Baselworld 2016: An exclusive interview with Patek Philippe

For over 175 years without interruption, Patek Philippe has been perpetuating the tradition of Genevan watchmaking. As the last family-owned independent watch manufacturer in Geneva, it enjoys total creative freedom to entirely design, produce and assemble what experts agree to be the finest timepieces in the world. Thanks to its know-how, Patek Philippe maintains a tradition of innovation hailed by an impressive repertoire of more than 100 patents. Independence, tradition, innovation and rarity are among the most important values of the Genevan watchmaker, a unique legacy to be handed down from one generation to the next. In 2009, Patek Philippe launched its proprietary quality label for mechanical watches. This Patek Philippe Seal attests to the utmost quality of its timepieces,  far above and beyond official standards, by integrating all competencies and features of relevance in manufacturing, precision and lifelong maintenance. As a first big surprise at Baselworld 2016, Patek Philippe is presenting a new model in the regular collection that pairs two highly popular complications in one watch. The second première is a new model that celebrates the 20th anniversary of a genuine bestseller. The third debut graces feminine wrist, the fourth is a grand classic that was subtly reworked, and number five once again demonstrates that no complications is too challenging for Patek Philippe.  We had the extraordinary opportunity to discover the new timepieces with Ms. Jasmina Steele, International Communication & Public Relations Director of Patek Philippe. Her kindness and passion are so contagious and exciting that we felt truly and deeply amazed at the end of this exclusive interview. Without further delay, let’s discover what’s new !

JS: The main news this year is Patek Philippe World Time chronograph reference 5930. You know about auctions, in 2002, a unique 1939 platinum Patek Philippe World Time Ref. 1415 set the all-time world record for a wristwatch at auction, selling for US$ 4,026,524 (SFr. 6,603,500) – more than double the previous world record. It is a known type of complications among collectors but it was never in collection, so obviously we knew that it would be of interest to our clients,  World Time is the existing World Time mechanism which is a patent invention since 1959, the jet age launched a variety of attempts to define the most practical time zone watch, but none achieved the elegance of the solution devised for Patek Philippe by Louis Cottier. The movement is the existing automatic fly-back Chronograph that we launched in 2006, with the ref. 5960. These two mechanism had to be put together and this took five years because it’s not just a model that you add to an existing automatic movement, like for example a calendar model, the world time mechanism has also the local time that you can change, therefor you have important interactions between the base movements of the chronograph and the time indication of the World Time. The other reason why it was challenging is that any new mechanism for Patek has to be developed in the thinnest and smallest diameter, whatever the size of the case, because we believe that in small sizes there is elegance, whatever the fashion and the trend is. World Time takes the most of the space on the dial, on the outer ring which is a rotating ring, you have the 24 locations (time zones), the center ring is the chronograph scale, it’s a 4Hz chronograph movement. The inner ring, which also rotate, is the 24 am/pm indicator for the 24 time zones.

JS: It’s only a new color, but sometimes the heartbeat of collectors get crazy. Patek Philippe ref. 5204 Split Seconds Chronograph Perpetual Calendar was only available in platinum up until now. In Baselworld 2016 we release the new 18K rose gold. It is very hard to get because production is really small because it is so difficult to make. Sticker Price is $283,000 USD. The movement is Patek Philippe’s calibre CHR 29-535 PS Q composed of 496 parts and 34 jewels, you can enjoy it on the back.

JS: This is the new Patek Philippe Aquanaut travel time ref. 5164R is rose gold. With this watch everyone can feel comfortable anytime, anywhere. Aquanaut also attracts new customers, we have a lot of designer, photographer, creative people who discover the brand and they don’t want something too special to start. It has the same principle of the World Time, dual time zone mechanism indicating local and home time, local and “home” day/night indications in apertures and local date by hand. It is a very useful functionality because when you travel a lot you don’t even remember when it’s day or night. Sticker Price $51,000 USD

This is the new beautiful Patek Philippe 5961 Rose Gold With Diamond Baguette Bezel. The market of this watch is especially north Europe. The union of diamonds and Baguette really gives light to this amazing watch.

JS: Ref. 5396 Annual Calendar appeal to people with modern, active lifestyle. With its displays of the day of the week, the month and the date (which only has to be corrected once a year), this ingenious mechanism has become one of the manufacture’s most popular icon. It was launched in Basel in 1996, at that time it was a completely new type of complication, we called it useful complication, in the way that it was a type of complication that was different to grand complication like Perpetual Calendar, that would bring useful informations and indications and also easy to use. At that time, there was a crisis, even bigger than now and we were looking to open our collection to new customers and younger customers. Our clients were ageing so with this complication we started talking to a new generation. When it was first launched, it was bought by our regular customers, for the Aquanaut they were all shocked but they liked it a lot but later we started to reach new customers and also ladies. What it is also super important is that all new developments, even Grand Complication, like the Grand Master Chime, is developed with the thought that the wearer should have no complication to use his watch.

Author: Luca Balella