Monochrome Essentials: Reviewing the Patek Philippe Ref. 5496P-014 Perpetual Calendar Retrograde

When the first Patek Philippe Ref. 5496P was presented, with its white dial, it was certainly an elegant watch but with, somehow, a lack of temerity, a certain starkness. The new color brings a warmer aesthetic without breaking the classical codes of the brand. The “honey brown” dial is certainly less conventional, but it has a lot of charm. Due to the dial’s sunray pattern, it goes from a soft caramel tone to a more sunny, gilded look depending on how light reflects off of it. Yet there is no showiness here, just an extra layer of restrained originality. The other advantage of this color is that it creates a higher contrast with the polished white-gold hands and indices, while the apertures of the day, month, and leap year pop out clearly from the dial itself.

Patek Philippe 5496P-014 Perpetual Calendar Retrograde - angle 3

The case is in the traditional Patek Philippe Calatrava style, with its beveled bezel and flat case-bands. It is made of platinum (as is the white-dial edition) as the diamond set at 6 o’clock, between the lugs, can attest. All the settings are made with recessed pushers integrated between the lugs or next to the crown. These eliminate the need for any disturbing buttons or pushers, and thus keep the case design pure. The Patek Philippe Ref. 5496P has very reasonable dimensions — 39.5 mm in diameter and 11.19 mm in height – which add to the dressy feeling and to the comfort. On the wrist, the large opening for the dial and the simple design of the case slightly accentuate the size of the watch, giving it a very pleasant presence. And once again, no worries — it is never too showy.

Patek Philippe 5496P-014 Perpetual Calendar Retrograde - wrist

Through the sapphire caseback (interchangeable with a solid back), the wearer can observe the movement with its attractive layout and fine finishing. Unlike the iconic Ref. 5140, which contains with the ultra-thin Caliber 240 Q with micro-rotor, the Patek Philippe Ref. 5496P is powered by Caliber 324 S QR. We can assume that these initials refer to the sweep central seconds (the “S”), the perpetual calendar (the “Q” for quantième, i.e. “calendar” in French) and theretrograde hand (the “R”). The base movement, Patek’s Caliber 324, has a self-winding mechanism with a central rotor, boasts a 45-hour power reserve and comes with the standard, but efficient, Gyromax balance wheel – a free-sprung balance wheel developed by Patek Philippe that brings a very good chronometric rate. The perpetual calendar is a module added on top of the base movement. The total height of this “engine” is very reasonable, however: only 5.35 mm.

The finishing is, of course, in line with what you’d expect from Patek Philippe: hand-polished, beveled angles, Geneva stripes on the bridges and circular graining on the main plate, polished screw heads and several gold chatons around the rubies. The rotor, in solid yellow gold, is also very well finished, with circular Geneva stripes and a nice engraving. This high level of detail is guaranteed by the Patek Philippe Seal (a sort of improved and in-house Geneva Seal).

Patek Philippe 5496P-014 Perpetual Calendar Retrograde - back

The Patek Philippe Ref. 5496P-014 is a very refined and classical watch, to be sure, but with a tiny bit of eccentricity – due to its dial’s design and color – that we really appreciate here at Monochrome-Watches. Far from being showy or unwearable, it is a warm and elegant watch, and yet complicated enough to fulfill the expectations we have of a Patek Philippe watch.

The Patek Philippe 5496P-014 is available at retail now and priced at $115,700.

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  1. Disappointing to see comment moderation remove mild criticism of the article, especially since I’m a Watchtime print subscriber.

  2. This review makes some good points, but I wish it would be less of an infomercial and more of a test – where are the wearability and performance on the machine and on the wrist results?
    Cheers, Radu.

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