I think it is safe to say that the conservative Patek Philippe of the past has taken a shift in recent times to cater to a contemporary demographic of collectors that have entered the fray. Gone are the days where Patek Philippe boutiques are solely patronised by middle aged gentleman and instead is now joined by a fledgling group of young and successful millennials. I am slightly undecided whether this good direction but irrespective of what I think, this shift I am sure is great for sales.
With that being said, the 2022 Watch & Wonders held at Geneva solidifies this notion and certainly revolves around the Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Travel Time 5326G- without a doubt one of the most striking releases this year. The 5326G is a fresh addition to the Patek Philippe line up and one that is like no other. While in essence, the complications are nothing new- a travel time and an annual calendar, it’s all about the aesthetics when it comes to this piece. Housed in a 41mm white gold case that looks familiar from the top, with its sharp long lugs and sloping bezel, the beauty of the case lies on the sides of the mid case where the flanks display a stunning guilloche hobnail pattern. Playing with a cases’ texture rather than just its form is something not many brands do today, and I think it is a great avenue for both originality and to create depth.
Adding to the idea of texture, this carries on towards the gradient charcoal dial where it features a rare texture that I can say is closest to the ‘Tuscan’ dials that Audemars Piguet used to make in the 90’s. Crafted by dial specialists Cadran Flückiget in Saint-Imier, the beautiful granular dial is said to be inspired by the rough surfaces of vintage cameras. Combining this with two apertures at 12 o’clock displaying the day and the month, two apertures at 4 and 8 o’clock displaying the local and home time indicators respectively, a moon phase and date at 6 o’clock, yellow lumed Arabic numerals and syringe hands- one skeletonised to delineate the home time, what you get is a truly vintage inspired watch in very modern proportions.
Mechanically, I do think that the Cal. 31-260 PS QA LU FUS 24H is one of the best modern complications in terms of practicality, with the travel time becoming ever more useful now that we have resumed normal life and the annual calendar good enough without the added complexity of a perpetual.
No matter what your opinion is, it is a welcome sight that Patek Philippe has tried to do something truly novel, rather than the lazy dial colour changes as new models that has plagued the industry in recent times. It is certainly a striking piece, and it manages to make the dress watch, which are traditionally very restrained and understated, stand out. I do also think that this is part of Patek Philippe’s strategy to lure customers away from just wanting a Nautilus, showing the market that there are so much more than just sport watches.
The new Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar reference 5326G-001 is priced at £59,200, for more information visit patek.com.