This new Worldtime Minute repeater from Patek Philippe is an unprecedented piece of watchmaking

BaselWorld 2018 is now in full swing and the brands are launching one feat after another. It is one of those times of the year that watch enthusiasts eagerly look forward to. Logically, the amount of beautiful watches only increases with each edition of BaselWorld. Patek Philippe also participates in this. While the brand was a hot topic a few days ago because of their Instagram debut, now it’s time to really steal the show in Basel. 

In July 2017, on the occasion of its fourth Grand Exhibition, Patek Philippe launched the world premiere of the 5531R World Time Minute Repeater, a limited series of 10 watches. Today, this model forms an integral part of the brand’s collection. It combines two grandes complications dear to Patek Philippe: the minute repeater and world time.

Patek Philippe has a tradition of manufacturing watches with advanced functions such as minute repeat and world time. But until 2018, these two complications had not yet been combined in one watch.

Thanks to the new Reference 5531R World Time Minute Repeater, showcased at Baselworld 2018, the wait is over and, for the first time in Patek Philippe’s history, the watchmakers of the brand were able to integrate the two functional mechanisms into one another.

This Minute repeater is again a piece of art of the highest level. There are several Worldtime watches with a Minute-repeater complication, but they are not as spectacular as this Patek Philippe.

Differently from all other minute repeaters with 24 time zones which strike home time even if they are far away from home, Patek Philippe’s Ref. 5531 World Time Minute Repeater, chimes the time at its current location, corresponding to the city aligned with the 12 o’clock position.

In Patek Philippe’s world timers, a single pusher allows the user to correct the time zone indication when moving from one time zone to another. A single actuation adjusts the city disk, the 24-hour disk, and the central hour hand by one-hour steps without affecting the rate accuracy of the movement. In this model, the challenge was to couple the chiming mechanism with the rotatable city and 24-hour rings.

The result was Patek Philippe’s new self-winding calibre R 27 HU movement which features fundamental changes with new designs and new components for which patent applications have been filed.

When the minute repeater is actuated with the slide in the left-hand case flank, the mechanisms that execute the hour, quarter, and minute strikes interact to sound the melody of time. In this phase, the World Time mechanism is blocked so that for the duration of the time strike – while the delicate snails, racks, wheels, and levers are engaged – no time zone adjustments can take place.

A further patented modification distinguishes the Ref. 5531 World Time Minute Repeater from other Patek Philippe watches: its two gongs (one high-pitched, the other low-pitched) are attached to the caseband and not to the plate of the movement, a solution that enhances the quality of the sound although it makes the assembly of the watch more complicated.

As an additional complexity, the new movement is self-winding. Its 22K gold minirotor is fully recessed in the bridge plane. Thanks to its design, the calibre R 27 HU movement is only 8.5 mm thick. Beating at 21,600 vibrations per hour, it offers a power reserve of 48 hours.

Despite its diameter of 40.2 mm and height of 11 mm, the rose gold case looks less voluminous thanks to skeletonized lugs, a slanted bezel, and the shape of the glass. Both flanks are adorned by a hand-guilloched hobnail pattern.

Made of 18K gold and German sterling silver, the dial requires lot of work to be produced with its city disk, the 24-hour disk, and the artistically adorned centre.

The city disk is lacquered silvery white opaline to offer the ideal contrast for the place names printed in black. The Central European Time is not represented by Paris, as usual, but rather by Geneva to emphasise the Lac Léman theme represented by the central cloisonné enamel whose creation requires nearly two weeks and great skills to be completed.

De Patek Philippe Ref. 5531R World Time Minute Repeater comes on a hand-stitched shiny chocolate brown alligator strap with an 18kt rose gold folding clasp.

The Patek Philippe Calatrava 6119 will be available at Patek Philippe Boutiques and selected stores worldwide. For more information, come into the beautiful and timeless world of Patek Philippe.