A visit to Patek Philippe’s BaselWorld booth is always something to look forward to, despite the fact that the brand’s massive white-and-gold glass structure always has a crowd around it the same size as the gallery that follows Tiger Woods round at the Masters (which isn’t surprising given the brand’s position at the pinnacle of haute horlogerie). Nevertheless it’s always a treat. Patek always has a timepiece or two that at the least piques your interest, and at best makes your mouth drop and induces some salivating.
With its 2009 collection, Patek Philippe gives us rose gold versions of its iconic watches, the annual calendar 5960R and the Chronometro Gondolo 5098R, whose previous versions came in platinum, white or yellow gold. In some instances, such as the Ref. 5010 10-day tourbillon, rose gold versions replaced discontinued references.
The release of Ref. 5153 marks the return of the classic Calatrava officer’s wristwatch, now with a slightly larger 38-mm case.
There are also new takes on the Nautilus, with the addition of diamonds, and a rose gold, chocolate brown version for the ultra-thin Calatrava 4897R for ladies.
Let’s start at the top of the food chain:
10-Day Tourbillon now in rose gold – 5101R
Many of you who were disappointed when the 5101P was discontinued will be delighted to hear that its back – only this time in rose gold. Launched six years ago in platinum, the 5101 follows in the footsteps of the legendary 5100, the first Patek Philippe to have a 10-day power reserve. But what won us over was the addition of the tourbillon. To this day, the 5101 remains the only crown- wound watch with this impressive combination of features, with its power reserve among the highest, dethroned only by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Minute Repeater (15 days).
The 5101R is powered by the chronometer-tested calibre 28-20/222. The art deco-inspired case is complimented by a silvery-grey dial with applied Breguet numerals in rose gold. A lighter shade of grey is used for the subsidiary dials for the seconds display and power reserve indicator. Combined with the livelier rose gold case – which I prefer to the platinum – and superb technical features, this is definitely among the most noteworthy of Patek’s releases for the year.
The Calatrava Officier - 5153 in a 38-mm case
My second favourite is the newest addition to the Calatrava line, the only new model for men this year. While the dial is stunning, with a hand-guillochéd sunburst pattern reminiscent of the 5159 retrograde perpetual calendar, the novelty of this watch is the officier’s protective caseback. The 5153 takes on the proud line of the 5053 that was discontinued a few years back. The new officier’s watch has a larger case diameter, 2.4 mm more than its predecessor. The height is at 10.97 mm. The 5153 features the self-winding 324 SC calibre, with a unidirectional rotor in 21k gold which can be seen through its sapphire crystal caseback.
The Chronometro Gondolo - 5098R
We move on to what I feel is the most stylish watch of the collection, the Chronometro Gondolo. Released two years ago in platinum, the dial of this watch and the tonneau shape is distinctly art deco-inspired. What draws you further into the design is the mesmerizing hand- guillochéd wave patterns on the dial, which are based on a rare technique done on the original 1925 model. This version’s combination of brown and rose gold with platinum creates an even more lasting impression. The structure of the manually-wound 25-21 REC calibre, with its S-shaped centre-wheel bridge and the slender escape wheel affords the owner a generous view of movement through the caseback.
Click here to see the published article.