Watches and Wonders 2023: Patek Philippe
A bounty of stunning timepieces from Patek Philippe shows how much it has changed in the last decade alone.
As the Watches and Wonders fair opened, visitors flocked straight to the windows of Patek Philippe to discover what the watchmaker had released. It was an impressive list of 17 models. Some are updates to existing models, but there are several important new models, including variations on the Calatrava Ref. 6007 and the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Chronograph.
The Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Chronograph Ref. 5924G
Combining a flyback chronograph with dual time zone function and analogue date display, the Ref. 5924G represents the ultimate watch for a pilot. The flyback chronograph is a function developed specially for aviators in the past to help them accurately chart their route and location. The dual time zone function is another complication used originally in aircraft dashboards. The three are now united by Patek Philippe with a date display, so you know when and where you are.
The Pilot collection has come a long way since it was first re-introduced in 2015. The Travel Time has welcomed a smaller size and added a complex alarm system in 2019. In 2023, the Ref. 5924G completes the range of aviation-related complications to the line.
The case of the watch remains much the same as its siblings and comes in two white gold variations with a blue-grey sunburst dial that’s the colour of a moody sky, as well as a military khaki green lacquered dial. Both have leather straps with matching colours to their respective dials.
Like all Patek Philippe watches, legibility is important. Thus, the brand has done away with a seconds hand because, honestly, who really needs it? Two large counters extend right up to the centre of the dial, indicating the date at 12 o’clock and 60-minute totaliser at 6 o’clock. The three hands on the dial display the local and home time on solid and skeleton hands, respectively. Two additional apertures show the day/night status for each time zone.
The CH 28-520 self-winding in-house chronograph is the basis for this watch’s movement. The vertically coupled design means this watch runs accurately with or without the chronograph running, so in theory, you can use the central chronograph seconds hand as a running seconds hand if you wish. It has a 45-hour power reserve with a silicon escapement, ensuring the movement’s amagnetic qualities.
The Grand Complication Ref. 5316/50P-001
In yet another sign that the brand is moving with the times and refreshing its design, Patek Philippe is giving a facelift to an icon – the Ref. 5316/50P-001. The grand complication model was first released in 2017 with a black grand feu enamel dial, a classic interpretation of the minute repeater with a perpetual calendar and tourbillon.
This year, the Ref. 5316 switches out enamel for sapphire crystal, with a blue metallised effect and black gradient rim. The result is a watch that exposes one of the most sophisticated movements from the brand and renders the heart of the movement visible on the dial. At midnight, watch as the instantaneous perpetual calendar’s windows switch to the next day. Making the watch a more casual affair, alligator leather is swapped out for a calfskin strap embossed with a fabric pattern and contrasting stitching.
The difference between the old and new Ref. 5316 editions is extraordinary – two identical watches but with opposite identities. It’s a great example of how to transform a classic into a contemporary with some brilliant design tweaks.
A slew of new Calatrava Ref. 6007s has hit the market. If you recall, this reference was first released to commemorate the opening of Patek Philippe’s new PP6 manufacture back in 2019. The special edition was in steel, a rarity for the Calatrava and quickly sold out. Now, the next series of watches are in white gold with enriched colour accents.
The Refs. 6007G-001, 6007G-010 and 6007G-011 all have ebony black dials with the same carbon motif that the original Ref. 6007A-001 offered. But where the latter was strictly in blue and white (already a very striking change from past Calatrava models), the new watches have white details and accents in yellow, red, and blue, respectively.
The colourful accents are on the minute track, arrow hour indicators on the inner ring of the dial, and the running seconds hand. They are gently playful, like a formally dressed executive that adds a pop of colour to a suit. The stitching on the calfskin straps that are embossed with the carbon motif also matches the dial accents.
In all other aspects, little has changed from the original Ref. 6007A. The movement driving the watch is the Calibre 26-330 S C, the same that drives the Twenty~4 Automatic and a slew of other time-only watches in Patek Philippe.
A new Calatrava with a feminine touch is also added to the collection. The Ref. 4997/200R-001 in rose gold comes with a light aubergine dial embossed with rings of waves. It’s coated with over 50 layers of translucent lacquer, creating shades of light and dark on the dial, playing beautifully with light cascading over it. Long triangular hour markers in gold are applied, pointing outwards rather than inwards, adding to the effect of the radiating wave patterns spreading out from the centre.
The Ref. 4997/200R-001 is equipped with one of our favourite ultra-thin movements from Patek Philippe: the Calibre 240, with a micro-rotor to ensure it’s running accurately all the time. The movement offers a two-day power reserve and can be seen through the sapphire caseback.
Among some of the artistic watches released by Patek Philippe this year include a new Ref. 5531G-001 World Time Minute Repeater, that’s now in white gold. Its predecessor in rose gold has ended production.
The watch, which has a unique synergy between the world time function and its minute repeater, sounds out the local time rather than the home time. It’s the only watch of its kind in the world that has this function, and Patek Philippe holds patents for the development of the Calibre R27 HU movement powering it.
The dial of the watch is decorated with Grand Feu cloisonné enamel with a new depiction of a Belle Époque steamboat that still plies the waters of Lake Geneva. Its Swiss flag flies prominently in the centre of the dial, with the sun setting just behind it, against a summer scene with houses along the lakefront.
There’s much more to cover than is possible in one single article but suffice it to say that Patek Philippe is entering 2023 with a clear direction in mind: to energise its product offerings for the next generation of collectors and attract their interest with watches that retain the essence of the brand while generating a trendy vibe that’s both cool and collectable.
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