Patek Philippe has one of the most comprehensive collections of regularly produced grand complications, including minute repeaters with perpetual calendars, astronomical watches, timepieces with tourbillons and models that combine several of these highly coveted functions. As the outcome of know-how transfers from one generation to the next and underpinned with the results of high-end research, these watches follow two fundamental principles that are highly important to Patek Philippe.
One of them is to rise to the challenge of accommodating a maximum of technical complexity in a minimal volume (smallest possible height and diameter), allowing the design of very slender cases that project timeless elegance. Secondly, each complication – no matter how elaborate – must be simple to operate for the user and be a role model of convenience, functional integrity, and legibility. The three grand complications of 2020 illustrate this philosophy very convincingly. They embody a level of craftsmanship that makes each Patek Philippe a precious work of art.
Ref. 5303R-001 Minute Repeater An extravaganza for eyes and ears
Since it made its first pocket watch with a minute repeater (1845), Patek Philippe has established itself as one of the gifted interpreters of the music of time. This remarkable knowhow comes to the fore even in the most extraordinary creations, such as the Sky Moon Tourbillon wristwatch featuring a minute repeater with cathedral gongs or the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime with five chiming functions including two patented global debuts.
The manufacture also offers the broadest selection of regularly produced minute repeaters, watches with classic or cathedral gongs and models featuring a minute repeater with or without additional complications (perpetual calendar, tourbillon, World Time, chronograph). But never before had Patek Philippe crafted a minute repeater with a striking mechanism that was visible on the dial side.
The Ref. 5303 was unveiled in 2019 in a limited edition of 12 watches as a world debut on the occasion of the “Watch Art Grand Exhibition Singapore 2019”.
Now, a slightly modified version of the Ref. 5303 Minute Repeater Tourbillon has become part of the current Patek Philippe collection. This new complication for enthusiasts of repeater timepieces stands out with its open architecture without a conventional dial. The repeater mechanism – for the first time with the hammers and gongs – can be admired in action without removing the watch from the wrist.
This is a further expression of Patek Philippe’s customer-centric development philosophy. The transparency aspect also applies to the tourbillon: the back side of its cage can be seen beneath the seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock. In this veritably perfect composition, the filigreed steel parts glisten against the backdrop of the rose gilt plate.
The inimitable rose-gold case sports a wide, cambered and polished bezel as well as white-gold inlays with foliage engravings that grace the case-band and the strap lugs. The white-gold slide in the left-hand case flank that activates the minute repeater features the same motif. The hour circle is black-lacquered sapphire-crystal rim with powdered rose-gold markers. The movement can be admired through the sapphire-crystal case back and is framed by a white-gold rim. Its open-worked decoration echoes the case inlays and the repeater slide.
This fantastic lesson in watchmaking artistry, elegance, and manual finissage is complemented with the unique sound that is typical of Patek Philippe repeater timepieces. As is the case for every Patek Philippe minute repeater, this melody of time is personally rated with great care by manufacture president Thierry Stern.
Ref. 5370P-011 Split-Seconds Chronograph A new face with a blue Grand Feu enamel dial
Apart from the minute repeater and the tourbillon, the triad at the pinnacle of the most elaborate horological complications also includes the split-seconds chronograph (movement No. 124’824); since 1923, it occupies a preferential position in Patek Philippe’s wristwatch collection. The Ref. 5370, the first split-seconds chronograph endowed with the proprietary caliber CHR 29-535 PS was launched in 2015 with a platinum case and a black enamel dial.
Coveted by connoisseurs, this grand complication has now been subtly upgraded with a new blue face with glossy finish that reflects Patek Philippe’s proud tradition in Grand Feu enamel dials. It is an oeuvre of unmatched chromatic intensity that is made by hand on the basis of an 18K gold dial plate.
The dial is superbly legible as befits an instrument with a decidedly technical personality. The hours and minutes are tracked by slender leaf-shaped hands with luminous coatings and applied Breguet numerals in white gold. The results of short-time measurements are readable with the same precision and speed: the sweep chronograph and rattrapante hands as well as the instantaneous 30-minute counter hand contrast as clearly against the blue dial as do the white-printed scales.
The two-phase chronograph movement with two pushers for the chronograph functions and a rattrapante pusher integrated in the crown at 3 o’clock is an impressive example of how tradition meets innovation. The classic elements of the basic architecture are the manual winder, dual-column-wheel control, and the horizontal wheel clutch. Nonetheless, it is a 21stcentury movement endowed with extensive optimization details and patented innovations as well as an advanced rattrapante mechanism.
The elegant polished platinum case with a concave bezel and satin-finished flank recesses is worn on an alligator strap in shiny night blue secured by a platinum fold-over clasp.
As is the case with all of Patek Philippe’s platinum wristwatches, the new Ref. 5370P-011 is graced with a small diamond between the lugs at 6 o’clock. It replaces its predecessor with the black enamel dial, presenting a new combination of superb craftsmanship and watchmaking artistry.
Ref. 5270J-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph A majestic classic with a new yellow-gold personality
As the heir of Patek Philippe’s grand 1941 classic (Ref. 1518), the Ref. 5270 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph has been available since 2018 in platinum with a golden opaline dial and a rose-gold version with a gold “goutte”-style bracelet. Now, the manufacture is extending its regular collection of this grand complication by the Ref. 5270, cased in yellow gold for the first time. It is a very elegant outfit for this timeless watch that pairs a concave bezel with twotier lugs.
The silvery opaline dial with applied baton indexes and leaf-shaped hands in yellow gold assures excellent legibility. The displays of the perpetual calendar are tastefully balanced with an analog date at 6 o’clock and a double aperture for the day and month at 12 o’clock. They are complemented with two small round apertures for the day/night indicator and the leap year cycle as well as the typical moon-phase window.
The caliber CH 29-535 PS Q is the first chronograph movement with a perpetual calendar developed in 2011 and crafted entirely by Patek Philippe. It combines traditional architecture (horizontal clutch, column wheel and manual winder) with six patented innovations for the chronograph functions and stands out with its extremely thin calendar mechanism (1.65 mm for 182 parts). The movement can be admired through the sapphire-crystal case back. A solid back in 18K yellow gold is part of the scope of delivery.
The new Ref. 5270J-001 is worn on a hand-stitched matt chocolate brown alligator strap with large square scales secured with a yellow-gold fold-over clasp. It joins the previous platinum and rose-gold models to accommodate the individual preferences of aficionados of Patek Philippe grand complications.