The new Patek Philippe Triple Complication Ref. 5208P is yet another accomplishment that underscores the leadership of the Geneva-based workshops in the complicated watch segment. With a minute repeater, monopusher chronograph, and instantaneous perpetual calendar, it presents the most challenging degrees of difficulty with peerless perfection. And it is not a one-of-a-kind timepiece: it is a new model in the regular Patek Philippe collection, offering definitive proof that the so-called “domain of the extraordinary” is part of the everyday reality at the privately owned manufacture.
It is Patek Philippe’s second Triple Complication within a short period of time. In 2008, the first was the Ref. 5207 with a minute repeater, instantaneous perpetual calendar with aperture displays, and tourbillon; in 2011, the second is the Ref. 5208P with a chronograph, minute repeater, and instantaneous calendar with aperture displays. Eagerly awaited by collectors and fans of complicated watches, it is the manufacture’s first Triple Complication with a chronograph. Moreover, the new Ref. 5208P is one of the very few existing highly complicated watches with a self-winding movement. Finally, it is the first true Grand Complication that integrates silicon-derived Silinvar® components: the revolutionary Pulsomax® escapement and the Spiromax® balance spring. As such, it is an impressive example of how tradition and innovation interact under one roof at Patek Philippe.
In the current collection of Patek Philippe’s Grand Complication wristwatches, the Ref. 5208P ranks second, directly behind the Sky Moon Tourbillon, and before the Ref. 5207 (minute repeater, tourbillon, perpetual calendar with aperture displays) and the Ref. 5216 (minute repeater, tourbillon, perpetual calendar with retrograde date).
Complication after complication
Connoisseurs will appreciate that combining a self-winding minute repeater movement with a chronograph mechanism and an instantaneous perpetual calendar with aperture displays must have been a huge challenge for the caliber engineers and master watchmakers. The self-winding basic movement with the minute repeater mechanism did not allow the arbors of the chronograph to extend through the strike train from the back. On the other hand, the date, day, and month disks of the calendar must lie directly beneath the dial to assure the best possible legibility of the aperture displays. The only solution was to configure the chronograph between the repeater and calendar mechanisms. But even then, further difficulties presented themselves. The challenge was so monumental that the caliber engineers were relieved to have access to the manufacture’s profound repository of experience. It was this know-how which made it possible to arrange the total of 701 individual parts in such a way that all functions harmonize flawlessly and dependably.
Elegance and sleek understatement are pivotal hallmarks of Patek Philippe Grand Complication watches. They unite aesthetic design and elaborately engineered mechanisms in a harmonious whole. Legibility is another important criterion; after all, a Patek Philippe watch is always and primarily a timekeeping instrument. Accordingly, it was a considerable challenge to clearly arrange the 12 indications on the charcoal-colored solid-gold sunburst dial with a diameter of less than 40 mm. It shows hours, minutes, and seconds of standard time with a day/night indication; elapsed seconds, minutes, and hours of stopped times; the day, date, month, and year of the perpetual calendar; and not least the moon phases. The architectural result is so convincing that the new Triple Complication Ref. 5208 might at first sight be confused with one of Patek Philippe’s popular Annual Calendars which display the calendar information in three apertures, including a particularly prominent date aperture, at the top of the dial. But the slide in the left-hand side of the case, the monopusher at 2 o’clock, and the two subdials immediately show that more than a perpetual calendar is involved here. And owners who are patient enough to wait until midnight can expect a rare extravaganza, especially on New Year’s Eve. That is when, at midnight, the day, date, month, and year displays instantaneously and simultaneously advance to indicate the next following day, date, month, and year. People who know that movement wheels generally rotate continuously and at a rather leisurely pace can appreciate the fact that this instantaneous change of calendar displays is hardly achievable without an unusually elaborate ensemble of parts.
All of the parts that go into creating a Ref. 5208P are accommodated in a case made of 950 platinum which in itself is unusual. It is not a conventional design with lugs that are integral to the caseband. Instead, it consists of three parts (back, middle, and bezel) that are clenched between and screwed to two clamps. Only this unique construction allowed the lugs to be pierced as resolutely and aesthetically as is the case with the Ref. 5208. They add charisma to a fusion masterpiece in which engineering virtuosity, mechanical ingenuity, finishing, materials, and design come together in harmony. It is worn on a strap for which, too, only the best is good enough: Shiny chocolate-brown, hand-stitched alligator leather with square scales, secured with a 950 platinum foldover clasp.
If you would like to know more about Patek Philippe timepieces please give us a call at 866-240-7366. One of our knowledgeable sales staff will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Harold Freeman Jewelers is an authorized Patek Philippe dealer.