Patek Philippe is known for its multiple complications: perpetual calendars, split-second chronographs, some of the best minute repeaters ever made (and tested by the CEO himself) — even a crazy watch that combines 20 of these complications in a single case, the GrandMaster Chime.
However, among the collection of watches manufactured by Patek, one series of timepieces holds a special place in the hearts of collectors, with their highly poetic displays: the Celestials. Here, from Monochrome Watches, is an overview of a hauntingly Grand Complication, the Patek Philippe 6102P Sky Moon Celestial. Don’t expect the Patek Philippe 6102P Sky Moon to be the most elegant, discreet or practical watch in its collection. That is clearly not its intention. The 6102P Celestial is a large watch (especially when you consider the rest of Patek’s collection), it’s a watch with a questionable utility and a very unique display but it’s a watch created for a very specific and poetic purpose. It is a slow-moving watch, with a slow-moving indication made for dreamers, rather than a watch with a more practical and easily legible purpose.
The Celestial can find its roots back in 2002, when Patek Philippe launched the now-iconic Ref. 5102. This watch was very pure and simple in appearance, with nothing but the indication of the time, the moon-phase and the astronomic display. The new reference, the 6102P, shares all these elements, except with an extra indication located on the extreme side of the dial: the date. And yes, this new dial is superb.
The dial of the Patek Philippe 6102P Sky Moon is made of several layers of sapphire crystal. The first one creates the sky, with its deep shiny blue color. The second one indicates the phases and orbit of the moon. The last one, located at the top, supports the stars and Sirius, the brightest star system in the earth’s night sky. On the very top of the dial, another layer, printed with the cardinal points, helps to locate the portion of the sky visible from Geneva. In this context, the entire dial is an indication and time becomes something nearly secondary. The main appeal of this timepiece is the enjoyment of a slow-moving indication — clearly unusual but totally poetic — tracing the meridian passage of Sirius and of the moon.
Whereas the Patek Philippe 5102 had only two hands – for hours and minutes – the new Reference 6102P comes with an additional indication of the date, displayed by a hand and an external scale as an inner bezel. While it adds some practicality to the watch on a daily basis, its interest in the context of such a “dreamy” display remains questionable. Its integration on the dial is, however, the right choice from Patek, as an aperture would have ruined the purity and beauty of this deep blue and shining plate.
As previously mentioned, the Patek Philippe 6102P Sky Moon Celestial is a large watch. The solid platinum case measures 44 mm x 9.8 mm and comes with two massive crowns. Of course, this watch won’t have the same natural elegance and discretion as a classical Ref. 5940g Perpetual Calendar. This all due to the movement, with its additional module on the top, which measures 38 mm.
The base is very well-known, as the Patek Philippe 6102P relies on the iconic Caliber 240 and its micro-rotor. The back may show a rather small movement (27.5 mm), it comes with a large module on the top to actuate all the rotating discs (starry sky and moon position). The whole movement (Caliber 240 LU CL C) is also thicker, at 6.81 mm, and composed of 315 parts (instead of the 161 parts in the base Calibre 240). What doesn’t change is the very pleasant architecture of the movement and the quality of the finishes: polished beveled angles, circular graining on the plates, Geneva stripes on the bridges, and a very beautiful gold micro-rotor – a quality attested to by the Patek Philippe Seal.
The Ref. 6102P can be seen as quite controversial. Some Patek Philippe collectors will see it as too massive. Some will prefer the older edition, the Ref. 5102, for its absence of date. However, on the wrist, the 44-mm case remains completely wearable (short and curved lugs help) and the size comes as a natural element of this watch, due to the highly specific display. A smaller watch would not be especially appropriate to enjoy the superb scenery of this blue dial. Of course, the integration of the date removes a substantial part of the purity, as the watch seems more loaded, compared to the Ref. 5102. However, Patek Philippe used the best option to implement it in the context of the Celestials, without ruining the dial by adding a date window.
The Patek Philippe 6102P Sky Moon Celestial is a very special watch in Patek Philippe’s collection, a complicated timepiece that comes at a substantial price (due to the complexity of the dial and the platinum case). It is priced north of 250,000 euros.