In recent years, Patek Philippe has treated its global audience to a small release of new timepieces for the holiday season.
This year, a unique watch has been included in this release to commemorate the elder Mr. Stern’s 85th birthday.
The Ref. 1938P is truly a unique watch because it’s one that will never be produced again. With a brand new movement housed in this watch, it also features one of Philippe Stern’s favourite complication that incorporates a family tradition – the minute repeater. It also adds a new development under Mr. Thierry Stern’s care – the alarm – and combines the two in a unique fashion never before seen.
Alarm and minute repeater complications are not new, but they have certainly never been blended or designed together in a watch before. The Caliber R AL 27 PS is a new movement that’s based on the Caliber R 27 developed by Mr. Philippe Stern and his team in 1989. The self-winding minute repeater is an ultra-thin movement that’s impressive in its reliability and quality, with the oscillating rotor and hammers on the same plane and visible at the back, with the gongs encircling the movement and joined to the case for improved resonance. The movement’s bridges and rotor have yellow-gold edges, and a black lacquer, hand-engraved signature of Philippe Stern is displayed on the rotor.
To develop this watch, the technical experts at Patek Philippe had to engineer a way to switch between the two functions, while using the same activation method with the relevant display on the watch dial. This required four new patents that have been registered. The movement will be used in this one-off model with no plans to ever utilise it again.
A pusher on the large onion-style crown switches between the different states, and the sliding pusher controls the alarm, which is indicated by a golden hand on the dial, and the minute repeater. On the dial is a Grand Feu grisaille enamel portrait of Mr. Stern, housed in the Officer-style case that was also introduced by him. The hinged dust cover on the back features an engraving that reads “A mon père, 85 ans de passion horlogère” (To my father, 85 years of watchmaking passion). This is truly a unique watch that will never be made again, and only 30 are available for purchase.
Music to her ears
Since the Aquanaut was first launched in 1997 and the Aquanaut Luce for ladies in 2005, the line has remained as a sports-centric model with durability and performance in mind. As such, high complications that are considered to be fragile have never appeared in the line until this year. The Aquanaut Luce Minute Repeater Haute Joaillerie adds the superb complication to the sports watch for the first time, and to highlight this milestone, Patek Philippe has decked the watch out with a generous dose of gemstones.
There are two gemset Aquanaut Luce Minute Repeater models, the Ref. 5260/1455R-001 and Ref. 5260/355R-001. The former is paired with a rose gold bracelet that’s fully gemset to match the case and dial, and the latter has a composite strap with diamonds on the deployant clasp. Both are equipped with the self-winding Caliber R 27 with a sliding activator on the left of the watch case.
The Ref. 5260/355R-001’s dial is set in 112 baguette diamonds at the centre, lugs, and in a row on the bezel. Another 160 brilliant-cut diamonds are set on the dial around the hour markers. The hour indexes and bezel are set with 52 multi-coloured baguette sapphires in a rainbow-style design.
The Ref. 5260/1455R-001 only uses baguette cuts, with 130 diamonds on the dial and a whopping 779 multi-coloured sapphires on the case, bezel, sides, and bracelet. These are set using an invisible setting, meaning there’s no prongs visible anywhere. It’s truly an incredible showing of high jewellery craftsmanship as well as high watchmaking.
On the caseback, the Caliber R 27 can be seen, with the repeater’s gongs, hammers, flying governor, and guilloché rotor on display in full view when the minute repeater is activated. Whether you choose the less blinged-out Ref. 5260/355R-001 or the fully gemset Ref. 5260/1455R-001, these are stunning examples of high jewellery craft combined with Patek Philippe’s signature complication and the first ever in the Aquanaut.
Festive-hued Ladies’ Nautilus Watches
It’s apt that at the onset of a late winter, Patek Philippe has released three Ladies’ Nautilus watches decorated with stones in a snow setting. The Ref. 7118 is a longstanding icon of the watchmaker, equipped with the Caliber 26-330 S automatic movement that’s slim and compact. It’s an ideal movement for this punchy, yet svelte ladies’ luxury sports watch. But in order to propel this watch into high jewellery status, it’s added 1,500 brilliant-cut diamonds and 876 precious coloured stones (rubies, emeralds, and sapphires) on three different models.
The snow setting style, which ensures every bit of surface on the bezel, dial, and hinged construction of the Nautilus is covered with stones, creates a stunning look from up close and afar. Viewed from a distance, the mix of stones creates a visual hologram with kaleidoscopic style. This continues seamlessly into the fully gemset bracelet as well.
This is the year of purple, and Patek Philippe revealed how it was ready to embrace this colour at Watches and Wonders Geneva 2023 as well as the Watch Art Grand Exhibition Tokyo 2023 earlier this year. The beautiful Ref. 4997/200R-001 is one of our favourite ladies’ watches of the year, combining lacquer work with guilloché engraving in a sophisticated and stylish manner.
Now it’s demonstrating how that same colour trend can be easily applied to a different ladies’ watch. The sporty and elegant ladies’ Nautilus comes in a slim and compact 32mm case thanks to its quartz movement. Available in a rose gold bracelet or with a composite strap with fabric pattern, the dial features the line’s wave pattern in a two-toned purple display that’s lacquered by hand. Multiple layers of lacquer are applied onto each dial, to deliver its vivid tones.
On the bezel, a row of 46 brilliant-cut diamonds accentuate the rose gold case, which features polished and satin-brushed surfaces. The rose gold bracelet also features a new adjustment system that lets you extend it slightly when needed. The textured composite bracelet is a notable development, as this is the first time a Nautilus watch has been fitted with a composite strap. That material has always been restricted to the Aquanaut model in the past.
With these new releases, Patek Philippe is breaking new boundaries once again.