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The Patek Philippe Alarm Travel Time 5520RG Ups Its Elegance with a (sort of) Two-Tone Case

Patek’s bold 4-crown watch now rendered mostly in rose gold, and objectively better than ever before.

| By Denis Peshkov | 6 min read |
Patek Philippe Alarm Travel Time 5520RG review

While pilot-style watches have now found a comfortable niche within the modern Patek Philippe catalogue, the introduction of the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 5524 in 2015 sparked more than just curiosity: it stirred a veritable commotion. Many were taken aback, feeling it was a departure from the typical Patek Philippe aesthetic. The design, markedly different from the timeless offerings of the Calatrava series, challenged long-standing expectations. The controversy persisted despite explanations about drawing inspiration from Patek Philippe’s history of producing “hour-angle” or siderometer pilot’s watches for the military in the 1930s.

Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 5524G White Gold
The 2015, inaugural white gold version of the Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 5524
The inaugural edition of the Alarm Travel Time 5520, released in 2019 in platinum.

However, the reference 5524 quickly became a resounding success for Patek Philippe. The medium-size (37.5mm) Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 7234R was presented in 2018, followed by a white gold version in 2020. Importantly, in 2019, Patek unveiled the Alarm Travel Time 5520P. Although the “Pilot” moniker was officially dropped, the series’ essence persisted. This timepiece retained the distinctive design and functionality of the 5524 while introducing an additional complication: a 24-hour alarm mechanism with a digital display of the alarm time, accompanied by a hefty price tag well above 200k euros. Last year, Patek also released a duo of Pilot Travel Time Chronographs under the reference 5924G.

Patek Philippe Alarm Travel Time 5520RG review

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A warmer, softer rose gold look

Fast-forward to today and Patek introduces the latest iteration of the 5520, presented in a rose gold case with a warm grey dial. In a departure from its earlier platinum case and black dial counterpart, this rendition exudes a softer, less “aggressive” aesthetic, and the 5520RG has been met with a notably warmer reception from the horological community.

Patek Philippe Alarm Travel Time 5520RG review

The 5520RG case is almost entirely crafted from rose gold. Despite housing a multitude of functions within a self-winding movement, it maintains a diameter of 42.2mm and a relatively slim profile of 11.6mm. While its 30m water resistance may not break records, it distinguishes the 5520 series as the only one among Patek Philippe’s chiming watches to offer any water resistance at all.

The polarizing 4-crown style

The four prominent and highly discussed pushers (giving this watch a very distinctive and polarising look) feature tubes made from white gold, earning this reference a “two-tone” designation by the brand. The watch we experienced has a sapphire crystal caseback, and PP offers a solid gold option, too – both are interchangeable and included with the watch.

Patek Philippe Alarm Travel Time 5520RG review

When it comes to wearing comfort, the Alarm Travel Time is an enjoyable piece to grace the wrist. Its quite slim profile contributes to a pleasant wearing experience. The crown at 4 o’clock and pushers at 2, 8, and 10 o’clock, though visually prominent, don’t create too much discomfort or pressure on the wrist. This 5520RG has a clear sporty-chic appearance; the elegance to a great deal can be attributed to the choice of case material and dial presentation.

A redefined, two-tone dial

The 5520RG’s grey dial features a captivating sunburst finish, accentuated by a contrasting charcoal grey minutes track and a matching date ring on the sub-dial positioned at 6 o’clock. This darker hue extends to the outline of the large applied luminescent Arabic numerals and the primary time hands. The sword-shaped local time hour and minutes hands boast a charcoal hue with luminescent coating, while the home time hour hand is charcoal and skeletonized, lacking luminescence. The central seconds hand and the date pointer at 6 o’clock are coloured white.

Patek Philippe Alarm Travel Time 5520RG review

Compared to the original platinum version, this new rose gold 5520RG also comes with subtle updates on the dial. First, the minutes railroad track has been enlarged and now features numerals for the tenths. Due to this, the applied Arabic numerals have been repositioned and due to closer proximity with the bell-shaped alarm indicator and the date sub-dial, some of them have been cut… like it or not. 

Positioned below the 12 o’clock index, the alarm time window is framed by a rectangular rose-gilt design divided into two sections. The upper portion displays double-digit hours (ranging from 01 to 12), while the lower section indicates minutes in 15-minute intervals (00-15-30-45). A small bell-shaped aperture sits above, serving as the alarm activation/deactivation indicator, while a round indicator below denotes whether it’s day or night for the alarm. Additionally, two round apertures for day/night indication are clearly marked for local and home time.

Operating the 5520RG

Handling this Grand Complication timepiece (this is how PP categorizes this watch, even though it isn’t strictly speaking a grande complication) is logical, intuitive, and virtually foolproof; understanding its operation becomes straightforward. Once you discern which hand corresponds to local or home time, the markings on the pushers provide clear guidance for proper handling. Moreover, the safety locks prevent accidental settings, adding an extra layer of reassurance.

Patek Philippe Alarm Travel Time 5520RG review

The pusher, positioned at 2 o’clock and featuring a bell icon, activates or deactivates the alarm. The three-position crown, situated at 4 o’clock and adorned with the PP seal, offers versatile functionality. When pushed in and turned clockwise, it winds the alarm mechanism; turning counter-clockwise winds the movement, with just ten rotations providing ample power.

Pulling out the crown to position one facilitates the bidirectional setting of the alarm time in 15-minute increments. Pulling out to the second position enables a time setting, complete with a stop-second function. On the left side of the case, the pushers allow for adjustment of local time in one-hour increments, forwards (marked by a plus sign) or backwards (marked by a minus sign). This feature proves invaluable when traversing time zones, ensuring seamless adjustments to match the desired hour. The day/night indicators offer additional clarity to avoid confusion during these adjustments.

Patek Philippe Alarm Travel Time 5520RG review

Lastly, synchronized with the local hand, the date can be corrected using a designated corrector discreetly positioned on the case band near the lower left lug.

When the time comes for the alarm to sound, with its 30-second precision, the mechanism springs into action. A classic gong is struck by a hammer for approximately 35 seconds, producing a musical chime that resonates. Should the owner wish to silence it prematurely, a simple press of the pusher at 2 o’clock will do the trick. Alternatively, if one prefers to let the alarm run its entire course, allowing it to continue until the end of the cycle, it will automatically switch into off mode. This transition is signalled by the bell-shaped indicator turning dark, indicating that the alarm has completed its process.

Patek Philippe Alarm Travel Time 5520RG review

In-house mechanics

The new Patek Philippe 5520RG proudly boasts the same AL 30-660 S C FUS calibre as its predecessor. Since we extensively covered its praises during the 5520P launch, let’s forgo the accolades now. However, it’s noteworthy that this movement maintains the highest standards of finishing and precision. It operates with remarkable accuracy, ranging from -3 to +2 seconds per day, and boasts a power reserve lasting between 42 to 52 hours.

Patek Philippe Alarm Travel Time 5520RG review

Availability & Price

The chestnut calfskin strap with vintage finish complements the 5520RG, with the rose gold clevis prong buckle for closure. The price is EUR 257,100, which is on the level, considering the “Grand Complication” status of the Alarm Travel Time 5520 series. The 5520 quickly transitioned from being the controversial and polarizing timepiece to a hot collector’s item, and it won’t be long before it gets an iconic status, for it is recognizable, quintessential and sets an example for others to follow. If they dare and can.

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4 responses

  1. The 9 year old steam punk sea bottom explorer weirdly likes this new (sort of) elegance.

  2. The perfect watch to take to the summer olympics and get it wet in the hot tub or pickpocketed at the bistro.

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