Do you remember the Patek Philippe Ref 5960P? Discontinued in 2014, the model has fallen off the radar of all but the most ardent collectors. And yet, it is an exceptional timepiece for the money. Assuming you can find one that is. With low production volumes and a short(ish) production life, the Ref 5960P is something of a rare bird. Still, some collectors make the mistake of not looking for this watch at all. They assume because it’s encased in platinum it will be too expensive. And viewed in isolation, it is. Compare it to similar models on the market though, and it’s a different story. Which is why now is a good time to buy the oft overlooked Patek Ref 5960P.
A (Very) Brief History Of The Ref 5960P
Unveiled in 2006, the Patek Philippe Ref 5960P is special to collectors for more reason than one. First, it debuted the brand’s inaugural self-winding, in-house chronograph movement. The Caliber CH 28-520 IRM QA 24H with annual calendar and flyback functionality. Before that, the brand had relied on external movements modified in-house. Anytime Patek develops a new movement it’s a big deal. But especially when it incorporates a complication the brand invented a decade earlier. (Patek debuted the Annual Calendar in the Ref 5035J in 1996. In case you didn’t know.)
The Ref 5960P was also a pioneer in other ways. It was unlike any other annual calendar watch in the collection at the time. Or anything on the market for that matter. Elegant yet sporty, this was not your buttoned-down classic Patek dress watch. Pump pushers for the chronograph. Easy to read dial, with a novel mono-counter at 6 o’clock and three large calendar apertures across the top. This was a luxury watch you could wear and use every day.
The third drawcard, albeit an obvious one, is its platinum case. Patek reserves this precious metal for when it wants to make a statement. And the Ref 5960P did exactly that. Yet at the same time you would be hard-pressed to find a platinum-cased watch from the brand that is as wearable. I’ve heard more than one collector describe it as the ultimate, every day watch. A surprising assessment of a timepiece that retailed for close to US$100k!
Less than a decade later Patek made the surprising decision to nix the Ref 5960P in 2014. Ditto for the rose gold version that had followed in 2009. The reason it seemed, was to make way for the Ref 5960/1A-001. An all steel model that the brand threw its full weight behind. Although that didn’t quite work out as intended. You can read the full story on that here. The next year (2015), the Ref 5905P arrived on the scene. A replacement of sorts for the Ref 5960P, but a different beast altogether.
The Patek Philippe Ref 5960P
At 40.5mm, the polished case of the Ref 5960P was a little on the large side for the time. By today’s standards though, it’s sizing is about as close to perfect as you can get. Which is one of the reasons collectors say it’s so easy to wear on a daily basis. It’s not a slim watch by any means at around 13.5mm but it still has a svelte profile. This is not a Breitling Chronomat. Or a Tudor Black Bay Chrono. Patek designed the Ref 5960P to be almost passable as a dress watch. Almost.
What stands out even more than the case though is the layout of the dial. Combing an annual calendar with a chronograph, while practical, can also be messy. There’s a lot of indications to display at the same time. The solution Patek came up with was ingenious, if a little unconventional. Across the top section of the dial are three individual calendar windows. These span between ten and two o’clock. The first displays the weekday. The second the date. And the third the month. White gold frames the central display. And underneath it is a discrete power reserve indicator.
Next, you would expect to see two or three sub-dials for the chronograph indications. But again, Patek chose a different route with the Ref 5960P. That’s why at six o’clock you will find a large, mono-counter. It incorporates the chronograph counters into a single display. On the two outer scales, the longer red hand indicates minutes from 0 to 30 and 30 to 60. The shorter white (or blue) hand on the inner number circle counts elapsed hours up to 12 hours. There’s a central chronograph seconds display, but no running seconds. Completing the mono-counter is a day/night indicator. White indicates day, and dark blue is for night.
Hate It Or Love It
At the time the dial layout was quite polarising. And it still is now. Some can’t get on board with the mono-counter. Whilst others feel it was too much of a departure from the more traditional Patek styling. As often is the case with these things, that’s what makes the Ref 5960P all the more appealing to collectors.
The Patek Philippe Ref 5960P was available with two different dial colors. There’s the cool and restrained anthracite option. Or the eye-catching, sunburst blue that pairs so well with platinum. Both are attractive and desirable, although I would give the edge to the blue dial. Not only is it more eye-catching but it’s also somehow less sporty. That said, from a collector point of view the anthracite dial is more sought after. It was the first dial colour Patek chose for the Ref 5960P. But the brand switched to blue and gave the grey dial to the Ref 5960R when it debuted in 2009. Hence there are many less examples with platinum cases and anthracite dials.
Inside is the self-winding calibre CH 28-520 IRM QA 24H. This was Patek’s first, industrially finished automatic chronograph movement. 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. These include a Gyromax balance and Spiromax balance spring. The max power reserve is 55 hours when wound. Early examples (pre-2009) bear the Geneva Seal. After 2009, this switches to the more rigorous Patek Philippe Seal. The case features a sapphire display back so you can the movement in detail.
Price & Availability
The retail price of the Patek Philippe Ref 5960P was around US$95,400. Which might go some way to explaining why it wasn’t a sell-out success for Patek. I would guess it’s also why a lot of collectors assume it’s out of reach now that it’s retired. The reality is though that the blue dial Ref 5960P trades for closer to US$65,000 – US$70,000 on the secondary market. Dependent on condition, provenance, and so on. That’s in-line with what you would pay for a Lange 1815 Chronograph. Or a non-platinum Patek Philippe Ref 5170. Although neither offers an annual calendar. The anthracite dial is a different story, though. These are much harder to find and usually have a POA attached.
Finding a good example of a blue dial Ref 5960P requires some patience and a bit of research. But if you set your mind to it, you will succeed. I can’t say the same for the anthracite dial version though. Your best bet is to build good relationships with trusted dealers. And pray. Or, if you’re feeling especially extravagant, you can splash out the Ref 5961P. But don’t expect much change from US$200k.
Is Now A Good Time To Buy?
We are in the midst of a hyper-inflated market. Meaning there are certain watches that are trading at insane multiples above retail. The Patek Nautilus is the example cited most often, but it’s far from the only one. The possible upside to this though is that other models are falling through the cracks. The Ref 5960P falls into this category. At $65k+ it’s not a cheap watch by any stretch. But that’s still close to US$30k below retail.
And the reality is, it’s not a watch you see splashed all over the Gram on a daily basis. This is a watch for genuine collectors. The ones that want to own a significant timepiece from Patek without paying the hype tax. And it also happens to be a great piece. You can wear it on a daily basis if you want to. It’s practical and functional and also encapsulates an important nugget of Patek history.
Whether the Ref 5960P sees a dramatic price increase over time we will have to wait and see. One thing is for sure though. As prices continue to rise on hype models, deep-pocketed collectors are going to be looking even harder for those hidden gems. Which will inevitably drive prices up. So yes, now could be the perfect time to buy.
*Top image credit: Menta Watches.
Technical Specifications: Patek Philippe Ref 5960P Annual Calendar Chronograph
- Case: 40.5mm x 13.5mm height – platinum, polished – sapphire crystal on both sides – 30m water resistance.
- Dial: sunburst blue or anthracite (grey) – polished fixed bezel – Baton markers with lume plots – leaf-shaped hands, lume-filled.
- Movement: Calibre CH 28‑520 IRM QA 24H – in-house – chronograph – central chronograph hand – totaliser at 6 o’clock – annual calendar – day, date and month in apertures – power-reserve and day/night indication – Geneva Seal or Patek Philippe Seal.
- Bracelet: Leather strap with buckle.
- Price: Discontinued ~ USD 65,000.
This article by TheWatchLounge has been sponsored by our partner WatchBox.