Last year at Patek’s “Watch Art Grand Exhibition Singapore 2019”, the brand unveiled its Minute Repeater Tourbillon Singapore, an elaborate minute repeater and tourbillon complication designed for Singaporean collectors and limited to just 12 pieces. To cater to local tastes, the flange of the dial was picked out in red and the flange for the hours and minutes was printed with stars to evoke the stars of Singapore’s flag. Today the brand launches a similar watch to join its permanent collection with a new colour scheme, its first minute repeater with the striking mechanism on the dial side. Meet the new Patek Philippe 5303R Minute Repeater Tourbillon.
Patek Philippe made its first minute repeater in 1845, just six years after the brand was founded in Geneva. Coinciding with its 175th anniversary in 2014, Patek showcased its prowess for this complication with the Grandmaster Chime and its five chiming functions. Five years later, a steel version of the Grandmaster Chime was auctioned at Only Watch for CHF 31 million becoming the most expensive watch ever auctioned.
Patek is also renowned for its dizzying combinations of complications resulting in minute repeaters with perpetual calendars, chronographs, world time and tourbillons or even wilder combinations like this unique model, Ref. 5298T, loaded with a minute repeater, chronograph, and perpetual calendar. The Ref. 5303R is a minute repeater and tourbillon and features an openworked dial to reveal the hammers and gongs, elements which are usually hidden from view under the dial. A part of the tourbillon cage can also be seen underneath the transparent dial for the small seconds at 6 o’clock and more clearly from the reverse side.
The openworked dial is a treat for lovers of horology in action with its view of the hammers at 10 o’clock, the gong rail circling the dial and the vivid contrasts between the steel parts and the rose gold-plated bridges. As you would expect, the manual finissage is impeccable; the plate is decorated with elegant Côtes de Genève, there is perlage on the recessed areas of the main plate and the hammers display a circular satin finish. Obviously, the areas that have been removed are beautifully bevelled.
The white gold leaf-shaped hour and minute hands have been lacquered in black and skeletonised. In this spirit of not concealing anything, the subsidiary seconds counter is transparent with a white track and an 18k rose gold hand. Unlike the limited-edition model for the Singaporean market with the red chapter ring for the hours, this model has a black lacquered flange made from sapphire crystal with a white printed minute scale and powdered rose gold markers.
Rose gold case
The 18k rose gold case has a wide cambered and polished bezel. Measuring 42mm across with a thickness of 12.13mm, the case has a substantial presence. The casebands and lugs have been hollowed out and inlaid with white gold panels cut out with shapes that echo the sage-leaf hands. The slide to activate the minute repeater is on the left caseband and is also made from white gold.
The reverse side of the Ref. 5303R offers a view of the tourbillon held in place by an openworked bridge shaped like bat’s wings with beautifully bevelled edges and a gleaming mirror polish. The same white gold foliage motif frames the movement. The hollowed-out areas of the white gold are designed to improve the resonance of the chiming mechanism and also reveal the rose gold-plated main plate. Overlapping the lower-left half of the tourbillon is the large centre wheel with its toothed profile and gleaming surfaces while Patek’s Calatrava cross doubles up as a bridge for the repeater regulator.
Calibre R TO 27 PS
The Ref. 5303R is powered by Patek’s manual-winding minute repeater and tourbillon movement, calibre R TO 27 PS, which is based on calibre R 27 used in other references with this combination of complications (Ref. 5539, Ref. 3939 and Ref. 5538.) The movement, however, has been heavily reworked to display a part of the tourbillon on the dial side and expose the minute repeater mechanism.
In the references cited above, the tourbillon can only be seen on the reverse side of the watch and the chiming works are hidden below the dial. Fitted with a Breguet balance spring and a Patek patented Gryomax balance, the movement beats at 21,600vph and has a maximum power reserve of 48 hours. The decoration is, as expected in such a watch, completed with haute horlogerie details – polished bevels, superbly executed seconds wheel in gold, circular Geneva stripes.
The Patek Philippe 5303R-001 Minute Repeater Tourbillon comes with a shiny black hand-stitched alligator leather strap with a fold-over clasp in 18k rose gold. The price of the watch should be around CHF 590,000.
For more information, please visit patek.com.