It all gets a bit much after a while. I mean really, how many times can you hear the phrase: “Patek Philippe is the world’s finest watchmaker” before it actually ceases to mean anything? Though the thing is, it just might be true.
OK, so the label “world’s finest” is subjective and unprovable and, by Jove, there’s some competition out there: Breguet, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre and A Lange & Söhne would all want a say in the matter, for starters.
But, when you look at some of the new watches released by Patek at Baselworld in March, you start to understand why so many ‘watchionistas’ get in such a lather about the brand.
Take this Ref 5940J cushion-shaped men’s perpetual calendar. Just look at it. It’s quite possible it was designed by God and then he sent a few down to Earth to give us a taster of the kind of watches everyone’s wearing in heaven. We are blessed.
The cushion shape is a favourite of mine, partly because it never seems to get old. The first of its kind appeared in the 1920s, around the same time Patek created the first wristwatch with a perpetual calendar (1925, if you need to know). This new piece cast in 18-carat yellow gold (I would have preferred red gold, if I were being picky), is just 8.6mm thick and yet somehow packs in a movement with a 1,461-day memory. It will tell the correct day, date, month and leap year cycle, without need for adjustment, for as long as its automatic movement stays charged.
It is – dammit – as fine a watch as you’ll ever lay your hands on.