The Patek Philippe 5180G Skeleton Tourbillon replica is one of two skeleton watches that Patek …
Two high-complication steel “sport” watches from Patek Philippe were the major hits for the brand at the 2014 Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Chronograph 5960/1A replica edition of Baselworld. People get a bit more excited about steel Patek timepieces because they have historically been keen to increase in value due to their rarity.During the Baselworld 2014 show, we spent some time debuting and discussing the this new steel version of the 5960 here. In that piece you can read a bit more about the history of the 5960 series, as well as why this family is important to Patek Philippe.
Today, you don’t frequently find complicated steel Patek Philippe timepieces, so the availability of two new ones gets collectors a bit excited. Today, we take a hands-on look at the new Annual Calendar Chronograph 5960/1A.
In short, when the 5960 collection debuted in 2006, it marked the first ever in-house made automatic chronograph movement–in addition to being offered in platinum. Interestingly enough, this new 5960/1A seems to mark the end of all gold or platinum 5960 watches that will be produced, “replacing” them as Patek Philippe describes it.
White dials are all about high contrast when one wants to get it right. Black or dark colored hands and hour markers are necessary–and they are hard to get right much of the time. However, Patek Philippe’s special technique in oxidizing white gold to make it black is highly effective in creating crisp, matte black elements that are both nice to look at and offer excellent dial legibility. The black and white dial mixed with the two added red chronograph hands makes for a highly contemporary dial that is unlike most Patek Philippe timepieces out there.
So the end of the precious metal era of the 5960 picks up with the era of the high-end steel models. And what a way to introduce steel than with such a marvelous new dial. I am not always Patek Philippe’s biggest fan but I offer praise where praise is due. Here we find a silvery opaline face with red accents and those marvelous black oxidized white gold hour markers and hands. I always take an opportunity to mention my appreciation of white-dialed sport watches. Patek gets it very right emphasizing both legibility and attractiveness.
Patek Philippe originally debuted these types of black oxidized gold hands and hour markers in 2011 on the reference 5270 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph (hands-on here). They have proved so popular that since then there seems to have been at least one new Patek Philippe complications Annual Calendar watch replica to feature these each year. For 2014, we get them on the 5960, which really alters the look of this watch–which itself has always proved to be a controversial design. In my opinion this is easily the most interesting and eye-catching 5960 watch replica yet.
The almost race-style dial of the 5960/1A makes it the type of watch replica you don’t need to wear with a suit or formal attire. At 40.5mm wide the watch replica isn’t huge, but it is totally within the range of what most under 50 people are wearing. Even the numerals and fonts used on the dial are more modern that one might expect from a Patek. To that we offer a big thumbs up.
Upon inquiring with the brand as to the intention behind the novel dial design we are simply reminded that Patek Philippe President Thierry Stern’s goal is to produce more watches that will appeal to younger people. Apparently the message that too few modern Patek’s appeal to the new (in age or status) rich is resonating with Patek’s management. It is true, aside from models like the Nautilus, there are very few Patek Philippe models suitable for what you might consider an active lifestyle.
I encourage you to inspect the dial closely as many of the minor details are impressive. This happens to be one of the Patek Philippe watches that has lume on the dial. There are points of lume at each hour on the outer minute scale as well as luminant in the hour and minutes hands. I am also particularly enthused by the design of the applied and faceted hour markers.
You’ll find that many steel watches today are contrast finished with surfaces that are both polished and brushed. For the 5960/1A Patek Philippe decides to go purely classic and traditional with an entirely polished case. It is further the fact that the five-link steel bracelet augments the sportiness of the design and adds a character to the watch replica that would be missing were it merely matched to a standard strap.
It isn’t easy to spot the 5960/1A as being a watch replica in steel unless you know exactly what it is. The intense level of mirror polishing applied to the case and bracelet is not surprising given the Patek Philippe name on the dial, but compared to many steel cases it looks like white gold.
Inside the watch replica is Patek Philippe in-house made and long-named caliber CH 28-520 IRM QA 24H automatic movement. Not that the base movement includes an integrated chronograph and that the automatic rotor is in 21k gold. Operating at a frequency of 28,800 bph (4 Hz), the movement performs at well within chronometric performance. Visible through the rear of the case this movement has many of Patek Philippe’s most modern features including a Gyromax balance wheel and a Spiromax hairspring. It also happens to be made up of 456 parts that includes both the base movement as well as the calendar module.
Functionally the 5960/1A watch replica does a lot. The dial is arguably deceptively simple given the seven or so distinct features offered in this timepiece. In addition to the time it has a full 12 hour chronograph that uses the subsidiary dial with two hands, an annual calendar with separate windows for the date, month, and day of the week, a day/night indicator in the form of a small window with a white or blue color, and a power reserve indicator (overall power reserve of between 45-55 hours). There are inset pushers on the side of the case to adjust the calendar information.
Though despite its steel status the watch replica is still a Patek and priced as such. Further, given that this is not one of the more standard models I don’t anticipate availability being that high either. Overall the 2014 Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Chronograph 5960/1A watch replica is a really lovely treat if you are in the market for a new replica Patek Philippe watch that is both complicate and versatile.