Patek Philippe, the oldest independent Genevan watch manufacture, is renowned for having one of the most comprehensive collections of grand complications - the epitome of watchmaking. These include minute repeaters with perpetual calendars, astronomical watches, timepieces with tourbillons, as well as models that combine several of these highly coveted functions.
For the trade's craft of the highest order, the maison abides by two fundamental principles: firstly, to accommodate a maximum of technical complexity in a minimal volume (smallest possible height and diameter), with the end result of very thin cases that project timeless elegance. Secondly, to always ensure ease of use by the wearer must be simple, no matter how elaborate the complication. Design is thus underpinned by the 3 pillars of convenience, functional integrity, and legibility.
Three grand complications of 2020 extend this approach elegantly, and embody a level of craftsmanship that continues to make each Patek Philippe a precious work of art, representing a perfect meld of tradition and innovation.
Ref. 5303R-001 Minute Repeater
Patek Philippe 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).
However, until now, it had never produced a minute repeater with a striking mechanism that was visible on the dial side. This changed when the limited edition Ref. 5303 was unveiled in 2019 for the "Watch Art Grand Exhibition Singapore 2019" (see below).
Now, a slightly modified version of the Ref. 5303 Minute Repeater Tourbillon has become part of the current Patek Philippe collection. Besides being able to see the repeater mechanism with its hammers and gongs , the back side of ithe tourbicage can be seen beneath the seconds subdial at 6 o'clock.
Looking deeper, the the manually wound caliber R TO 27 PS was also subtly reworked to emphasize its appeal. Certain components were pierced, as is common for skeletonized movements. In addition, the base plate has been decorated with Genevan circular graining, a delicate perlage applied to the recesses, and the hammers finished with a circular satin visage.
The case in rose gold sports a wide, cambered and polished bezel as well as white-gold inlays with foliage engravings, which are also seen on left-hand case flank where the white-gold slide that activates the minute repeater, sits. 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.
Quality assurance goes to the very top - The melody of every Patek Philippe minute repeater is checked by Patek president Thierry Stern before it leaves the manufacture.
Ref. 5370P-011 Split-Seconds Chronograph
In 2015, the Ref. 5370 was launched as the first split-seconds chronograph endowed with the proprietary caliber CHR 29-535 PS and it featured a platinum case and a black enamel dial.
Now, the Red. 5370P-011 comes with a blue Grand Feu enamel dial version, replacing the earlier black edition.
On the 18K gold dial plate, we notice the slender leaf-shaped hour and minutes hands with luminous coatings, and applied Breguet numerals in white gold. The sweep chronograph and rattrapante hands, the instantaneous 30-minute counter hand as well as the white-printed scales complete the two-phase chronograph function.
The two pushers for the chronograph functions and a rattrapante pusher are all integrated into the crown at 3 o'clock, impressively exhibiting how tradition meets innovation. This is a 21st-century movement encompassing the manual winder, dual-column-wheel control, and the horizontal wheel clutch, endowed with extensive optimization and patents.
The elegant polished platinum case features a concave bezel and satin-finished flank recesses, is accompanied with 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, a small diamond is nested between the lugs at 6 o'clock.
Ref. 5270J-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
First launched in 2018 in platinum with a golden opaline dial, and separately in rose-gold with a gold “goutte”-style bracelet, the Ref. 5270 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph sees an addition to the family.
Encased in 18K yellow gold for the first time, the Ref. 5270 boasts a concave bezel with two-tier lugs. Within, the dial is silvery opaline dial complemented by applied baton indexes and leaf-shaped hands in yellow gold.
The perpetual calendar functions are revealed by an analog date display at 6 o'clock and a double aperture for the day and month at 12 o'clock. These are complemented with two small round apertures for the day/night indicator and the leap year cycle, and finally a 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.
There are six patented innovations for the chronograph functions and the calendar mechanism is extremely thin at 1.65 mm for a total of 182 parts, which can be seen the sapphire-crystal case back.
The new Ref. 5270J-001 comes with a hand-stitched matt chocolate brown alligator strap with large square scales secured with a yellow-gold fold-over clasp.