Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Chrono
When is a Patek not a Patek? When it’s an Annual Calendar Chrono. Or the Ref: 5960.1A, as the company prefers to memorably call it. How so, you might ask? Well, the 5960.1A is about as far as the esteemed watchmaker has strayed (Nautilus and Aquanaut collections aside) from its classic, dressy aesthetic as it has dared to in decades, with a modern dial incorporating sporty flashes of colour and an emphasis on legibility. And, what’s more, it’s in steel. That is what the A for ‘acier’ in its snappy name stands for. Indeed, this steel version of a design first launched in 2006 will replace all current gold and platinum ones (so collectors might well grab one of those while they can). It is, then, something of a knowing throwback to 1976, when the age-old family company introduced its first steel watch with the line “One of the world’s most expensive watches is made of steel” – yes, it is so old, and the times so different – the company was then unabashedly bragging about how much its watches cost, rather than what lovely heirlooms they would make. Of course, Patek is keen to stress that producing a steel case that is up to their standards is no walkover. In fact, it says that it takes much longer to polish a steel case with consecutively finer abrasives – to get the right reflection – than it does a gold case. But never mind these supposedly necessary claims to high craft, just look at the watch. Patek Philippe is welcome to the 21st century.