The new Patek Philippe's ref. 5320G is a new perpetual calendar that has been inspired by many predecessor models that attracted global attention in the 1940s and 1950s. In 1925, Patek Philippe launched model 97'975, the world's first wristwatch with a perpetual calendar. It was followed by further unique pieces. Eventually, the manufacture integrated this type of watch in its regular collection with the ref. 1518 perpetual calendar chronograph released in 1941. A year later, Patek Philippe introduced the ref. 1526 Perpetual Calendar without a chronograph. Both models were endowed with a face that still thrills collectors: a double aperture for the day and month displays at 12 o'clock and a subsidiary dial at 6 o'clock for the analog date and the moon phases.
The cream-colored dial of the new Patek Philippe ref. 5320G just released at Baselworld 2017 adopts the same layout, albeit with further useful indications such as the small round day/night aperture between 7 and 8 o'clock and a round aperture for the leap year cycle with Arabic numerals from 1 to 4 between 4 and 5 o'clock.
Applied gold Arabic numerals and five-minute cabochons with luminous coatings, fine-tipped baton hands filled with crazy bright Superluminova —a reminiscence of the Patek Philippe ref. 1463 chronograph from the 1950s—, a slender counterbalanced sweep seconds hand and the crisply graduated seconds scale come together as a paragon of perfect legibility with a face of puristic elegance that conceals the complexity of the mechanical movement beneath the dial.
Fitted with a generous 40 mm 18K white gold case, Patek Philippe's creation department sought inspiration from a role model crafted in-house over 60 years ago. It is the ref. 2405 with a prominent three-tiered lug profile. The design makes them look slender and adds a touch of dynamic appeal to the case silhouette. With the flat center portion, the beveled, smoothly polished bezel overarched by the cambered crystal and the cascading three-tier lugs, the new ref. 5320G very elegantly hugs the wrist. Additionally, the watch has a sapphire crystal case back that reveals the beauty of the mechanical movement. On request, it can be replaced with a solid 18K white gold case back that comes with the watch. The correctors around the case are set as follows: Day of week between 10 and 11 o’clock, Month between 12 and 1 o’clock, Date between 11 and 12 o'clock and Moon phase between 6 and 7 o’clock.
A so-called box-form sapphire-crystal glass was chosen to keep the case flanks slender and endow the watch with a contemporary vintage look. It visibly extends across the bezel and is dramatically cambered with parallel inner and outer sides to prevent optical distortion of the dial regardless of the viewing angle. In the 1940 and 1950s, it would have been technically impossible to craft such a sapphire crystal to current quality standards. This is why easily formable plexiglass was often chosen, despite its susceptibility to scratching, clouding, and cracking.
The retro-modernistic dial of the new Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar ref. 5320G lies atop a manufacture movement that, like the design of the new timepiece, melds traditional watchmaking artistry with latest-generation technology. The caliber 324 S Q —S stands for seconds, Q for quantième perpétuel— is a refined version of the legendary self-winding movement 324 featuring a large central rotor in 21K gold that delivers remarkable winding power. The movement is composed of 367 parts and 29 jewels and beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph to provide a power reserve of 45 hours. One thing that is important to mention is that this movement is relatively small in diameter —32 mm— for such a case size, leaving a case back that is too wide around the display sapphire crystal.
On the wrist the new Patek Philippe ref. 5320G wears true to its size with remarkable vintage aura. The watch is delivered on a matte chocolate brown hand-stitched alligator leather strap with large square scales with fold-over clasp in 18K white gold. Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful watches released by Patek in the last decade. A Perpetual Calendar for connoisseurs and for those that want that unparalleled vintage Patek look without braking the bank at a Phillips auction.
Sticker Price $82,784 USD. For more info on Patek Philippe click here.