The watch we’re looking at today certainly wasn’t Patek Philippe‘s main novelty of 2019. If you want some fresh, truly unprecedented pieces, you’ll have to look at the Calatrava Weekly Calendar 5212A, the Alarm Travel Time 5520P or the (superb) Chronograph 5172G. And so what?… Can’t we just enjoy a new edition of an existing watch, especially when it’s a Chronograph Annual Calendar and that now comes in one hell of a beautiful colour combination? Well, we can and here’s a look at the pink gold/brown dial Patek Philippe Chronograph Annual Calendar 5905R.
To understand where the Chronograph Annual Calendar 5905R comes from, a bit of history is required. This watch is the last evolution of a model that sums up what Patek does best: calendar chronographs! Certainly, most of us will have in mind the ultimate combo, the QP-Chrono, a lineage started in 1941 with the reference 1518, followed by the references 2499, 3970, 5970 and 5270. Still, there’s another kind of calendar chronograph at Patek, with a much more modern appeal – the Chronograph Annual Calendar.
This concept also combines two of Patek’s signature complications. The chronograph is, of course, an important part of the brand’s heritage. The “annual calendar” is even more than that, as it was one of Patek’s multiple innovations. Back in 1996, the brand introduced a mid-range calendar with its reference 5035, positioned between the mechanically simple “full calendar” and the fragile and complex “perpetual calendar”. The combination of both the chronograph and the annual calendar gave birth to an emblematic watch, the reference 5960.
The reference 5960 is an important watch for Patek Philippe, because when it was launched in 2006, it positioned the brand as a modern watchmaker, and was the first watch to combine an annual calendar with a chronograph. It was also the first watch from the manufacture equipped with the in-house, integrated, self-winding chronograph movement (the base calibre CH 28-520). The 5960 is now almost gone, and only one version is still available, the 5960-01G-001 with a 40.5mm case in white gold and a casual look. The two stainless steel versions 5960/1A are now out of production.
In 2015, Patek decided to give its Chronograph Annual Calendar a new look, with the introduction of the reference 5905, starting with two platinum models (black dial and blue dial), as reviewed here. Being an important watch for the brand, evolutions were rather subtle and Patek mainly aligned this watch with its non-chronograph sister, the Annual Calendar 5205. Besides the increased size of the case (from 40.5mm to 42mm), the main evolution concerned the dial which adopted a more modern, monochromatic look with clearly defined sectors and applied baton markers. The mechanics, however, and the overall shape of the case remained identical. Only available in platinum, we had to wait for 2019 to see the “R” attached to the reference number, with the new pink gold 5905R-001 and its superb brown dial.
The new Patek Philippe 5905R
As mentioned in the introduction, this new 5905R is nothing more than a new material/dial colour combination. Don’t expect to see some dramatic evolutions; the model has kept all its specifications intact. Still, there’s no denying beauty when you face it and this new reference is another shining example of Patek’s savoir-faire.
The colour combination chosen here is a classic from the Geneva-based brand, a rich, luxurious and warm tone that doesn’t need to prove its effectiveness anymore… Yes, pink gold and brown dials work great and Patek’s versions even more so. Look for instance at the controversial Calatrava Pilot, which looks (to me, at least) much better in its pink gold edition, or the Nautilus 5711/1R-001. This time, this combination of warm colours is applied to the 5905.
As we said, the basics haven’t changed, which means a 42mm case – I’d personally prefer a smaller diameter, even though the watch wears comfortably – now made of 18k pink gold for the first time in this reference. The shape of the case contributes, as usual, a great deal in the desirability of this watch. Appearing rather simple at first, it brings a unique combination of curved surfaces, with the bezel and the casebands depicting concave lines, resulting in great reflections and light distortions. The execution of the polishing and the assembly of the case is, as you would expect, simply superb.
The use of pink gold also changes the perception of this watch; the platinum versions seem colder and more technical while pink gold makes it more luxurious and slightly more conspicuous – less discreet if you like. The case measures 14mm in height, which is not really what I’d call an ultra-thin watch but remains manageable for a calendar automatic chronograph. The watch is worn on a glossy black alligator strap – nice but certainly not the most modern option.
The second update regards the dial, which retains a dark colour – black and blue were offered on the platinum versions. Here, it is treated in dark brown with a gradient pattern that intensifies to an almost black tone on its edges. Trendy for sure, still the result is extremely satisfying and done with subtlety and elegance. The contrast with the pink gold applied markers, the pink gold hands, and the white inscriptions make the indications extremely easy to read.
Compared to its predecessor, the reference 5960, the Patek Philippe Chronograph Annual Calendar 5905R offers almost exactly the same display with the exception of a simplified chronograph sub-counter, with only the 60-minute indication (no more 12-hour totalizer). This means we have central hours, minutes and seconds – note that the chronograph seconds hand, which due to the vertical clutch and its friction-free construction, can be used as regular, running seconds. On top are three windows used to display the calendar indications, done in the typical Patek style (also found on the 5205) with an intuitive layout of the day of the week, the date and the month – SAT 18 MAR, as displayed here for Saturday 18 March. A small circular window inside the 60-minute counter acts as a day/night indicator.
Powering this Patek Philippe Chronograph Annual Calendar 5905R is the modern calibre CH 28-520 QA 24H (CH for Chronograph, QA for Quantième Annuel and 24H for the day-night indication). This movement, which needs no introduction, might not offer the same level of visual pleasure as the in-house hand-wound movement of the 5172G or the 5270P; still, it is an efficient and advanced calibre. Being automatic, the CH 28-520 is oriented for daily wear. It relies on an integrated construction and the chronograph functions are actuated by a column wheel and a vertical clutch. It also features a flyback function. With its Patek Philippe Seal certification, the decoration is superb and, although a central rotor partially hides it, the view through the caseback is pleasant.
Thoughts, Price & Availability
This evolution of the Patek Philippe Chronograph Annual Calendar, with this new reference 5905R, results in an extremely attractive watch. Yes, it might just be a change of colours and materials but one that is balanced, perfectly executed and altogether very elegant. The qualities and flaws of this reference are still present – my main concern being the size of the case. For the rest, Patek knows what it’s doing; there’s no doubt about that.
The Patek Philippe Chronograph Annual Calendar 5905R will be priced at EUR 59,670 (an impressive EUR 14,000 difference over the platinum models) and can now be ordered from boutiques and authorised retailers. More details at patek.com.