What the Patek Phillipe 5095/1A potentially suggests about the future of the brand in steel What the Patek Phillipe 5095/1A potentially suggests about the future of the brand in steel

What the Patek Phillipe 5095/1A potentially suggests about the future of the brand in steel

Zach Blass

Recently Patek Philippe introduced three new chronographs with complications: the 5905/1A, 5204-011, and 5930P-001. Standing out amongst the trio, to many, was the ref. 5905/1A – the first ever 5905 Annual Calendar Flyback Chronograph to be released in stainless steel. Not only does the watch have a stainless-steel case, but also a matching stainless-steel bracelet and an on-trend olive green dial. Now we all know how unobtainable the farewell edition of the green Nautilus is, and the Aquanaut remains more elusive than ever. So while it is exciting to have a new reference in stainless steel, does it actually change anything for the watch hunter on the prowl for Patek in steel?

The watch: Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Flyback Chronograph 5905/1A

5905/1A

The Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Flyback Chronograph 5905/1A is yet another stunning entry into the collection, but this time around we receive the first ever stainless-steel case and bracelet. In terms of its dimensions, the 30m water-resistant watch is 42mm in diameter, 14.13mm thick, and approximately 50mm acres the wrist lug-to-lug. The case is entirely mirror polished, in line with previous precious metal references outfitted on a leather strap. So Patek Phillipe has elected to maintain the elegant and dressier finish to the case. But with its debut in steel, Patek Philippe has injected a sporty satin-brush into its aesthetic via the flush-to-case stainless-steel bracelet. The outer shoulder links of the three-piece link bracelet are mirror-polished, blending in with the lugs of the case. The broad central links, however, carry a rich vertical brush to create light play through mixed finishes.

Equally as trendy as its case and bracelet metal is its sunburst olive green dial, its indications masterfully laid out for a classic, elegant, and extremely legible aesthetic. From 10′ to 1′ you will notice three apertures, displaying the day, date, and month respectively with black on white discs. While white on green would have been more dial-matching, the black on white is highly legible and doesn’t detract from its overall look. At 6′, you have a 60 minute counter tied to the chronograph functionality, and above the 30th minute a day/night indicator for added complication. Each of the central hands and applied indices are fashioned in white gold, with the hours and minutes hands, as well as the pips adjacent to the indices, filled with SuperLuminova®. If you are the kind of person who demands a running seconds hand for your watch, you’ll be glad to know that Patek explains the vertical disk-type clutch of the chronograph caliber means that the central chronograph seconds hand can be used as a permanent running seconds display without added wear and tear to the movement.

5905/1A

Speaking of the movement, inside the watch, beneath a sapphire exhibition caseback, is the in-house annual calendar flyback chronograph caliber CH 28‑520 QA 24H. The Patek-seal vertical clutch column wheel caliber features elaborate decorations such as circular Côtes de Genève, perlage, and bevelled bridges and offers 55 hours of power reserve.

What does this possibly mean for the future of Patek Philippe in steel?

With the impending discontinuation of the 5711 in steel, many have begun to wonder what the future of steel will be for Patek Philippe – and I believe the ref. 5905/1A reaffirms a great indication of what is to come. Patek Philippe does not particularly pride itself on being the manufacturer of the most coveted sports watch in the world. The company has always prided itself on its attention to detail and top-tier watchmaking – with in-house calibers, mastery of complications, and high-end finishes inside and out. So it is fair to assume that their focus within the steel category will be to inject the fan-favourite metal into the more complicated ranges of their catalogue (as we already saw prior this year with the 4947/1A Annual Calendar).

5905/1A

“The Manufacture is reinterpreting the style of this much sought-after model by unveiling a first version in steel – a rare metal in the Patek Philippe collections – with a three-link integrated bracelet. This bold and casual design renews the way a Patek Philippe complication watch is worn on a daily basis.” – Patek Philippe

That being said, the same way Patek Philippe does not want to be known purely for sports watches they also do not want to be known for stainless steel pieces either. From an image and business perspective as well, they believe their watches should be precious – both figuratively and literally. As they acknowledge in their own press copy, steel is a rare metal within Patek Philippe collections and I don’t believe this will ever necessarily change as much as consumers would want it to. Precious metal watches always have larger margins for manufacturers, and with their Rolodex of VIP clientele they can safely sell such precious pieces with relative ease. So why cater to the mass market in steel, when you can safely target VIP’s in precious metals.

5905/1A

I would love to see their entry-level pieces, such as a time-only Calatrava 6119 or 5196, get the stainless-steel treatment. But the reality is that anything they make in stainless steel will carry high-demand with the least prioritized production. So what does this all mean? Well, sadly it may indicate that not only will steel remain far and few, but also that even if you do get the rare opportunity to purchase at retail it will be more expensive then ever – after all, the 5905/1A carries nearly two times the retail price of a 5711 in steel.

Don’t forget though that new steel models from Patek Phillipe, and other high-end manufactures, does not equate to cheaper priced models in any circumstance. Because of the amount of artisanal watchmaking that is present in even the least complicated of steel references, you will still have to pay out for top-tier movement, case, and, if applicable, bracelet finishing you would not usually find at more accessible price points. So expect stainless steel to remain rare and proportionally priced to the amount of labour and craftsmanship put into it. At the same time, I suspect that we will see Patek using steel more often in its more complicated references in the coming years.

Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Flyback Chronograph 5905/1A pricing and availability:

The Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Flyback Chronograph 5905/1A is available for inquires now. Price: $59,140 USD