Artisans de Geneve Crafted a Custom Patek Philippe for Soccer Legend Andrea Pirlo
“The Architect’s” one-of-a-kind Patek Philippe Aquanaut Ref. 5167A features a custom avant-garde skeleton movement.
Andrea Pirlo is something of a legend in the world of soccer.
The Italian professional football coach and former superstar player, nicknamed “The Architect,” can count among his achievements a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics, as well as a World Cup trophy for Italy’s victory in 2006. He finished in the top ten three times for the Ballon d’Or, was named an MLS [Major League Soccer] All-Star in 2016, and in 2019 he was elected into the Italian Football Hall of Fame before going on to coach Juventus.
Not a man who would be satisfied with an ordinary timepiece, obviously. Hence his new customization realized by the Swiss independent watchmaking personalization workshop Artisans de Genève on a one-of-a-kind Patek Philippe Aquanaut Ref. 5167A with an avant-garde skeleton movement.
Artisans de Genève’s modifications—they are not affiliated with Patek in any way—are made exclusively by special order in extremely limited capacity. The Patek is Pirlo’s third commission with them, and one of their most beautiful customizations to date.
Dubbed the Ciottolo Azzurro Project, Pirlo specified “an intense blue that reminds him of the sea pebbles, the mist in the air, and the freedom” of the ocean for the one-off watch, the company says. They also reworked the movement with a skeleton cut that required exceptional attention to detail.
The sleek design is set off by a satin-finished openwork dial combined with rose gold hands that have been polished and hand-beveled. Even the rubber strap took months to develop in order to achieve the exact shade of azure blue that Pirlo desired.
“This is the third customization I’ve done with Artisans de Genève,” Pirlo notes. “They’ve become like a second family; they know me so well. For this new project, I wanted to keep the codes we had developed together in the past, the blue and rose-gold, the skeletonized cut, by adapting them to my Aquanaut model.
“I’m a great lover of Patek Philippe and the Aquanaut, which reminds me of a pebble, the sea, and freedom. The artisans have worked on every detail with the most outstanding care. I can’t believe it, the colors, the finishing touches… my personalization ultimately reflects me as a person, and my story.”
For Pirlo, Artisans de Genève “entirely rethought” the iconic timepiece, an evolution of Patek’s famed Nautilus, favored by the likes of Drake, LeBron James, Paul McCartney and Mark Wahlberg.
“The challenge was to combine the elegant aesthetic with a sporty allure,” they note. “To meet Andrea’s request, we skeletonized by hand the Patek 324 caliber, and each part of the movement is reworked in the smallest detail: chamfering, polishing, satin-finishing, and circular-graining, to bring depth, light and shine to the movement. The barrel and balance bridges are beveled and rounded-off a meticulous technique that gives the piece a rounded appearance. The final touch, the skeletonized gold rotor, brings relief and contrast to the anthracite movement.”
All of this handwork is “extremely meticulous to do, and only a few artisans ever master” the techniques employed in making Pirlo’s watch. Just as few ever master the midfield skills he himself can lay claim to.