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Baselworld 2017: Patek Philippe’s Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5320 G

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5320 G.

There are many reasons to love the Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5320 G, introduced at Baselworld 2017: The stepped case, the claw lugs, the generous lume, the vintage font, the 40mm diameter, the cream-colored lacquer dial. It is firmly at the top of my list of men’s watches I’d love to own. The dial seems both retro and modern at the same time, with those elegantly readable Arabic numerals and detailed minute track. The watch was in fact inspired by Patek models from the 1940s and 1950s. Patek Philippe has created some 30 perpetual calendars in the past 90 years, beginning 1925 with Ref. 97-975, the world’s first perpetual calendar wristwatch – it resides in the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva. Beginning in 1941, the perpetual calendar with a Patek movement became a regular part of the company’s collection, establishing some of the brand’s signature design codes for that function, including the double window for day and month displays.

Plenty of lume on the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5320 G.

Arabic numerals appeared on the original 1941 piece, but the 5320G has a font closer to a 1944 perpetual calendar, Ref. 1591, in a font that has not since been used on a Patek Philippe perpetual calendar; with a few exceptions, most have had simple straight markers or Roman numerals. On the 5320G, the large applied blackened-gold numerals with plenty of lume have a 3-D quality, sitting there on the dial like Stonehenge monuments that glow in the dark. The five-minute cabochons are also treated with luminous coating, as are the large hands, and overall that gives it almost the look of a sports watch. In fact, the fine-tipped baton hands are inspired by those on a Patek Philippe chronograph, Ref. 1463 from the 1950s. The 18k white gold case was inspired by the Ref. 2405 a Calatrava, from the 1940s with fluted sides and a complex, three-tiered lug profile. A greated nouvelle-vintage feature is the thin bezel with a boxed crystal, which we saw a lot of at Baselworld 2017. The crystal is dramatically cambered with parallel inner and outer sides to prevent optical distortion of the dial from any viewing angle. In the 1940s and 1950s, it would have been technically impossible to craft such a sapphire crystal to current quality standards. Back then, easily formable but highly scratchable Plexiglas was often used instead.

Clawed lugs and stepped case on the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5320 G.

The lush, cream-colored lacquered dial has a small round day/night aperture between 7 and 8 o’clock and a round aperture for the leap year cycle with Arabic numerals from one to four between 4 and 5 o’clock.The caliber 324 SQ is an updated version of the self-winding Caliber 324, with a large central rotor in 21k gold that rests on ball bearings. Through the sapphire crystal caseback, you can see the decorated bridges with round-chamfered and polished edges, côtes de Genève striping and gold-filled engravings, polished screws, chamfered slots and polished countersinks. Its maximum rate deviation ranges between -3 and +2 seconds per day. It is priced at $82,784. I want this watch almost as much as the Haute Joaillerie Calatrava Ref. 4899-900G.

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