Patek Philippe: How to Stop Time

by Nicolette Wong

Patek Philippe reinforces its mastery over timekeeping with three exceptional new chronograph watches.

As horological complications go, the chronograph is considered relatively prosaic by some — especially those whose tastes run towards tourbillons, perpetual calendars and minute repeaters. But a chronograph’s utility in timekeeping situations cannot be understated — after all, it was a mechanical chronograph that was used to keep time on the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. Plus, the construction of a great chronograph movement can still be remarkably complex. Patek Philippe aptly demonstrates its mastery over this complication with the launch of three spectacular new chronograph watches.

The three new references comprise the split-seconds chronograph and perpetual calendar R. 5204R-011, the self-winding flyback chronograph with annual calendar R.5905/1A-001, and the self-winding World Time flyback chronograph R.5930P-001, each of which is exemplary of Patek Philippe’s exceptional horological capabilities. Each bears a movement designed and crafted entirely in-house by the manufacture’s master watchmakers, who began their foray into chronograph complications in 2005, when Patek Philippe launched its first — incredibly impressive — caliber CHR 27-525 PS, then the world’s thinnest split-seconds chronograph movement.

Split-seconds Chronograph and Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5204R-011

The first watch in the trio is the Ref. 5204R-011, which features a split-seconds chronograph and perpetual calendar. The Ref. 5204 has long been a highly sought-after model in Patek Philippe’s portfolio of grand complications — and for good reason. The movement architecture of the caliber CH 29-535 PS Q is remarkably sophisticated, with a traditional column wheel horizontal clutch system that nonetheless bore six patented innovations when it first launched in 2009. This current edition has seven patents — the six for the chronograph, and one for the split-seconds mechanism. In addition, the watch has a harmonious dial layout that easily balances the numerous indications available, creating what can be considered a relatively sedate version of a grand complication.

This new Ref. 5204R-011 presents a new colour and material combination, with a brushed slate grey dial with a rose gold case — but it is otherwise identical to previous editions of the Ref. 5204, which include two other rose gold editions, one with a silvered opaline dial and the other with a black dial. The transparent sapphire glass caseback allows a clear view of the intricate movement.

Self-winding Flyback Chronograph with Annual Calendar, Ref. 5905/1A-001

As sports chronograph go, you probably cannot go wrong with the new Ref. 5905/1A-001, which combines its self-winding flyback chronograph with an annual calendar complication. Not only is this the first time the Ref. 5905 has been cased in stainless steel — the material collectors have been clamoring for for some years now — it also comes paired with a sunburst dial in a trendy shade of green; also one of the hottest colours of the horological season. Naturally, the watch is paired with an integrated steel bracelet for a contemporary sporty look. The new edition joins existing editions of the Ref. 5905 in platinum with a blue dial and in rose gold with a brown dial.

In speaking about the movement, we return to the calibre that started it all, the aforementioned ultra-slim split-seconds chronograph CHR 27-525 PS launched in 2005. It features a modern column wheel construction paired with a vertical disk-type clutch system — which reduces wear and tear — as well as a flyback function, and a central chronograph hand that can also be used as a permanent running seconds display. And of course, its patented annual calendar automatically accounts for the differences in month lengths and only needs to be reset once a year on March 1st.

Self-winding World Time flyback chronograph Ref. 5930P-001

Finally, we come to the Ref. 5930P-001, which combines a platinum case with a hand-guillochéd bright green dial in a circular pattern to stunning effect. The Ref. 5930 has only ever been issued twice before — in white gold with a blue dial in 2016, and in limited edition white gold with a smoked red dial for the Watch Art Grand Exibition in Singapore in 2019 — and remains a coveted cult timepiece among collectors. What’s more is that Patek Philippe tends to reserve bright colours in limited edition watches, making this permanent piece a particular standout.

Needless to say, its caliber is also no slouch. Launched in 2006, the CH 28-520 was the brand’s second in-house chronograph movement and combines a self-winding flyback chronograph with a world time complication. Like the CH 27-525 PS in the Ref. 5905, the CHR 28-520 is equipped with a column wheel and modern disk-type vertical clutch and a seconds hand that can be used as a running seconds display. This, of course, is in combination with its world time function, which displays time across 24 different time zones. Time zones can be changed with the simple push of a button at 10 o’clock — Patek Philippe’s patented mechanism will make the change without affecting the accuracy of the movement.

Images courtesy of Patek Philippe, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.

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