The secret diary of a Patek Philippe collector

So starts a weekly diary. I will take the best from Instagram each week and give my thoughts and views on what I consider topics of the week.

It has been an interesting week on Instagram. The post that caught my attention was most definitely the one by @Horology_Ancienne. This is a collector with one of the finest collections of Patek Philippe anywhere. Refined and beautifully curated. This week, HA revealed his 5970P with unique dial. The watch, as articulated by HA, was made specifically for Eric Clapton with each modification originating from Clapton himself.

HA shows the documentation between Clapton and Patek detailing the various modifications.

Credit: @Horology_Ancienne

There are many variations on the Ref. 5970. My friend, “Patekova” once argued that when a “piece unique” is made, what often makes it truly special is the number of variations compared with the original production model. When a watch has a multitude of variations, it makes it increasingly special. HA’s 5970 has so many variations. Breguet numerals on a 5970. Applied numerals and hands finished in hand-blasted fashion. Lack of tachymeter. This is all detailed on @Horology_Ancienne Instagram site.

What a watch! This watch has made my week. This is Patek Philippe at its very best. First, a platinum case with a black dial. What an aesthetic! Breguet numerals on a 5970. Removal of tachymeter scale. The result is nothing short of miraculous. For me, this version of the 5970 sits as the King of 5970s. By a mile. It has made my week! Yes, I know that this watch has a salmon brother, but I am not a salmon guy. The black dial has the power. The black dial is just…….agghhhhhh. Best. It is not every week that one sees something that eclipses anything that has gone before it. For me, that happened this week with this 5970.

I also loved how HA has taken the Eric Clapton connection with Patek Philippe and created a framework for evaluating it. I am going to quote HA directly here as I think he has phrased it perfectly…..

“Much like how Paul Newman became the associated nickname with entire series of Daytonas, Clapton has done the same (with the famous breguet/roman 12 Clapton dials) but in a more intimate fashion. For it was his idea that was adopted and delivered his name association and not merely the wearing of a piece that brought about his affiliation. Clapton’s history with Patek has been impactful to the point that other VIPs have requested a single numeral at 12 and even Patek themselves have released exceptionally rare pieces with a ‘Clapton dial’. A style that has become emblematic of the amongst the best Patek has to offer. So is it any wonder that should I be asked of which collectors I associate the most with Patek Philippe that I say Graves for the vintage and Clapton for the modern?”

With this paragraph, HA has defined a whole new genre of Patek Philippe watches. The “Clapton Dial”. I have to mention this in my diary as I feel quite sure that this nomenclature is going to become commonplace, just like Paul Newman did for Rolex. HA…. hat tip to you. Your @Horology_Ancienne post and comments have made my horological week. Bravo!