In any normal year at Baselworld, these particular watches would be among the highlights that would be taking up the lion’s share of collector attention. This year however, with the ongoing pandemic situation that we are all having to get used to, the news for this release came suddenly via a digital press release, and thankfully quite quickly after that, I got to see and photograph two out of the three models as they were made available in Singapore.
If you’re a Patek Philippe collector of the highest order, you’ll be glad to know that there is something in the three watches that will pique your interest since they contain basically the signature complications of the maison.
The three models are: 1) The new Ref. 5303, the first Patek Philippe minute repeater that presents the striking mechanism on the dial side and with tourbillon, 2) A new Ref. 5370 Split-Seconds Chronograph with a blue Grand Feu enamel dial, and 3) The signature 5270 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph available for the first time in yellow gold.
5303R- Minute Repeater Tourbillon
The 5303R-001 is a watch that we’ve seen before since it was first launched as a 12 piece limited edition at the “Watch Art Grand Exhibition Singapore 2019” that Patek Philippe held at the Marina Bay Sands Theatre in Singapore last year. While that first version had red accents, with stars on the minute track, a red seconds hand and a special printed caseback to commemorate the special exhibition, this new one that is launched this year is presented as part of the regular collection, differs by having a black hour circle with minute markers printed in white and golden powdered dots.
The 5303R was significant for having the minute repeater gong and hammers visible on the dial side (a first for Patek Philippe), and also for good measure, the rear of the tourbillon. What this meant was that the entire raison d’etre of the watch was visible for all to see and enjoy without the owner taking the watch off. Effectively, because of the view of the complications, there is no dial, but why would you want one in any case?
The following pictures show the earlier Singapore edition, since the new black accented version as seen in the press picture above was not available for photography considering how limited, by production the new watch will be.
Patek Philippe were however able to make the Singapore edition available for photography, by the generosity of its lucky owner, so at least you can see the live pictures below and imagine how the new watch looks, albeit with subtle differences.
It’s the same Caliber R TO 27 PS movement here, and the lavishly decorated white gold minute repeater slide, engraved with a leaf pattern.Similarly the front golden movement plates of the watch are decorated with Geneva striping to enhance the steel parts of the movement.And the flourishes continue in the case-back view, with the noticeable white gold beveled rim surrounding the movement.
5370P Split Seconds Chronograph
The 5370P was a watch we first saw in 2015, with that first version coming with a deep black enamel dial. That model has since been discontinued, and in its place to attract the affections of collectors, is this new one with a Grand Feu enamel blue dial with a glossy finish.The best thing about a split seconds chronograph is the wonderful view of the movement, which is an order of magnitude more complicated than a standard chronograph, and so there are more elements to enjoy. Here in the manually wound CHR 29-535 PS caliber, we see the column wheels and horizontal clutch. Also one of the nice refinements that Patek Philippe have with this movement is the instantaneous minutes in the 30 minute counter, and can enjoy the satisfying jump of the minute hand to the next elapsed minute, something that only a high end chronograph like this can offer.The interesting thing about the layout of the 5370P as a split seconds chronograph is that the start and stop pusher of the split seconds function is integrated into the crown. This helps to keep the looks tidy, and avoids having to have this pusher on the other side of the case, as is typically with other split seconds chronograph watches.The new blue dial comes decorated with white gold applied Breguet numerals, and a tachymeter scale and counters in white, for good contrast.Furthermore, as with all platinum cased watches from Patek Philippe, the new (and older) 5370P comes with a diamond mounted between the lugs at 6 o’clock.Completing the look is the concave bezel, and mostly polished case, contrasted with satin polished recesses in the flanks.
5270J Chronograph Perpetual Calendar
The Chronograph Perpetual Calendar can rightly be seen to be the apex model of Patek Philippe, if we leave aside the minute repeater and tourbillon watches. This is a category that has had a long history with the brand, and all the models in its evolution over the years have become very collectible and desired.In the modern era, the current generation of the Chronograph Perpetual Calendar was first seen in the 5270G in white gold first in 2011. It was significant at the time for being the first in-house manufacture made Patek Philippe chronograph movement with perpetual calendar, and marked the end of the brand’s reliance on the Nouvelle Lemania-based caliber 27-70 CH that had been in use since 1986.
The design of the Chronograph Perpetual Calendar is stately and iconic for Patek Philippe, with the day, month, and day/might indications in apertures, and hand displayed date at 6 o’clock.
So what’s new about the latest version? Well, the new variant, the 5270J comes for the first time, in a yellow gold case. Previous incarnations have seen rose gold, platinum and white gold being used, but never yellow gold. To go with the more classically toned precious metal, the watch is matched with an opaline dial, which gives this new variant a more genteel demeanour overall.