One of the things that I admire about Patek Philippe is what they don’t do. They don’t make metiers d’art watches with paintings on the dial. They don’t make weird and strange complications. They don’t make watches with monkeys (or buffalo or dragons) on the dial. In short, they are never running after the market. It’s the market that runs after them. With just 55,000 watches made every year, considering that they currently have 55 movement references in production, every piece is in practice a limited edition right from the start, even if it’s not.
2015 saw some lovely annual calendars made by several brands. As they often do, Patek Philippe combined two complications, in this case an annual calendar with a flyback chronograph, to create the new reference 5905P Annual Calendar Chronograph. The dial is either navy blue or black, with windows for day, date and month at the top, with the date differentiated by being framed in white gold. There is a 60-minute chronograph counter at 6 o’clock, which has a small round aperture for the day/night indicator just below the pivot for the chronograph minutes hand.
Case and dial
The platinum case is 42 mm in diameter and 14.03 mm thick, water resistance 30 metres, and, as in the new split–seconds chronograph, it has a caseband that flows smoothly into the graceful lugs, while the extremities of the pushers and crown follow another imaginary curve parallel to the caseband. Like all Patek Philippe’s platinum watches, a Top Wesselton diamond is inset into the caseband at 6 o’clock, between the lugs. The dial is kept simple but very practical, with the seconds and minute scales graduated into fifths of seconds, the hours shown by applied white gold batons, and a large chronograph minutes subdial. No hours subdial, no continuous seconds. However, the efficiency of the movement is such that you can leave the chronograph running all the time so that the chronograph seconds hand becomes a continuous seconds indicator, without negatively affecting time-keeping precision. Patek Philippe”s design choices are always to the benefit of user-friendliness, and of course include things that you can’t see from the photograph, such as the pusher action, not requiring excessive effort but providing you with a satisfying tactile click sensation. The hour and minute hands are in dauphine shape, with SuperLuminova along the top central ridge; Superluminova dots are also applied to the dial in correspondence with each hour baton. The watch has an alligator strap whose colour matches the dial, with a platinum pin buckle.
The self-winding movement CH 28-520 QA 24H, 412 components, 37 jewels, keeps track of the annual calendar, which has to be adjusted only once a year on March 1. The chronograph part of the movement has the classical crown wheel system of control, while power is transmitted to the chronograph hand by a modern disk clutch, a pattern that eliminates the risk of hand bounce or recoil when the chronograph is activated, because it does not rely on meshing wheels. The balance spring is made of anti-magnetic Silinvar.
The movement can be seen through the sapphire caseback, with a gold oscillating weight finished with concentric Côtes de Genève and the Patek Philippe emblem, and bridges that also have the same concentric bands of graining to match. The movement runs at 28,800 vph (4 Hertz) and provides 45-55 hours power reserve. Calendar functions can be adjusted by pushers on the left-hand side of the caseback, day at 9 o’clock, date between 9 and 10 o’clock, month at 10 o’clock.
Reference and price
The Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Chronograph, reference 5905P, costs 69,000 Swiss francs.