The Patek Philippe Ref 5960/1A launched on the market in 2014 with a sporty looking white dial. A very classy black dial version joined it in 2017, before both were discontinued in early 2018. No official reason was ever given why. Some suggest that the models were targeted at a younger audience but failed to gain traction. Others claim that Patek Philippe want to restrict the use of steel cases to the Nautilus and Aquanaut collections. In reality, we’ll never know what led to the decision.
What we can say is that there can’t be too many Patek Philippe Ref 5960/1A watches in circulation. The short production run (exceedingly short in the case of the black dial version), makes this all but a certainty. The secondary market would seem to support this. There are 50 Patek Philippe Ref 5960/1A models currently listed for sale on Chrono24. Only 14 of those have black dials. For context, at the time of writing, the site has over 400,000 watches listed for sale.
The less popular white dial versions (Ref 5960/1A-001) are generally selling at or below the original retail price of GBP 37,000. The scarcer, more sought-after black dial versions meanwhile (Ref 5960/1A-010), are beginning to command a price premium on the secondary market. Does this mean they are now collectible though?
What Makes A Watch Collectible?
This is a nebulous question with infinite answers. Many of which are not grounded in any sort of logic. Scarcity certainly plays into the mix. So too does provenance and the reputation of the manufacturer. More often than not, however, it seems desirability is driven by intangible factors. Celebrity endorsement can play a role (they call it the the Paul Newman Daytona for a reason.) As can the context in which the watch was created. For example, the Royal Oak Jumbo Ref 5042ST pioneered an entire new category (that of the luxury steel sports watch.) Sometimes, it’s the lack of initial popularity that results in a watch becoming a cult classic. This was the case with the original Rolex Milgauss (and many others.)
At first instance, it would seem the Patek Philippe Ref 5960/1A most likely fits into this last category. It wasn’t a strong seller on the primary market and as a result it has the potential to become a cult favourite. That sort of broad assumption does this timepiece a disservice though. To understand why, you need to understand more about the Ref 5960 itself.
The Patek Philippe Ref 5960
The Patek Philippe Ref 5960 represents a significant milestone for Patek Philippe. Launched in 2006, it boasts the brand’s first self-winding, in-house chronograph movement. The distinctive dial featured a monocounter at 6 o’clock and three large calendar apertures across the top. Denoting the model’s significance, it made its debut in a platinum case. A rose gold version was later added. When the Ref 5960/1A-001 launched in steel in 2014, it replaced both precious metal versions.
Despite its precious metal case, the Patek Philippe Ref 5960 always had something of a sporty feel to it. Pump pushers for the chronograph, easy to read dial, this was a luxury watch you could wear and use every day. The platinum version was available with a striking sunburst blue dial with white and red accents. It had incredible wrist presence. By all accounts both versions (platinum and rose gold) were doing well. It came as quite a surprise then when the announcement was made they would be discontinued. Even more surprising, they were making way for a production steel case version.
The Patek Philippe Ref 5960/1A
For me, there are several elements that make the 5960/1A a great watch. To start, the stainless steel case is comfortably sized at 40.5mm, making it practical for every day wear. This also makes it more accessible price wise. When the white dial version made its debut in 2014, Patek Philippe gave it a younger, sportier look. The clever (but restrained) use of color introduced a nice sense of contrast.
Across the top half of the dial, three apertures display the annual calendar indications. This quick and easy to read format shows the day/date/month displayed from left to right. A power reserve indicator sits beneath the date window at 12 o’clock. Meanwhile, an over-sized sub-dial occupies most of the bottom half of the dial. It houses the 60-minute and 12-hour mono-counter. There’s also the cleverly incorporated day/night indicator above 6 o’clock. Completing the chronograph functionality is a central seconds hand in contrasting red.
In 2017, the Ref 5960/1A-001 was joined by the Ref 5960/1A-010. This latter model introduced an ebony black, opaline dial with silvery white and bright red contrasting accents. Darker colour dials generally seem to be more popular and this model was no exception. Many saw it as more refined that the white dial version. The former’s distinct style had somewhat of a polarising effect on collectors.
Inside the Ref 5960/1A is a self-winding movement. It incorporates both flyback chronograph and annual calendar complications. As discussed earlier, the caliber CH 28-520 IRM QA 24H was the company’s first ever automatic chronograph. Introduced in 2006, it is still in use today. Comprised of 456 parts, 14 bridges and 40 jewels, it beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph. It features several Patek Philippe patented inventions, including a Gyromax balance and Spiromax balance spring. The max power reserve is 55 hours when fully wound. The beautifully finished movement, complete with 21K gold rotor, is visible via a display case back.
The Integrated Bracelet
The most contentious aspect of the Patek Philippe Ref 5960/1A was its integrated steel bracelet. Some loved it, while others hated it. It didn’t seem there was any middle ground. No one could dispute the craftmanship of this expertly formed, five-line ‘rice-bead’ link bracelet. The shape and finishing are superb and it is exceedingly comfortable on the wrist. What many collectors couldn’t get past, however, was how shiny it is. Some complained that it looked too gaudy. Others said it should have a matte finish instead of a polished one.
You can’t please everyone though and it’s hard to believe that Patek Philippe would discontinue a model based on some negative feedback on the bracelet. That said, this sporty chronograph annual calendar is still available in the Patek line-up. Although now its back in its precious metal form. The Ref 5960/01G offers an elegant 18k white gold case paired with a blue dial and a vintage brown calf leather strap. It’s available for GBP 50,350.
Is the Patek Philippe Ref 5960/1A Collectible?
I think the answer to this is yes, at least with regards to the black dial version (Ref 5960/1A-010). It’s short production life (1 year) means it’s very scarce. Plus, it has a historically significant movement inside. Not to mention exceptional brand provenance and an interesting story to boot. It may not be as sought-after as some other Patek Philippe models, but I believe it will become collectible.
Technical Specifications: Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref 5960/1A-010
- Case: Steel– 40.5 mm x 13.53mm – sapphire-crystal caseback – waterproof to 30 metres.
- Dial: Ebony black, opaline dial– centre hour, minute and chronograph seconds hands –day, date and month in apertures – 60-minute and 12-hour monocounter – power reserve and day/night indication.
- Movement: Caliber CH 28-520 IRM QA 24H – unidirectional self-winding – flyback chronograph – annual calendar – Gyromax® balance – Spiromax® balance spring – central rotor in 21K gold – power reserve: Min. 45 hours – max. 55 hours – Patek Philippe Seal.
- Price: GBP 37,000 (discontinued).