A Grand Complication from Patek Philippe, new perpetual calendar with an innovative in-line display, Ref. 5236P-001 in platinum
Patek Philippe reimagines the Perpetual Calendar for the modern collector.
Beguiling and enchanting, the Ref. 5236P from Patek Philippe might appear simple at first glance. But this watch’s understated charm slowly reveals a complexity hidden away beneath its beautiful navy blue dial. Every year Patek Philippe promises to make only a certain number of sports watches and a limited number of high complications in precious metals (alongside a small run in stainless steel). Ref. 5236P in platinum might have the look and feel of a casual everyday watch, but this timepiece is anything but pedestrian. It’s a brilliant, forward-looking design sure to make Patek Philippe collectors very happy.
The Ref. 5236P holds a few breakthroughs for Patek Philippe; it’s the brand’s first wristwatch with a fully in-line perpetual calendar display, and it’s powered by a new self-winding movement, caliber 31-260 PS QL. The in-line perpetual calendar allows the small window above the hour and minute hands to display the day, date and month. The compact but legible display is read quickly and easily. The watch also automatically recognizes moon phases, the number of days within the month and the cycle of leap years—no easy feat.
Three patents have been filed to create this simple, intelligent display, inspired by a pocket watch from 1972 that can be found within the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva. Four rotating disks, one for the day, two for the date and one for the month, smoothly interact on a single plane. The rotating assembly remains durable and dependable, despite being miniaturized for the wrist.
The in-line calendar requires 118 additional parts (over a traditional perpetual calendar), where just the transition from the 31st to the 1st on the date display requires its own patented, imaginative solution. Phases of the moon and small seconds can be found on the subdial at six, with apertures at four and eight indicating day/night and leap years. This vast capability is packed inside a 41.3 mm platinum case.
The Ref. 5236P reimagines a high complication for a modern collector, a new and essential direction for Patek Philippe. The appetite for its easy-to-wear sport models has created a powerful stir that isn’t likely to end soon. In some ways, the 5236P resonates with the hunger for Patek’s sports watches, with its deceptively casual feel, an understated platinum case and that vertical satin-finished dial, which lend this Perpetual Calendar an immensely wearable, youthful appeal. Quite simply, it’s ingenious.