What were the best (non-Nautilus) Patek Philippe releases of 2021? We asked Patek expert John Reardon What were the best (non-Nautilus) Patek Philippe releases of 2021? We asked Patek expert John Reardon

What were the best (non-Nautilus) Patek Philippe releases of 2021? We asked Patek expert John Reardon

Nick Kenyon

Patek Philippe have been in the headlines a lot already this year. Firstly for the announcement that the Nautilus ref. 5711 was to be discontinued, and again when the collector community was shocked at proposed changes to the Archival Extracts program. All this before they even released a new watch. When they did release their new watches for 2021 at the virtual Watches & Wonders event, there was a lot to like, from updated Calatravas to a new Perpetual Calendar design. But what were the best Patek Philippe releases of 2021?

best Patek Philippe releases of 2021

I spoke with John Reardon, who is not only one of the nicest men in the watch business, but also the founder of Collectability where he deals exclusively in Patek Philippe. Prior to that, he literally wrote the book on Patek Philippe (Patek Philippe In America, published in 2008), worked in the watch departments of both Christie’s and Sotheby’s as well as working for Patek Philippe itself for nearly a decade in the US. In short, when it comes to the Genevan watchmaker, you’ll struggle to find anyone who could eclipse John in terms of his expertise and enthusiasm.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5236P-001 In-Line Perpetual Calendar

Now, this was perhaps the most discussed (non-Nautilus) release from Patek Philippe this year. Featuring a 41.3mm platinum case that is 11.5mm thick, the key feature of this watch is the Day, Date and Month indicator all lining up in a single window. This is possible thanks to the new movement inside, the cal. 31-260 PS QL, which was able to even further miniaturise a complication that had only been seen in a pocket watch before.

best Patek Philippe releases of 2021

John Reardon: “I’ll have to bring up my favourite and that’s the ref. 5236, which is the new in-line Perpetual Calendar. This was unexpected. I didn’t see it coming, but it has so many elements that I really, really loved. Things that I’ve been waiting for with the movement, in particular the platinum rotor. I just think that’s so cool. If it’s all about density, I always wondered why gold was used and not something heavier, but having a platinum micro-rotor to me is so elegant and so smart. I haven’t seen one in my own eyes yet, but I can’t wait.”

best Patek Philippe releases of 2021

“I find the vintage-inspired case has the same very attractive appeal of the ref. 3448. And the inline perpetual to me is one of the most interesting complications.”

best Patek Philippe releases of 2021
From left to right, a Patek Philippe Ref. 3448 from 1967 and a Patek Philippe Ref. 699 pocket watch from 1955, with in-line perpetual calendar, moon phase and minute repeater. Credit to Phillips.com for both images.

“So this watch was a breath of fresh air. And wow, if I could buy a modern watch personally to wear and enjoy from the new offerings, this is top of my list.”

Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Ref. 4947/1A

This was another surprise, thanks to the modest 38mm diameter of the ref. 4947 making it nicely sized for both men and women. It was also the first Annual Calendar that Patek Philippe has ever produced in stainless steel, since it was first launched by the brand as a complication in 1996.

best Patek Philippe releases of 2021

John Reardon: “The dial layout is interesting to me and the size is interesting too. It’s interesting because that style of dial we’ve seen from Only Watch in the past with that crosshatched blue.”

best Patek Philippe releases of 2021

“The Breguet numerals are a different style to what we’ve seen before and there is a lot of flourish going on. I need to see this one in person, however, it’s too soon for me to judge.”

Patek Philippe Calatrava “Clous De Paris” Ref. 6119

The new ref. 6119 is available in either rose or white gold, featuring a 39mm wide case that is only 8.08mm thick. In quintessential Patek Philippe form, the bezel features a hobnail pattern and this new reference contains the updated manually wound 30-255 PS movement that beautifully fills the entire case.

best Patek Philippe releases of 2021

John Reardon: “I think it’s nice. I think it’s in line with Patek Philippe tradition and the Clous de Paris is so, so cool. The larger caliber is very interesting to me too. The dial just for my personal taste is very modern, the brushed finish is attractive and it’s two-tone. I get it and I like it.”

best Patek Philippe releases of 2021

“It’s not on the top of my list just because I just I’m so traditional in what I like, especially with dials. If I had that watch I’d be looking at the movement all the time, I just think it’s a gorgeous caliber. So I like it, I don’t love it, but everyone has their opinion.”