WATCHES & JEWELLERY
Patek Philippe showcases its unique technical skill through the new World Time Minute Repeater
Patek Philippe’s intricate world time watch;
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At last year’s Art of Watches Grand Exhibition in New York City, Patek Philippe launched a timepiece that yet again set the standard for watchmaking—the Ref 5531R World Time Minute Repeater. The piece combined two of the brand’s iconic complications, namely the minute repeater and the World Time display. Its dial featured an enamelled Manhattan skyline, and came in two variants: “New York by Day” and “New York by Night.” Each came in just five pieces and debuted exclusively for the US market. Now, the masterpiece joins the brand’s regular collection.
It took great skill for the company’s engineers in Geneva to merge two of the brand’s defining features, ones that usually operated separately from the other. For the first time in history, the minute repeater chimes in time with the time zone aligned with the 12 o’clock position. This is made possible with the calibre R 27 HU, a mechanism that allows the hour hand to move along with the time zone wheel. Patek Philippe’s solution simplifies this otherwise complex process and does so with pristine precision.
Another horological feat tackled by Patek Philippe is the placement of the timepiece’s two gongs. These are attached to the watch’s case band, and not its movement plate. This results in better sound quality, according to company president Thierry Stern. “This makes it
It took great skill for the company’s engineers in Geneva to merge two of the brand’s defining features, ones that usually operated separately from the other
more difficult to adjust the sonority but, in this model, better sound is produced.” Additionally, at the end of each hour, the timepiece’s minute repeater will chime what the time hand indicates at the end of the strike, for better accuracy. For example, if one activates the strike at 5:59:50, one will hear six hour strikes instead of the dedicated hour, quarter-hour, and minute strikes. No time zone adjustments can be made while the watch chimes to prevent any damage.
The intricacies that the Ref 5531R showcases in its mechanism are reflected in its dial as well. To differ from the version launched in the previous year, the timepiece now displays a cloisonné enamel dial depicting the Lavaux vineyards overlooking Lake Geneva’s shores, with a lateen-rigged boat setting sail. The design pays homage to the UNESCO world heritage site, and to the brand’s roots. The piece is the first and only Patek Philippe minute repeater decorated this way and takes the enameller around two weeks to complete the image, paying special attention to the nuances of colour. A 24-hour rose-gold disk is divided in two: the numbers on its day half are tinted brown, while numbers on its night half are not. The place names, on the other hand, are printed in black on the opalescent city disk. Central European Time is also represented by Geneva instead of Paris, to highlight the piece’s overall theme. All these are housed in an elegantly slender 18c rose gold case that is worn with a square-scaled alligator leather strap in chocolate brown that locks with a rose gold fold-over clasp.
The timepiece embodies Patek Philippe’s ability to create horological complications that combine artistry and skill, ones that have been passed down through generations. It pays tribute its roots, being the last independent Genevan timepiece manufacture. This independence results in Patek Philippe’s longstanding tradition of setting the watchmaking pace, allowing them to create and innovate freely, and birthing one of a kind pieces like the new World Time Minute Repeater.
About time The Ref 5531R World Time Minute Repeater combines two of Patek Philippe’s iconic features
IN THE DETAILS The timepiece’s dial displays a 24-hour rosegold disk for day and night; The caseband is handguilloched with a hobnail pattern