Four years after the polarizing release of the Patek Philippe Travel Time ref. 5524G, the brand has decided to dive into the grand complication waters with the Travel Time model and has now unveiled for Baselworld 2019 a grand complication that adds a 24-hour alarm mechanism while displaying the time to which the alarm is set on a double aperture in a digital manner. The alarm signal is struck by a hammer on a classic gong and to make this possible, Patek has developed a totally new integrated movement with four patent applications filed for the alarm mechanism. The new Patek Philippe Alarm Travel Time ref. 5520P is the result of five years of research and development.
Things to Know About the Watch
When Patek Philippe’s engineers were asked to develop a new alarm mechanism and to combine it with the Travel Time concept’s two-time-zone arrangement, one objective was to make the watch as thin as possible. Thus, they opted for an integrated movement which requires less height than a caliber with an additional module but is also much more difficult to design and produce. They also wanted this new grand complication to be easily operable, intuitively functional, and protected against incorrect handling.
The new Patek Philippe Alarm Travel Time ref. 5520P is fitted with a platinum case measuring 42.2 mm in diameter and 11.6 mm in thickness. This is the first time that a Patek chiming watch features a water resistant case and for this particular model, the water resistance has been set to a depth of 30 meters. The new ref. 5520P features a classic gong that when the alarm is triggered, a hammer —visible through the display back— strikes a gong for up to 40 seconds with a frequency of 2.5 strikes per second —90 strikes in total. The alarm mechanism has its own, separate spring barrel that is wound with a crown at 4 o'clock. A built-in clutch prevents inadvertent over-winding. Additionally, since the watch is water resistant, the gong is attached directly to the caseband and not to the movement as usual in order to reduce the attenuation of the sound waves by the water resistant case.
The pusher at 2 o'clock turns the alarm ON or OFF. The small bell-shaped aperture directly beneath 12 o'clock indicates in white if the alarm is ON and appears black if the alarm is OFF. The respective pusher is embossed with a small bell symbol that has the same shape as the alarm ON/OFF indicator aperture. This pusher is endowed with the same interlock device as the two time-zone pushers.
Featuring an matte ebony black sunburst dial —in the metal is hard to appreciate the sunburst effect— The alarm function indications are arranged in the upper half of the dial. The programmed alarm time is displayed in a double aperture beneath the 12 o'clock position and directly underneath it is the round aperture with the day/night indicator in white for the time from 6 am to 6 pm and blue for 6 pm to 6 am. Above the double aperture there is a bell-shaped aperture indicating if the alarm is ON or OFF.
The crown at 4 o'clock must be pulled out to its intermediate position to adjust the alarm time in 15-minute steps by turning it in either direction. The display mechanism for the alarm time in hours and minutes drives a differential gear that constantly compares the preset alarm time with the current local time. A system that offsets mechanical play makes it possible to set the alarm strike with one-minute accuracy to the next quarter hour. For instance, at 12:14, the alarm can be set to 12:15. A patent application has been filed for this mechanism.
With its technical appeal and elegance, the dial assures optimized readability and underscores its provenance in the aviators’ watch segment. The large applied Arabic numerals and the broad baton hands – all in white gold with a white Superluminova coating that is nice and bright. At 6 o’clock, there is a subdial indicating the date along a scale from 1 thru 31.
Powered by the new in-house automatic movement Calibre AL 30-660 S C FUS composed of 574 parts and 52 jewels, this movement provides a power reserve of 52 hours when fully wound while beating at a frequency of 28,800 vph. This movement features a system that prevents damaging the movement as a result of incorrect manipulation. As soon as the alarm has stopped sounding, the ON/OFF indicator automatically switches to OFF. Now, the alarm cannot be set again before the strikework spring barrel has been fully rewound. For this reason, the alarm mechanism must always be able to sample the state of wind of the spring. The power reserve only releases the ON status after it has been fully wound. Switching to the OFF status is possible at any time, however. The user can transit to another time zone without any risk, even while the alarm is sounding. In this case, the mechanism merely interrupts the strike sequence and sets the alarm to OFF. The alarm strike is also deactivated when a new alarm time is programmed.
Even though the movement is visible via the display case back, Patek also delivers the watch with an interchangeable solid case back for those that prefer to have the movement fully covered.
On the Wrist & Price
On the wrist, the new Patek Philippe Alarm Travel Time ref. 5520P wears extremely nice and true to its size. The watch is delivered on a black calfskin strap —similar to nubuck never used before by Patek— with Clevis prong buckle. Along with the 5524G and 5524R, this is another one of those amazing Pilot watches out there for those that can have it all. Great looking, amazing complication and a must have for those seeking a sportier grand complication from Patek Philippe.
Sticker Price $226,810 USD. For more info on Patek Philippe click here.