Patek Philippe Introduces the Split-Seconds Chronograph Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5204R

Radially-brushed slate grey.

A variant of a longstanding reference in the Patek Philippe catalogue, the Split-Seconds Chronograph Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5204R-011 is only set apart by its slate-grey dial, but unusual nonetheless – it’s the sole model in Patek Philippe’s Grand Complications collection in that colour, where the predominant colours are silver, blue, black, and a splash of salmon.

Initial thoughts

Historically the split-seconds seconds chronograph with perpetual calendar in gold was often paired with a silver dial. But as the new World Time Chronograph ref. 5930P illustrates, Patek Philippe is continuing to add new colours into the regular catalogue, instead of reserving them for limited editions or special orders.

The rose gold version of this reference is already available with a black dial as the ref. 5204/1R, but matched with a weighty and flashy rose gold bracelet. The new ref. 5204R in contrast is a relatively low key watch, which will appeal to anyone who wants a “Grand Complication” that’s, well, low key.

The colour palette of the new ref. 5204R is a familiar because it works well. This makes the ref. 5204R the most appealing version of the model currently available; it is certainly more striking than the conservative model with a silver dial.

That said, I do wish Patek had taken the opportunity to redesign the dial slightly, perhaps with slimmer hands and a moon phase display on the top of the lower register. As it is, the moon phase display leaves the dial bottom heavy, especially given that the registers are positioned below the central, horizontal axis of the dial.

But perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the watch is the calfskin strap, which is surely part of a gradual rollout by Patek Philippe of straps made from more sustainable materials, reflecting a broader trend within the luxury goods industry.

Radially brushed and slate

The dial of the new ref. 5204R is rendered in a slate grey and finished with a radial brushing, giving it a metallic, reflective finish. This contrasts with the grained, opaline finish of the earlier versions. But dial colour and finish aside, the new model is identical.

The case is 40 mm, with details inherited from earlier generations of Patek Philippe chronographs, namely the fluted lugs, concave bezel, and convex case band.

The ref. 5204R is equipped with the CHR 29-535 PS Q, a variant of Patek Philippe’s flagship in-house chronograph movement. A slim, hand-wind movement, it’s essentially the same calibre found in the ref. 5370P, but with the addition of a perpetual calendar module on the dial side. And the base calibre is the chronograph movement that underpins the refs. 5170 and 5270.

The thinness of the movement is notable. Despite the CHR 29-535 PS Q having both a split-seconds chronograph as well as a perpetual calendar, it is just 8.7 mm high. Typically such movement of this type are over 9 mm as, which was the case of the CHR 27-70 Q found in the ref. 5004 and the L101.1 of the Lange 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar.

Key facts and price

Patek Philippe Split-Seconds Chronograph and Perpetual Calendar
Ref. 5204R-011

Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 14.3 mm
Material: 18k rose gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: CHR 29‑535 PS Q
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, perpetual calendar, and split-seconds chronograph
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Hand wind
Power reserve: 55-65 hours

Strap: Calfskin printed with alligator scales, fitted to folding clasp

Availability: From now at both retailers and boutiques
Price: US$309,890; or 408,400 Singapore dollars

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