The Patek Philippe 5320G Perpetual Calendar watch hands-on
The main and most important difference between a perpetual calendar crafted by Patek Philippe and that of any other of its competitors lies in the incredible history aura, in the successes and in the exceptional value that items produced by this manufacture from Geneva can actually boast. Anniversaries, new collections and new calibres all represent milestones that big collectors or even simple fans can mark on their calendars as a sign of yet another strength from a brand that is constantly one or two steps ahead the others, no matter what personal taste and technical features are involved.
Patek Philippe watches fill the vaults of auctions houses, books about collections and also the dreams of those, who are ready to pay for a watch as much money as they would fork out for a painting from the past. It is then no mystery that, before Baselworld kicks off, the atmosphere is tense with curiosity and expectations from every side.
The Patek Philippe 5320G Perpetual Calendar continues the tradition that started in 1925 with the reference number 1518; a perpetual calendar with a chronograph that had the privilege to reach the highest bid under the hammer during an auction (USD 11 million - photo above property of PHILLIPS). Only recently, however, that record was smashed when an (of course) anonymous collector spent over USD 17 million to put their hands on a Rolex Daytona once worn by Paul Newman.
When we talk about sources of inspiration that are of extreme importance for a manufacture tightly linked to its tradition and continuity, we ought to highlight the importance of the reference number 1526 (photo above and below from Antiquorum) that was mainly crafted with a golden case, in 210 pieces only between 1941 and 1952. This timepiece hasn’t been a real best-seller during auctions, if you consider that it "only" reached a price of USD 86,500 during an Antiquorum auction, but, despite that, we have to admit that it is still quite an interesting timepiece.
Like the reference number 1518, the Patek Philippe reference 1526 maintains the unmistakable moon-phase-display within the monthly days counter and the double window located at 12 o’clock with the weekly day on the left hand side and the month on the right hand side. Both the display and the style have preserved the functions of a perpetual calendar, although the aesthetic side is more resembling to that of an annual calendar.
There are two clues that a trained eye could use to figure out that the Patek Philippe 5320G Perpetual Calendar is a perpetual calendar; the two tiny round windows on the left hand side indicating the day and the night and the leap year indicator on the right hand side. These complications have been inserted within the evolution and based on the 324 calibre that, historically speaking, replaced the legendary 315 calibre.
The reference number 1526 is the ideal reference when it comes to the dial’s display, but the case, the lugs and the glass clearly take inspiration from the reference number 2405 with its triple “godron” lugs that slim down and give an additional personality touch to the shape of the thin case made of white gold and measuring 40mm in diameter. The flat sapphire glass in the middle is of the “glass box” type and, together with the cream-coloured brass dial, increases the touch and feel value of the Patek Philippe 5320G Perpetual Calendar that comes with Arabic numerals in the easily recognizable Patek Philippe font and the 12 cabochons in darkened gold and filled with SuperLuminova®.
As a whole, this timepiece is extremely well-balanced and it is the result of a design that clearly highlights the manufacture’s history with no excesses and with the powerful technical addition of the 324SQ calibre (the S stands for “Seconds”, while the Q stands for “Quantiéme” or “Calendar” – a perpetual one in this case -). On the 324 reference, the moon phases have been designed so that an adjustment is needed only every 122 years with a movement precision’s error compared to real moon phases totalling 0,02% (pretty much nothing). This watch also features a rare artisanal crafting mixture that can be seen, for example, on the bridges with their bevelled and polished corners and other technical characteristics that are the result of the continuous research and development efforts of this manufacture, like the Giromax® balance wheel and the Spiromax® spring made of Silinvar®.
The latter is a Patek Philippe patent based on silicon that is part of the severe Patek Philippe Seal; the brand’s very own certification that guarantees a rate accuracy within the range of +3 and -2 seconds per day. The Patek Philippe 5320G Perpetual Calendar retails at CHF 73,000, it is a well-proportioned timepiece, where every component is balanced and displays a precise aesthetical and technical identity despite the Calatrava cross not being in full view. This retail price comprises 92 years of history of the perpetual calendar and a legendary series of acknowledgments awarded by the most famous collectors in the world.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®