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The art of watchmaking

Geneva-based luxury watch brand Patek Philippe produced nine limited editions for the New York exhibition.

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World Time Minute Repeater Ref 5531

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Left: Ladies' Minute Repeater Ref 7000/250. Right: Men's World Time Ref 5230 New York 2017 Special Edition.

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Above: The Calatrava Pilot Ref 5522. This resembles the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref 5524G which drew much flak when it was launched in 2015, because the watch didn't look like a Patek model.

AS IT had done at the London exhibition two years before, Patek Philippe this year unveiled a special collection of timepieces to mark a similar event, which it staged in New York City for 11 days last month to showcase the brand's watchmaking tradition and creations. For The Art of Watches Grand-Exhibition New York 2017, the Geneva-based luxury watch brand produced nine limited editions of watches which it says convey Patek's in-depth expertise "in all of its facets".

While Patek considers the highlight of the special collection to be the World Time Minute Repeater Ref 5531 - the first Patek Philippe timepiece that unites a minute repeater and a world time function - the watch that got the most attention is a pilot watch, the Calatrava Pilot Ref 5522. It resembles the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref 5524G which drew much flak when it was launched in 2015, because the watch didn't look like a Patek model.

Add on a GMT hand, date display at 6 o'clock and pushers at 8 and 10 o'clock and the new Calatrava Pilot, a limited edition of 600 watches, appears to look no different from the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time. Yet, really, while both have a case of the same size, which is 42mm, the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time's is white gold; the Calatrava Pilot is made of stainless steel.

The similarities are greater between the World Time Minute Repeater and the Patek World Time collection, which isn't surprising given that it's an extension of the line. More noteworthy is the World Time Minute Repeater's resemblance with those World Time models with cloisonne enamel dials, which are ranked among the most coveted timepieces at auctions.

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The World Time Minute Repeater should be more valuable because of its link to a special event and only a very small number of the timepiece is available - 10 altogether.

Crafted on the enamelled dial is the Manhattan skyline. The Ref 5531 World Time Minute Repeater New York 2017 Special Edition comes in two five-watch versions - five with the skyline by day and five with it by night. Engraved on the sapphire-crystal case back is the inscription Patek Philippe New York 2017.

Unlike other World Time chiming timepieces that acoustically indicate the home time even when you are wearing the watch at the other end of the world, Ref 5531 always strikes local time. This means the hour displayed by the hands from the centre in that time zone represented by the city is aligned with the 12 o'clock position on the dial.

The same Manhattan skyline that adorns Ref 5531 is also depicted on the Men's World Time Ref 5230 New York 2017 Special Edition, but this time on a dial with an opaline blue centre. The limited edition of 300 watches in white gold is essentially the same as the existing model, powered by the same automatic Calibre 240 HU movement.

The city disk and the 24-hour disk, with day/night segments, permanently display the time in all 24 time zones. The time zone is adjusted simply by pressing the pusher at 10 o'clock. The hour hand is delicately skeletonised and shows the silhouette of the Southern Cross constellation, a hallmark of the Patek World Time model.

Another "first" in the New York special collection is the Ladies' Minute Repeater Ref 7000/250, Patek's first chiming timepiece for women. Pushing the slide in the case flank will set the ultra-thin self-winding movement to sound the hours, quarter hours and minutes on two gongs.

The watch, limited to three pieces, has a 33.7mm white gold case featuring Patek's proprietary Flamme setting which amplifies the radiance of the 160 diamonds that decorate it.

On the sapphire-crystal case back of the timepiece is the inscription Patek Philippe New York 2017.