The new Patek Philippe Ref. 5073 Grand complication timepiece is an ultimate all-rounder, who not only impress the connoisseurs with its minute repeater and perpetual calendar complications but also dazzle the eyes of onlookers with beautifully decorated 103 baguette diamonds on its bezel and 55 further diamonds on the dial and clasp. The “cathedral” gongs – extra-long gongs in the Minute repeater complication can produce an inimitably voluminous and reverberant sound.
Only a handful of manufactures are perfected in the art of crafting Minute repeaters, which need utmost perfection and traditional skill with high grade technology. The main challenges for creating Minute repeaters are the integration of so many tiny components in to the watch case and to achieve full and vibrant sonority in the restricted volume of a timepiece worn on the wrist. Patek Philippe, who has an unmatched mastery in creating grand complications, introduced its minute repeater complication in1916 and since then the manufacture’s micromechanical virtuosity does not need to be further expounded. This leaves some space for details regarding the chimes produced by the new Ref. 5073. Here, Patek Philippe opted for a construction that in 2001 attracted considerable attention when the Sky Moon Tourbillon was presented. It is the solution with “cathedral” gongs that are nearly twice as long as conventional ones.
The acoustic principle of this extra length is self-explanatory: Long strings produce rich, long-lasting sounds that reverberate and carry clearly. But how can the tight space of a wristwatch case accommodate two gongs that wrap around the movement more than once? The “cathedral” gongs must neither touch each other nor should their freely suspended blades contact the movement or the case. The only permissible contact is that of the tiny short-stroke hammers. Thus, with the self-winding caliber R 27 Q consisting of 467 individual parts, the Ref. 5073 offers striking evidence of the sublime artistry of those Patek Philippe specialists whose hands craft the mechanical marvels that count the hours, quarterhours, and minutes with a melody of low-, high-, and high-low-pitched double chimes. The mellowness of this refrain is personally verified by the owners and presidents of the manufacture as guardians of its heritage: every completed watch is assessed by them before it is released for delivery.
Apart from striking the time, the 467 individual parts of the movement perform further functions. Many of them constitute the perpetual calendar, with which the Ref. 5073 always correctly indicates the date, day of week, month, leap-year cycle regardless of the number of days in each month, including the 29th day of February. These displays are clearly organized with three auxiliary dials and small hands at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. It also features an extremely precise moon-phase display within the date scale at 6 o’clock deviates from the true lunar cycle by only one day in 122 years and 45 days.
To assure continuity in the displays of the perpetual calendar and of the moon phases, the movement is self-winding thanks to an off-center minirotor made of 22K gold; it is fully recessed in the plate. The rotor assures that the watch remains wound as long as it is regularly worn on the wrist or safeguarded in a winder. A calendar adjustment is not necessary until 2100: this is a secular year in which the 29th of February is omitted as a leap day based on the rules of the Gregorian calendar.
It case and exterior elements are designed to match the micromechanical brilliance of the Ref. 5073 Grand Complication .With a diameter of 42 mm, the heavy case is fashioned on premises with the traditional cold-forming method from blanks made of 950 platinum. Then, the manufacture’s master jewelers rely on their artistry to transform it into a breathtaking magnum opus for the wrist. 103 flawless Top Wesselton baguette diamonds totaling approx. 4.33 ct. adorn the bezel and the case lugs.
On the black lacquered solid-gold dial, 13 set baguette diamonds (approx. 0.25 ct.) serve as hour markers. And 42 further baguette diamonds (approx. 0.66 ct.) convert even the platinum clasp into a masterpiece of gemsetting prowess. As always at Patek Philippe, a discreet 0.02-ct. diamond between the lugs at 6 o’clock identifies platinum as the case metal. The sparkling fire of precious stones legitimately raises the question whether the adornment of a watch at this level should not count as a complication as well.
The watch is delivered with a solid platinum case back and an interchangeable display back with a sapphire-crystal window that reveals the meticulous finissage of the movement. Highlights that immediately meet the eye are the lavishly guilloched 22K gold winding rotor and, beneath the goldplated cap with the pierced Calatrava cross, the small centrifugal governor that controls the disciplined rhythm of the striking mechanism.
Model: Grand Complication Ref. 5073 in platinum
Minute repeater, perpetual calendar, and moon phases
– Caliber R 27 Q
– Self-winding mechanical movement. Minute repeater with cathedral gongs and perpetual calendar. Day of week, 24-hour display, month, leap-year cycle, and date with hands, moon phases in an aperture.
– Overall diameter: 28 mm
– Height: 6.90 mm
– Number of parts: 467
– Number of jewels: 39
– Power reserve: Max. 48 hours
– Balance: Gyromax®
– Frequency: 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour (3 Hz)
– Balance spring: Flat
– Balance spring stud: Adjustable
– Pulled out: To set the time
– Pushed in: To wind the watch
Hallmark: Patek Philippe Seal
Hours and minutes from the center
– Day of week and 24-hour dial at 9 o’clock
– Month and leap-year cycle at 3 o’clock
– Date at 6 o’clock
– Moon phase at 6 o’clock
Corrector push pieces
– Date and day between 11 and 12 o’clock
– Month between 12 and 1 o’clock
– Moon phase at 6 o’clock
– Day at 10 o’clock
Delivered with correction stylus in ebony and platinum
Minute repeater cathedral gongs: Hours low, quarter-hours high-low, minutes high.
– 950 platinum, solid platinum back and interchangeable display back with sapphire-crystal window, diamond of approx. 0.02 ct. between the lugs at 6 o’clock
– Dimensions: Diameter 42 mm
– Height: 11.11mm
– Width between lugs: 21 mm
– Slide: On the left side of the case to actuate the minute repeater
– Black, 18K gold.
– 13 baguette diamonds totaling approx. 0.25 ct. as hour markers
– Leaf-shaped hands in 18K white gold for hours and minutes
– Leaf-shaped hands in 18K white gold for date, day, and month
– White-lacquered baton hands in 18K white gold for 24-hour display and leap-year cycle
– Railway track minute scale on dial periphery
– Precious stones: Bezel and lugs set with 103 baguette diamonds totaling approx. 4.33 ct.
Alligator leather with square scales, hand-stitched, shiny black, platinum foldover clasp
Foldover clasp set with 42 baguette diamonds totaling approx. 0.66 ct.