Patek Philippe releases the new dial variants to the Ref. 5396 Annual Calendar. Available in 18 K white gold and 18 K rose gold, the new annual calendars are beautifully made classic timepieces that as Patek Philippe would say, heirlooms in its own right.
The watches are cased in precious metals namely white and rose gold, and are sized at 38.5 mm in width and 11.2 mm in height. The case construction is the usual 3 piece, with bezel, central body with lugs and a case back. Sapphire crystal is used on both sides with anti-reflective treatment. The thin crown is engraved with the Patek Philippe seal and is fittingly sized for the classic timepiece. Completely polished, the classic annual calendar exudes an elegance and luxuriousness matching to the price it commands. The case construction is simple and utilitarian without much fanfare.
The dial on the white gold variant is made from a base brass material and finished with a galvanic gray sunburst effect. On the other hand, the dial on the rose gold variant is a silvery white opaline. The applied Breguet numerals, minute markers and hands are cast in gold and exquisitely finished at every angle. That said, some may find that among the other modern annual calendars, 5205, 5146, comparatively the dial on the new Ref. 5396 seems very cluttered with the vertical layout. Some of us thought that the index markers on the older variant were more fitting for the dial in its struggle for space. However, we also share a view that this new variant is a special one, and possibly rare in time to come, given that the Breguet markers are not commonly used on regular models and are usually reserved only for grand complications or special order pieces.
Patek Philippe uses the caliber 324 S QA LU 24H in the 5396; a self-winding annual calendar movement complete with a day-date-month complication as well as a 24 hour display and a moonphase. Comprising 347 parts, the 34 jewels movement has approximately 40 hours power reserve and beats at 4 Hz. The movement is also fit with external push piece adjusters at positions 2, 4, 8 and 10. The finishing of the watch is typical of Patek Philippe’s quality manufacture, while not as beautiful as our favourite ‘German silver’ movement finishing, the Cal. 324 still bears all the features worthy of fine watchmaking. The bridges are lined with Cotes-de-Geneve and the lower base plates treated with perlage.
All in all, we find the Patek Philippe 5396 with Breguet numerals an interesting upgrade to the older variant. The watch is priced at CHF 42,300 and is without doubt a great addition to any collection.