A decidedly distinctive looking perpetual calendar, the Patek Philippe Ref. 5320G Perpetual Calendar definitely turned some heads last month when it was unveiled at Baselworld 2017. It’s also become one of my favorite watches from the fair, although I must admit it was not love at first sight. More of a slow burn if I’m being honest. Now though, I’m hooked. Read on to find out why.
The Patek Philippe Ref. 5320G Perpetual Calendar
I think we can all agree that there was no shortage of vintage re-issue or heritage-inspired watches at Baselworld this year. Some really hit the nail on the head, like the Blancpain MIL-SPEC and the Heuer Autavia, whilst others landed slightly wide of the mark. In any event, in the face of a red-hot vintage watch market and waning sales, luxury watch brands have been scrambling to create new models that look, well, old.
That’s what makes the Patek Philippe Ref. 5320G Perpetual Calendar so interesting for me. Firstly, Patek Philippe remains largely unaffected by both these issues (from what I’ve been told sales are definitely not waning and let’s face it, the vintage Patek market is pretty much always red-hot). Secondly, Patek Philippe generally does what it wants, without any regard for trends, which is one of the things that makes the brand so attractive in the first place. Taken together, these two factors make the Patek Philippe Ref. 5320G Perpetual Calendar an unexpected, but not unwelcome, surprise.
As you probably know already, Patek Philippe launched the world’s first wristwatch with a perpetual calendar all the way back in 1925, making it something of an authority on the complication. For the design of this latest interpretation, the brand has delved into its substantial archives, although not quite as far back as the 1920’s. Instead, the inspiration for the 40mm, 18k white gold case with gorgeous, Art Deco style three-tiered lugs comes from the Patek Philippe Ref. 2405, a popular model from over 60 years ago. I love how the cambered crystal rises out from the beveled, smoothly polished bezel, which in turn steps down to the center portion of the case. Although it may not seem like it at first glance, this is a really interesting case, exceptionally well-executed and with lots of little details to appreciate.
If you’re anything like me however, you were probably too distracted by the dial to really appreciate the case in any great detail, at least at first, anyway. And with good reason; the dial is stunning to say the least. With a distinct ‘vintage’ look and feel to it, the Patek Philippe Ref. 5320G Perpetual Calendar makes a statement on the wrist. The brass dial is covered in a rich, cream color lacquer with a nice glossy finish and is not shy about making its presence known.
It’s a bold – perhaps even unusual – choice but somehow it just seems to work with this watch. The Arabic numerals running around the outside of the dial are made of black-coated 18k gold, as are the round five minute markers and the sharp-tipped baton hands. As you can see they really contrast strongly against the cream dial, almost as if they’re about to jump out at you. The hands in particular really did jump out at me and are inspired in part by the Ref. 1463 chronograph from the 1950s. Just another example of the subtle attention to detail this model really displays.
The dial lay-out is highly intuitive and consequently very easy to read. It’s also very familiar, taking its design cues from popular Patek Philippe models from the 1940’s, including the ref. 1526, the first regular production Perpetual Calendar from the brand without a chronograph. Just beneath twelve o’clock are two apertures, one for the day and the other for the month. A sub-dial just above six o’clock houses a moon-phase display as well as the date indication. Adding some very contemporary, and useful, touches are the day/night indicator between seven and eight o’clock and the leap-year indicator between four and five o’clock. Again, subtle, non-intrusive touches that really help make the Patek Philippe Ref. 5320G Perpetual Calendar the complete package.
Turn the watch over and you will discover a nice view of the cal. 324 S Q, a self-winding calibre with a perpetual calendar module on top. This is generally the calibre of choice for Patek Philippe’s Annual Calendars and the movement architecture here is very similar to that of the ref. 5270 chronograph, which features basically the same dial lay-out for the calendar indications. The movement is of course finished to the highest standards possible and has been stamped with the Patek Philippe seal. The Patek Philippe Ref. 5320G Perpetual Calendar also comes with a solid case back made from 18k white gold and can be switched with the sapphire case back at your request.
Although arguably not an everyday watch – admittedly very few pieces from Patek Philippe are – the Patek Philippe Ref. 5320G Perpetual Calendar is undoubtedly destined to be hugely popular with collectors. It blends historic style with contemporary execution and offers something that is different enough to really stand out on the wrist but without being gaudy or in-your-face. It truly is a great-looking watch and it looks (and feels) even better on the wrist. Completing the vintage look is a shiny chocolate brown alligator strap with large square scales and a deployant buckle in matching 18K white gold.
The Patek Philippe Ref. 5320G Perpetual Calendar will retail for U$82,784 (if you can get your hands on one).
Visit Patek Philippe for more information.