Patek Philippe has marked its 175th anniversary with a timepiece that collectors will find hard to ignore.
The brand is of course one of the most significant in the watch world and the holder of nearly every sales record, so something special was expected, and indeed delivered.
The party-piece: a 47mm Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175, Patek’s most complicated watch yet and one obviously designed for visual impact. The decorative manual-wind statement houses four spring barrels and no fewer than 20 complications, including a Grande and Petite Sonnerie, a minute repeater, an instantaneous perpetual calendar with a four-digit year display, a second time zone, and two debuts for a chiming watch: an acoustic alarm that strikes the alarm time and a date repeater that sounds the date on demand.
This is the first double-face wristwatch from Patek Philippe, meaning it can be worn with either dial facing up. One dial focuses on the time, the other on an instantaneous perpetual calendar with a time and date display here being secondary. Changing the face is simple thanks to a reversing mechanism incorporated in the lugs.
That said we’d have also liked another option: changing the case to something plainer – not that this will deter aficionados. Limited to seven pieces, you’re looking at 100,000 hours work involving more than 11,000 tiny hand-finished parts.