A Cult Classic Turns 50: Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse

Patek Philippe made its biggest splashes at this year’s Baselworld with new variations on its sportiest watch models, the Nautilus and Aquanaut. On the dressier side, and not to be overlooked, the Genevan manufacture also unveiled two new versions of its Golden Ellipse, Patek’s second oldest existing model (behind the Calatrava), which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse - RG - soldier
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse Ref. 5738R-001

Launched in 1968, the original Golden Ellipse demanded attention with its quirky elliptical case, a hybrid of an oval and a rectangle, whose proportions, Patek says, were influenced by the so-called “golden section” discovered by ancient Greek mathematicians and whose “divine” proportions inspired numerous artistic and architectural masterpieces throughout the centuries. That first model, with a shimmering blue-and-gold dial and a manually wound movement, eventually begat an entire collection of Golden Ellipses that by the late 1970s encompassed 65 different references, including a Nautilus version and several high-jewelry models for ladies. The collection’s first self-winding movements began appearing in 1977, with the debut of the ultra-thin, micro-rotor Caliber 240. Patek has unveiled two new Golden Ellipse timepieces, one limited, the other part of the regular collection, to mark this historical watch’s semicentennial.

One model (Ref. 5738/50P-001, limited to 100 pieces) comes in a 34.5 mm x 39.5 mm platinum case, with an 18k gold black enameled dial with cheveu-style satin-finished white gold hands sweeping over a hand-engraved volute motif in white gold inspired by Patek Philippe’s Calatrava cross emblem. The crown is set with an onyx cabochon echoing the color of the enamel dial, and a diamond set in the caseband at 6 o’clock marks this piece as a member of Patek Philippe’s exclusive platinum collection. The solid caseback is decorated with the commemorative engraving, “Ellipse d’Or 1968 – 2018.”

Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse - Platinum LE
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse Ref. 5738/50P-001 Limited Edition
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse - Platinum LE - dial CU
The hand-engraved pattern on the enamel dial echoes the look of Patek’s Calatrava cross.

The other new, unlimited model (Ref. 5738R-001), comes in an 18k rose gold case with the same dimensions and height as the platinum version (just 2.53 mm thick) and has a clean, sunburst-finish black enamel dial with hands and hour appliqués in rose gold. Both timepieces are powered by the aforementioned, self-winding Caliber 240, an ultra-thin manufacture caliber with an 18k gold microrotor and a minimum 48-hour power reserve; both come mounted on shiny black alligator straps with prong buckles in case-matching materials. Prices are $90,722 for the platinum limited edition — which also comes with a set of white-gold, black enameled cuff links with a volute pattern matching the dial’s — and $30,846 for the rose-gold model.

Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse - RG - standing
The rose-gold version has a sunburst black enamel dial.
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse - RG - dial CU
The hour appliqués of the Golden Ellipse are in 18k rose gold.
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    Why do watch manufacturers charge an incredible premium for platinum vs gold . I appreciate that platinum is more difficult to work than gold and historically it was more expensive than gold however for several years it has been cheaper at present platnum price is approximately
    34%lower than gold. Are buyers being ripped off ?

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