Used by Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci and Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, the Golden Ratio applies to two objects when their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities. Abiding by this supposedly leads to aesthetically pleasing proportions. The principle influenced the rounded rectangular case of Patek Philippe’s Golden Ellipse in yellow gold with a blue dial that was launched in 1968. Housed in a white gold case measuring 39.5 by 34.5mm, the latest iteration of the Golden Ellipse is the Ref. 5738/51G-001 with elaborate engraving and black Grand Feu enamel.

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The Lange 1 is known for its off-centre design, but the reason the aesthetic of its flagship model remains balanced, according to A. Lange & Sohne, is that it adheres to the principles of the Golden Ratio. The proportions of the hour and minute circle in relation to the diameter of the dial, as well as that of the outsize date, follow the Golden Ratio. Adding to the sense of order on the dial, the displays for the outsize date and the seconds sub-dial are arranged on a perpendicular axis on the right. This harmony is apparent in models such as the Little Lange 1 Moon Phase, a 36.8mm white gold model with a shimmering gold-flux face that was launched this year.

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Usually, watch dials and cases are designed according to the Golden Ratio, also known as the Golden Section or the Divine Proportion. In the 1940s, however, Andrey Frey, the owner and watch engineer at Minerva – the movement maker that is today owned by Montblanc and known as Villeret – created calibre 48, a movement made according to proportions defined by the Golden Ratio of 1.618. Powering the Heritage Pythagore Small Second, the new calibre MB M14.08 is inspired by that original movement and features dimensions that follow the Golden Ratio.

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The Golden Ratio has captured the imagination of creators through the ages because it is believed to govern natural forms, such as nautilus shells or the spiral arrangement of leaves. When designing Parmigiani’s first wristwatch, the Toric, the brand’s eponymous founder Michel Parmigiani looked for inspiration in the Golden Ratio and the closely related Fibonacci sequence of numbers. Demonstrated once again in the Toric Heritage, released last December to mark Michel Parmigiani’s 70th birthday, these principles govern the watch’s length-to- width ratios, the proportion of the hands and even the curvature of the lugs.