Fratelli Piccini is the only Atelier still making jewelry in house on the famed Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy. And I got to see inside (place giddy emoji here).
Florence was home for a month and I really could see myself living there for some time.
At Sant Ambrogio market you can find this amazing Salami Toscana that will blow your mind! More dense and slightly less moist than the more famous finocchiona, but with a savory journey of the delicious variety. The history, the investment in art and architecture, the coffee, the language and the culture- little else beats out Italian culture for me.
In July, Florence is host to the summer exhibition of Pitti Uomo and this is why I find myself in Florence. With the trade show comes the warmth of good friends, late nights at Gilli, grand dinners, villa hopping, the most well dressed men and the brushing of arms with the height of luxury.
I heard tell that Fratelli Piccini had some amazing pieces in their private collection, including a vintage ladies Patek that I just had to see in person. It turns out they have very little information on this watch, but it has retained its original certificate of sale which is significant and could surely open the door to a breadth of knowledge and history.
FP also has a hard-to-attain but easy-to-lust-after, Patek Philippe 5270 perpetual calendar chronograph moon phase. A mouthful for sure, but worth every syllable. And this is where I got to show off a bit, as I do. After a moment of inspecting the open caseback and being mesmerized by the in-house movement (learn more about this on ABlogToWatch.com) I set to work on painting the watch.
Of the watches I have painted in recent months this is the one I am most proud to claim. The 5270 and I become fast friends. It’s truly an intimate experience to sit with a watch and get to understanding the design and the balance a designer invests in one of these machines.
Sit and examine something for an hour or more. Ponder the shape of it. Question the decision to set the 6 and 9 o’clock sub-dial alignment just below the center line of the watch. How much light does it capture and is it diffuse or crisp? Is every decision on the dial made for utility or for beauty? How does the color of the moon phase change at the slightest angle adjustment?
Get lost in the floating shapes. Circles begin to bounce away from the watch and sit on your eyes. Dashes jump out at you and numbers hide away. Light dances along the rim of the gold case, like a ballet of ephemera.
But finally you have it. You’ve captured this mystery, this magical thing on paper. You have changed, every so slightly and become a new person.
We got the tour of the Atelier and some of the private collection as well.
Fratelli Piccini has a long and rich history or designing in-house jewelry. The fact that they are the last Atelier on the Ponte Vecchio to still maintain an existing in-house production is a testament to their commitment to the craft and history of the company.
Learn more directly from their website, fratellipiccini.com.
And when you are in Florence next, visit the Atelier.