2016 saw the release of the Ref. 5930G. This was the first time that a Patek Philippe collection included a wristwatch that combined both chronograph and world time functions.
The inspiration for the Ref. 5930G came from a unique pocket watch made for a client called Dr. Schmidt in 1940. This unique Ref. 1415-1 now sits in the Patek Philippe Museum. It combines a world time function alongside a multi-scale one-minute chronograph. The pocket watch was specifically designed to measure pulse and respiration and was clearly very much a medical tool-watch. Patek Philippe allude to this watch as the inspiration of the Ref. 5930G. It is its pedigree. I love watches that can trace their bloodline.
When I saw the Ref. 5930G, there was an instant attraction. Given my tastes, a white metal case with a stunning hand-crafted blue guilloché dial with two fantastic complications is always going to have appeal. But there is so much more than pure aesthetics to this watch.
Unique complication combination
To create this watch, Patek Philippe combined a new automatic movement that incorporates a flyback chronograph with a re-worked world time function (Caliber CH 28-520 HU). The Ref. 5930G was born as the first world time chronograph wristwatch in Patek Philippe history. The chronograph has a 30-minute counter and a power reserve of 50-55 hours.
A stunning dial, but the movement is also something to behold
Designed to be wearable
At 39.5mm diameter and 12.9mm height, it is also the smallest and thinnest anywhere to embrace these two complications. This makes it eminently wearable as a wristwatch. However, the challenge to incorporate these two complications was not straightforward. Incorporating a 24-hour time zone alongside a chronograph scale and a city ring should not be underestimated.
39.5mm diameter and 12.9mm height makes this a very approachable size
Typically, a chronograph scale runs on the very outer edge of a dial. Yet, on a watch that combines world time and chronograph, there are effectively three rings to incorporate; the 24-city ring, the 24-hour scale and the chronograph scale. That can quickly become very messy to look at. From an aesthetic perspective, it makes most sense to have the 24-city ring around the very outer edge of the dial. This places the chronograph scale in the middle of the three rings.
Since the chronograph ring needed to be made slightly smaller than in a typical chronograph, a further modification was required that saw the scale at 1/4 second units rather than the typical 1/5 second. The minute counter was moved closer to the centre of the watch in order to create more space for the other rings. The result is a watch that contains “tricky” complications but in a clear and coherent way.
Why is the Ref. 5930G not more popular?
There is a cynical answer to this question. Since 2016, the Nautilus and Aquanaut have become so dominant within the collecting mindframe that other jewels in the Patek Philippe list have not been appreciated fully.
However, there are other possible reasons. Does it make logical sense to combine a world time function with a chronograph? The Ref. 5930G, however, is not the only example of a unique combination of complications involving a world time.
Patek Philippe released the Ref. 5575G for its 175th anniversary. It also combined, for the first time ever, the function of world time with a moonphase. To me, this combination of complications makes perfect sense. Nobody has really ever questioned the combination of these two complications. There is a distinct romance to the combination of a moonphase and travel. Exotic. Romantic. The combination works in harmony. And, of course, collectors all over the world have demonstrated their appreciation for the Ref. 5575G.
Spirit of adventure
So, why does the combination of a chronograph with a world time function not achieve the same approval? Why is it so hard to see these complications paired together? Surely they evoke the themes of travel and adventure? To my mind, the complications capture a spirit of adventure.
This watch captures a spirit of adventure
This is a watch that I would like to own. At 39.5mm diameter and 12.9mm height, it is essentially a perfect size. White gold case with an absolutely stunning blue guilloché dial. I have seen this watch in the flesh several times and each time I marvel at how beautiful the blue dial is. It provides a stunning contrast to the white gold of the case. It also brings something else to the table – a unique combination of complications that I love. Add to this cocktail that spirit of adventure. Further, the watch carries unique Patek Philippe DNA that can be traced back to 1940. Yes, this ticks a lot of boxes for me and is high on my “want list”.