Hands-On – Patek Philippe Chronograph Annual Calendar 5960/01g – Patek, With a Vintage Touch…
For a few years now, Patek Philippe has been applying a rather surprising strategy, by offering a new, younger approach. Sometimes vintage, sometimes modern, and sometimes quite difficult to understand, even sometimes controversial… This all started back in 2014 with the modern-looking stainless steel 5960/1A, followed later in 2015 with the launch of the Calatrava Travel Time Pilot 5524G, a vintage-inspired watch, dramatically different from the traditional conservative Patek collections. And if you mix these two watches, you’ll end up with the 2017 Patek Philippe Chronograph Annual Calendar 5960/01g.
The Patek Philippe Ref. 5960
This reference is certainly amongst the most important modern Pateks… If it has always been well received and had always somehow flown under the radar, it has to be reminded that, when it came on the market, the 5960 was a big first for the brand. Before this ref. 5960, at Patek, the calendar linked to a chronograph was always a perpetual one (since the 1920s with the famous ref. 1518 to the actual ref. 5270). However, Patek is also known for being the inventor of another type of quantième, the annual calendar, a hybrid between the very simple date and the expensive and complicated perpetual calendar.
An example of the Patek Philippe 5960p
So, Patek came up with a new idea: a calendar that will be (nearly) as practical as a QP but more secure, more simple, more reliable and mainly, more accessible. In 1996, they patented a calendar watch that required only one correction a year, at the transition from February to March, meaning that it was automatically recognizing 30- and 31-day months. This complication was first shown on the 18k yellow gold ref. 5035.
Later, in 2006, Patek added this annual calendar for the first time to another complication, this time a chronograph. And as said, it was also the first time that a chronograph was linked to any other calendar than a QP. This new combination was introduced on the Ref. 5960P-001 (platinum version), however, this was not the only novelty on this watch. In fact, it was also the first ever self-winding chronograph developed and manufactured in-house by Patek. It features an annual calendar via three windows for the date, the day of the week and the month at the upper half of the dial. Also, it features a day/night indicator positioned within the monocounter at 6 along with a power reserve indicator at 12.
The current Patek Philippe 5960 collection – the white gold, 2017 version in the middle, surrounded by its two stainless steel siblings (5960/1A)
Several versions, in white gold, rose gold or platinum would be made between 2006 and 2014, at which point the precious metals were replaced by stainless steel… The ref. 5960/1A was indeed getting rid of the gold or platinum cases for a more common metal, along with a surprising (unexpected, controversial) dial, in white and many with coloured accents. A drastic change in the collection, and we’d have to wait for 2015 to see the annual calendar/chronograph combination coming back in precious metals, although with a new reference, the 5905p, with a larger case of 42mm (instead of 40.5mm). The 5960 continued its way in the current collection, with an additional black dial… until Baselworld 2017, when Patek brought back white gold on the model, and yet again a quite surprising design. That was the 5960/01g, and here is our take on it.
The 2017 Patek Philippe Chronograph Annual Calendar 5960/01g, with its surprising Vintage twist
So what do we have with this new white gold version of the Patek Philippe Chronograph Annual Calendar? Well, basically, nothing new, as all the general attributes of the Ref. 5960 are back in their usual form. The case, even if now crafted in 18k white gold instead of stainless steel (after the white gold version was removed… I know, complex story) is the same as we’ve seen since 2006. Same shape, same convex bezel and same dimensions. The display is also perfectly identical to the steel versions of the 5960 and the movement, as you’ve guessed, is also the same calibre CH 28-520 IRM QA 24H (seriously, even BMW makes simpler names…) So, in fact, this new 5960/01g is just a cosmetic update… But one that is quite surprising in the details.
If the comeback of white gold is something that some will definitely like – the idea of a precious metal case quite fits Patek, and some collectors prefer the weight of gold instead of steel – the strategy of Patek with this watch is quite difficult to understand… Launched in platinum, then in white or pink gold, then gold and platinum was discontinued and replaced by steel, then a larger version comes with platinum again, and now white gold comes back on the old reference! It’s more complex than a soap opera. But enough about the reasons why… Let’s look at this watch for what it is, as clearly, it has some strong arguments.
The most notable change, besides the white gold case – again, with the same dimensions as all the previous editions of the 5960, meaning 40.5mm diameter x 13.5mm thickness – is the new dial. With this 5960/01g, Patek applies the same idea as with the Calatrava Travel Time Pilot 5524G, meaning a dark blue, grained varnished dial with white gold indexes. All of this is combined with a vintage-inspired, brown leather strap, with a pin-buckle instead of the usual deployant clasp.
Overall, this new style makes a very interesting compromise between the very classical early editions of this watch (see the 5960p below, with black dial) and the possibly too sporty steel versions. Furthermore, the choice of leather befits quite well the watch and makes this Patek a bit younger, a bit trendier. And I won’t complain about not having the fully polished metallic bracelet, as it’s overall quite shiny and too visible.
Even with this slight vintage feel, the white gold 5960 holds onto some of its modern and sporty attributes, namely the highly contrasted white calendar windows and chronograph scales (at 6), the large, straight and luminous hands, as well as a few touches of red on the central second hand and the 30-minute counter. Surprisingly, if all of this is equal to the two steel versions, the blue dial makes it more subtle, as all the colours and contrasts blend better in the global design.
A few evolutions can be seen on the case too, mainly in the mushroom pushers, that feature a guilloche pattern, reminiscent of certain vintage watches of the brand. The rest, meaning the shape (curved lugs, convex bezel), the fully (perfectly) polished finish or the screwed back are all identical. The white gold offers a slightly different balance on the wrist, with more weight.
Under the sapphire caseback is the well-known calibre CH 28-520 IRM QA 24H. This was the first integrated automatic chronograph movement of Patek, and since its introduction, it has also made its way into the Nautilus (although without the calendar indications). This movement has a modern architecture, with the chronograph and the self-winding mechanism being fully part of the movement (and not added on top of an existing movement, in a modular way). The chronograph features a flyback function, and is controlled by a column-wheel and a vertical clutch. It has a 4Hz frequency and it boasts between 45-55 hours of power reserve, depending on how long the chronograph is kept running.
Patek’s traditional finishing has been applied, meaning polished bevelled angles, circular Geneva Stripes, polished screw-heads and slots and circular graining on the main plate. It is certified by the Patek Philippe Seal, that also certifies the accuracy of the watch (average of -3/+2 seconds a day). All the calendar indications, meaning the corrections for the day, the date and the month, are done via recessed pushers placed on the left side of the case.
Overall, this Patek Philippe Chronograph Annual Calendar 5960/01g is nothing but a revolution – at first. In fact, it has to be seen as part of the “new Patek”, which creates a few offset watches that talks to younger, more active collectors. If the steel versions were slightly controversial and not adopted by all Patek fans, this new white gold version with blue dial feels much more familiar, and it keeps the usual PP elegance, combined with a well-dosed vintage touch and some modern and casual elements. It is priced at CHF 58,000. More details on patek.com (check their new website…)
Technical Specifications – Patek Philippe Chronograph Annual Calendar 5960/01g
- Case: 40.5mm diameter x 13.5mm height – 18k white gold, fully polished – sapphire crystal on both sides – 30m water resistant
- Movement: calibre CH 28-520 IRM QA 24H, in-house – certified by the Patek Philippe Seal – automatic, integrated chronograph – 4Hz frequency – up to 55h power reserve
- Functions: hours, minutes, annual calendar (day, date, month), power reserve, day-and-night indication, flyback chronograph with central second and monocounter at 6 (60-minute and 12-hour)
- Strap: calfskin brown strap with white gold clevis prong buckle
- Reference: 5960/01g-001
- Price: CHF 58,000