Up Close With The Patek Philippe Ref. 5960/1A Chronograph Annual Calendar In Steel

Introduced for the very first time in steel, with a matching steel bracelet to boot, the Patek Philippe Ref. 5960/1A is the most affordable variant of the chronograph with annual calendar, and one that's very nearly a sports watch.

The Nautilus chronograph it is not, but the Patek Philippe Ref. 5960/1A comes very close to being a sports chronograph. And it is arguably more practical, combing both a chronograph and legible annual calendar function.

Introduced at Baselworld earlier this year, the Ref. 5960/1A is entirely steel, unlike its precious metal predecessors, making this particular complication the most affordable it has ever been.

Patek Philippe first introduced its chronograph with annual calendar in platinum back in Baselworld 2006. Since then the model variants have multiplied rapidly, until this year.

The precious metal 5960s have been replaced by just one model, the 5960/1A. The suffix “1A” indicates the watch is on a bracelet (hence the “1”), while the “A” refers to acier, French for steel.

Polished with rounded links, the steel bracelet immediately gives the watch a casual appearance, verging on sporty. At first glance the watch appears too shiny – the entirety of the case and bracelet have a mirror polish – but the look is easy to get used to. The look brings to mind a mid-twentieth century waterproof chronograph on a Gay Freres “beads of rice” bracelet.

Though the layout of the dial is exactly as the same as on the precious metal 5960s, the styling goes in an entirely different direction. The dial is silver, almost white, with black and red accents. A stark black minute track circles the dial, with large, blackened gold hour indices and wide sword hands. Here the black and white dial works very well, unlike with the Nautilus in white that just looks clumsy.

The chronograph registers are concentric at six o’clock, with the hour and minute counters on the same sub-dial. The numerals for each register are large and legible, printed with a serif front.

Inside the movement is the same as with previous generations of the 5960, the calibre CH 28-520 IRM QA 24. The CH 28 movement has a clever construction and appreciable finishing, though in its finer details the movement decoration does not seem equal to the price.

The 5960/1A is priced at 45,000 Swiss francs or 63,100 Singapore dollars, before any local taxes.


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Hands-On With The Rotonde De Cartier With Calendar & Power Reserve – An Affordable Small Complication (With Photos And Price)

Cartier has started to expand its line of affordable, mid-range complicated timepieces, one of which is the Rotonde De Cartier With Calendar And Power Reserve, powered by an in-house movement and priced under US$10,000.

At Watches&Wonders 2014 Cartier unveiled a pair of petite complications, wristwatches with minor complications priced affordably. One was the Rotonde Second Time Zone Day/Night, and the other is the Rotonde De Cartier With Calendar And Power Reserve. The Rotonde De Cartier With Calendar And Power Reserve was conceived as a practical watch with useful functions. It has a date window at 12 o’clock, shown in a fan-shaped aperture showing three dates, with a small arrow for the current date. And the power reserve is at six.

Though the aesthetic of the watch is archetypal Cartier, with Roman numerals and blued steel Breguet hands, the date and power reserve indicators are contemporary in style.  The case is 40 mm in diameter, with a solid case back. Underneath is the calibre 9753 MC movement, which is actually an extra-thin Piaget 430P. Manually wound with a 43 hour power reserve, the movement is just 2.1 mm high. The watch overall is a slim 8.94 mm. As with most Cartier watches this is available in rose gold or steel, with the classic silvered, guilloche dial. Prices start at US$8600 or 11,400 Singapore dollars in steel, with the rose gold priced at US$22,300 or 29,400 Singapore dollars. And then there’s a 200 piece limited edition is white gold with a grey guilloche dial, probably the most striking of the lot. Cartier maintains a Henry Ford-inspired philosophy of making dials in any colour so long as it’s silver; deviations from that are uncommon.

Attractive as it is, the white gold version is the most expensive, priced at at US$23,900 or 31,500 Singapore dollars.

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