Patek Philippe is known for both World Time watches and Minute Repeater models in their collection of complicated timepieces. The brand has mastered the acoustic quality with its chiming watches and showcases their cloisonne enameled dials on their world timers. Released at Baselworld 2018, Patek Philippe has blended these two complications for the first time in Patek Philippe’s history to bring us the 5531R World Time Minute Repeater.
The Whole World’s Time
In addition to the blending of the complications, Patek Philippe has also designed the watch to chime based on the timezone represented by the city aligned at 12 o’clock. All other minute repeaters with 24 time zones systematically strike home time even if they and their owners are far away from home. Conversely, Patek Philippe’s Ref. 5531 World Time Minute Repeater, chimes the time, accurately to the second, at its current location.
When moving from one time zone to another, all three time zone indications to be corrected with a single pusher. A single actuation adjusts the city disk, the 24-hour disk, and the center hour hand by one-hour steps without affecting the rate accuracy of the movement. Now, the challenge was to join this mechanism with a minute repeater in a way that would best address the purpose of such a watch. The result is Patek Philippe’s new self-winding caliber R 27 HU movement with the World Time function and a minute repeater.
Caliber R 27 HU
In the caliber R 27 HU of the Ref. 5531 World Time Minute Repeater, this mechanism features fundamental changes with new designs and new components for which patent applications have been filed. While the minute and quarter snails remain interconnected on the cannon pinion, the hour snail is now continuously driven by the time-zone wheel of the World Time mechanism rather than being controlled by the quarter snail. Here, the patented solution with the continuously rotating World Time function makes it possible to advance the 12-hour star with the hour snail to one-second accuracy.
As soon as the minute repeater is actuated with the slide in the left-hand case flank, the mechanisms that execute the hour, quarter, and minute strikes briefly interact to sound the melody of time with the acoustic quality and rhythmic harmony that is characteristic of Patek Philippe strikework masterpieces. Concurrently, the World Time mechanism is blocked so that for the duration of the time strike – while the delicate snails, racks, wheels, and levers are engaged – no time zone adjustments can take place. And as is the case with all Patek Philippe World Time watches, an adjustment of local time with the pusher at 2 o’clock does not have a negative influence on the rate of the movement.
Artisanship in the Dial
Extensive work is involved in endowing dial, made of 18K gold and German silver, with the city disk, the 24-hour disk, and the artistically adorned center with its captivating countenance. As always at Patek Philippe, the premise is that aesthetic immaculacy must be paired with superb legibility. The city disk is lacquered silvery white opaline; the place names are printed in black.
Another interesting fact about this watch is that Central European Time is not represented by Paris, as usually seen, this time it was replaced with Geneva. This was also seen on the world timers released for the 175th anniversary of the manufacture in 2014.
A small work of art occupies the center of the dial, saluting the heritage of Patek Philippe World Time watches: an artistic cloisonné enamel depiction of the Lavaux winegrowing region – a UNESCO World Heritage site – with a lateen-rigged boat that has set sail. The enameler requires nearly two weeks to complete the fascinating image with its soft color nuances.
- Ref. 5531 World Time Minute Repeater
- Movement: Caliber R 27 HU Ultra-thin self-winding mechanical movement.
- Minute repeater with local-time strike. 24 time zones. Local time
- Power reserve: 48 hours
- With hands: Center hours and minutes
- With disks: City disk with 24
- place names 24-hour disk
- Two-position crown:
- Pushed home: To wind the watch
- Pulled out: To set the time
- Pushers: Time-zone pusher at 2 o’clock (local time setting in 1-hour increments)
- Minute repeater actuation: Slide in left-hand case flank
- Hallmark: Patek Philippe Seal
- 18K rose gold 5N Case
- Sapphire-crystal display back and interchangeable solid-gold back, Case protected against moisture and dust
- Not water-resistant
- Diameter 10 to 4 o’clock: 40,2 mm
- Width 9 to 3 o’clock: 43.83 mm
- Length across lugs: 47.35 mm
- Height (crystal to case back): 11.49 mm
- Width between lugs: 21 mm
- Dial: City disk in German silver, lacquered opaline silvery white with place names printed in black
- 24-hour disk in 18K rose gold 5N, day hours engraved and brown tinted – engraved sun symbol, night hours and moon symbol engraved in brown background
- Center 18K gold, cloisonné enamel with polychrome depiction of Lavaux landscape on Lake Geneva
- Hour and minute hands in 18K rose gold, lapped, hour hand with “Southern Cross” silhouette
- Pierced Alligator leather with large square scales, hand-stitched, shiny chocolate brown, fold-over clasp in 18K rose gold