Monochrome Watches
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Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 5738/50P-001 – Celebrating 50 Years Of Golden Style

| By Tom Mulraney | 3 min read |
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 5738-50P-001 50 years

Patek Philippe unveiled several extremely impressive – and complicated – timepieces this year at Baselworld. The 5270P Perpetual Calendar Chronograph with a head-turning salmon dial was a personal favourite, as was the unexpected, but not unwelcome, Nautilus Perpetual Calendar 5740G. Surprisingly though, it was one of the brand’s non-complicated models that really caught my eye. Artistic yet elegant and flawlessly executed, it celebrates a significant milestone of one of the Geneva-based Manufacture’s more understated collections. Introducing the Patek Philippe 5738/50P-001, commemorating 50 years of the Ellipse d’Or (or Golden Ellipse, in English).

A Cult Classic

I would venture to guess that when you mention the name Patek Philippe to most watch enthusiasts, the Golden Ellipse is not the first model that comes to mind. In fact, I would be surprised if it came up in the discussion at all. And yet, the Golden Ellipse – introduced in 1968 – is the second oldest watch in the Patek Philippe collection, predated only by the legendary Calatrava.

Patek Philippe TimeLine Golden Ellipse 1968-2018 50 years

Inspired by the “golden section” (the so-called divine proportion based on the ratio of 1 : 1.6181…), its bold elliptical case – a cross between a circle and a rectangle – was incredibly popular in the 1970s and 1980s, quickly becoming an internationally recognised symbol of style and class. Viewed through today’s lens, it may seem a little unusual, quirky even but consider the styles and attitudes at the time and you can definitely imagine the understated yet eye-catching Golden Ellipse on the wrists of savvy jet-setters.

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The collection was so sought after, in fact, that in the late 1970s, the watch was available in 65 different versions, with various dial colours featuring applied hour markers or Roman numerals. Worn on a variety of metal bracelets (braided, chained, milanaise), or paired with leather straps, there were also jewellery and Haute Joaillerie versions for ladies. The design was even adopted for luxurious accessories such as cufflinks, rings, and lighters.

Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse timeline 1968-2018 50 years

In a sign of the significance of the collection, the Golden Ellipse – originally powered by a manually-wound movement – was upgraded to the ultra-thin calibre 240 in 1977, which it still uses today. This automatic movement – which itself celebrated its 40th-anniversary last year – features an integrated micro-rotor, allowing the Golden Ellipse to maintain its stylishly thin case whilst still offering precise and reliable timekeeping.

Celebrating 50 Years

To celebrate the 50th anniversary, Patek Philippe has created a stunningly elaborate limited edition version of the Golden Ellipse – the Ref. 5738/50P-001. Presented in a platinum case measuring 34.5mm x 39.5mm and just 6.58mm high, it boasts a black enamel dial complete with a striking volute pattern hand-engraved in the 18k gold dial plate. According to the brand, this “decoratively interlacing volute pattern perfectly matches the unmistakably bold form of the Golden Ellipse – half rectangle, half circle – emphasizing the width-to-length ratio of the famous golden section.” It also happens to look magnificent.

Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 5738-50P-001 50 years

Turning the watch over reveals a solid platinum caseback with the commemorative engraving “Ellipse d’Or 1968-2018”. Underneath is the aforementioned ultra-thin self-winding calibre 240 movement, measuring just 2.53mm high. Comprised of 161 parts, it offers a minimum power reserve of 48 hours and is, of course, adorned with the Patek Philippe Seal.

Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 5738-50P-001 50 years

Worn on a shiny black hand-stitched alligator strap with square scales and a platinum prong buckle that echoes the shape of the case, a black onyx cabochon set into the crown completes the design.

Produced in a limited run of 100 anniversary sets, each watch is delivered in a special box containing matching white gold cufflinks in the famous Golden Ellipse design. Their black enamel inlays feature the same engraved volute pattern as the watch itself and look very dapper I must say.

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9 responses

  1. The worst brand in the universe. Overrated, cheap, nouveau riche and all other bad attributes you can think of. And if you don’t like my comment you can kiss my hairy ass. Twice.

  2. Even though the watch is terribly terribly ugly, I don’t understand how impolite comments such as the above are not moderated! You shouldn’t allow this to happen MONOCHROME!

  3. Magnificent and what’s more, terrifically interesting from a brand that tends to play it too safe sometimes. I love the black as relief, the craftsmanship of the carving, the overall statement this watch makes. Monochromes photography is usually the state of the art, but this watch is not done justice — I bet in hand this piece is an amazing object of beauty. Very much one of the best (if not THE) best in the collection.

  4. Agree with Edju.
    Was never sure about the Ellipse range, but this is lovely.
    Some colors go together very well, blue dial with yellow gold case, and black dial with platinum case.
    ” O ” have also just released a new watch with that combination.

  5. Agree with the essence of the first comment (the form is mediocre). In brief, the ellipse range is honestly plain ugly. It exudes a lot of negative ideas for me. However, there’s a language to express one’s self and I don’t get people who express their opinion using trashy words. For me the watch doesn’t fit my tastes a iota but that’s it.

  6. EM,
    Thank you for agreeing with me regarding how supremely ugly the ellipse is. Concerning my comment, i agree it wasn’t very nice and i apologise for it. I’m just sick of people who know nothing about horology and blindly worship patek.

  7. A weird watch for those people with money but no taste, ready to spend a small fortune to NOT be able to properly read the time on the dial. P T Barnum was right. A sucker is born every minute.

  8. With a higher radius, this seems to be the shape of… an apple watch, doesn’t it? Displayed, it looks strange. But when seen on a wrist, it is amazingly pleasing. This watch is really an UFO.

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