After a fairly quiet summer, following a stretch in which it soaked up substantial watch-media attention for the swan song of one of its popular Nautilus models, Patek Philippe returns to the spotlight this week with the unexpected and undoubtedly welcome launch of three new chronograph-equipped timepieces, each of them boasting an additional high complication. Here’s a closer look at the new versions of Patek Philippe’s references 5204, 5905, and 5930.
Each of the three new timepieces contains one movement from the range of in-house chronograph calibers that Patek Philippe has developed since 2005. At the pinnacle in terms of horological complexity is the Ref. 5240R-011 Split-Seconds Chronograph and Perpetual Calendar, equipped with the manual-winding Caliber CHR 29-535 PS Q, presented here for the first time in a hand-polished rose-gold case and a slate-gray sunburst dial and coordinated gray strap.
Measuring 40 mm in diameter, the case features aesthetic elements established in previous iterations of this Grand Complication timepiece, notably the concave bezel and two-tiered lugs. The dial stages the complex assortment of indications in a legible manner: day and month in two in-line windows at 12 o’clock, moon-phase and analog date at 6 o’clock, small seconds and 30-minute chronograph counter at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock, respectively. Two additional, subtle round windows display the leap year (between 4 and 5 o’clock) and day/night status (between 7 and 8 o’clock). The dial’s Dauphine hands and applied hour markers are made of rose gold and finished with luminous coating.
A clear sapphire caseback (which can be sealed off by a hunter-style solid caseback if desired) shows off the movement, which made its debut in 2012’s Ref. 5204P-001 model. In addition to its classical chronograph architecture, with two column wheels and a toothed-wheel horizontal clutch system, the hand-wound movement boasts seven patents, including one for the stopwatch’s split-seconds mechanism, and an array of meticulous finishes. Mounted on a shiny slate-gray leather strap with and embossed alligator pattern and a rose-gold folding clasp, the watch retails for $309,893.
Cased in steel, a metal found only rarely in Patek Philippe’s haute horlogerie collections, is the Ref. 5905/1A-001 Self-Winding Flyback Chronograph with Annual Calendar. The 42-mm case has a polished finish, a concave bezel and recessed sides, and is integrated into a steel three-link bracelet. The watch’s dial is in vibrant olive green with a sunburst finish and hosts the now-familiar layout of watches in Patek’s 5905 series: the day, date, and month arranged in an arc of three windows, a 60-minute chronograph counter at 6 o’clock along with a discreet day-night indicator, sword-shaped hour and minute hands and a central hand for the chronograph seconds.
Thanks to the architecture of the self-winding Caliber 28-520 QA 24H — and its use of a modern, vertical disk-type clutch in addition to the traditional column wheel — that central seconds hand can also be used as a running seconds hand when the chronograph functions aren’t being used. The movement, which is visible behind a sapphire exhibition caseback, combines those chronograph capabilities with an annual calendar, meaning that the date needs resetting only once per year, on March 1, as the mechanism accounts for the length of all 30- and 31-day months.
The integrated steel three-link bracelet is in a similar style as that used on the Aquanaut Ref. Ref. 5167/1A, featuring contrasting polished and satin-brushed finishes, but slightly differentiated by its polished underside and edges. The bracelet’s patented fold-over clasp offers four independent catches. The watch is priced at $59,140.
Rounding out the trio is the Ref. 5930P-001 Self-Winding World Time Flyback Chronograph, the latest version of a popular high-complication model inspired by a piece from 1940 that combines a chronograph with a world-time display. Housed in a 39.5-mm platinum case, the watch contains yet another in-house movement, the self-winding Caliber CH 28-520 HU, employing the same column-wheel and disk-type vertical clutch of the annual calendar model above; also like that model, it adopts a predominantly green dial.
The verdant center of the dial has a hand-guillochéd circular motif that demonstrates the craftsmanship that Patek Philippe’s atelier can bring to bear. Surrounding the center is a world-time ring with two city disks, wth names printed in green to represent each of the world’s 24 major time zones. Of the three new models, this one’s chronograph readout is the most discreet, on a green 30-minute counter at 6 o’clock. The dial’s applied hour markers and Dauphine hands are made of white gold and luminous-coated. The case is entirely hand-polished and set with a diamond at 6 o’clock; its “wing type” lugs recall the type popular on Patek Philippe’s world-time watches of the 1940s and ’50s.
The movement’s design ensures minimal wear and tear and enables the central chronograph hand to act as a permanent running seconds hand without affecting timing accuracy or power reserve. Its flyback function, operated by a pusher at 4 o’clock, enables instant re-starting of a timing operation while the central chrono hand is already engaged. In addition, Caliber CH 28-520 HU, an evolution of Patek’s second manufacture chronograph movement launched in 20026, features a patented mechanism that enables correction of all displays simultaneously when the wearer is changing time zones, simply by pressing the pusher at 10 o’clock. The watch, mounted on a “bottle green” alligator strap with a fold-over clasp in the same platinum as the case, carries a price of $100,538.
Oh boy. More unobtainable watches for consideration.