonition sound, contingent upon the occasion.
So, for what reason hasn’t the Naviquartz ascended in worth – aside from the typical representing expansion? That I don’t have the foggiest idea. From my exploration, and conversing with individuals in the business, it has little to do with the way that it flaunts a quartz development. Quartz, alone, doesn’t convey the very negative meaning that it used to. It very well may be the way that it is a clock, and that there isn’t as hearty a business opportunity for clocks as there is for watches. As Reardon put it, “It isn’t that it won’t ever occur for the Naviquartz, it is only that it hasn’t occurred to it yet.”
Sometimes, it is OK to value a thing for what it is, to have a scholarly interest in something, autonomous of its monetary worth. The Naviquartz is part of the way a relic and somewhat the zenith of perhaps the most innovatively energizing occasions in horological history – and that is certainly something I can get behind. I will consistently have affectionate recollections of the sound of this clock, and with that I say, tick away Naviquartz.
A uncommon gratitude to both Jon Reardon of Collectability and HODINKEE Vintage Manager Brandon Frazin for their commitments, skill, and help on this story.
Photos: Kasia Milton