Patek Philippe unveils six special editions and a Rare Handcrafts collection just for Japan
The Watch Art Grand Exhibition Tokyo opens today with a spectacular collection of special editions exclusively for the Japan market.
Ever since Patek Philippe announced its plans for a Grand Exhibition in Tokyo, we’ve been anticipating two things: what new references will be released for this exhibition, and what watches will we see in a showcase for a market that celebrates traditional artistic crafts like no other?
The Watch Art Grand Exhibition Tokyo 2023
Now we’ve received our answer. The Watch Art Grand Exhibition in Tokyo opens today until 25 June 2023 at Shinjuku Sankaku Hiroba Tokyo, from 10 am to 8 pm daily. The sprawling exhibition features over 500 watchmaking exhibits, including 190 from the Patek Philippe Museum, 40 Rare Handcraft pieces, and six limited edition watches exclusive to the Japan market.
The exhibition is the largest ever organised by Patek Philippe, spread over two levels and 2,500 square metres. It’s expected to draw up to 100,000 visitors. (The Singapore Grand Exhibition in 2019 took up 1,800 square metres and had over 65,000 visitors.) In this exhibition, one entire section is devoted to super complications such as the Star Calibre 2000 and Calibre 89, as well as the Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 6002R-001. This section also includes a “Master of Sound” segment that highlights the chiming complications of Patek Philippe, such as the Grandmaster Chime.
If you’re planning a trip to Tokyo, book your appointment slot to view the exhibition and contact a Japanese retailer to put yourself on the interest list for these timepieces. Meanwhile, here are some details on the special editions and Rare Handcraft pieces created for this exhibition. But if you can’t make it, don’t worry: a virtual tour is being developed for those who want to experience the show remotely.
The Tokyo Special Series – Ref. 5308P-010
Six special editions have been produced for this collection, including a “Couple” series and the premiere of a Quadruple Complication. The Ref. 5308P-010 is the star of this range, a 15-piece limited edition watch that goes beyond the watchmaker’s Triple Complication Ref. 5208 from 2011. The Ref. 5308P-010 features a minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph, and instantaneous perpetual calendar in apertures displayed on a rose-gilt opaline dial.
The day, date, and month are shown in an arc over the top of the dial, with an additional aperture for the leap year within the 60-minute totaliser counter. The calendar apertures have charcoal-grey white gold frames, with a similar treatment for the hour indexes and hands. A moonphase display shares the small seconds counter at 6 o’clock, and a day/night indicator is coupled with the 12-hour chronograph totaliser. The chronograph is managed using a monopusher at 2 o’clock and split function at 4 o’clock. Calendar correctors are set into the two ends of the case, with a diamond placed at the base of the platinum case. A slider for the minute repeater is positioned on the left side of the case.
Some distinct and notable features of the Ref. 5308P-010 includes the soft rounded corners of the lugs and case. The lugs, in particular, are “pierced” or skeletonised, creating an open, transparent look for the timepiece. The concave bezel is used by Patek Philippe on its high and grand complication models. It’s matched by a concave caseback with an exhibition crystal that showcases the Calibre R CHR 27 PS QI with 799 components. A second interchangeable caseback in solid platinum is included with the watch. Both are printed or engraved with “Patek Philippe Tokyo”.
The Calibre R 27 that’s the base for this movement is outstanding for its compact size and eccentric micro-rotor positioned on the lower half of the movement across the Calatrava Cross flying governor that controls the pace of the repeater’s chime. The rotor has been upgraded to a platinum one to enhance its winding efficiency, and the movement also features two patents that reduce the power consumption of the clutch and the split-seconds function. These are the highest power-consuming elements of the rattrapante chronograph, which affect the amplitude of the movement.
Two World Timers
Patek Philippe’s world timers are beloved by collectors and watch lovers alike. Two special models have been introduced for the Watch Art Grand Exhibition Tokyo, including one with cloisonné enamel work. They both feature ‘Tokyo’ in red on the watch’s city ring. The Ref. 5531R is a unique timepiece in the industry, a world timer with a minute repeater that sounds out the local time rather than home time with its chiming complication. Launched in 2017, it combines the watchmaker’s mastery of chiming watches with the Rare Handcraft of enamel painting.
In cloisonné enamel, fine gold threads are carefully positioned on the dial to create outlines of a design or artwork, which a master enameller then fills in with coloured enamel powder. This is then fired to harden the enamel, and the process is repeated several times to create the precise colour on the dial, which will never fade over time. On the 15-piece limited edition Ref. 5531R-014, this artwork reflects the city layout of the Chuo district (which literally means ‘Central Ward’ and is the historic commercial centre of Tokyo).
The case middle is hand-guillochéd with a Clous de Paris pattern on the sides and slider of the minute repeater. The watch features the Calibre R 27 HU with a skeletonised hour hand with two interchangeable casebacks: a transparent one which allows viewing of the self-winding movement and a covered rose gold back. Both have “Patek Philippe Tokyo” printed or engraved on them.
The Ref. 5330G-010 is a 300-piece limited edition world timer with a patented world-first function – a date display that’s synced to the local time rather than home time. It’s powered by a new Patek Philippe movement based on its iconic Calibre 240. The 240 HU C movement has a patented differential system to connect the date display with the local time function. The date is shown on the rehaut of the display and shown by a central sapphire crystal hand with a red tip. The dial features a hand-guillochéd design in a wave-like pattern which radiates from the centre of the watch display. The 24-hour disc also has a red rising sun that represents Japan’s national emblem in place of the standard sun icon.
Japan has been gifted with a rare set of paired Calatravas for men and women. This classic tradition comes with a new design for the Calatrava case with stepped and bevelled lugs that appear carved out and separated from the case middle itself. The minimalist designs of both watches embrace Japanese craftsmanship, with fine baton hour markers and cheveu hands on the main dial and small seconds counter.
What’s most stunning about these two watches are the vivid colours they bring to Patek Philippe’s collection. Hand-painted with layer after layer of lacquer, the “men’s” model Ref. 6127G-010 is sized at 36mm and has a light blue lacquer dial, while the “ladies’” model Ref. 7127G-010 is in a lovely shade of lilac. They are both perfect for the summer and offer matching glossy alligator leather straps. These two watches are limited to 400 pieces each, with 300 sold in a matching set and 100 available separately. For collectors who wish to share their Patek Philippe collection with their partners, this is the watch to get.
Finally, a special edition of the Ref. 7121 has been created for this exhibition. Dedicated to female watch collectors and lovers, this version of the 2022 release is restricted to just 200 pieces with a pearl-grey sunburst dial and matching alligator leather strap. The watch features a moonphase complication that’s coupled with a small seconds display at 6 o’clock.
The dial of the Ref. 7121/200G-010 is complimented with polished Breguet numerals in white gold with poire-style hands and a classic white gold Calatrava case with straight lugs in the style of the Officer’s watch. The timepiece is set with a double row of brilliant-cut diamonds, totalling 132 stones in the exclusive “Lace” setting developed by Patek Philippe. The watch features the manually wound Calibre 215 PS LU with a highly precise moonphase display that’s accurate to 122 years.
Beyond these is a full range of Rare Handcraft watches, including Dome Clocks, Table Clocks, and wristwatches inspired by Japanese traditional crafts and culture. These have been produced specially for the Grand Exhibition Tokyo 2023 and are available for viewing at the exhibition. Each of the watches above is available for purchase; register your interest with a Japanese retailer for the opportunity to acquire them.
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