Patek Philippe Introduces the Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5374G

In serene blue enamel.

Patek Philippe keeps up the pace with the fourth instalment of new releases for the year, which were just announced at its annual Rare Handcrafts Exhibition in Geneva. While most of the watches at the exhibition are one-offs bestowed with colourful, artisanal decoration, the line up includes an ensemble of repeating watches, led by the flamboyant Sky Moon Tourbillon in pink gold and brown.

Simpler, at least relatively speaking, is the Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5374G that packs a pair of high-end complications fronted by a blue, grand feu enamel dial.

Initial thoughts

Today’s launches stand in stark contrast to the brand’s hottest watches of the moment – the sports watches that are arguably its most recognisable products now – that were its opening act for the year.

Patek Philippe launched a slew of exquisite, highly decorated timepieces today, affirming its twin strengths – haute horlogerie and metiers d’art. The generous array of Rare Handcrafts, along with the fact that several are chiming watches, is a reminder that Patek Philippe is more than a faddish, integrated-bracelet sports watch.

That said, the ref. 5374 is not entirely new (neither is the flagship Sky Moon Tourbillon ref. 6002R). In fact, the only truly new reference amongst the Rare Handcrafts complications is the Ladies Minute Repeater ref. 7040/250G.

The ref. 5374 was first introduced in 2016 with a platinum case and black enamel dial – a formal, classical package. Now it gets a livelier, blue enamel dial, as well as a white gold case that might appear a bit warmer than platinum (depending if it is rhodium plated).

Still, the facelift is well done, despite being simple. And it makes sense from a commercial perspective. The transition from a black to blue dial – a process also applied to the split-seconds chronograph ref. 5370P – is no doubt meant to cater for the tastes of a younger clientele, who might otherwise stick to sports watches with blue dials.

One aspect that does not quite appeal to me is the size of the dial, which is a consequence of the largish 42 mm case. The size leaves the counters of the calendar close to the centre, hinting at the disparity in size between the case and movement, which becomes obvious when the watch is turned over.

Taking a broader, historical perspective, the new ref. 5374G will probably be a watch that captures today’s watch collecting climate, in terms of style with the blue dial, Breguet numerals, largish case, but also the fervent demand – there will surely be a waiting list for this watch.

A minute in perpetuity

Except for the blue enamel, most other elements of the ref. 5374G are strictly classical and typical old-school Patek Philippe. The dial, for instance, has two elements that traditionalists will appreciate – Breguet numerals and leaf hands – though the luminescent paint on the hands will probably be frowned upon.

The case is also designed in a traditional manner. The bezel has concave profile that reflects light and shadow to appear less bulky than a conventional domed or sloped bezel. And the case flank is made up of a long, lengthwise recess framed by a raised lip, with a gold stud at the tip of each lug.

The cal. R 27 Q inside is, in some ways, Patek Philippe’s premier minute repeating movement because of the double-length gongs, and the fact that it’s an automatic.

Known as cathedral gongs, the gongs circle the movement twice, producing louder, longer chimes than conventional gongs that are just about the same length as circumference of the movement.

Winding is accomplished by a solid gold micro rotor

Key facts and price

Patek Philippe Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar
Ref. Ref. 5374G-001

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 12.2 mm
Material: 18k white gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: Humidity and dust resistant; not water resistant

Movement: Cal. R 27 Q
Functions: Hours, minutes, perpetual calendar, and minute repeater
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 38-48 hours

Strap: Alligator with folding clasp

Availability: At both retailers and boutiques
Price: On request

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Patek Philippe Introduces the Ladies’ Minute Repeater Ref. 7040/250G

Swirling guilloche and translucent enamel.

While the Sky Moon Tourbillon introduced at the same time is bold and over the top, the Rare Handcrafts Ladies’ Minute Repeater ref. 7040/250G is graceful and delicately detailed.

Now the only minute repeater for ladies in the catalogue, the ref. 7040/250G features a dial with spiral guilloche covered in translucent enamel, match with unusual, spear-shaped hands and markers.

Initial thoughts

The ref. 7040/250G is surprisingly reminiscent of Patek Philippe’s men’s watch of the 1990s with its “officer’s” case. In fact, that case is quite close to that of the ref. 5029, the limited-edition minute repeater made in 1997 to commemorate the opening of its factory in Plans-les-Ouates.

That resemblance is a good thing, because the ref. 5029 was an elegant, classical watch. The new repeater shares similar lines, but has been tastefully dressed up as a ladies watch with a diamond bezel and guilloche dial.

The dial is a first for Patek Philippe, and certainly good looking. There’s a hint of Laurent Ferrier design in the dial, but again, the resemblance isn’t a bad thing.

All in all, the ref. 7040/250G is an all-rounder – a pretty watch with a finely detailed dial and a complex movement.

Svelte dimensions

Slightly larger than the preceding minute repeater for ladies (the ref. 7000 that was 33.7 mm), the ref. 7040/250G has a case of 18k white gold that measures just 36 mm by 10.14 mm high – more or less the dimensions the men’s minute repeater of the 1990s. The rounded bezel is set with two rows of diamonds in a “Flamme” setting, matched with diamonds on the pin buckle.

But the highlight of the design is the dial. It’s a disc of 18k gold that’s been engine turned the traditional way, with a hand-operated rose engine, and then covered in translucent blue enamel – a combination known as flinqué. The swirling pattern on the dial was inspired by a similar motif on the Rare Handcrafts pocket watch “Siamese Fighting Fish” ref. 992/137G-001 of 2019. And the hour markers are printed in gold lacquer on the dial, while the hands are solid white gold.

Inside is the R 27 PS, a slim, automatic movement wound by a micro-rotor that partially obscures the balance wheel. Like all Patek Philippe minute repeating calibres, the silent governor sits below a gilded bridge open worked to form a Calatrava cross.

Key facts and price

Patek Philippe Rare Handcrafts Minute Repeater for ladies
Ref. Ref. 7040/250G-001

Diameter: 36 mm
Height: 10.14 mm
Material: 18k white gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: Humidity and dust resistant; not water resistant

Movement: R 27 PS
Functions: Hour, minutes, seconds, and minute repeater
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 43-48 hours

Strap: Alligator with diamond-set pin buckle

Limited edition: No
 At both retailers and boutiques
Price: On request

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Patek Philippe Introduces the Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 6002R

Rose gold and brown enamel.

At the opening of its annual Rare Handcrafts Exhibition in Geneva, Patek Philippe took the covers off a suite of watches and clocks decorated with artisanal techniques, including a new version of its ultra-fancy grand complication, the Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 6002R.

First offered in blue enamel, and then black, the Sky Moon Tourbillon ref. 6002 was the most complicated wristwatch in Patek Philippe’s catalogue, until the Grandmaster Chime ref. 6300 and Grand Sonnerie ref. 6301.

But the Sky Moon Tourbillon remains the most ornately decorated amongst its peers, with every surface of the case – and even the hands – engraved with arabesques and the dial in cloisonné enamel.

Initial thoughts

Enormous at 44 mm wide and over 17 mm high, the Sky Moon Tourbillon is an expensive, complex wristwatch that looks, well, expensive and complex. It’s often a statement piece for the segment of clients who find a Richard Mille affordable but unrefined, the new rose-gold variant makes sense.

The metal is the most popular for high-end watches, globally but especially in Asia. It is warmer and richer, making the watch seem even more luxe – a useful characteristic in watch like this.

The rationale for the Sky Moon Tourbillon in rose gold is clear. As a watch, I am certain it will be impressive, probably even more impressive than the earlier versions of the watch due to its brighter colours.

It’s too baroque – and of course unaffordable – for most, but the target demographic will love it.

Artisanal decor

Rare Handcrafts is the label Patek Philippe attaches to its timepieces decorated with traditional decorative techniques, ranging from enamelling to marquetry. Although small in number relative to the scale of the company, Rare Handcrafts are a key part of the brand’s identity, and also a significant portion of its business.

The Sky Moon Tourbillon ref. 6002 embodies both Rare Handcrafts and multiple complications, making it a perfect encapsulation of the brand’s contemporary watchmaking.

Its case decoration is extensive – 100 hours of engraving according to Patek Philippe. All surfaces of the large case are engraved by hand with “volutes and arabesques”, including the rim of the case back and slide for the minute repeater. Even the folding clasp is engraved, as is the pair of matching cufflinks that’s delivered with every watch.

The dial on the front is decorated with two forms of enamelling. The leaves in the centre are cloisonné – tiny gold wires that form the shapes, which are then filled with enamel.

The rest of the dial is, on the other hand, is champleve. Here, the dial base – which is solid 18k gold naturally – is engraved to recreate recesses that are then filled with enamel, leaving only the relief portions visible. The minute track and frames for the day and month, for instance, are the raised parts of the dial base.

The leaf-shaped hands are rose gold and engraved in the same style as the case

In terms of complications, the hand-wind cal. R TO 27 QR SID LU CL inside has 12 of them displayed on both sides of the watch. The movement is modular construction made up of three primary layers – the base movement with minute repeater and tourbillon, a perpetual calendar module on the front, and the astronomical display module on the back.

The front is home to the time and perpetual calendar with retrograde date, while the back is made up of a star chart that shows the sky over Geneva as well as sidereal time.

And on the left side of the case is the slide for the minute repeating mechanism.

The Calatrava cross cufflinks

Key facts and price

Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon Haut Artisanat
Ref. 6002R-001

Diameter: 44 mm
Height: 17.35 mm
Material: 18k rose gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: Humidity and dust resistant; not water resistant

Movement: Cal. R TO 27 QR SID LU CL
Functions: Time, perpetual calendar with leap year and retrograde date, sky chart with sidereal time, minute repeater, and tourbillon regulator
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand wind
Power reserve: 38-48 hours

Strap: Alligator with engraved folding clasp

Accessories: Engraved cufflinks in 18k rose gold

Limited edition: No, but expect a long waiting list 
 At both retailers and boutiques
Price: On request

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Longines Introduces the Heritage Classic “Sector” Dial in Black

Old-school time only.

Back in 2019, Longines introduced the Heritage Classic, a remake of a 1934 watch with a “sector” dial. Combining a popular, retro style with an affordable price tag – we gave it a thumb-up in our review – the original Heritage Classic was a success. Now Longines has given the Heritage Classic a black dial, while keeping the rest of the formula the same.

Initial thoughts

Longines can’t be accused of being imaginative, but that’s perfectly fine as the brand’s forte, at least for watch enthusiasts, is its vintage remakes. In fact, the new Heritage Classic comes just months after the Avigation Bigeye in a new colourway was unveiled.

Aside from the dial, the new Heritage Classic is identical to the 2019 model in every regard, so it has the same appeal as its predecessor, though I prefer the black dial over the silver.

The 2019 Heritage Classic

There’s an austerity to the dark dial that better fits the “sector” dial, which is occasionally known as a “scientific” dial. I already liked the clean and minimalist look before, and now its lines seem sharper in black. However, the black dial forgoes the heat-blued hands of the silver dial, which is a shame, but a necessity given the need for contrasting hands.

Priced at US$2,150 on a leather strap and slightly more on a beads-of-rice bracelet, the new Heritage Classic also has the same price – a good thing since that the 2019 original was one of the best value propositions of the year.

The new Heritage Classic on a bracelet

Black sector

The “sector” dial has been retained, as have the wearable, 38.5 mm case. And the watch also remains powered by the L893 movement, which is equipped with a silicon hairspring.

Divided neatly into sectors of five minutes and quarters, the “sector” dial was originally conceived to aid time-telling and popular in the 1930s and 1940s. The black and silver dial of the new Heritage Classic is eminently legible, looking both functional and refined.

Like the silver version, the black dial is actually two tone. The chapter ring for the hours is concentrically brushed and a shade lighter in colour, while the central portion and outermost ring are matte black.

The sub-seconds is finished with a concentric guilloche pattern

Although the earlier Heritage Classic was only available on a leather strap, as are most other Longines remakes, the new version can be had with a retro, beads-of-rice bracelet.

The bracelet complements the vintage look well, and should be the obvious choice over the leather strap, especially since it’s only US$200 extra.

Under the solid case back beats the L893, essentially a rebadged ETA A31.L91, which is in turn an upgraded version of the ETA 2892. The movement boasts three days of power reserve (made possible in part by lowering its frequency slightly) and a silicon hairspring.

And the Heritage Classic has a five-year warranty, as opposed to the standard two – a bonus that accompanies all Longines watches featuring a silicon balance spring.

Key facts and price

Longines Heritage Classic
Ref. L2.828.4.53.2 (leather)
Ref. L2.828.4.53.6 (bracelet)

Case diameter: 38.5mm
Height: 10mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30m

Movement: L893
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Frequency: 25,200 beats per hour (3.5 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Leather or beads-of-rice bracelet

Availability: At both retailers and boutiques from July
Price: US$2,150 (leather); US$2,350 (bracelet)

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