Patek Philippe releases six special editions at Watch Art Grand Exhibition Tokyo
The manufacture debuts a new quadruple complication, a new world timer with a unique date display, and other Tokyo-exclusive editions for the Japanese market.
One of this year’s most anticipated watch events, the Patek Philippe Watch Art Grand Exhibition has officially opened its doors on 10th June 2023. This is the sixth installation of Patek Philippe’s grand exhibition, and its largest one yet, stretching over more than 2,500 square meters in total.
As it occupies the cavernous interiors of the Sumitomo Sankaku Hiroba (the triangular plaza) Watch Art Grand Exhibition Tokyo brings more than 500 timepieces and objects showcasing Patek Philippe’s vast manufacturing breadth and depth. They include the manufacture’s entire current collection, antique and vintage watches from the Patek Philippe Museum, horological masterpieces such as the formidable Caliber 89, Star Caliber 2000 and the Sky Moon Tourbillon.
On top of these major exhibits, Patek Philippe has also launched six completely new references launched exclusively for the Japan market. Along with a selection of Tokyo-exclusive Rare Handcrafts timepiece which we’ll cover soon.
Quadruple Complication Ref. 5308P-010 Limited Edition Tokyo 2023
First of the six is a stunning world premiere quadruple complication that unites a minute repeater, a chronograph with split-seconds mechanism (this counts as two complications) and an instantaneous perpetual calendar while unveiling two new innovative patents just for the split-seconds chronograph. Ref. 5308P-010 is an evolution of 2011’s Ref. 5208 which combines a minute repeater with chronograph and instantaneous perpetual calendar.
Its movement, Caliber R CHR 27 PS QI, contains 80 additional parts vis-à-vis Caliber R CH 27 PS QI for the Ref. 5208 but in terms of dimensions, it only increased 4mm in diameter and 1.93mm in height. To ensure that power reserve was not compromised due to the introduction of the split seconds function, Patek Philippe work on improving the barrel spring torque, employing the use of a thicker mainspring blade made of a stronger material, along with a smaller barrel arbor.
Altogether, these features allowed the length of the spring, number of coils, and power reserve to be maintained between 38 and 48 hours. And to ensure that the balance is equipped to handle all that increased torque from the barrel spring, and that the movement won’t face issues of “knocking” (shocks to the escapement when the amplitude of the balance is too high), the manufacture had to increase the inertia of the balance for better rate stability.
With the addition of a split seconds mechanism comes two new patents designed to improve energy consumption as well as operating performance. As Ref. 5308P-010 utilizes a chronograph with a horizontal clutch design, the connection between the seconds wheel and the chronograph wheel (which carries the sweep seconds hand) is made through the clutch wheel actuated by the clutch lever. To avoid any quivering of the sweep-seconds hand, the usual chronograph wheels are equipped with a friction spring that exerts a slight braking effect, and that consumes energy.
Patek Philippe has eliminated this friction by replacing the usual clutch wheel with classic teeth by an innovative system of an anti-backlash wheel. Made from a nickel-phosphorus alloy, using LIGA technology (lithography, electroplating and molding) this component has an avant-garde geometry, with long split teeth each incorporating a tiny leaf-spring, 18 microns thick, that clamps the teeth of the chronograph wheel, thus eliminating any risk of quivering in the sweep seconds hand — all accomplished with no need for adjustment.
Next, Patek Philippe filed a second patent for a split-seconds isolator mechanism. With the objective to eliminate friction caused by the split-second lever as it rolls around the chronograph heart-piece even when the split hand is stopped, Patek Philippe introduces a new system with an isolator mechanism making it possible to lift the lever and uncouple it from the chronograph train. This prevents the stopping of the split-seconds train from having an influence on the amplitude of the balance — and therefore, on the movement’s reliability and on its power reserve when the chronograph is engaged.
Ref. 5308P-010 is a mono-pusher split-seconds column wheel-driven chronograph. A single pusher at 2 o’clock actuates the start, stop, and reset functions, while the pusher at 4 o’clock controls the split-seconds mechanism, which has its own column wheel.
Apart from the chronograph, Ref. 5308P-010’s quartet of grand complications also includes a minute repeater and an instantaneous perpetual calendar. The minute repeater here is a classical set-up with two hammers and gongs, and a highly sophisticated strike train all working together to chime the hours, quarters, and minutes in notes best described as the “Patek Philippe sound.” Like all Patek Philippe chiming watches, president of the company Thierry Stern personally listened to and signed off on these chimes.
And as an instantaneous perpetual calendar, the movement is capable of making 30-millisecond jumps of the indications in each of the four apertures. More impressively, it does so even when the power reserve is down to just 10 hours. Considering that the perpetual calendar display here is composed of discs rather than hands, where discs are far heavier than hands, this is a truly great achievement. The instantaneous display demands perfect mastery of energy to hold back the disks and then release them all at once.
A large lever with 15 parts, some of which are mobile, ensures a precise jump by all the displays at the same time. A construction with two additional jumper springs acting in opposite directions ensures that the energy deployed for each change remains constant, despite large differences in the displacement angles — from the jump of one day at the end of months with 31 days to the jump of four days at the end of February in non-leap years. This avoids incomplete jumps caused by a lack of power or indications that jump too far owing to surplus energy.
Cased in platinum, Quadruple Complication Ref. 5308P-010 Limited Edition Tokyo 2023 has a dial in rose-gilt opaline with charcoal gray white gold baton-style hour markers, and faceted dauphine hands in the same material. It is delivered with two interchangeable case backs, one in sapphire crystal and another in platinum, both with the words “Patek Philippe Tokyo” inscribed. Worn on shiny chocolate brown alligator leather and platinum fold-over clasp, this watch is made its debut in a limited edition run of just 15 watches.
World Time Ref. 5330G-010 Limited Edition Tokyo 2023
The second key highlight is a consistent favorite among Patek Philippe aficionados, the world timer. World Time Ref. 5330G-010 Limited Edition Tokyo 2023 carries on a lovely tradition at the manufacture where the 24 time zone display goes hand-in-hand with beautiful métiers d’art décor in either Grand Feu cloisonné enamel featuring sections of the world map or hand-guillochéd designs. But this specific reference brings something else never-before seen in the Patek Philippe world timer: the date indication. And it is no ordinary date indication either. Ref. 5330G-010 offers a patented date display synchronized with local time and hence adjusts automatically backwards and forwards as the wearer navigates the different time zones. Prior to this new model, synchronizing the world time with another function was achieved only in the Ref. 5531 world time minute repeater.
This time, to incorporate a synchronized date display with the world timer, the manufacture has developed a new movement, Caliber 240 HU C. Its date display module made up of 70 new parts comprises a patented central differential system with two concentric gear trains managing local-time date. When the outer train (of larger diameter) turns clockwise, the date hand advances clockwise by one notch. When the inner train turns clockwise the date hand moves back counterclockwise by a notch. When the two trains turn clockwise together, the date hand remains stationary. Just a push of the button at 10 o’clock and you’ll be able to set the city disc, the 24-hour disc, the center hour hand, and where necessary, the date.
Indeed, the date display doesn’t usually get to play a starring role in many timepieces due to its relatively simple concept, but here, Patek Philippe elevates it to a level of complexity that’s worthy of the exquisite high complication that is Ref. 5330G-010. Even the way it is displayed gets extra attention from the manufacture. The analog style indication sits around the outermost periphery of the dial, and numbers 1 to 31 are read off a hammer-shaped center hand with a red varnished tip. Most astonishingly, it is almost completely transparent as Patek Philippe had it made of glass — a first for the manufacture. The rationale behind this move was so that this hand would not come to obstruct one’s view of the city or time zone disc. Patek Philippe called upon two existing patents to realize this feature, the first of which enables it to apply red lacquer onto glass, and the second involves a brazing technique allowing the manufacture to attach the pipe of the hour wheel to the glass hand.
Ref. 5330G-010’s most outstanding physical attribute, however, is its elegant plum colored dial selected exclusively for the Japanese market. At its center, a hand-guillochéd décor affirms this timepiece as a product of Patek Philippe’s Rare Handcrafts division. The word “Tokyo” is also printed in red, and the sun icon on the German silver 24-hour disc reflects the emblem of the Japanese flag. The 40mm case is in white gold paired with two-tier fluted lugs and its sapphire-crystal back adorned with the transfer-printed inscription “Patek Philippe Tokyo”. A 300-piece limited edition, it is worn on a shiny black alligator-leather strap with contrasting plum-colored hand stitching, secured by a fold-over clasp in white gold.
Ref. 5531R-014 World Time Minute Repeater Limited Edition Tokyo 2023
For the third timepiece in Patek Philippe’s Tokyo special series, the manufacture offers a grand complication combining world time and minute repeater, Ref. 5531R-014. First introduced in 2017, this watch made its mark as the first minute repeater synchronized to local time. But where the inaugural model featured a Grand Feu cloisonné enamel map of downtown Geneva, Patek Philippe’s home city, this Tokyo exclusive version adorns it with a map of the historic Chuo district in the center of the city. Always dedicating this segment of the watch for the exhibition’s host city, Patek Philippe shows collectors in this market how deeply it value their appreciation and support. With the word “Tokyo” marked out in red on the city disc, this watch is made in a 15-piece limited edition run.
Ref. 7121/200G-010 Ladies’ Moon-Phase Limited Edition Tokyo 2023
Never forgetting the ladies among its clientele, Patek Philippe also created this 200-piece limited edition model unique for its elegant pearl gray tone dressing the dial as well as the alligator leather strap. This Ladies’ Moon-Phase model is based on a recently introduced 2022 model in blue, which has a 33mm officer’s style case, beautiful applied Breguet-style numerals and poire-shaped hands all made in white gold.
Encircling the dial in two staggered rows, 132 brilliant-cut diamonds (approximately 1.09 ct) showcase the exclusive “Lace” setting unique to Patek Philippe. On the inside is Caliber 215 PS LU manually wound mechanical movement — the smallest complicated movement made by Patek Philippe. Visible through the transparent sapphire-crystal back which bears the transfer-printed inscription “Patek Philippe Tokyo”.
Calatrava Refs. 6127G-010 and 7127G0-010
Knowing how couple watches are a popular tradition in Japan, Patek Philippe’s Tokyo special series includes this delightful pair of Calatravas already introduced in late 2022. Vibrant and youthful in spirit, these white gold timepieces stand out for their colorful personality. The men’s Ref. 6127G-010 is dressed in a stylish light-blue lacquer dial and matching shiny alligator leather strap. Sized at 36mm it offers the perfect dimensions especially for the sartorially savvy crowd. Meanwhile the ladies’ Ref. 7127G0-010 with its 31mm diameter arrives in a delicate lilac hue. Both references are crafted in polished white gold, with case backs adorned with the engraved inscription “Patek Philippe — Tokyo” housing the manually wound Caliber 215 PS, Patek Philippe’s smallest mechanical caliber. Both editions are limited to 400 watches each, of which 300 are destined to be sold as a set, with the remaining 100 available for individual purchase.
Patek Philippe Watch Art Grand Exhibition Tokyo is open from 10th to 25th June 2023 at the Sumitomo Sankaku Hiroba, 2-6-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo. The exhibition is open to the public, free admission is available upon reservation on patek.com.
MORE STORIES ABOUT PATEK PHILIPPE
|Movement||Self-winding caliber A-500; 60 hours power reserve|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph and date|
|Case||42.5mm; titanium; water resistant to 30m|
|Dial||Salmon (6N gold plated) with gené or frosted area; Super-LumiNova filled Arabic numerals|
|Strap||Ballistic gray rubber; titanium folding clasp|