Patek Philippe is known for its multiple (infinite) complications: perpetual calendars, split-second chronographs, some of the best minute repeaters ever made (and tested by the CEO himself) or a crazy watch that combines 20 of the complications in a single case, the GrandMaster Chime. However, amongst the collection of watches manufactured by Patek, a series of timepieces has a special place in the heart of collectors, with a highly poetic display, the Celestials. Here is an overview of a hauntingly Grand Complication, the Patek Philippe 6102P Sky Moon Celestial.
Don’t expect the Patek Philippe 6102P Sky Moon to be the most elegant, discreet or practical watch of the collection. That is clearly not its intention. The 6102P Celestial is a large watch (especially when you consider the rest of Patek’s collection), it’s a watch with a questionable utility and a very unique display but it’s a watch created for another purpose: having a poetic and oneiric scene on the wrist. It is a slow-moving watch, with a slow-moving indication made for dreamers instead of having a practical and highly legible purpose.
The actual Celestial can find its roots back in 2002, when Patek Philippe launched the now iconic ref. 5102. This watch was very pure and simple in appearance, with nothing but the indication of the time, the moon-phase and the astronomic display. The new reference, the 6102P shares all these elements except with an extra indication located on the extreme side of the dial: the date. Thankfully, the masterpiece of this timepiece remains untouched. Because, yes, this dial is superb.
The dial of the Patek Philippe 6102P Sky Moon is made of several layers of sapphire crystal. The first one creates the sky, with its deep shiny blue colour. The second one indicates the phases and orbit of the Moon. The last one, located the top, supports the stars and Sirius, the brightest star system in the earth’s night sky. On the very top of the dial, another layer, printed with the cardinal points, helps to locate the portion of the sky visible from Geneva. In this context, the entire dial is an indication and time becomes something nearly secondary. The main interest of this timepiece is to enjoy a slow-moving indication, clearly unusual but totally poetic, showing the time of meridian passage of Sirius and of the moon.
Whereas the Patek Philippe 5102 had only 2 hands – hours and minutes – the new reference 6102P comes with an additional indication of the date, displayed by an hand and an external scale as an inner bezel. While it adds some practicality to the watch on a daily basis, its interest in the context of such an oneiric display remains questionable. Its integration on the dial is however the right choice from Patek, as an aperture would have ruined the purity and beauty of this deep blue and shining plate.
As previously mentioned, the Patek Philippe 6102P Sky Moon Celestial is a large watch. The solid platinum case measures 44mm x 9.8mm and comes with two massive crowns. Of course, this watch won’t have the same natural elegance and discretion than a classical Ref. 5940g Perpetual Calendar. This all due to the movement, with its additional module on the top, that measures 38mm.
The base is very well-known, as the Patek Philippe 6102P relies on the iconic calibre 240 and its micro-rotor. The back may show a rather small movement (27.5mm), it comes with a large module on the top to actuate all the rotating discs (starry sky and moon position). The whole movement (Calibre 240 LU CL C) is also thicker, at 6.81mm, and composed of 315 parts instead of 161 parts in a basic Calibre 240. What doesn’t change is the very pleasant architecture of the movement and the quality of the finishes: polished beveled angles, circular graining on the plates, Geneva Stripes on the bridges and very beautiful gold micro-rotor – a quality attested by the Patek Philippe Seal.
The ref. 6102P can be seen as quite controversial. Some of the collectors will see it as too massive. Some will prefer the older edition, the ref. 5102 for its absence of date. However, on the wrist the 44mm remains completely wearable (short and curved lugs help) and the size comes as a natural element of this watch, due to the highly specific display. A smaller watch would not be especially appropriate in order to enjoy the superb scenery of this blue dial. Of course, the integration of the date removes a substantial part of the purity, as the watch seems more loaded, compared to the old ref. 5102. However, Patek used the best option to implement it in the context of the Celestials, without ruining the dial by adding an date window.
The Patek Philippe 6102P Sky Moon Celestial is a very special watch in Patek’s collection, a complicated but poetic timepiece that comes for a substantial amount of money (explained by the complexity of the dial and the platinum case). It is priced north of 250.000 euros.