You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.
Some may view this campaign slogan as a subtle yet brilliant form of subliminal persuasion, also known as altercasting. As a doctor, I would say science is beyond the persuasive powers of psychology or coercion. For example, colour-blindness is a clinical trait that is passed on to the child, yet not “owned” or manifested in the parent; where the mother carries the gene for colour-blindness, she herself is not colour-blind but passes it on to her sons this sex-linked recessive trait (pardon the scientific jargon). Nonetheless, one thing’s for sure, the world would be a perfect place if everyone was “colour-blind” and understood that there was only one race – the human race. For now, as sure as science, the owner of the Patek Philippe would pass on the timepiece to the next generation.
Embedded in their DNA (since we are on the topic of genes and inheritance), since 1839, Patek Philippe has produced their own individual movements, cases and parts for all their models regardless of complexity. Their commitment to perfection, from the simplest of a “time-only” Calatrava to the most complicated Sky Moon Tourbillon 6002G, is evident and admirable.
Calatrava Pilot Travel Time
This year is no different. At Baselworld 2018, Patek Philippe has enriched their regular collection with fresh and innovative designs. Beginning with the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time, the dual time zone with date finished in rose gold is paired with their delightful new sun-burst dial in brown with black gradation.
One has to see it in person: the vintage brown calfskin strap with the clevis prong buckle gives this timepiece an aged but strong character. 2018 also marks the launch of the first Pilot Travel Time in the ladies’ collection.
Nautilus Perpetual Calendar
Patek Philippe introduces the first perpetual calendar in the Nautilus collection and the first chronograph in the Aquanaut range. This Nautilus perpetual calendar is an analog calendar (introduced in 1985), that recognises the number of days in each month, including the periodically recurring 29th of February.
As with the others in its range, the Nautilus perpetual calendar comes with the characteristically designed bezel with vertically satin finished surfaces that contrast against polished chamfers. This timepiece features a sun burst blue dial with three sub-dials; the larger sub-dial (compared to the other two) with the moon-phase indicator at the 6 o’clock position may not appeal to everyone.
The Aquanaut is the first chronograph in this family, and one of my top picks for Baselworld 2018.
It features a self-winding flyback chronograph movement, with a classic column wheel as well as a modern vertical disk clutch that prevents a rebound of the hand in either direction when the chronograph is started.
Because this clutch is virtually friction-free, the chronograph hand can also be used as a continuously running second hand. It is water resistant to 120 metres, and paired with an extremely rugged strap and the new Aquanaut fold-over clasp that has four independent catches.
Launched in 1968, the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse range has taken a life and legend of its own. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Ellipse had as many as 65 versions of it, all of which had its own distinct style and elegance.
The 50th anniversary is celebrated with two new versions. My favour goes to the black enamel background dial with volute pattern manually engraved in the 18K white-gold plate. The center features a motif reminiscent of the Calatrava cross, Patek Philippe’s logo.
There is a bonus (perfect for the classic gentleman): this timepiece comes with white-gold cuff links featuring the same exclusive Golden Ellipse design: the black enamel inlay showcases hand-engraved volutes around a Calatrava cross.
Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
Chronographs are a definite must for any watch collector. The Patek Philippe’s 5270P Grand Complications, which comes in platinum for the first time, is a chronograph with the perpetual calendar and the manually wound calibre CH 29-535 PS Q movement (in-house movement introduced in 2011). It comes with a golden opaline (some say it is a light salmon hue with an orange base) dial, with blackened gold applied numerals.
For the vintage timepiece lover, the analog date indicator at 6 o’clock position, surrounding the moon phase, would certainly be a thrill. Also included is the subsidiary seconds and the 30-minute counter, with the two small round apertures for the day/night indication and the leap year cycle.
This timepiece comes with a shiny brown chocolate alligator strap and a fold over clasp. Personally, I thought a shiny black strap would go perfectly with the black numerals.
Annual Calendar Moon Phase
A certain for myself, from this 2018 collection, is the Annual Calendar Moon Phase, 5205G. The two tone sunburst dial with its subtle yet distinct black gradation is absolutely attractive.
This self-winding annual calendar (adjusted only once per year in February) comes with a moon phase accurate to 122 years. The concave bezel and skeletonized lugs are a real charm for this timepiece.
Images courtesy of Patek Philippe, additional images by Dr Pang for Curatedition.