It’s always interesting when Patek Philippe releases a few watches out of the blue like they have just done. On the one hand, we get to see new watches, but on another, we see what direction Patek Philippe wants to take themselves. Over the last few years, Patek Philippe has grown exponentially and enjoyed some of the most impressive spikes in demand out of any watchmaker on Earth.
Still, it has mainly been for their stainless steel Nautilus and Aquanaut collections, which has inevitably taken some of the limelight off their complicated pieces - their bread and butter. However, with this latest release, Patek have highlighted that not only are their complicated watches amongst the best out there but that they can make some stunning watches out of steel that aren’t feeding off of the stainless steel sports watch craze that the Nautilus and Aquanaut have helped drive forward the last few years.
Patek Philippe ref. 5204R-011 Split Seconds Chronograph with Perpetual Calendar
Starting with the most complicated, we have the latest addition to the ref. 5204R family. Available for the last six or so years in two rose gold versions, with either an opaline silver or ebony black dial, this latest addition features a stunning slate grey dial that will be offered alongside the other two variants.
Housed in the same rose gold case as its two siblings and powered by the same manual-wind cal. CHR 29-535 PS Q movement, which can either be hidden behind a solid caseback or displayed behind an exhibition caseback, this latest model doesn’t offer much new. Still, it does highlight Patek’s ambition for the next few years.
By adding a new variant to an already-existing collection with two other rose gold variants, Patek are signalling what is to come in the future and the direction they want to go in. Patek clearly want to offer extremely complicated watches, and growing this family of $309,893 beasts is the best way to do that. They have historically been known for watches of this calibre, and going back to their roots and doing what they know best in lieu of chasing the sports watch hype is perfectly restrained, just as Patek Philippe will always be.
Sure, Patek could have updated the movement or dial or made the case from a new metal, but Patek has done as they wish and gently highlighted that they make watches that aren’t sports watches too.
Patek Philippe ref. 5905/1A-001 Flyback Chronograph with Annual Calendar
Perhaps taking that statement to the next level is the new ref. 5905/1A-001, the latest addition to the flyback chronograph-wielding annual calendar collection. First launched in 2015 in platinum and expanding into rose gold in 2019, collectors loved this watch for its utility, stunning design, and complicated movement.
Essentially, it has all the hallmarks of Patek Philippe’s iconic aesthetic, and this latest stainless steel variant adds to that while also not directly feeding the stainless steel sports watch hype that we mentioned earlier.
Mounted to the same stainless steel bracelet as the Aquanaut, the ref. 5905/1A-001 looks like a sports watch, but it isn’t. It lacks the required luminescence on its hour markers and hands to qualify; it is only 30m water-resistant, and its design is that of a dress watch, just made from stainless steel and featuring a steel bracelet. This isn’t exactly new territory for Patek; they have other steel watches on steel bracelets that do the same thing; just look at the ref. 4947A, for example.
With this new green dial stunner, Patek have clearly made the statement that they don’t see stainless steel as the enemy; they just don’t want their stainless steel Nautilus and Aquanaut to be all collector’s think of when they think of the legendary brand’s name, as President Thierry Stern’s commented earlier in the year. Priced at $59,140, this will undoubtedly be one tough watch to get, as it will likely still benefit from the stainless steel-loving culture it is trying to lead Patek away from, and its on-trend green dial will only amplify that too.
Patek Philippe ref. 5930P-001 World Time Flyback Chronograph
Last but not least, we have one of Patek Philippe’s signature complications, the World Time. Made of platinum and also featuring an on-trend green dial, this stunning ref. 5930P features a flyback central chronograph hand and a minutes counter subdial at 6 o’clock. With its automatic cal. CH 28-520 HU, it packs a hefty punch of horological heft, and with its $100,538 price tag, a collector will certainly need some financial heft to buy it too. Nonetheless, this is a stunning watch that will certainly be hard to get, even if you have the cash.
Further pushing Patek in the direction of the increasingly complicated, this variant joins its blue dial white gold sibling and continues to show, just like the other two releases, that Patek are in the business of making complicated timepieces that speak to their own desires as a brand, and not those of their collectors or the overarching market in which they operate.