Patek Philippe Ref. 5303R-010 Minute Repeater Tourbillon Singapore 2019 Special Edition
Patek Philippe is presenting a new grand complication with a minute repeater and a tourbillon. For the first time, its open architecture allows the hammers and gongs of the strikework to be observed at work on the dial side. It is a fascinating manifestation of high-end watchmaking artistry and perfect manual finissage. The extraordinary timepiece in an exclusive rose-gold case with white-gold intarsias is being launched as the precursor of a 12-watch limited special edition created especially for Patek Philippe’s “Watch Art Grand Exhibition Singapore 2019”.
Among connoisseurs, Patek Philippe minute repeaters are in high esteem due to their unique sound quality, the result of a continuous know-how transfer from one generation to the next. The fortunate owners of such timepieces can also enjoy observing the mechanisms through the sapphire-crystal case backs. But now, devotees of these resonant celebrations of time can watch the strike sequence executed by tiny hammers on gongs even while wearing the watch on their wrists. The new Ref. 5303 Minute Repeater has an open architecture that exposes the heart of the movement.
This degree of transparency and the unique case design might also remind brand enthusiasts of another Patek Philippe creation: the Ref. 5304 Grand Complication with a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar, and a retrograde analog date. That watch was launched as the Ref. 5104 in platinum in 2006, then presented in a new rose-gold version as the Ref. 5304 in 2014. It shifted the focus on the innovative perpetual calendar mechanism with displays based on a system of thin sapphire-crystal disks. The new Ref. 5303 echoes the tradition of the Ref. 5304 by adopting the aesthetic elements, thus propagating the style of a family of inimitable timepieces. And it pays tribute to the combination of two grand complications: the minute repeater and the tourbillon.
Saluting the caliber R 27
The heart of the new Ref. 5303 is the manually wound caliber R TO 27 PS, an advanced version of the legendary caliber R 27 that helped establish the reputation of Patek Philippe watches with minute repeaters. To assure a clear view of the strikework, the movement was partially reengineered to expose the gongs and hammers on the dial side of the plate. This redesign required some twenty new components that had to be integrated in an already very compact space. The plate was slightly enlarged while the bridges retained their original dimensions. The extra height needed to accommodate the rearranged gongs and hammers was largely offset by the elimination of the dial. However, the thickness of the hammers had to be somewhat reduced in the direction of the center of the watch to prevent the hour hand from being obstructed along its trajectory.
The quest for transparency applies to the tourbillon as well: the underside of its cage can be viewed through an aperture of the plate. At Patek Philippe, tourbillons are usually not visible through the dial to prevent daylight from prematurely ageing the lubricant, which could compromise rate accuracy in the longer term. For this reason, the tourbillon timepieces of the Genevan manufacture can only be seen through the sapphire-crystal case back on the wrist side. The new Ref. 5303 is an exception that exposes the tourbillon on the dial side but the sapphire crystal was endowed with a UV protective coating that shields the lubricants against the harmful effect of sunlight. The display of hours and minutes with pierced, leaf-shaped hands in gold lacquered dark blue is complemented by a seconds subdial with a red hand above the tourbillon aperture. The 356-part movement fulfills the very strict rate accuracy requirements of the Patek Philippe Seal: for tourbillon watches, it tolerates a maximum rate deviation of -2 to +1 seconds per 24 hours. After a series of experiments, Patek Philippe decided to attach the gongs directly on the inside of the caseband because this method resulted in improved sound quality for this model.
A striking performance
Patek Philippe minute repeaters are not just a true feast for the ears on account of their rich and reverberant sound quality, they also please the eye with a visual spectacle on the dial side as in the Ref. 5303. It is a genuine work of art that perfectly orchestrates the complex steel parts against the backdrop of the plate coated with 5N rose gold. The aesthetic appeal of the caliber R TO 27 PS has been subtly reworked to bring its beauty to the fore. Individual parts such as the hour wheel in the center or the hour beak are delicately pierced to achieve the looks normally found only in skeletonized movements. Patek Philippe also celebrates its skills in the manual finissage of movement parts with fantastic finishes that are usually visible only through sapphire-crystal case backs. The plate is decorated with Geneva striping patiently and painstakingly applied by artisans using a wooden grinding tool.
The recesses in the plate are decorated with perlage, which is also rooted in Genevan watchmaking traditions. The hammers feature a circular satin finish along the contours around the center of the movement. Their edges are exquisitely chamfered and polished. The aperture above the tourbillon is dominated by a mirror-polished bridge. Patek Philippe leveraged its entire know-how in the domain of skeletonization to showcase its artistry down to the very last detail. For instance, the retouching work for poising the balance was applied on the flanks of the rim instead of on the upper or lower faces. The rear side is completely smooth. The plate also displays the black-lacquered engraving of the Patek Philippe signature, the tourbillon number, and the serial number. The finissage on the opposite side of the movement, visible through the sapphire- crystal case back, also complies with the strict requirements of the Patek Philippe Seal without exception. The watch comes with an interchangeable solid-gold case back.
An artistic case in style
The rose-gold case of the new Ref. 5303R-010 Minute Repeater Tourbillon Singapore 2019 Special Edition borrows the inimitable design of the Ref. 5304, showing a broad cambered and polished bezel as well as a case flank and strap lugs with white-gold intarsias in the form of arabesques and latticework. These decorative elements call for the ultimate in artisanship. The slide for actuating the minute repeater in the left-hand case flank is made of white gold as well. As a gesture of reverence to the global première of this grand complication in Singapore, the hour scale is a red-lacquered sapphire-crystal ring decorated with white stars reminiscent of the flag of the Asian city-state. The view of the movement through the display back is framed by a pierced decor in 18K white gold to match the case intarsias. The shiny black alligator strap features red stitching color-coordinated with the hour scale.
A preview series in a limited edition of 12 watches is reserved for connoisseurs and collectors in Southeast Asia; with these watches, Patek Philippe offers minute-repeater enthusiasts a unique opportunity to acoustically enjoy the fascinating mechanism and at the same time visually revel in its most beautiful manifestation from the dial side. This new expression of Patek Philippe’s creation philosophy puts the timepiece user in the focus.
Patek Philippe Ref. 5303R-010 Minute Repeater Tourbillon Singapore 2019 Special Edition
· Caliber R TO 27 PS
· Manually wound mechanical movement, minute repeater, tourbillon and subsidiary seconds
Diameter: 31.6 mm
Height: 8.35 mm
Number of parts: 356
Number of jewels: 29
Power reserve: Min. 40 hours, max. 48 hours
Frequency: 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour (3 Hz)
Balance spring: Breguet
Balance spring stud: Adjustable
Functions: Two-position crown: – Pushed in: To wind the watch – Pulled out: To set the time
· Center hour and minute hands
· Subsidiary seconds at 6 o'clock
Activation of minute repeater: Slide in left-hand case flank
Hallmark: Patek Philippe Seal
· 18K rose gold 5N with appliques in 18K white gold
· Sapphire-crystal display back and interchangeable solid back, both engraved with “PATEK PHILIPPE SINGAPORE 2019”
· Case protected against moisture and dust, not water-resistant
· Diameter: 42 mm
· Height: 12.13 mm
· Width between lugs: 20 mm
· Red sapphire-crystal scale ring, printed white
· Leaf-shaped hands for hours and minutes, 18K gold, pierced, black lacquered
· Subsidiary seconds with leaf-shaped hands in 18K rose gold 5N, red lacquered
Strap: Alligator leather with large square scales, hand-stitched, shiny black, fold- over clasp in 18K rose gold 5N
The price for the Patek Philippe Ref. 5303R-010 Minute Repeater Tourbillon Singapore 2019 Special Edition is CHF 590,000.