If the Baselworld 2017 Patek Philippe Ref. 5320G Perpetual Calendar looks a little different from perpetual calendar references you’ve grown accustomed to, it’s because the new Patek Philippe Ref. 5320G Perpetual Calendar is thoroughly inspired by a myriad of elements from vintage Patek Perpetual Calendars from the 1940s and 50s, the sort sought after by collectors’ watches that rarely show up at auctions even.
Baselworld 2017 Patek Philippe Ref. 5320G Perpetual Calendar: Inspired by History
When it comes to the new Patek Philippe Ref. 5320G Perpetual Calendar, perhaps it’s easier to start with the similarities – the layout is reminiscent of the Ref. 2497, so are the windows for day and month and moonphase aperture with date but beyond that – the new Patek Philippe Ref. 5320G is like a watch geek’s fertile ground for easter egg hunting. Eagle eyed fans will spot the luminous syringe hands inspired by the ultra rare Patek Philippe steel perpetual calendar ref. 1591 and the ref. 1463. The seemingly simple case actually has step details on the bezel and case-mid right down to the grooved lugs – as if a ref. 3449 and ref. 2405 had a baby.
Indeed, the Ref. 5320G Perpetual Calendar has been inspired by many predecessor models through the ages, tracing its heritage from 1925 when the Genevan manufacture launched model 97’975, world’s first perpetual calendar wristwatch; finally going into series production in 1941 with the Ref. 1518, a perpetual calendar with a chronograph. In 42, they introduced the Ref. 1526 Perpetual Calendar without a chronograph where we finally see the double aperture for the day and month displays at 12 o’clock and a subsidiary dial at 6 o’clock for the analog date and the moon phases.
The cream-colored (a detail which makes the Ref. 5320G Perpetual Calendar look vintage) dial of the new Ref. 5320G adopts the same layout with some slight improvements by way of small round day/night aperture and a round aperture for the leap year cycle with Arabic numerals flanking the 6 o’clock subdial.
The Baselworld 2017 Patek Philippe Ref. 5320G Perpetual Calendar is driven by the calibre 324 S Q (S stands for seconds, Q for quantième perpétuel – the French term for perpetual calendar). As per fine watchmaking benchmarks, the moonphase display is accurate for 122 years, requiring only a single day adjustment then. High horology standards apply to decoration as well – bridges with round-chamfered and polished edges, Geneva striping and gold-filled engravings, screws with polished, chamfered slots in bores with polished countersinks. Watchmaking prowess demonstrated through the use of Gyromax balance with the Spiromax balance spring made of high-tech Silinvar. Everything which can be done to achieve the vaunted Patek Seal is done, right down to chronometry performance of maximum rate deviation ranges between -3 and +2 seconds per day as specified by the maison’s Seal, among the strictest set of quality benchmarks in the industry.
The case itself is actually a monobloc 18K white gold case and while it’s crafted entirely in-house from design to creation, it’s actually stamped from a single piece of gold and then polished. Critics might find this little factoid disappointing but I consider this a little nitpicky, considering that Patek Philippe has made abundantly clear that when the technology presents a better way of doing things, they will embrace it.
Box-form sapphire-crystal glass was chosen to keep the case flanks slender and endow the watch with a contemporary vintage look, visibly extending across the bezel and specially cambered to prevent optical distortion of the dial regardless of the viewing angle. While this is anachronistic to the period, it’s a nice modern update over the less robust plexiglass originally used for the period.
The prominent three-tiered lug profile has been bequeathed by a 60 year old Ref. 2405 and overall lends an air of deep history to the piece. While it is actually 40mm, the design gives the watch a slender silhouette, with the flat enter portion, the beveled, smoothly polished bezel overarched by the cambered crystal and the cascading three-tier lugs, the Ref. 5320G tapers to the wrist giving the illusory effect of looking smaller than it actually is.
On the reverse is a sapphire case-back which can be swapped for a period-authentic solid 18K white gold back which comes with the watch. That’s a nice touch. Dressed with hand-stitched shiny chocolate brown alligator strap with large square scales, the new Patek Philippe Ref. 5320G Perpetual Calendar is a modern vintage and is expected to retail US$82,800.