Posts

,

The Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Sapphire Tourbillon

Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Sapphire Tourbillon.

Bell & Ross bucks the prevailing trend toward design simplicity and limited functions this year with a complex, all-sapphire chronograph tourbillon, the BR-X1. There is nothing vintage or classic about this ultra-modern watch, which has a truly breathtaking case design, crafted from six blocks of fully transparent sapphire crystal. This affords a multi-angled view of the skeletonized movement, Caliber BR-CAL.285 made by Swiss complications specialist MCH using columns that slightly elevate the bridges from the main plate. Also, because it is a flying tourbillon, there is no upper bridge to block the view. Even the strap is space-age modern. It is made with a combination of translucent rubber with metallic Kevlar weaving.

Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Sapphire Tourbillon

This is a 45mm watch and thus, as Bell & Ross describes it, “masculine through and through.” Although it is a departure from the brand’s customary vintage aircraft instrumentation aesthetic, it does retain the signature squared case with screwed down construction. It is a limited edition of five pieces, priced at approximately $500,000. It is Bell & Ross’s most expensive watch to date.

Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Sapphire Tourbillon.

Panerai Creates A PCYC Collection 13 Years After Kicking Off Sponsorship of Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge

The Panerai Luminor 1950 PCYC Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic (PAM00652).

Panerai has sponsored the Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge for the past 13 years, but has never launched a collection to commemorate the event – until now. Two new models are dedicated to the PCYC. Both are flyback chronographs and one has a regatta countdown timer, a rare function for Panerai and the only one in the current collection. The Luminor 1950 PCYC Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic (PAM00652) is large, which is typical for Panerai, with a 47mm titanium case. In addition to being a flyback chronograph, it is a true regatta watch with a countdown timer, which is used for the crucial 15-minute jockeying for position that begins a yacht race. While any chronograph can track a 15-minute time period, it is inefficient for yacht racers since it requires the user to stop the hand, then return to zero and then press start again in order to begin timing the race. A countdown timer automatically begins timing the race when the countdown is finished.

The Panerai Luminor 1950 PCYC Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic (PAM00652)

The Panerai Luminor 1950 PCYC Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic (PAM00652)

The 15-minute scale is printed twice; once on the deep flange and again at the edge of the dial, with the final five minutes highlighted. The chronograph minutes hand, which runs on the central dial, is white to distinguish it from the central chronograph seconds, which is gold. The black dial is marked with contrasting beige subdials, numerals and a minute track, and faux vintage lume on the hour and minute hand creates even more contrast. Thus, the dial is clean and easy to read, despite the multiple functions. The chronograph hour totalizer is in a subdial at 3 o’clock. The running seconds is in a subdial at 9 o’clock. The strap is natural untreated leather in brown with beige top stitching. A nice touch is the OP logo that is heat stamped onto the strap close to where it meets the lugs. It contains the P.9100/R (R for Regatta, signifying the countdown function). It is priced at $17,200.

Panerai Luminor 1950 PCYC 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic (PAM00654)

The second model, the Luminor 1950 PCYC 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic (PAM00654) is smaller, with a 44mm a steel case. It is very summery, with an ivory dial with gold hands, except for the chronograph seconds counter, which is blue. The 12-hour totalizer at 3 o’clock is also outlined in blue. The caseback is engraved the image of a vintage yacht in relief. The strap is brown leather with beige stitching. It contains Caliber P.9100, with two spring barrels for a three-day power reserve. There is also a version with a black dial and beige markings, PAM00653. It is priced at $12,300.

Both new models are marked on the outer flange with a tachymeter scale that is measured in knots, so it calculates the average speed of a yacht over a particular distance (one nautical mile). The Panerai Classics Yacht challenge is a 10-venue regatta of classic yachts in beautifully restored condition. The races take place in some of the world’s most beautiful locations: the Mediterranean Circuit includes Antibes, Cannes, Argentario in Italy and the island of Minorca; the North American Circuit includes races in Marblehead, Nantucket and Newport.

The Rolex “Bao Dai” Ref. 6062 sold for $5-million at the Phillips Bacs & Russo auction today in Geneva.

Rare Bao Dai Rolex Just Sold For $5 Million, A Record Price For A Rolex at Auction

The Rolex “Bao Dai” Ref. 6062 sold for $5-million at the Phillips Bacs & Russo auction today in Geneva.

The Rolex “Bao Dai” Ref. 6062 sold for $5-million at the Phillips Bacs & Russo auction today in Geneva.

A rare vintage Rolex, the Bao Dai Rolex Ref. 6062, was just sold for 4.3-million Swiss francs (or a little more than $5 million, including buyer’s premium) at the Phillips in association with Bacs and Russo Geneva Auction Five auction.  It is the watch every collector wishes he had bought when it last came up for auction in 2002 – it sold for $235,000, the highest auction price paid for a Rolex at the time, but the investment would have been worth it. This time the bidding started at $1.5 million.

The Rolex “Bao Dai” Ref. 6062 sold for $5-million at the Phillips Bacs & Russo auction today in Geneva.

The Rolex “Bao Dai” Ref. 6062 sold for $5-million at the Phillips Bacs & Russo auction today in Geneva.

“This is the one of world’s most important collector’s watches, across all brands, not just Rolex,” says Paul Boutros, head of Americas and international strategy advisor for Phillips. “Made in 1952, it is a rare creation for Rolex.” The watch belonged to Bao Dai, the last emperor of Vietnam, who bought it in 1954 in Geneva. Made in 1950, it is a rare creation for Rolex, with an iconic Oyster case and an in-house movement driving a triple date calendar and moon phase. It was one of the most complicated watches of its era and is one of only three made with a black dial and diamond indexes – the only one of which has diamond indexes for even numerals (the other two mark odd numerals with diamonds). The watch is in great, unrestored condition, with a case that has never been polished. This is the second time the Bao Dai has been up for auction at Phillips. It was sold in 2002 for $235,000 to a private collector, who sold it today. Ten bidders were vying for the watch.

The T&Co. Ref. 2499 Patek Philippe

The T&Co. Ref. 2499 Patek Philippe sold for $1.56-million.

There are several important pieces among the 237 lots to be auctioned in Geneva currently in progress, including the  T&Co. Ref. 2499, which sold for 1.3 million Swiss francs ($1,298,359 at today’s rate). With buyer’s premium, the price is about $1.56-million. It is notable for its dual logo, with Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co. both appearing on the dial. It is one of only two examples in its particular series to bear the Tiffany & Co. signature, and possibly unique in its use of markers rather than Arabic numerals. “In the world of vintage Rolex, the most desirable watches are Paul Newman Daytonas; in the world of vintage Patek Philippe, the most desirable models are perpetual calendar chronographs, especially the 2499,” says Boutros. Only 349 pieces of the Ref 2499 were made over a period of 34 years, which makes this watch exclusive. The yellow gold woven bracelet is signed Tiffany & Co. It was estimated at $991,000-$1,980,000.

Slim d’ Hermès L’Heure Impatiente: The Perfect Parking Meter Timer

Slim d’ Hermès L’Heure Impatiente

Slim d’ Hermès L’Heure Impatiente

In the press kit to introduce the new Slim d’ Hermès L’Heure Impatiente, Hermès included a short story it commissioned about a woman who lives five seconds in the future, with hilarious and tragic consequences. It is not an exact metaphor for the way the L’Heure Impatiente alters time, but it does capture the spirit of time tweaking. The L’Heure Impatiente can be set to count down from an “eagerly awaited event” to take place sometime in the next 12 hours. This time set by the wearer and appears on the subdial at 6 o’clock. A countdown begins one hour before the event in question, and that is displayed on the retrograde timer at 7 o’clock. When time is up, the watch chimes a single note.

Slim d’ Hermès L’Heure Impatiente

Slim d’ Hermès L’Heure Impatiente

Hermès sees this as a poetic complication: “Rather than measuring, ordering, and seeking to control [time], Hermès dares to explore another time.” For me, it is the perfect parking meter watch. Before going into a meeting, you can set the timer to ring when your parking meter expires, and as the meeting progresses you can keep tabs on the countdown. As you approach the “event” you can either duck out to put more coins in the meter or orchestrate the meeting to end in time to avoid getting a ticket. Thus, this is very useful function.

Placing the gong on the Slim d’ Hermès L’Heure Impatiente.

Placing the gong on the Slim d’ Hermès L’Heure Impatiente.

The last time Hermès played games with the passage of time was with the Arceau Le Temps Suspendu, using a movement designed by Jean-Marc Weiderrecht of Agenhor, based on Hermès Caliber H1912. It featured a function that could make time stand still and then revert to the correct time at the push of a button. The L’Heure Impatiente also contains a movement based on the automatic Caliber H1912, fitted with a 2.2mm module that drives the striking countdown feature. The 40.5mm case of the Slim d’ Hermès L’Heure Impatiente is rose gold, with anti-reflective sapphire crystals front and back. It is water resistant to 30 meters. The strap is blue matt alligator.

The “Bao Dai” Rolex Ref. 6062
,

Five “Nicknamed” Watches Headline Phillips Bacs & Russo Geneva Auction Five, May 13, 14

The “Bao Dai” Rolex Ref. 6062

The “Bao Dai” Rolex Ref. 6062. Bidding starts at $1.5-million.

Care for a “Double Swiss Underline” or a “Sydney Rose?” Don’t laugh: a watch important enough to have a nickname, no matter how silly it sounds, means it is adored by collectors and highly sought after on the secondary market. The Phillips in association with Bacs and Russo Geneva Auction Five has at least five such Grail pieces among the 237 lots to be auctioned in Geneva this coming weekend, May 13 and 14. (Not to mention some amazing pieces by Cartier, Audemars Piguet, Omega, Vacheron Constantin and Jaeger-LeCoultre).

The “Bao Dai” Rolex Ref. 6062

The “Bao Dai” Rolex Ref. 6062

  1. The “Bao Dai” Rolex Ref. 6062, is the watch every collector wishes he had bought when it last came up for auction in 2002 – it sold for $235,000, the highest auction price paid for a Rolex at the time. But the investment would have been worth it. This time the bidding starts at $1.5-million. “This is the one of world’s most important collector’s watches, across all brands, not just Rolex,” says Paul Boutros, head of Americas and international strategy advisor for Phillips. “Made in 1952, it is a rare creation for Rolex.” The watch belonged to Bao Dai, the last emperor of Vietnam, who bought it in 1954 in Geneva. Made in 1950, it is a rare creation for Rolex, with an iconic Oyster case and an in-house movement driving a triple date calendar and moon phase. It was one of the most complicated watches of its era and is one of only three made with a black dial and diamond indexes – the only one of which has diamond indexes for even numerals (the other two mark odd numerals with diamonds). The watch is in great, unrestored condition, with a case that has never been polished. This is the second time the Bao Dai has been up for auction at Phillips. It was sold in 2002 for $235,000 to a private collector who stands to make a windfall on May 13. Lot 93. Bidding starts at $1,500,000.
The Rolex Daytona Ref. 6239, nicknamed the “Double Swiss Underline.”

The Rolex Daytona Ref. 6239, nicknamed the “Double Swiss Underline.”

  1. The Rolex Daytona Ref. 6239, nicknamed the “Double Swiss Underline” is a transitional piece in the coveted Daytona line. “Any time Rolex introduces a new model, they experiment with the design with many iterations until they find a configuration that they think is going to sell well. This is a very early iteration of the Daytona,” says Boutros. It is among the first Daytona watches ever created and represents the first series marked “Cosmograph” as well as the first Rolex chronograph with the tachymeter scale moved from the dial to the bezel. It is also the first to use contrasting subdials rather than monochrome. Rolex transitioned from the pre-Daytona 6238 to this model, the Daytona 6239 – in fact the caseback is marked 6238, as Rolex used leftover casebacks from previous models. The nickname, “Double Swiss Underline” comes from two distinctions on the dial; it has two Swiss designations, one barely peeking up above the bezel, and the other just above it at 6 o’clock (hence “Double Swiss”); and the underline beneath the Rolex Cosmograph signature signifies it used tritium instead of radium on the dial. In 1961, Swiss authorities banned the use of radium because it was so radioactive, so companies switched to tritium, which was much less radioactive. To signify the use of tritium in these early days, Rolex used an underline, but stopped using it in 1963-1964. A characteristic of early Daytonas fitted with “pump” pushers is that they were not designated as “Oyster” models, so they were not water resistant. It is therefore rare to find these early models in such well-preserved condition. Lot 234. Estimate $100,000-$200,000.

    “The Legend” is a rare yellow gold Oyster Paul Newman Chronograph, Ref. 6263.

    “The Legend” is a rare yellow gold Oyster Paul Newman Chronograph, Ref. 6263.

  1. The Legend” is a rare yellow gold Oyster Paul Newman Chronograph, Ref. 6263, one of only three ever made. It is called the Paul Newman Daytona because it was the model favored by the actor and race car driver, and distinguished by the arrangement of the subdials and the contrasting colored seconds hand scale along the periphery of the dial. It is called the Daytona because Rolex became the official timekeeper of the Daytona International Speedway in 1962, and so added the word “Daytona” to the Cosmograph reference. (“The Legend” was made in 1969). It is also distinctive for its screw-down pushers, as opposed to pump pushers, a change Rolex made to Daytona models starting in 1965 to make the watches water resistant. The “lemon” dial is another draw, contrasting the black subdials with creamy yellowed “square lollipop” markers and distinctive Art-Deco style font. “This is the rarest of the Paul Newmans because it’s an Oyster with screwdown pushers, with an Oyster dial and in yellow gold. It’s the first I’ve seen,” says Boutros, who no doubt had a hand in authoring this intro in the auction catalogue: “There are some watches so elusive and so mythical that they stun even the most seasoned and weary of collectors.” Lot 237. Estimate $793,000-$1,590,000.

    The “Sydney Rose” is a rare Patek Phillipe Ref. 2497, one of fewer than 20 made in rose gold.

    The “Sydney Rose” is a rare Patek Phillipe Ref. 2497, one of fewer than 20 made in rose gold.

  1. The “Sydney Rose” is a rare Patek Phillipe Ref. 2497, one of fewer than 20 made in rose gold, and a pure representation of the brand’s heritage as a master of perpetual calendars. It is an early model of the reference, made in 1954, with a large case for the era, at 37mm, and Arabic numerals. It is distinctive for its long flared and curved lugs – “If you lay it down on a surface it rises up like a piece of modern art,” gushes Boutros. It is the only one in the world with luminous hands. It is called the Sydney Rose because it was sold to a private collector in Australia. The woven gold Milanese bracelet is original. “The watch sat in a safe for five decades and is now being sold by the family of the original owner,” says Boutros. Lot 171. Estimate $396,000-793,000.
The T&Co. Ref. 2499 is notable for its dual-logo, with Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co. both appearing on the dial.

The T&Co. Ref. 2499 is notable for its dual-logo, with Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co. both appearing on the dial.

  1. The T&Co. Ref. 2499 is notable for its dual-logo with Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co. both appearing on the dial. It is one of only four references in its particular series to bear the Tiffany & Co. signature, and possibly unique in its use of markers rather than Arabic numerals. “In the world of vintage Rolex, the most desirable watches are Paul Newman Daytonas; in the world of vintage Patek Philippe, the most desirable models are perpetual calendar chronographs, especially the 2499,” says Boutros. Only 349 pieces of the Ref 2499 were made over a period of 34 years, which makes this watch exclusive. The yellow gold woven bracelet is signed Tiffany & Co. Lot 38. Estimate: $991,000-$1,980,000.

For more information and to view the online catalog for all 237 lots, please visit https://www.phillips.com/auctions

 

 

 

 

, , , , , ,

Best of Baselworld 2017: New Watches From Blancpain, Patek Philippe, Rolex, Bulgari and more

Baselworld 2017 opening day.

New introductions at Baselworld this year tended to fit one of two categories. 1. Trends that reflect the times – and by “times” I mean an industry that is entering its third straight year of decline (see my story on that here) – with watches that are smaller, less complicated and more realistically designed and priced. And 2. Watches that reflect the fact that Baselworld is also about showmanship and haute horology, with high complications (like the Breguet Equation of Time) and metiers masterpieces (like the Dior VIII Grand Bal). Here are my top five men’s and top five ladies’ introductions for Baselworld 2017. Click on each link to find more pictures and detailed descriptions. Read more

Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph For Ladies: Because Women Also Drive

Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph

Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph for ladies.

There is more to Chopard for women than Happy Diamonds and high jewelry watches. The ladies’ Mille Miglia is a smaller, diamond-set version of this year’ special-edition Mille Miglia for men, a mechanical sports watch with substance. Chopard has been a supporter of the Mille Miglia, a scenic, 1,000-mile race from Brescia to Rome, since 1988, and each year introduces a new special-edition timepiece in commemoration. A couple of years ago, Chopard started producing ladies’ Mille Miglia editions, and this year the men’s and ladies’ are identified as a duo.

Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph for ladies.

Essentially they are the same model, but the ladies’ is 39mm compared to the men’s, which is 42mm. The ladies’ model has a mother-of-pearl dial with or without a diamond-set bezel (the two elements that most often distinguish a ladies’ watch from a men’s watch), and the men’s has a black or silver dial. Both contain the same COSC-certified automatic chronograph movement, ETA Caliber 2894-2. The rubber strap is inspired by the tread on 1960s Dunlop racing tires. Hands and indexes are coated with Super-LumiNova. Prices range from $4,800 to $12,140.

Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph; men's on the left, ladies' on the right.

Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph; men’s on the left, ladies’ on the right.

Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Ladies' without diamonds.

Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Ladies’ without diamonds.

 

Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Ladies’

, ,

Five Watches Tough Enough To Wear On A United Airlines Flight

Scheduling a flight on United Airlines? You’d better dress for the occasion. In addition to padded head gear and a gel mouthguard, you will need a timepiece that can help you not only count down the minutes until your flight safely leaves the ground but that can take a few knocks in the event of spontaneous re-accommodation. It should also have at least 100-meter water resistance in case you are thrown from the plane mid-Atlantic. Here are five timepieces tough enough to survive an encounter with United Airlines.

Casio G-Shock.

Casio G-Shock.

The Casio GST-W300 is part of the G-Shock line, built for high-impact sports activities. This model has a Layer Guard Structure, a fusion of metal and resin materials that make it possible to reduce the size of the watch without losing shock resistance. It is solar-powered and radio-controlled, with functions that include a world timer, 1/100-second time measurement, split timing, a countdown timer, calendar, battery level indicator, super illuminator and alarm functions. It is water resistant to 200 meters.

Sinn US 1..

Sinn U1 S.

The case and crown of the Sinn U1 S diver’s watch is made of the same steel used for German submarines. It is known for its extreme seawater resistance and high non-magnetic properties. Also, the case was made using Tegiment technology, a surface-hardening process that raises the hardness of the base material. The US 1 is given a shock resistance rating of DIN 8308 which means it has survived a drop test from a vertical height of one meter onto hardwood. It is water resistant to 1,000 meters.

Omega Planet Ocean Big Blue.

Omega Planet Ocean Big Blue.

The Omega Planet Ocean Big Blue is a combination GMT (second time zone) and diver’s watch with an indestructible case made from a single block of ceramic. The bezel is also made of blue ceramic, with an orange 15-minute countdown index. Even the folding clasp on the rubber strap is made of ceramic. An orange GMT track runs along the inner bezel. The hands and indexes are 18k white gold, coated with Super-LumiNova. It is water resistant to 600 meters.

Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days.

Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days.

The size alone of the Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days should intimidate or at least block any would-be attacker. This 49mm watch is almost entirely composed of carbon based or carbon-coated materials. This includes movement components which will never need traditional lubrication. Panerai guarantees the watch for 50 years. The case is made of a composite carbon material that is very light and “resistant to external stresses.” It is water resistant to 100 meters.

Citizen Eco-Drive Pro-Master Professional Diver 1000.

Citizen Eco-Drive Pro-Master Professional Diver 1000.

The Citizen Eco-Drive Pro-Master Professional Diver 1000 is water resistant to 1,000 meters. The case is made of Super Titanium, a titanium that has been hardened by other metals, including DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon). It is light-powered, with a running time of 1.5 years when fully charged, and the hands and indexes are luminated for readability even in the dark depths of a United Airlines flight.

Baselworld 2018 Will Be Two Days Shorter; Ongoing Declines Plague Swiss Watch Industry

Baselworld 2017 opening day.

Baselworld, the annual watch and jewelry show in Basel, Switzerland, will run for six days instead of eight days next year, in the wake of lower attendance and declining sales in the Swiss watch industry. The decision comes on the heels of the 2017 show, which ended March 27. The fair officially hosted 200 fewer exhibitors (a drop of 13.3%) and for next year, there will be at least one defection by a major brand – Hermès – which announced it will join the Geneva Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, held in January. In a post-show statement, Sylvie Ritter, managing director of Baselworld, said “the industry is currently going through a challenging phase, which particularly affects smaller companies. Listening to our exhibitors and in agreement with the members of the different committees, we have decided to reduce the duration of the show and adjust the prices accordingly.” Baselworld 2018 will be held from Thursday 22 to Tuesday 27 March 2018.

Hermès will decamp for SIHH next year.

The reduced presence at Baselworld is a reflection of the state of the industry, rather than the show itself. Following two straight years of decline, global exports of Swiss watches have continued to tank for the first two months of 2017. According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH), exports declined 10% in the month of February, with a 26.2% decline in exports to the crucial U.S. market. In 2016, the value of Swiss exports stood at 19.4 billion Swiss francs, which is 9.9% lower than in 2015. “With this result, the industry has returned to its 2011 level and seen an end to the growth of 15% achieved between 2011 and 2014,” says the FH. If the two-year decline becomes a straight three-year decline, it will be the first time such a long slump has occurred since the 1980s, the height of the quartz crisis.

There are more than 2,000 exhibitors at Basel, and the fair is attended by 106,000 visitors.

Industry expert Joe Thompson of Watch Time magazine, who has been covering the industry for more than three decades, says the situation is worrisome. “Even the great recession of ’09 only lasted a year; we have just had two straight years of decline, and first the two months of this year are off to a bad start. So, if it hasn’t hit bottom, then it’s getting serious.” The reasons for the current downturn are more complex than the quartz crisis that edged out mechanical watchmakers in the ’70s and ’80s. Significant forces have plagued the industry over the past two years. The boom in China during the 2000s has been stifled by the Chinese government’s crackdown on luxury gift-giving, resulting in a 50% drop in exports to Hong Kong over the past four years. Currency fluctuations have also had a negative effect, particularly the strong Swiss franc, and declining tourism in the U.S. and Europe for political reasons have curtailed luxury shopping.

Evening rush hour at Baselworld 2017.

The result is a watch industry that is overstocked and, many say, overpriced, resulting in a surge in the grey market. Richemont, whose brands include Cartier, Piaget and Vacheron Constantin, bought back millions of euros in inventory from retailers in 2016, and cut 200 jobs from its watchmaking staff. As for coping strategies, companies have been reducing prices and revising product development strategies, boosting lower-priced categories and putting the brakes on new high-horology showpieces, a trend that was evident at this year’s Baselworld fair.

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.