The story in a second: The new Patek Philippe split-seconds chronograph (Ref.5370P to its friends) is the new must have über-Patek. The talk about Patek Philippe this year centred on their controversial attempt to break into younger market segments – AKA the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time. It’s easy then to forget that Patek released other watches, many of them every inch the classic Patek. Case in point is the ‘other’ big novelty of the year, a watch that is pure Patek – the Ref.5370P split-seconds chronograph. This watch is the other side of the Calatrava Pilot coin. Patek, who undoubtedly knew they were taking a risk with the Pilot, decided to release this ultra-classical chronograph at the same time, to mitigate any perception of Patek going ‘off-brand’. It doesn’t get more on-brand than the 5370P. Everything about this watch, the case, the dial, the pushers and (most definitely) that movement are of the highest quality, in keeping with the maison’s finest traditions. The case is modern at 41mm, but not too large. And of course it’s made from platinum (hence the ‘P’ in the reference). But the real beauty is in the details, like the concave bezel and recessed inner… Read More
The story in a second: The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time is the watch that’s confusing the most people at Baselworld 2015. While the familiar Patek quality is there, that is pretty much the only thing about this watch people are associating with the name on the dial. It’s a telling fact that in the first sentence of their press release for their new Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Patek Philippe have to explicitly reference that they have two 1930s hour angle pilot’s watches sitting in their Geneva museum. Because the fact is that while we associate many wonderful watch types and styles with Patek, the classic aviators watch is not among them. There is something ironic about Patek, that most august and legitimate of brands, feeling the need to justify a new model. It’s a watch that has left the industry, and the (large, affluent and opinionated) Patek collector community befuddled. The most common sentiment expressed about the Pilot Travel time is that ‘”this is not Patek”. The Calatrava Pilot Travel Time might confound traditional notions of what a Patek looks like, but there is no denying that the high Patek standards are there. The white gold case and… Read More
Even though it’s only February, 2015 is shaping up to be annus horribilis for the Swiss watch industry – and in uncertain economic times, an industry looks to its leaders to see which road they will take. The shortest telling of this story is that Patek are taking the low road, to lower pricing. On 15th of January 2015, just days before the opening of the prestigious SIHH the Swiss watch industry was dealt a very nasty blow. Out of the blue the Swiss National Bank announced that it was abandoning its long-standing currency cap against the Euro. The immediate result was that the Swiss Franc had an unprecedented 30% increase overnight. This is the largest single currency market movement in 24 hours. Ever. For more on the impact of this we recommend reading some expert financial (as opposed to watch experts) analysis. Aside from generalised chaos on the Swiss stock markets this move has big implications on the export heavy Swiss watch industry. Share prices for dominant players Richemont and the Swatch Group suffered, and Nick Hayek, CEO of the Swatch group described it as a “tsunami for the country’s economy”. In the wake of this shockwave we’re beginning to see how… Read More
In the rarefied air of the high-end sports watch, the Patek Philippe Nautilus is still the King. You could fill your day reading pages of passionate prose that argue the merits of the watch relative to others, but there is something about the Nautilus that sets it apart from a less cerebral point of view. Pure feel. In fact, when the Time+Tide editorial team sat down earlier this year and picked out a single ‘grail watch’, 66.6% of the team picked the Nautilus, while the other 33.3% were simply wrong. The Nautilus is certainly King in this dominion. Before we get too much further into the Nautilus story, let’s firstly deal with some definitions. Yes, this is a ‘sports watch’, although obviously not a replacement for your G-shock or Garmin GPS watch. It comes from an era when there were “dress watches” (typically thin, classical watches in gold cases) and more casual ‘sports watches’, which were a little larger and bolder. But for ‘sports’, think Country Club sipping gin rather than surfing the breaks. We had a chance to spend an evening ‘in the metal’ with the 2014 Nautilus range at a dinner organised by Patek Philippe and LK Boutique to mark Patek’s 175th… Read More
A few hours ago, Mr Aurel Bacs, former head of Christie’s Watch Department placed the winning bid on one of the most exceptional timepieces ever made, the Henry Graves Jnr Patek Philippe Supercomplication. The final hammer price was 23,237,00 CHF (or around 27,700,000 AUD). This is the most expensive timepiece ever sold. The Supercomplication, commissioned by banker Henry Graves Jnr was conceived in 1925 and finished in 1935, and was last sold at auction in 1999 for a then record $11 million. This time around the watch, which boasts a phenomenal 24 complications had an estimate of $16.8 million. In the 15 minutes of bidding by five bidders this estimate was quickly smashed, with Mr Bacs placing the winning bid on behalf of an anonymous client. The astonishing price achieved by this significant piece of art is a great testament to Patek’s continuing appeal, in this their 175th anniversary year. Full details about the watch can be found here.
Last night, Patek Philippe and LK Boutique hosted a lavish dinner at Crown’s Garden Room, in Melbourne to mark the aspirational brand’s 175th Anniversary and also to open the temporary Patek Philippe Exhibition in the main foyer of Crown, which will remain until November 9th. While the tone of the evening was suitably refined, there was also a spirit of joie de vivre and celebration. As in, it actually felt like a birthday party – and it was a fun one at that, with musical acts that spanned Django Reinhardt era jazz, Rat Pack style lounge bar crooning and a dramatic reimagining of classical music via a very talented solo violinist whose performance was as athletic as it was virtuoso. She was feeling it. We were feeling it. The speeches were precise and timely, like a Patek movement. James Kennedy, Managing Director and CEO of LK Boutique spoke warmly of their 30 year partnership with Patek Philippe and hopes his company “can celebrate as many birthdays”. Patek Philippe Vice-President of Sales, Yves Cavadini also spoke and listed some of the brand’s recent achievements with highly complicated pieces, culminating in a short movie. Emotions (mine) went up another notch when the lights dimmed and… Read More
I don’t want to get too Buzzfeed here – FYI the title is wholly stolen from a One Direction related post – but these are genuine moments of shock and emotion experienced watching the mini-movie about the making of the Patek Philippe 175th Anniversary 5175R Grandmaster Chime and I want to share them. Because shock and emotion is why we are into watches. They can be the catalyst for feelings. In this case, the shock was totally compounded by the fact that a watch video could move me at all. We see SO many of them these days. You know the type; highly stylised brand pieces with jerky CGI, lots of cogs turning and breathy voiceovers. This usually leads, for some reason, to watches turning into cars or animals or buildings or flowers. There’s absolutely none of that here. With no narration whatsoever, not a word spoken – the voiceover guys were out of luck this day – the story of the Grandmaster Chime 5175R is told. The first heart-stopping moment is an opening shot of Patek Philippe President Thierry Stern, who we were privileged to meet at Basel (my grin here has enough wattage to power a Swiss suburb), just… Read More