One of the biggest watch-world stories from 2017 was Patek Philippe’s historic “Art of Watches Grand Exhibition” in New York and the limited-edition timepieces that debuted there, and one of the most talked-about watches that emerged from that collection was the World Time Minute Repeater Ref. 5531R, limited to just two series of five pieces each, with special New York-themed, cloisonné enamel dials. Today, to kick off Baselworld 2018, Patek Philippe unveiled a new version of that ultra-complicated model that will become part of its regular collection, alongside a new, manual-winding chronograph for ladies that will replace the discontinued Ref. 7071. Read on to learn more about both timepieces.
Like its limited-edition predecessors — all 10 of which, we’re told, were sold before the Grand Exhibition packed up and left the Big Apple — the new Ref. 5531 combines a minute repeater and a world-time function, two complications at which Patek has long been known to excel. Even more notably, it is unique among world-time minute repeaters — not that there all that many, frankly — in that instead of chiming the wearer’s home time even when he is traveling and has has the watch set to a different local time, the Ref. 5531 always strikes whatever local time is set. In other words, the time displayed by the central hands on the main dial, represented by the city aligned with the 12 o’clock position on the dial, is the time the wearer will hear when he activates the repeater with the slide on one side of the rose-gold case, which features the same hand-guillochéd hobnail pattern as the originals. A separate pusher above the crown on the opposite side (below) is used to conveniently set the local time zone.
The movement is the self-winding caliber R 27 HU, which made its debut in the New York editions. Made of 462 parts and decorated to the exacting standards of Patek Philippe’s in-house quality certification, the movement is wound by a 22k gold micro-rotor that is recessed into the movement and also sports a hobnail guilloché pattern. All the technical excellence you’d expect from the manufacture is present — Gyromax balance, Spiromax balance spring in Silinvar, and a power reserve of 48 hours — and visible beneath a clear sapphire caseback.
While the dials of the limited editions depicted scenes of New York City in the daytime and nighttime, the cloisonné enamel dial of the new Ref. 5531R features instead a pastoral image of the Lavaux vineyard terrace region on the shores of Lake Geneva, a UNESCO World Heritage Site not far from Patek Philippe’s Swiss headquarters. The dial features lapped rose-gold hands, including a pierced hour hand whose silhouette is inspired by the Southern Cross constellation. It is surrounded by a 24-hour scale divided into two colored sectors to represent day and night, and by a disk emblazoned with the names of 24 world cities.
The case measures 42 mm in diameter, with skeletonized lugs, a specially shaped crystal, and a gold crown engraved with the brand’s ubiquitous Calatrava cross motif. The watch is mounted on a chocolate brown alligator strap with a rose-gold foldover clasp.
The new Ref. 7150/250R-001 Ladies Chronograph claims the position of Patek Philippe’s only chronograph watch aimed exclusively at women, replacing the groundbreaking Ref. 7071 “Ladies First” model that debuted to great fanfare in 2009 and which the company produced until 2016. The new reference, like its predecessor, is powered by Patek Philippe’s in-house, manual-winding chronograph Caliber CH 29-535 PS (we covered it in detail here) but boasts an entirely new dial design and case.
The new, round rose-gold case of Ref. 7150/250R-001, measuring a relatively dainty 38 mm in diameter, replaces the cushion-shaped case of the model it replaces in the lineup. The bezel is set with 72 diamonds and the lugs are fluted and elegantly curved for a vintage look, an aesthetic also aided by the classical rounded chronograph pushers, with their hand-guillochéd surfaces. Under a subtly domed box-style sapphire crystal, the new silvered opaline dial retains the bicompax look of the 7071, but with more traditional round rather than oval subdials, and adds another vintage-style flourish, a pulsimeter scale of the type found on historical “doctor’s watches” designed to work in concert with the stopwatch to measure heart rates.
The dial’s classical Breguet hour and minute hands and applied Art Deco-style hour numerals are made of rose gold. The subdial at 3 o’clock tallies 30 elapsed minutes, and the subdial at 9 o’clock stages the running seconds, leaving the black nickel-plated central seconds hand to sweep around the dial counting the seconds when the chronograph is activated. Caliber CH 29-535 PS, which has since been used in several of Patek’s men’s chronographs as well as in the “Ladies First,” is on display through the generously proportioned, slightly domed sapphire caseback. It beats at 28,800 vph and amasses a minimum 65-hour power reserve. Like all of Patek’s in-house movements, it features the lavish finishing necessary to earn the Patek Philippe seal.
The Patek Philippe Ref. 7150/250R-001 will be offered, Patek says, on a “shiny mink gray alligator strap” — presumably different from the brown strap pictured in the photos above — and secured by a prong buckle made of rose gold and set with an additional 27 diamonds.