Perhaps one of the few positives to take from Baselworld’s rather spectacular implosion this year is the prospect of having more time to devote to some of the stand-out watches that would have made their debut there, and thus avoiding the inevitable rush to be first with the news of new watches.
Patek Philippe chose to release a fistful of haute horlogerie in one go today, a trio of haute de gamme timepieces covering all of the complications the Genevan brand is renowned for.
Patek Philippe Ref. 5303R-001 Minute Repeater Tourbillon
First up is a series run of the Ref. 5303R, a watch first introduced last year as a limited edition to mark the arrival of Patek’s biennial Watch Art Grand Exhibition in Singapore. The minute repeater tourbillon is the first Patek to offer dial side views of a striking mechanism (at the ten o’clock position) and tourbillon (tucked behind the small seconds dial at the six o’clock), making for a real grand complication showcase.
While the same configuration of 18ct rose gold case with contrasting 18ct white gold slide and filligree inserts along the caseband is employed here, the bright red highlights (the Singaporean national colour) have been replaced with a more sober black.
Without a dial the manually wound Calibre R TO 27 PS is on full display, allowing Patek Philippe to really show off the kind of fine finishing the brand is capable of.
Case/dial: 42mm diameter x 12.13mm height, rose gold, sapphire-crystal front and back, humidity-and dust-protected only (not water-resistant), black hour circle with minute markers printed in white and golden powdered dots | Movement: Calibre R TO 27 PS, manually wound minute repeater with chime on two classic gongs, tourbillon, small seconds | Frequency: 21,600 (3 Hz) | Power reserve: 40h – 48h | Strap: Alligator leather with square scales, hand-stitched, shiny black, fold-over clasp | Price: On request, more details at Patek Philippe’s website.
Patek Philippe Ref. 5370P-011 Split-Seconds Chronograph
Next up is the Ref. 5370P, a 41mm split second 30-minute chronograph encased in platinum (an easy way to differentiate between Patek Philippe’s platinum watches from white gold is to look for the diamond set between the lower lugs) and a genuine contender for the title of Most Attractive Chronograph should anyone want to start handing out such prizes.
Patek Philippe first produced the 5370P in 2015 with a black dial and still offers the Ref. 5372P which pairs the rattrapante with a perpetual calendar in the kind of heady haute horlogerie mix that’s enough to make your head swim. But if I’m honest I prefer this new design. Its rich blue grand feu enamel (solid gold underneath) dial benefits from the comparative simplicity that focusing on a single complication brings while the symmetry of using two pushers and a crown makes for a more pleasing silhouette. Here the top pusher is used to start and start the chronograph and the bottom one to reset it while an activator in the crown controls the split second hand.
The Ref. 5370P also opts for stylised Breguet white gold applique hour numerals, which coupled with the deep blue background colour makes for a lively, playful design that really sings. Patek offers the watch with both sapphire crystal exhibition caseback and a full metal option, although I can’t imagine a scenario where someone buying this watch wouldn’t want to gaze longingly at CHR 29-535 PS movement as often as possible, afterall few things in watches look as good as Patek rattrapante movement.
Case/dial: 41mm diameter x 13.56mm height, platinum, sapphire-crystal front and back, 30m water resistance, Grand Feu blue enamel dial with gold applied Breguet numerals | Movement: Calibre CHR 29-525 PS, manually wound split-seconds chronograph | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 65h | Strap: Alligator leather with square scales, hand-stitched, shiny dusk blue, fold-over clasp | Price: £201,390 GBP, more details at Patek Philippe’s website.
Patek Philippe Ref. 5270J-001 Chronograph Perpetual Calendar
Finally, we come to the Ref. 5270J, an 18ct yellow gold version of the watch that I most closely associate with Patek Philippe as a brand, the perpetual calendar chronograph. Platinum and rose gold versions of this watch already sit in the collection but their dial colours (gold and black respectively) make them contemporary takes on a classic, this is the classic configuration yellow gold with a ‘silvery opaline dial’, and quite frankly the world needs a bit more yellow gold at the moment, what’s the point of gold if it’s shy and retiring.
The 41mm case is simply perfection from its concave bezel to its stepped ‘gadrooned’ lugs, geometrically its chronograph pushers are incredibly simple but finely finished with vertical satin brushing on the sides and finely polished on top. Perhaps the reverse would make more sense from a practical standpoint, but who’s counting.
The dial is a masterclass in good design. Legible, symmetrical and well-spaced with chronograph and timekeeping functions positioned horizontally at the three and nine o’clock positions (30-minute chronograph and small seconds) while perpetual calendar functions are displayed vertically, with day and date displayed in the own apertures above the brand lettering at the 12 o’clock while date and moonphase are read-off of a sub dial/window at the six o’clock. There are also apertures either side of that display to indicate day/night and leap year. If I were to be extremely picky (and I am) I could live without day/night indication altogether on single timezone watch (we have regular windows for that) and I’d prefer leap year indication to be relegated to the reverse freeing up space on the dial.
One element of the Ref. 5270J that I’ve learned to love over the years is the typeface used for the date and sub dial numerals. While everyone else hacked the serifs from their dial fontsyears ago, Patek is still confident in using characters that look like they were lifting from 1980’s newspaper pages and, honestly, I’m right onboard. This is the kind of watch Gordon Gekko would have worn as a talisman on Wall Street (especially in the yellow gold) and that anachronistic font feels right on the money.
Case/dial: 41mm diameter x 12.4mm height, yellow gold, sapphire-crystal front and back, 30m water resistance, silvery opaline dial with gold applied hour markers and tachymeter scale | Movement: Calibre CH 29‑535 PS Q, manually wound chronograph, 30-minute counter, perpetual calendar with day, month, leap year and day/night display in apertures, date, seconds subdial | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 55h – 65h | Strap: Alligator leather with square scales, hand-stitched, matte chocolate brown, fold-over clasp | Price: £129,350 GBP, more details at Patek Philippe’s website.
So there’s a real splurge of high end Patek Philippe for you and if you need more Patek than that in a single day you should perhaps consider professional help, or at least developing a closer relationship with your AD. For more details visit Patek Philippe’s website.