Buckle up, folks! You’re in for a ride. Somewhat out of the blue, we woke up today to the news that Patek Phillippe had dropped three new complicated chronographs. Patek is well-known for its mastery of the humble chronograph. So, what better way to cement that legacy than with variations of three of its most celebrated chronograph movements? The Manufacture is expanding its vast selection of chronograph watches by unveiling three new variations of the 5204, 5905, and 5930 models.

Patek Philippe Reference 5204R-011: Split-seconds chronograph and perpetual calendar

First up is Reference 5204R-011. The Patek Philippe Reference 5204 has lived in the brand’s collection since 2016. It comes in two versions, both set into rose gold cases. The 5204R-001 has a silvered opaline dial with a chocolate brown alligator strap. In contrast, the 5204/1R has an opaline ebony black dial with a rose gold “Goutte” bracelet.

The new Reference 5204R-011 is, of course, also a split-seconds chronograph and perpetual calendar. It is a contemporary interpretation of the iconic model in rose gold with a slate-gray dial and matching strap. Slate grey is a pretty unusual color for Patek Philippe and not one we often see in the brand’s repertoire. In my opinion, its cold tones wonderfully contrast and complement the warmer overtones of the rose gold.

Why mess with a tried-and-tested formula?

Aside from the dial color, the Split-Seconds Chronograph Perpetual Calendar 5204R-011 essentially remains unchanged from previous iterations. Why mess too much with a successful formula? The trio of sub-dials display the small seconds, the chronograph minute counter, and the date. A moonphase indicator also resides in the date sub-dial at 6 o’clock. On either side of the date sub-dial, there are two small dial apertures. Between 4 and 5 o’clock sits the leap year cycle indicator, and between 7 and 8 o’clock, you’ll find the day/night indication.

The sapphire display case back (a closed case back is available by request) offers an unrestricted view of the caliber CHR 29-535 PS Q. This incredibly complex movement is very traditional by design with manual winding, two column wheels, and a horizontal clutch mechanism, combined with seven patented innovations. Six are for the chronograph, with the other relating to the split-seconds mechanism. As you’d expect, all this is topped off by supremely meticulous finishing. Quite the sight, and a sure to be a hit with collectors.

Patek Philippe Reference 5905/1A-001: Self-winding flyback chronograph with Annual Calendar

Patek Philippe first launched the Reference 5905 in platinum model back in 2015. Then, in 2019, it added a rose gold version to the collection. Reference 5905 combines a self-winding flyback chronograph with Patek Philippe’s patented Annual Calendar. Now, in a move that is guaranteed to cause a stir with Patek Philippe collectors around the globe, the brand is releasing this hugely popular model in stainless steel — a rare metal in the brand’s repertoire. Looking at the sharp rise in stainless steel Patek Philippe prices on the second-hand market, is the new Reference 5905/1A-001 set to join auction house catalogs very soon?

The Reference 5905/1A-001 is definitely my favorite of the three new models released today. It adds a sporty touch to an already classy watch with its stainless steel case and matching bracelet. The olive green dial is also somewhat on-trend for Patek right now. Is this watch somewhat inspired by the success of the green-dialed Nautilus Reference 5711/1A-014? It’s certainly possible, but this watch is no slouch. It takes the tried-and-tested formula and makes it its own.

A sure-fire hit?

The dial layout remains identical to previous Reference 5905 models. After all, this is a new variation rather than an entirely new reference. Central hours and minutes handle the timekeeping here, along with a central chronograph seconds hand. Note, the large sub-dial at 6 o’clock is not a small seconds indicator as you might initially think. It is, of course, the 60-minute counter for the chronograph. Now, if you’re wondering about a running seconds indicator, Patek has you covered. The caliber CH 28-520 QA 24H uses a vertical disk-type clutch instead of a toothed-wheel horizontal clutch. This therefore means that the central chronograph seconds hand can also be used as a permanently running seconds display, causing almost no wear and tear to the movement.

At the top of the dial, there are three windows for the annual calendar, allowing for a natural readout of the day and date. As you may already know, annual calendars automatically take account of the 30- and 31-day months. Still, they do require one correction every year on March 1st. I’ve always preferred calendars that employ this method of displaying dates. They’re always instantly more legible than trying to decipher tiny sub-dial details. I wish more brands would use this style. Finally, a small round aperture in the minute counter indicates the AM/PM.

Patek Philippe 5930P-001

Patek Philippe Reference 5930P-001: Self-winding World Time flyback chronograph

Finally, we have Reference 5930P-001. The Reference 5930 is inspired by a one-of-a-kind model from 1940 and combines two quite different complications. Firstly a self-winding flyback chronograph and, secondly, a World Time complication. This Reference 5930 was first launched in 2016 in a white gold version with a blue dial and matching strap. The entirely hand-polished platinum case is set with a diamond between the lugs at 6 o’clock. It features the “wing-type” lugs typically found in the 1940s-1950s World Time watches.

Now Patek Philippe has decided it was time for the existing white gold 5930 to receive a platinum makeover with the Reference 5930P-001. As with the other models Patek Philippe released today, the Reference 5930P-001 remains essentially unchanged. Of course, the case is now made of lustrous platinum, and the gorgeous central hand-guilloched dial sector is now green rather than blue. The names of the cities of the city ring are also printed in green in keeping with the color scheme, which is echoed on the snailed 30-minute counter at 6 o’clock. Finally, the applied white gold hour-markers and Dauphine-style hands are highlighted with a luminescent coating ensuring good legibility in low-light conditions.

A rather clever caliber

Similar to the caliber CH 28-520 QA 24H of the previously discussed Reference 5905/1A-001, the caliber CH 28-520 HU has a vertical disk-type clutch. This means that the central chronograph hand can also be used as a permanent (running) seconds display, ensuring minimal wear and tear on the movement and without affecting the accuracy or power reserve. The pusher at 4 o’clock activates the flyback functionality, instantly and simultaneously resetting and restarting the chronograph when it’s already running.

The World Time function works pretty much as you’d expect as it simultaneously displays the time in 24 different time zones. This means that when you’re on the road and need to change time zones, you simply press the pusher at 10 o’clock. This will instantly adjust all displays to the new time zone without adversely affecting the movement’s accuracy. In summary, this is pretty incredible stuff but, then again, we don’t expect anything less from Patek Philippe.

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