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Hands-On: First Impressions of The Patek Philippe Novelties 2022 (With Live Pics) – Could They be Any Cooler?

Hands-On: First Impressions of The Patek Philippe Novelties 2022 (With Live Pics) – Could They be Any Cooler?

To any fan of watchmaking, a trade show like Watches & Wonders is the same as what a visit to the toy store is to a child: way too much of everything the heart desires, and touches our very soul. For the vast majority of visitors, the novelties from Patek Philippe are always what is most eagerly awaited, discussed and ultimately mostly admired. After all, there may be many other beautiful and exciting timepieces, but Patek Philippe’s decades-long and pretty much all-conquering excellence is acknowledged to be quite unique. That’s why although the show has barely begun, one of the highlights is already in the past: the hands-on at the Patek Philippe booth. So here are the impressions: of the twelve new models presented, these are the ones I’m paying special attention to.

A reference with a wow-factor:
Travel Time with Annual Calendar and a three-hand watch 

At its launch in Geneva, Thierry Stern, the president and owner of the Patek manufacture, described this reference as the ‘highlight of Patek Philippe for this year’. He is not talking about a Nautilus – according to rumours at Geneva, novelties can perhaps be expected later in the year – but about the reference 5326G. Stern describes the aesthetically similar reference 5226G as its “little brother”.

Calatrava Annual Calendar Travel Time Ref. 5226G-001

Calatrava Ref. 5226G-001

The 5326G is in fact the significantly more complex, more mature model; in particular, it is the first annual calendar with travel-time function from Patek Philippe – and that despite design language becoming increasingly ubiquitous in the collection in recent years. For example, there’s the 5524G Calatrava Pilot Travel Time, the 5172G chronograph, or even the In-line Perpetual Calendar 5236P from last year. These are references that are on the one hand typical of Patek Philippe, yet simultaneously a touch sportier and more contemporary than one often expects from the manufacture. Casual and yet horologically impressive at the same time.

In the case of the 5326, this is expressed above all in the dial, which is first stamped for texture, then galvanized, before the outer edge is sprayed with black paint to create a degradé effect. Depending on the light, it either glimmers or looks almost black. The Superluminova-filled Arabic numerals and arrow-shaped hands are also already recognisable from other references. They make the watch very 2022 ­– without challenging its deep roots from within Patek’s history. 

The real highlight of this 41 mm model, however, is the movement, which is equipped with no less than eight new patents. This includes the ability to set the watch using three different positions within the crown, as well as a mechanism that enables the annual calendar to jump from the 30th to the 1st, for example, when traveling around the world, and to be easily reset to 30 in the new time zone.

Wearing comfort 

All of this is pretty impressive horologically, but to get back to mundane first wear impressions: at 41 mm in diameter, 11.07 mm in height, and a plain Calatrava case, the watch sits surprisingly slenderly and coherently on a slimmer wrist. The Clous de Paris finishing on the sides of the case will certainly please the wearer when putting it on every day, and demonstrates Patek’s omnipresent attention to detail. This is also expressed in the choice of straps: the light brown nubuck leather is – at least in the author’s opinion – the most charming choice. But because the author also knows that this leather is not entirely resilient, Patek also provide a black leather strap with textile embossing. All in all, this new timepiece with its unique combination of complications is a watch with maximum desirability, which Patek Philippe, however, prices at a self-confident 68,210 euros. One can see and feel its worth.

The Reference 5226G is somewhat overshadowed by this new reference, but has a very similar charm from a visual perspective. Its design is virtually identical, but it is limited to providing as a classic three-hand watch with central seconds hand and date window at three o’clock. With a diameter of 40 mm and a height of 8.53 mm, it is the somewhat more delicate version. Price point: 34,630 euros.

All in all, these watches are typical Patek Philippe. While other brands may scream, shout, and plead for attention with the flashiest and/or sportiest models possible, Patek Philippe simply says a quiet “Hey!” with timepieces like these. And very many collectors will languidly sigh back “Well, hello…”.

Green with… happiness? The new Platinum Reference of the 5270 and a new 5205

The wooden drawer in which these novelties are presented is labelled “Trendy Green”. That pretty much says it all; green is still extremely popular across all brands. Fulfilling wishes is part of the luxury goods business, as we all know. This year, Patek Philippe is interpreting the green trend in two very different ways. It is particularly spectacular in the form of the perpetual calendar with manual winding chronograph, and particularly distinguished in the form of an annual calendar.

Automatically, your eyes are drawn first to the 5270P-014 (187,840 euros), which follows the 5270, probably the most popular variation to date; the platinum version with the salmon-coloured dial. The green chosen for this version seems to be a worthy successor. It is deeply luminous, yet less glowingly emerald than on the recently introduced 5930P World Time. Finally, it features a black gradient dial – and is lacquered to boot.

In the latest 5205, the 5205R-011 (49,321 euros), the shade of green is even more olive –and in combination with the rose gold case, very elegant. Green for us represents not only hope, but is also proving to be an enduring look in the watch world.

Time for salmon: The 5172G chronograph and the 5320G perpetual calendar

It’s a similar story in the world of salmon-coloured developments. When Reference 5270P-001 was removed from the catalogue a few weeks ago, prices promptly exploded on the pre-owned market. After all, its salmon-coloured dial, which Patek Philippe called “gold opaline” and which was immediately eyed up by collectors, was not only extraordinarily beautiful; it was also a colour tone previously reserved solely for the rarest of references. It was therefore this watch alone that triggered today’s ubiquitous trend towards salmon-coloured dials. The fact that this exact model was to be discontinued caused quite a stir.

This may now calm down a little. At this point, we don’t want to talk about the price effect that the new chronograph and the new perpetual calendar may have upon the salmon-coloured 5270P. First of all we have to keep in mind: There are still salmon-coloured references in the catalogue, just as there are variations of other already well-established references – and these differ from the gold-opaline of the 5270P tremendously. This is because the dial colour of 5172G (71,359 euros) and 5320G (83,951 euros) is more delicate, with fewer copper tones. It pairs well with the anthracite gold Arabic numerals and their luminous coating.

Both, therefore, are likely to increase the popularity of their respective references in their segment by quite a bit: for as beautiful as the original 5172 is, it is a lot sportier with its matte blue dial and strap made of blue nubuck with contrast stitching. With its much more classic feel, the new chronograph caters to a different clientele. With the 5320G-011, on the other hand, it’s almost the other way around; the previous model with a cream-colour dial was celebrated by connoisseurs for its neo-vintage look, but probably wasn’t the most popular reference on concessionaires’ sales lists. It was pretty much available everywhere and always. Now, with this charming variant combining classic and contemporary, that could change. 

Hello world: the new World Time watches Ref. 5230P and Ref. 5231G

It’s not always possible to draw conclusions about the new launches from the “run-out” list. But after pretty much all annual calendars and World Time watches were taken out of the collection, it was obvious that something else was coming. A personal favourite from this year’s line-up, whose charm was lost in the face of other – at first glance more spectacular – references is the blue 5230P. It replaces the white gold and rose gold versions of this reference and proves once again how a new precious metal and a new dial can make a familiar model look completely new. 

The result is definitely a timepiece that will please not only Patek Philippe platinum collectors. This blue 5230P is priced at 62,963 euros. Slightly more expensive, even, – because it also uses enamel – is the white gold 5231G-001. On the one hand, it also “only” replaces a well-known reference, namely the technically identical model in yellow gold. At the same time, however, Patek Philippe not only dedicates itself to a different precious metal here, but simultaneously now focuses the world map upon Southeast Asia. 

It is these small, well-considered nuances that will now result in a great many conversations among the concessionaires of the brand, with its unique reputation, in the days, weeks and months to come. Today’s novelties will become the collectors’ items of the day after tomorrow.