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Patek Philippe goes casual and sporty

The watch firm, which usually produces formal and classic designs, has bucked the trend at this year’s Baselworld watch and jewellery fair

ALL ABOUT ACCURACY: Aquanaut Flyback Chronograph (Ref 5968A)

(Left) Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref 5524R. (Right) Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref 5740.

(Right) Patek’s Triple Complication Ref 5208R; (Left) Ref 5270P.

CASUAL and sporty watches led this year’s new timepieces rolled out at Patek Philippe, whose output traditionally has been dominated by formal and classic designs – dress watches in short. Specifically, the new Nautilus Perpetual Calendar (Ref 5740/1G) and Aquanaut Flyback Chronograph (Ref 5968A) took the prime spot in Patek’s showcase at the Baselworld 2018 watch and jewellery fair in Switzerland in March.

Both the Nautilus and Aquanaut collections were expressly launched in the second half of the 1970s as a casual and sporty line. But despite being pretty recent in Patek’s 179 years’ history, they are hugely popular. You are unlikely to find a Nautilus or Aquanaut model in the shop. If you want one, you have to place an order – and the waiting list is long.

Patek is a pioneer in making perpetual calendars – highly complicated timepieces in which once the date and year are set on the watch, it requires no further adjustments in the watch owner’s lifetime, not even for leap year or when the number of days in a month varies. And Patek perpetual calendars are very sought-after.

Until the perpetual calendar came along, there was the Nautilus chronograph and world time, which can perform the function of a stop watch and tell the time of major cities. Now the Nautilus collection can boast of what Patek calls its first “grand complication” model – with a hefty price tag (S$156,800) to match the grand description.

At 8.42mm thick, the timepiece, powered by an automatic movement encased in white gold, is also the thinnest Patek perpetual calendars. Ref 5140, the former holder of the thinnest perpetual calendar title, is 8.5mm thick.

The Aquanaut Flyback Chronograph, retailing at S$57,700, is also the first chronograph in the Aquanaut line. Previously there was a time-only model and a two-time zone travel timepiece.

The new automatic Aquanaut Flyback Chronograph is not just more complicated, but also more striking despite a stainless steel case – thanks to its orange chronograph displays and matching strap. (The watch also comes with a black strap.)

You can bet that the new Patek casual and sports models, which also introduce new patented fold-over clasps that stand out with improved safety features, will further boost the appeal of the Nautilus and Aquanaut collections.

Patek’s Calatrava Pilot Travel Time, arguably the least recognisable of the brand’s creations, may also be grouped together with its casual and sporty watch collection. It’s surely not a dress timepiece, even if it has a white gold case when it first appeared three years ago.

Yet in its latest guise, the Patek pilot watch with a second time zone is transformed into a watch for formal occasions. The white gold case has given way to a rose gold case with a brown dial and a black gradation (Ref 5524R). The original has a 42mm case. The new rose gold version comes in a 42mm as well as a 37.5mm case (Ref 7234R), with the latter meant for the ladies.

The Patek pilot watch in the 42mm rose gold case is priced the same as the original white told model, at S$62,800. The ladies’ pilot timepiece is retailed at S$56,800.

Definitely falling into the formal collection are Patek’s Triple Complication Ref 5208R (about S$1.1million) and Ref 5270P (S$246,400) chronograph with a perpetual calendar. The triple complication, combining a minute repeater, chronograph and perpetual calendar, was first rolled out in 2011 in a platinum case and a charcoal sunburst dial. The latest reinterpretation features a rose gold case with an ebony black sunburst dial.

The original Ref 5270, also released in 2011, was in white gold. It was replaced with a rose gold case in 2015. The chronograph-perpetual calendar now reappears in a platinum case with a striking golden opaline or “salmon” dial. W

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