On April 23rd, to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of England’s greatest playwright, George Pragnell unveiled a one-of-a-kind Patek Philippe dome clock in their historic Wood Street showrooms.
Being closely associated with the heritage of William Shakespeare, George Pragnell jewellers were delighted to present this unique and specially commissioned Patek Philippe dome table clock. Incidentally, the George Pragnell showrooms were originally cottages built by carpenter Abraham Sterling, a drinking buddy of Shakespeare.
As founders of the prestigious Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday Award, whose winner this year is Sir Trevor Nunn, George Pragnell have long been synonymous with Shakespeare’s memory. Previous recipients of the award have included Sir Kenneth Branagh, Sir Patrick Stewart and Dame Judi Dench.
Managing Director Charlie Pragnell, who initiated the dome clock project with Patek Philippe, said, “Shakespeare wrote in Sonnet XII that ‘Nothing ‘gainst time’s scythe can make defence’, but with this remarkable clock, we are making our best stab at doing just that. Patek make the best timepieces in the world, and this clock brings together two of our proudest passions: Patek Philippe and Shakespeare. My grandfather always understood the importance of Shakespeare’s legacy for the town and our business relationship with Patek Philippe goes back to the day in 1968 when M Philippe Stern, now the honorary president, personally delivered a watch to my father Jeremy in Zurich, who was then completing his apprenticeship at a jeweller and had been saving all his wages for this piece. We are delighted that, to celebrate this anniversary, Patek Philippe have crafted this unique clock for us. It’s an astonishing piece of work and a fitting tribute to England’s greatest wordsmith. It will stand the test of time.”
The President of Patek Philippe, Thierry Stern, confirmed, “At Patek Philippe we are dedicated to preserving artisanal skills which have been associated with horology for many centuries, including those dating back to the time of William Shakespeare. As the last independent Genevan watch company which has been in my family for four generations we have had the creative freedom to manufacture many exceptional creations, pocket watches, wristwatches and table clocks. Trying to convey the importance of the 400-year commemoration of Shakespeare’s life using handcrafts was inspiring and challenging. Unique timepieces such as this one are extremely rare and the workmanship which goes into creating them mirrors the importance of this particular jubilee. We are proud to be associated with this anniversary alongside our longstanding partner George Pragnell with whom my father started working with over 30 years ago.”
Created using the ancient technique of Limoges painted enamels, the Patek Philippe Shakespeare Commemorative Dome Clock features three main panels, each depicting one of Shakespeare’s most beloved works. Representing the comedies, the Merry Wives of Windsor illustration is drawn from a picture completed in 1902 by Charles Buchel for Herbert Beerbohm Tree’s coronation revival. A portrait of Richard III, representing the historical plays, is featured on the rear panel. The third panel symbolises the tragedies with no other than Romeo and Juliet. This is based on an original painting by Frank Bernard Dicksee, voted the most romantic artwork in Britain.
The work of the Patek craftsmen is so finely detailed that the individual elements are drawn out by a needle, followed by miniature painting on enamel. Incorporating 97 colours, the process is interspersed with 27 firings at a temperature of 850 degrees Celsius.
Two theatrical masks adorn the dial, which is enriched with gold and silver spangles and black enamel Breguet numerals. Measuring 216.5mm x 133.1mm, the clock is powered by a calibre 17 PEND with the mechanical movement rewound by an electric motor.
George Pragnell invite you to come and view this extremely rare and exquisite dome clock at our historic showrooms in Stratford-upon-Avon, and truly hope you enjoy this unique commemorative treasure.